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He wasn't surprised to be called in to talk to Ken, but from how he was sounding on the phone... How he was trying not to bring up what he wanted was making Osmund curious. He was sure the man had been doing more research on him, not that he blamed him. He knew what he was and that collateral damage for using him was pretty high. Meaning they had to talk to the higher ups to get incidents swept under the rug and to keep the police, FBI, and whatever else out of it. He slid his hands in the pockets of his leather jacket, which he only just managed to get all of his blood out of. Wearing a black shirt that said "Mexican Funeral" on it he grabbed from the motel he chased the Brotzman girl and Incubus Four in. It was obvious to most people Priest had a tendency to wear other people's clothes more than his own. Plus, he liked the design, and it fit his usual wardrobe so he didn't see the problem with taking a little souvenir... like how he still had Martin's outfit in his closet. With the shirt, which was a bit too small causing it to ride up on occasion, he wore a pair of tight black jeans he had tucked into his boots, which were only laced up to the ankle. The jeans were faded and tearing a bit by his knees and shins from wear and tear, though he didn't mind. They still had life left in them so he wasn't about to throw them out. He paused shortly in front of the door to Ken's office. Staring at the door with a fun swirl of thoughts of what the man could possibly want, he just hoped this would be something fun.

He carelessly shoved the door open and walked into the room, eyes falling on Ken immediately, the man didn't even bother to look up. Seemed deep in thought as he looked over whatever it was that held his attention so tightly. "So." The way he said it was calculating, like he was thinking on how to word what he wanted to say. Osmund couldn't help but admire how confident he looked sitting in his chair, looking over a stack of files he had covered his desk. "When were you going to tell me?" He couldn't stop the smile that broke out over his face when he realized what file he was looking at, eyes locked on the name written in large black letters across it. Project Kronos.

He thought it was destroyed, that's what he had been told when he started to work for Blackwing. That was part of the deal when Riggins came to him with the proposal. He supposed he shouldn't be too surprised they lied about that, that Riggins lied about it. The man just said things to get what he wanted even though the people higher than him usually stopped the man from carrying out his own ideas. He watched as Ken raised the file, showing Osmund photos of himself as a teenager, like the name on the file wasn't obvious enough what it was. He found his hand briefly rubbing his chest over his heart where the tattoo still sat when they marked him as a project. Remembering all the times tests went awry from him attacking, and usually torturing, the scientists until he was knocked out and locked back up again. He couldn't stop the giggle that escaped his split lips, amused and pleased that Ken was digging that far back into his life. Walking over to the man's desk he let his eyes linger on the files before looking to his new supervisor. Excitement already building as he shifted in his spot.

"Oh, Ken," almost purring the name as he grinned down at him, "I knew ya' were smart enough to look through all the files." Which he definitely knew he was going to happen, Ken, unlike Hugo, actually seemed to want to know what the fuck was going on. He just never expected him to find that file. "Figured it was only a matter of time, didn't want to rush ya'." Lying, just didn’t feel it was important to bring up. "But now I just have to know what thoughts you have going on in that pretty head of yours." He grinned while moving his hands to rest them on the desk, leaning in and looking Ken over. Running his tongue over his bottom lip and biting it when it reached the corner of his mouth. There were many ways this could go, Ken could be a jack ass about it, or use it to his advantage. He watched as Ken closed the file, fingers drumming on the desk before he leaned back. Had that cute calculating look on his face.

"Your file is interesting. I mean, it says your presence pushes other projects into doing what they need to do." Osmund shrugged while standing up straight, clicking his tongue as he looked to Icarus' file which was open on the man's computer. Wasn't as clean cut as that, though he knew Ken was well aware... or hoped he was anyway given his interaction with the others.

"Yeah. Somethin' like that, just kind of happens. Sometimes it's inconvenient, other times..." He gave a small chuckle while thinking of all the times simple extractions went wrong. "It just makes everything that much more fun." There was a reason he was always laughing each time someone vanished on him. Something funny about his games of cat and mouse leading to whatever was supposed to happen. Universe was really funny that way, besides a lot of times other things had to happen before the other subjects were needed by the universe, giving Priest all the time in the world to do what he wanted with them. "I know you know it's not something I can control, it either happens or it doesn't. Universe is funny that way." Which he was sure Ken was wildly aware about given the time he spent with Bart. He let his eyes flicker back to the file on the computer head tilting a bit as he casually sat on the desk. Hand already moving to grab his own file in curiosity, when Ken didn't do anything to stop him he pulled it onto his lap and boredly started to flip through it. Smiling more and more at the information they had in there about his 'incidents' with scientists, soldiers, and other projects.

“I have a proposition for you." Osmund shut the file and dropped it boredly on the desk, hand moving to motion at the computer.

"That proposition have to do with Svlad?" Oh, did he miss hurting that boy. Always so chipper and trying to play the happy role and part. Talking a mile a minute in his crazy rantings about useless shit. Was always fun to knock that out of him, to turn him from a happy-go-lucky fool into someone who was a mess of tears and pain that could barely speak without stuttering over tears and screams. He could feel his eyes going heavy from the memories and thoughts, about how much fun he had hurting him despite Riggins trying to protect him.

"Icarus…" Ken was leaning forwards now and staring up at him taking his attention away from his own thoughts. "is important.” Osmund arched his brow while looking towards the file and back to him. Important, isn't the word he would use to describe the boy, but to each his own he supposed.

“Yeah? And how’s that?” He would humor the thought though, seeing as Ken seemed really interested in this idea of his. He watched as the man smiled while going back to looking at Svlad's file. Smile on his face which was a bit adorable how into all of this he actually was.

"Well, you know how it is. You all have purposes and things you're supposed to do, you do some crazy shit that usually leads to helping the projects get their asses in gear. Bart is an assassin, who kills people who are bad while going unnoticed and remaining invincible to things normal people aren't. Dirk," He watched him motion at the file while looking up at him in excitement. "Icarus, Svlad. Whatever you want to call him, his purpose is to help people. If we can harness that, if we can get control of that, and his psychic abilities, do you know how powerful Blackwing will be?" Priest rubbed his jaw, giving a small, high-pitched, giggle while shaking his head.

"Harness his power?" That was hilarious, the boy just always bumbled his way through everything and it just worked out in the end. "And how do you suppose we do that." Ken just smiled up at him, leaning back in his chair and tenting his fingers.

"What better way to train him than putting him in your hands, Mr. Priest." Priest sat up at that, even got off the desk with a wicked grin taking over his face.

"Really?" Excitement brimming over by what the potential of that actually held. To have Svlad at his mercy and to-

"Yes, your ability, with his..." He trailed off a bit, as if the rest of his thought was obvious. "I can see that working well together... I know he's not going to come willingly, or even want to do any of this. But I'm sure you can make him change his mind in the long run." Oh, he would break that boy down and rewrite him to be nothing but a little slave for them. He stood up straight while nodding.

"Consider it done. I'll go, by myself, to pick little Svlad Cjelli up and bring him home. Now, uh," He giggled again with his excitement, shifting a bit in his stance before crossing his hands behind his back in a more formal stance. "How are we on that whole stance you had back in Bergsberg about accomplices and civilians?" He tried to hide his smile as Ken looked from the file to him with a shrug.

"As far as I'm concerned, Mr. Priest, Icarus remains the priority."

"Goddamn, do I love this fucking job." Priest hummed the words with a smile while turning on his heel and heading towards the door. "I'll see you later, Supervisor Adams." He called over his shoulder with a little two finger salute. Already pushing the door open and heading towards where his car was for this mission.

It was early in the morning when Priest got to Svlad’s little office, he made sure to park out of sight. So, they wouldn't know he was here before he wanted them to know he was. He headed to the door and pulled out his kit to unlock the door. Checking it to make sure they actually locked the door before easily breaking in and walking in. His eyes locked on the sign that read “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” in the middle of the wall. He ran his tongue over his lip feeling the way it pulled on the cut as he pulled out his work pad. Looking over the notes he collected and images of Svlad, Todd and Farah from their case. Even before Ken put him on this mission he had been keeping tabs on Icarus, and the other projects as well. But since right now Svlad was his target he put his investigation on the others on hold. He walked away from the sign, closing the work pad he set it down on the counter where he assumed a receptionist would sit.

Walking around the counter to behind the desk checking the computer that was there. Just killing time till they would arrive. Which checking the computer turned into searching the area and collecting weapons Farah had hidden around in case something bad happened. Loaded them all in a bag and checked the time knowing they should be in at any moment he slid the bag into hiding and went back to standing in front of the sign. Back to the door as he waited patiently for his mark. Curious if all three of them would show up or if this would be boring and easy.

In case Miss Black was with them, he held his handgun with his hands crossed in front of him in a more formal stance. Listening for them he could already hear Svlad’s voice. Boy was talking quickly and sounded excited, couldn’t wait for that expression to fall off his face when he realized who he was.

“—solved it!”

“Barely!” Todd was laughing in response though he heard the sound of keys jingling and sliding into the lock he picked earlier. Listening to the key turn and the lock staying still he just smiled. “I thought you locked it.”

“Well, apparently not, Todd. Or maybe! Farah beat us here.” Oh guess she wasn’t with them then. He slid his gun back in his holster making sure his jacket covered it as he listened to the door open. “Oh! Hello, I hope you were not waiting too long! I’m Dirk Gently, and this is my assistant Todd-“ Priest couldn’t stop his grin as he listened to Svlad approach him. He turned around, eyes locked on the boy who went from smiling and walking over to him, to holding a look of fear on his face and coming quickly to a stop. Already too close to him before his mind even registered he should run. Osmund was quick to shoot a hand out and wrap it around the boy’s throat. The boy's friend was already running at them to try and save his friend.

“Svlad Cjelli, good to see you again.” He side-stepped Todd easily, lifting Svlad off the ground by his throat as he turned to look at Todd who was going for where one of Farah’s guns had been. “You really didn’t think I wouldn’t check for weapons? I mean, Miss Black does have a history.” He giggled while looking to Svlad who was trying to pry his fingers off his throat. Even kicking his legs at him as he tried desperately to gasp for air. “When will she be joining us?” He asked while punching Dirk hard in the stomach to get him to stop kicking.

“Let go of him!” Priest laughed when Todd charged into him trying to knock him down. It was a cute little attempt, but Osmund stood his ground resulting in the want to be tackle just turning into an odd hug. Priest found himself amused how he still tried, the boy’s feet sliding on the floor as he pressed into him with all his strength. Osmund just brought his elbow down on the boy’s back getting him to drop at his feet. He followed that by kicking the boy in the face watching him fall on his side and groan while holding his head.

“You going to answer me, or do I have to make you?” He looked back over to Svlad when he felt the boy clawing at his arm, he watched his face which was turning purple from lack of air. How his eyes were watering and bulging from being strangled. He finally dropped him, watching him fall on the floor next to Todd and start coughing and gasping for air. Todd was scrambling up and protectively putting himself between Priest and Dirk. The sight made him laugh as he grabbed Todd by the hair, yanking him up to his feet and enjoying his little yelp. Which suddenly turned into a scream, like something was happening more than him yanking on his hair.

So, this was pararibulitis, huh? He laughed more while dropping him, watching as he held his head and writhed on the floor continuing to scream. “T-Todd-“ he watched Svlad crawl over and start to check his pockets, pulling a pill bottle out Osmund quickly snatched it, looking at the label and kicking Svlad over when he tried to grab for the pills. “Mr. Priest, pl-please he needs those!” He watched Svlad force himself back up to sit next to Todd. Looked so scared and unsure what to do as Todd went through his episode. "Todd, it's okay, you're going to be okay-"

“Is he?" Priest hummed the words with amusement, getting a concerned glance from Svlad, watching with interest as Todd clung on to his friend. "So cruel of you to lie to your friend, Svlad." He grinned when Svlad looked up at him with wide eyes, Priest slipped the bottle in his pocket before reaching down and grabbing Todd by his bicep. Dragging the boy along with him as he started to walk, and as expected, Svlad dumbly followed after him.

"Mr. Priest, please don't hurt him, I'll do whatever you want." Of course, he will. Until his friend is no longer in any danger.

"Will ya now?" He looked back at him over his shoulder, grinning with how Svlad stopped walking and looked conflicted before continuing after Priest and his screaming friend.

"Pl-please, let him have his medication." Dirk actually moved to stand in front of him and stop him from dragging Todd further into the office. He just smiled at him, running his tongue over his bottom lip and biting it when it reached the corner of his mouth. Free hand moving without a word before he smacked Svlad across the face, watching him stumble to the side and out of his way.

"I had time to set up a surprise for you, and you're already trying to ruin it." He could hear the boy whimpering, but he was quickly following after him again.

"D-don't kill him." He looked at the boy when he grabbed him by the jacket, pulling on it to try and get him to stop. "Please, I'm begging you, just let him go, he hasn't done anything." Priest dropped Todd, turning to face Svlad who was letting him go and trying to shy away only to be grabbed by the front of his jacket, pulling him close as he leaned in.

"Hasn't done anything? Really? Because to me it seems like he's been aiding you in your delusional little fantasies of grandeur." He could see him slowly getting worked up how he was grabbing at his hands and trying to pull them off his jacket.

"W-we're helping people!" Insistent, so fucking insistent. "I've been helping people!" He laughed from the determination in his voice. "And I'm not going to let Blackwing take that away from me again." Priest wasn't expecting Svlad to actually hit him. He could feel the way the force of Svlad's hand hitting him square in the nose tugged on that wound. He automatically dropped him and came down on one knee. Cursing as his hand instantly went to the injury which once more split apart. Pulling the staple out and even skewing his band-aids as his nose more or less split open from the lack of support. He could taste the blood and couldn't stop the laughter that escaped his throat as he listened to Svlad work on trying to get Todd up. Couldn't help but wonder when the boy stopped screaming,

"T-Todd, we have to go, please get up, we have to go now." Priest raised his head after pressing his nose back together, hand, fixing the band-aids for temporary fix, knew he would have to replace them. He reached out and grabbed Svlad by the ankle. Smearing his blood on him as he watched him fall into the floor. "R-run, don't worry about me-" Priest used his free hand to pull out his gun, lifting it and pulling the trigger getting Todd right in the leg. Watching him fall he listened to Svlad cry out, the boy rotating on his side and moving to try and kick him. Osmund was expecting that this time, forearm lifting to block him as he slid up the floor and up Svlad's body. Shoving his leg to the side as he climbed on top of him and wrapped his hands around his throat. Squeezing and shaking him so his head hit the floor, repeatedly. He couldn't stop giggling as his blood dripped down on to the boy's face. Could hear Todd's cry of pain in the distance which he ignored for now.

Either way he was hunting him down and dragging him back here kicking and screaming, he was going to take away the only attachments Dirk had to freedom, and he was going to make the boy watch. He leaned his head back when Svlad tried to go for his face again. "You know, I'm actually impressed Svlad, annoyed, but impressed." Wasn't sure if the boy could hear anything other than his own heart beat and his head hitting the floor. "You're lucky I can't kill you, actually you and I are going to become best friends soon." He giggled glancing up when he heard movement and saw Todd limping towards his phone. "Hold on a second, Cjelli." He leaned back and punched the boy hard across the face before letting go of him. Heading right for Todd who was now trying to hop to the phone, he gave a small laugh when the boy slipped and fell, but still was reaching for it. He stepped on the boy's wrist, digging the heel of his boot into it as he twisted his foot this way and that. Enjoying the cry of pain he was giving as he pressed down with most of his weight. "When is Farah getting here?" He hated having to repeat himself, but since everyone was so distressed when he first asked he supposed he would give him a little slack.

"I-I'm n-not telling you. You psycho!" Priest leaned more on his wrist, listening to him cry out more before he knelt down and picked up the cell phone that was on the floor. Knew it fell out during the time Dirk took to search his pockets.

"No? Then I guess we'll just have to message her to come in." He purred the words while pocketing the phone. Stepping off Todd's wrist he grabbed him by the arm and pulled him to his feet again. Listening to his cry of pain as he stumbled after him, dragging him passed Svlad who seemed in and out of consciousness from the hit he took. He took Todd into what appeared to be Dirk's office and shoved him down in a chair that was there. Reaching for his bag he pulled out restraints and began to tie Todd into the chair. Not caring much about cutting off the circulation, "Stay here." Mocking tone in his voice as he headed over to where Svlad was. Grabbing him by the ankle he dragged the boy behind him, listening as he started to grab at the floor and really anything they passed to try and get away from him.

"M-Mr. Priest." He sounded so dazed still, he just smiled to himself while getting him in the room. Sitting him across from Todd and tying him to the chair as well. Pulling the phone out of his pocket he sat in the empty chair he had set up for Farah, crossing his ankle over his knee as he scrolled through Todd's contacts. "What are you going to do to us?" He glanced up at Svlad after sending Farah a text to meet them in Dirk's office. Shutting off the phone and slipping it back in his pocket he looked the boy over, shaking his foot a bit before just laughing.

"Oh, you know exactly what I'm going to do. Want me to tell Todd what he's in for? Was hoping to wait for Miss Black, you know how much I hate having to repeat myself." He stood up, grabbing the bag and dropping it on the desk, he set up a little speaker while whistling to himself, pulling out his own phone to connect it to them he could already see Svlad getting tense out of the corner of his eye. Once that was set up, with his fun playlist just waiting for him, he pulled out the medical kit in there. Working on cleaning the blood off his face and peeling the band-aids gently off his nose.

"Mr. Priest. Please, don't hurt them, please don't." Repeating himself as Priest turned around so his face was more in the light as he grabbed the medical stapler and a small mirror to look at himself as he replaced the now missing staple at the top of his nose. He could see Todd flinch from it out of the corner of his eye. Making him laugh a bit when blood once more started to drip down his nose. Cleaning that up he grabbed the butterfly band-aids and replaced the two that were on his nose. "I-I'll make a deal with you, I'll do what you want. I-I'll even-"

"Svlad." Looking it over to make sure it wasn't trying to pull apart anywhere before he set the mirror down and drummed his fingers on the table.

"His name is Dirk Gently!" Todd finally yelled at him, anger apparent on the boy's face. Priest walked over to him, standing in front of the boy while pulling out a knife. Amused how he stared into his face defiantly, he was going to be a fun one to break.

"Mr. Priest!" Svlad was frantic behind him, he could hear him flailing and trying to get out of his binds. "Please!" Begging, Priest just smiled while looking the knife in his hand over.

"I wonder how much I will actually have to hurt you with that pararibulitis you have." He ran the blade along Todd's arm, watching the way it was making the hair on it stand on end. How his skin started to break out in goosebumps. He smiled from that before stepping away, grabbing the duct-tape from his bag he used the knife to cut two pieces off, taping Todd's mouth shut he walked over to Dirk and did the same thing. Didn't want them to give Farah any warning he was here and all, he grinned when he heard the door to the agency open and he moved to hide behind the door which he pushed slightly shut so she wouldn't see them until it was too late. Both boys were screaming against their gags, only leading Farah right to him. He had to bite his lip to stop laughing from ruining the game.

"Todd? Dirk?" He could hear her voice getting closer, and he pressed himself more into the wall when she pushed it open. Hearing her reach for her gun. he quickly kicked the door, slamming it hard right into her. He moved out behind it and grabbed her wrist which was holding the gun, aiming it up as she listened to the few shots she got off. Slamming her into the opposite wall he slammed her hands into it repeatedly to get her to drop the weapon. Giggling like mad during the altercation, he gave a surprised noise when she kneed him in the stomach. Getting him to put a little distance between them she took up a fighting stance. Priest stepped on the gun and shoved it behind him. Listening to it slide across the floor as he shut the door behind him to prevent her from dodging out of the room to get it.

"Hello, Miss Black, good to see you again." He mused while walking right to her. Watching as she threw a punch, he moved his hand shoving the hit to the side, grin on his face when she ducked this time. Knew he probably wouldn't be able to get her with the same move, but it was nice to know she really was competent.

"What are you doing here?" He side-stepped a kick, arm wrapping around her leg as he dug his index and middle finger knuckle into the back of her knee. Pressing them hard into her pressure point there as he stepped forwards causing her other leg to slip out from under her. He swung his leg around her body and pressed his foot down hard on her lower jaw, holding her down while thinking of what to do with her. He watched her struggle under him and he pressed his foot down till her neck popped and she cried out in pain. Could hear the boys yelling more from behind their gags.

"It would be so easy to kill you like this." He informed her, letting up pressure and pushing back down when she started to push at his foot. Bending her body so she had more support on her shoulders and not just the back of her neck. "Did you know it takes eight pounds of pressure to crush the human skull? You would think with the skull being the thing that protects our brains it could take more than that." He giggled but finally lifted his foot off her before kicking her in the face. Dropping her leg at the same time so she could roll over on her side from the force of it without breaking her neck. Didn't want to kill her yet... he let his eyes linger on her for a moment before giving a pleased sigh to himself and picking her up. Setting her down in the empty chair he had out for her, tying her in he walked over to Todd and ripped the tape off his face. Smiling when he ended up screaming from it, head tilting when he realized he was having another attack. "Yeah... I really think I'm going to enjoy this." He said with a laugh before walking over to Dirk and pulling the tape off his mouth. Enjoying the yelp as he tossed the garbage carelessly to the side.

"M-Mr. Priest, please. I'm begging you, let them go! I won't run again, I-I'll do whatever Blackwing tells me to do, I'll-" He flinched as Priest leaned forwards and cupped his face, tilting his head back so he would look at him, he watched the tears stream down his face as he gently wiped some away with his thumbs.

"Svlad." Said his name so gentle as he smiled down at him like the devil, enjoying how Dirk was trying to pull away from him. The boy yelping as he grabbed him harder, face almost touching his. "I'm going to do you a favor,"

"No-"

"I'm going to kill them." He whispered the words, which were almost drowned out by Todd's attack, he could tell from the way Svlad's eyes widened that he heard them though. "I'm going to take my time with it, and you're going to watch. You will watch them suffer and die in my hands, and do you know why they're going to die?" Svlad was crying harder and Priest was slowly standing up, watching him with heavy eyes as he began pleading him not to. His voice already going hoarse from the tears he was choking on.

"Mr. Priest!" So heartbroken already. He just kept smiling at him, hands sliding up to pet his hair. Running his gloved fingers through it before pulling his hand back to take the gloves off.

"They're going to die, because you don't need them anymore." He glanced back when he heard a groan and watched as Farah started to come to, looking around in slight confusion before she started to fight her binds. "You have me now, and I'm all you're ever going to have." Svald was shaking his head while watching his face, a look of uncertainty in his eyes.

"Wh-what does that mean?"

"Oh, Svlad, this is the best part." He was laughing while moving his hands to rest them on the boy's arms, leaning on them and feeling them twitch and tense under his hands. "You're mine now. Bosses orders, that you and I are going to be working together." He laughed from the look of horror on the boy's face. "And my first day of training, is showing you how bad things are going to go when you try to run away and make friends."

"N-no. I-I'm so-sorry, I'm s-so sorry, I d-di-didn't mean f-for any of th-this to ha-happen." He grabbed Svlad by the hair this time and yanked on it, forcing his head back so he was staring at him. "Pl-please, Mr. Priest, d-don't-" He gave Svlad a smack across the face before turning his attention to the desk, walking over to it as he hit the play button on the music. Smiling as "Choke" by I Don't Know How But They Found Me started to play over the speakers. He whistled in tune with the music as he walked over to his bag, digging through it to find the tools he was going to use to break Todd and Farah down. He could feel the tension in the air as he pulled out a curved blade, stepping over to Todd as he grabbed the shirt he wore and cut it before ripping it the rest of the way off.

"Svlad here has the tendency to get people killed, I'm sure you've noticed. Always like to joke that he's cursed. Because everyone he crosses paths with, well... they all die. So really this should be no surprise to anyone." He tossed the ripped fabric over to the side, spinning the blade around in his hand as he walked over to Farah who was trying hard to get out of the binds. He ignored her, just let her struggle as he cut her shirt off as well, letting her keep the bra as he stepped back.

"I think you're just sick enough to follow him and kill everyone. I don't think it has anything to do with Dirk." He stopped, and smiled down at her. Stabbing the blade into her shoulder and listening to her cry out in pain as he started to twist it this way and that. Pulling it out slightly before pushing it back in.

"Now, now, Miss Black," his smile widened as he watched her wince and cry out when he shoved the knife in all the way to the hilt, "I haven't killed all of them." He was giggling though, amused by being called out on it, because he did have the tendency to kill everyone who tried to help Svlad. Because it was fun, it was something to taunt the boy with. After all he was so eager to help people, so him feeling responsible for people's deaths was amusing to him. "Just the ones that matter." He left the knife in her shoulder as he went back to his bag.

"I'm sorry." Svlad started to whisper it and Priest just smirked while pulling a hammer out of the bag, along with some nails. Looking them over as he walked over to Todd, smiling at the man who was panting from whatever his attack had been. "Mr. Priest! Don't!" Priest ignored Dirk as he knelt down in front of Todd, going back to whistling the song pressing a nail against Todd's collarbone he watched as the boy tried to push himself into the chair. Eyes wide as Priest moved the hammer, grin taking over his face from the fear on the boy's face as he hit the nail and watched with sick fascination as it penetrated the skin, and the bone. The scream that tore from his throat was as beautiful as the struggle he started to put up. Causing Osmund to push his hand against the boy's shoulder to still him enough to continue hammering the nail into his body. "Priest, please!" Osmund looked back at Svlad while grabbing another nail.

"Svlad."

"M-Mr. Priest!" He yelled the correction so fast he couldn't stop the smile as he pushed the nail through the skin on Todd's shoulder, grabbing the hammer and starting to hammer that in to. "Please stop!" Priest watched Todd as he screamed in writhed, enjoying the tears escaping his eyes. He shifted and flicked the nail sticking out of his collarbone, giggling from how pained the scream was as he grabbed the head of the nail and started to rotate it in small circles. "Mr. Priest! Please! Hurt me, punish me! Leave them out of this!" Priest stood up after flicking the nail.

"Going to have to do better than that." He hummed the words while grabbing a third nail, looking Todd's body over as he rested the nail on the boy's hand, raising the hammer and watching Todd grip the arm of the chair while turning his head to the side. Just waiting for it, he could hear how shaky and raspy his breath was causing Priest to grin as he slammed the hammed down on the nail. Moving his fingers just in time as he drove it through the boy's hand and into the arm of the chair in one swing.

"No!" Svlad was screaming at him about as loud as Todd was actually screaming. Found himself curious which one Svlad cared more about, maybe he could do a little test... He turned on his heel and walked over to Svlad, using the head of the hammer he tilted the boy's head up by his chin. Smiling from how badly he was crying, shaking in anger, and sorrow, just made him laugh even more.

"Svlad, I'm not going to stop until they die. The only one getting out of this alive is you." He let his eyes scan over Svlad's, drinking in the fear and hatred as he just smiled in his face like the fucking Cheshire cat.

"Priest." Osmund looked over to Farah, he could see her shaking in anger, tears in her eyes. She had been fighting her bindings so hard they were digging into her skin. Cutting her wrists up as she gripped the arms of the chairs so tightly her arms were shaking from the strain. "Why do all this?" He giggled as he walked over to her, grin on his face as he grabbed her by her hair and forced her head back. Running the side of the hammer against her cheek, lightly tapping it against her cheek bone each time she tried to pull away.

"Because it's fun." He kept giggling before pulling the hammer away from her face, tossing it in the air and catching it so the back of the hammer was aimed down. "Do I need any more of a reason?" He asked while bringing the hammer down and stabbing it into her thigh. Enjoying the cry of pain she let out from it, he slowly worked the head of the hammer back and forth. Listening to the motion ripping the fabric of her jeans, and even the sounds of it ripping the muscle in the leg. He could hear the squishing of her blood and muscles over the music. He took in a deep breath as he leaned over her, drinking in the look of pain, enjoying her cries of pain as he destroyed the muscle in her leg in such simple motions.

"Aren't you having fun, Miss Black?" Eye lids getting heavy from the pleasure he was getting out of this, felt lost in watching her, he hardly noticed Todd and Svlad both screaming at him to leave her alone. He leaned back with a laugh when Farah moved trying to headbutt him, he kept giggling while ripping the hammer out of her leg. Spinning it back around as he hit her across the jaw with the flat end. He could actually see a couple of her teeth fly out of her mouth. Blood dripping down her lips, she had a dazed look on her face and her jaw was very clearly dislocated. He knelt down in front of her. "That wasn't very nice, Farah, I thought we were having a moment there."

"Mr. Priest!" He snapped out of his thoughts looking over to Svlad who managed to knock his chair over in his desperate attempt to get out of it. He stared at him for a moment before looking from Farah who was in obvious shock. He stood up straight, spinning the hammer around before tossing it boredly towards his bag. Listening to it clatter on the ground as he grabbed her by the hair.

"Need help with that, Darlin'?" Southern drawl getting heavier as he grabbed her by the jaw, thumb pressing against where the hammer hit her, feeling the dip from where he obviously snapped it in half. He couldn't contain the giggle as she screamed and tried to pull away from it. He just grabbed on tighter, watching her squirm and make it worse for herself. His pupils dilating as he enjoyed the show.

"Mr. Priest! Look at me!"

"Wait your turn Svlad." He hummed out the words head tilting as the shuffle of his playlist ended up bringing "Every Breath You Take" by The Police up. He slowly let go of her when he became bored, just wanted a different reaction...

"Pl-please, pl-please, j-ju-just st-stop. I c-can't t-take this." He looked over to Svlad, smiling as he stepped away from Farah, grabbing Svlad by the arm he pulled the chair up into a seated position.

"Svlad, Darlin'." He started to pet the boy's face, smearing Todd and Farah's blood on him as he wiped his tears away, pulling him forward so he leaned off the chair. He kept petting his face, wiping his tears away, watching how he was pleading at him big begging eyes. "I've only just started. And I told you, I'm going to do this till they die."

"Wh-why? Pl-please, tell me why." He already sounded so broken, he moved his hands to run them through the boy's hair, pulling on it and forcing him to press back against the chair. Glaring down into the boy's face though, so annoyed from him asking why, he already explained it. He knew Svlad knew he was in trouble. Could tell from how wide his eyes were. From tears pouring from his eyes as he shook his head.

"You know how much I hate repeating myself." He hummed while letting go of him and punching the boy hard across the face. Enjoying the groan as he stepped away looking through the bag some more, he stood up showing off the tire iron he pulled out of the bag.

"W-wait! Wait! Mr. Priest, you really don't have to do this to them-" Priest ignored him while walking over to Todd, resting his foot on the boy's chest he shoved him backwards. Watching him fall on his back he grabbed the chair by the legs of it and turned him so he was perfectly in Dirk's sight. "Mr. Priest, don't!"

"Going to tell me what to do, huh, boy?" He smiled while taking a practice swing right above Todd's kneecap. He could feel how tense the room was getting, he just smiled while doing it again, watching how the wind of the tool was making the boy flinch. Doing one more practice swing he couldn't help but laugh when the boy started to scream, guess he triggered another attack, what a shame...

Chapter Text

Priest wasn’t sure how long he had been at it; Todd and Farah’s throats were raw now from how much he had them screaming. Dirk was a mess, all tears and snot from how much he had been bawling and begging for him to stop. He currently stood in front of Todd, who was sitting up right, both legs broken from being beat with the tire iron. He ran his hand through the boy's hair, shoving his head back before his other hand wrapped tighter around the brass knuckles he wore. Punching the boy across the face he smiled from the dazed look. From the blood that was pouring out of his nose, and passed his lips from the various teeth he had already knocked loose. He laughed when Todd ended up spitting out another tooth to try and stop himself from choking on it and the blood that kept pooling in his mouth. He paid that back by punching him hard in the stomach. Listening to his cry of pain as he hit him in the side of the ribs. Again, and again, and again. Once that side was done he moved to the other side, repeating the same process as Svlad kept yelling at him to stop. He found his eyes lingering on the bruises that were already showing on the boy's body from all the damage he had done to him. He knew he broke his ribs by now, and from the loud ragged gasp he wondered briefly if he pierced a lung.

"L-leave him alone, pl-please. Mr. Priest, pl-please." Osmund was just chuckling as he finally stepped away, setting the pair of blood covered brass knuckles on the table. Listening to Todd’s ragged breathing, and the way his lungs were crackling like pop rocks from the fluid in his lungs. He enjoyed how well the labored breathing mixed in with the music of his playlist. He stood up straight running his blood-soaked hand through his hair. Unintentionally coloring his blonde locks with the boy's blood. He looked the tools over he had set out, eyes scanning over all of them while debating what to use next… should probably fix Todd’s lung if he wanted this to last though… he pulled a needle with a large syringe out of his kit, looking it over before walking over to Todd.

Watching how the boy flinched when he brushed some of his hair off his forehead. He showed him the needle before stabbing it into his chest, enjoying the way it sunk between his broken ribs and stabbed right where he wanted. He slowly pulled back on the plunger draining the blood and fluid out of his lung before disconnecting the syringe from the needle. Enjoying how he went from labored breathing, struggling to catch his breath, to taking in big lung fulls of air as his lung re-inflated.

"Good as new." He laughed with the words when Todd glared at him, amused that he still had fight in him despite the massive amounts of pain he put him through. "Now, what to do with you? I feel Miss Black still needs a break." He teased while glancing over to the woman who was coated in her own blood, though she was lucky in the fact last time he punched her across the face it was hard enough to pop her jaw back in place. It made such a pretty noise when that happened too-

"Pl-please, just... stop." He looked to Svlad who was shifting in his bindings. So clearly tormented from everything he was witnessing him do to his friends. He laughed at that as he walked over to Svlad, watching as the boy tensed up from his approach.

“Svlad, look at me.” He grinned when the boy did as told immediately, wondered how long it would take him to do that willingly. How long it would take to break him down to jump at his command. Knew the second his friends were dead this obedience he was displaying was going to go right out the window. He just smiled at the thought, hands moving to run through the boy’s hair. Petting him and watching him with heavy lidded eyes. “I was thinking,” he grinned when the words made more tears stream from his eyes, like he knew this was going to end badly, “how ya keep saying you’ll do anything to make me stop, right?”

“Y-yes." Sounded so unsure causing his smile to grow as Svlad shook his head to get whatever thoughts were going on out of the way. "Yes." Sounded so determined that time, he could see a look of hope fill up in the boy's eyes. He couldn't wait to crush it with the thought that came across his mind of what to make him do. "Wh-what do y-you want?” Priest ran his tongue over his bottom lip while petting the boy’s face. Smearing more blood on him in the process.

“I want you to kill one of them.” The hope dropping from his face and turning into look of pure and utter horror. Mixed with a little bit of outrage. Honestly it was a delightful expression he hoped he would see more of.

“Wh-what!?” He grinned from how the boy just stared at him, almost like he couldn't believe what he just said.

“I'll even let you choose which one you kill.” Giggling a bit with the words.

“Mr. Priest-“ he sounded so broken at the thought.

“I’d think logically about it though." He moved his hands to use them as a mock scale as he explained his reasoning. "You know, really have to think about which one will survive longer with us?" Motioning one hand to Todd, "Todd will probably last the longest… I mean I did puncture one of his lungs with a broken rib, but we fixed that little collapsed lung problem." He stated while raising that hand a bit. "Miss Black on the other hand.” He was ignoring Svlad who kept trying to protest, just enjoying watching his mouth move as he choked over more sobs as Priest lowered the hand that represented Farah. “Well, she's bleeding pretty badly internally. I mean look at her.” He grabbed Svlad hard by the chin and forced him to look over at his friend who was breathing heavily. Blood more slowly pooling under her and dripping off the chair onto the ground. “Okay, I guess externally as well from that new hole in her stomach. But had to let that blood go somewhere.” He laughed while standing up straight. “So, what do you say, Svlad?”

“Y-you’re insane!” Priest just laughed before punching the boy across the face. Watching how his head snapped to the side and blood dribble down his now split lip. Already going to start working on breaking the boy of slinging silly little insults at him.

“You keep saying you want me to stop." He reasoned, hands moving to rest on the boy's thighs, enjoying the way they trembled under his weight as he leaned in. Invading his personal space and trying to get the boy to look at him without giving him the command. "No need for me to hurt them if they’re dead.”

“I’m not going to kill my friends.”

Oh, Svlad, Darlin'.” He said the name, and pet name, gently. Smiling as he rubbed the boy's thighs with his thumbs as if to try and calm him down. Noticing how it was slowly starting to get Svlad to look at him.

“L-leave him alone.” He couldn’t stop his laugh from Todd’s voice cracking through the air. His voice sounded so hoarse from all the screaming he had done. He was actually surprised he could even speak, even with it sounding as weak and ragged as it did.

“Don’t worry, Todd, I haven’t forgotten about you.” He mused out before turning his attention back to the boy who was trying to look over his shoulder at his friend. “Look at me.” Said it so soft, smiling when he finally raised those puffy red eyes of his. “You killed them the moment you stepped into their lives.”

“No.” He was crying again, sniffling even, as Priest pulled his hair and forced him to nod his head.

“Yes. Why don’t ya take some responsibility for once.” He stood up straight. “You know how it goes, Svlad, anyone you have ever met, anyone you have ever crossed paths with. They always die.” Dirk was shaking his head trying to deny it as Priest just laughed and started to walk over to Farah.

“Please don’t hurt her! J-just stop! Stop. I’ll go back to Blackwing-“ He ignored his begging while grabbing the knife sticking out of Farrah’s shoulder, ripping it out and smiling at the little yelp he received. “M-Mr. Priest!” He was screaming so loud now, struggling again to try and get out of his binds. Osmund looked the knife over before grabbing one of her fingers that he broke. Watching how she was shifting and turning her head away. Not wanting to watch as he brought the knife over and started to use it to saw her finger off. “No!” Laughing as they all screamed, the boy’s trying to get him to stop, and Farah just cried out in pain. He carelessly dropped her first finger, humming along to the music in the background as he continued to cut through them. Watching at Farah's struggle picked up only making the wound in her stomach bleed more with each movement.

"If you really wanted me to stop hurting her, you would do what I said to." Sighing as he looked at the third finger he only cut half way off. Grabbing and twisting it to break the bone as he cruelly pulled her finger off. Watching the skin and muscle rip up the top of her hand before finally separating as he dropped it. He glanced up to Farah's face as she choked looking like she was going to be sick he grabbed her by her hair and dragged her head to the side. Just in time too, he shook his head as she started to throw up from the pain. He let go of her and gently started to tap the flat end of the knife against her hand.

"I-I can't do that. A-anything but that, please." He glanced back at the man with a wicked smile.

"Hold this for me." He stated to the girl as he stabbed the knife in her hand, grinning as she screamed and slammed her back into the chair. Once more sitting up nice and straight. "I think you'll come to enjoy it, Svlad. I mean you already kill people, all you have to do is recognize that, accept that."

"N-no, no. Y-you're sick. Yo-you're insane. I d-don't kill people." He knelt down in front of the boy, smiling up at him as Svlad dug his nails into the chair. He watched as he shook his head and did everything he could to not look at him. "I don't kill people." Like he was trying to convince himself he wasn't capable of it. He stood up straight, hand moving to the boy's shoulder and shoving him back against the chair.

"Then I guess you're going to have to deal with them suffering more."

"You're a monster!" Priest laughed while punching him hard in the stomach, watching him curl in on himself and cough. He stepped away while looking back at Farah, grinning at her when he noticed she was slipping in and out of consciousness.

"Yeah." He giggled with the word, going back to her he smacked her on the cheek. Grinning from the yelp it got out of her from the fact her jaw was broken on that side. "You don't seem to be doing too well, Sweetness." He mused the words out as he grabbed the knife and pulled it out of her hand. The cry was weaker this time, he could tell she was barely staying awake now.

"G-go fuck your... self." Getting the words out between gasps for air. He grinned while moving the knife pressing the tip right above her belly button.

"Sorry to tell you, Svlad." He stabbed the knife in, not deep enough to cut into her organs but passed all the layers of muscles getting a pained whine. "My offer has expired."

"No!" He could hear both boys yelling at him as he dragged the knife all the way up to her sternum, carelessly cutting her open as he stood up straight. Watching the way her blood and organs spilled out of her. Only becoming a more macabre scene as she shifted and moved trying to get her hands free as if she could possibly get her hands free and try to stop her death.

“O-oh G-God! F-Farah!” He could feel the way the gore covered his boots and his calves making him giggle a bit as he stayed in front of her. Hand moving to grab her head and tilt it back so he could watch the life leave her eyes. He finally turned to look at the boys as he let go of her, listening to her slump over in the chair as he shook the blood carelessly off the knife, only getting it on Svlad who sat there in horror. Eyes wide, and tears streaming down his face before he started retching from feeling sick over how she died. Priest just continued to giggle as he walked over to the boy, grabbing him by the hair and pressing the knife against his cheek. Smearing Farah's blood on his face as he stepped close enough to be straddling one of Dirk's legs. He leaned in so their noses were practically touching as he continued to giggle over the event that just took place.

"How's it feel, Svlad?" He was grinning as he watched the boy cry in his hands, he could already feel his own excitement in his stomach from what he'd done. A nice heat that sat there and made his pants feel a little tight from his obvious enjoyment of this. From the power rush of taking someone's life, from the smell of blood and fear that filled the room. "One more person is dead because of you." He enjoyed the way Svlad's breath shook from the sobs, how broken he already looked. Could smell the stomach acid on his breath from retching earlier which was already making him break out in another giggle. "You even had the chance to let her die quickly, I'm starting to think you like watching them suffer."

"Pl-please-" He hummed in reply while brushing the knife along his skin. Eyes locked on his trembling lips before he finally leaned back. Slowly letting him go.

"One more to go." He announced rather cheerily before starting to head over to Todd.

"N-no, no. Please. No, Mr. Priest, please." He ignored his cries easily while heading over to Todd. Watching that fear in the boy's eyes as Priest stabbed the knife into his thigh. Twisting it to make him scream for Svlad. He pulled it out and stabbed it in again, repeating the process as he giggled over the boy's cries which got more frantic as he more or less convulsed in the chair. Body thrashing despite being so broken. Must have triggered another attack, honestly it kept making him curious what he was seeing. What he was hallucinating that was making him panic and freak out as much as he was. He slowly twisted the knife around. Hand moving to grab him by the jaw. Shaking him to try and get his attention despite how unfocused his eyes were. "Mr. P-Priest." He looked over his shoulder at Svlad who was practically breathless from how much he had been crying. "Pl-please, stop. Please."

"You keep begging me, but you know what I've come to notice, Svlad? All the times I have spent working with you, and people like you..." He wiped the blood off the knife onto Todd's pants as he turned to face Svlad. "Usually, when things aren't supposed to happen, the Universe works in some crazy way to get you out of your current situation. And well," He chuckled while motioning around the room. How they were still here, how they were at his complete mercy. "Doesn't look like the universe is on your side this time." He ran his tongue over his teeth, looking to the knife in his hand then back to Svlad. Dirk just shook his head, like he didn't want to accept that. "I have got my work cut out with you... Have to snap you out of that blinding denial of yours." He giggled while looking back to Todd, tapping his foot a bit before moving to grab the back of the chair. Dragging it closer to Svlad so they were almost able to touch one another, he looked from the pain on Svlad's face while walking over to the desk. Setting the knife down as he went back to looking through everything he had, could hear sounds of whispering and slowly glanced over at the two boys.

"Todd, I'm sorry. I'm s-so sorry, I dragged you into all of this. I-"

"I-It's not yo-your fault." Priest arched a brow while leaning against the desk. Listening to them he couldn't help but laugh when he realized why this touching and tender moment was all about.

"Oh, isn't this just adorable." He grinned when Svlad looked at him in fear, he slowly started to walk towards them, dragging a hand chainsaw off the desk. Listening to it as the chain unwrapped, clinking against the ground as he dragged it over to where Todd sat. "Svlad, why didn't you tell me Todd was your little boyfriend? I would have made him last a lot longer." He laughed while dragging the chain over and draping it across Todd's arm. Letting the weight of it help the teeth bite into his skin. He reached down and grabbed the other handle, standing up right and stepping away till the chain became taught. Cutting into Todd's arm and the arm of the chair.

"M-Mr. P-Priest." Hearing the fear in Svlad's voice he watched as Todd started to squirm, pulling at his bindings to try and get his hand out of the cuffs. Realizing exactly what he was about to do with this tool. "Please d-don't!"

"I'm going to bring you home a souvenir." He stated while giggling, slowly pulling on one side of the handle watching as it cut through the boy's skin like butter. Watching how the blood soaked its way through the chain and started to heavily drip onto the floor. He watched Svlad's face, as the boy looked to Todd's arm and shook his head. Finally looking back to the boy’s face and apologizing as Todd cried out in pain from his arm being splayed open. Priest giggled a bit more while pulling on the other handle. Listening as the chain cut into the arm of the chair, glancing briefly at the boy's arm as the chain dragged across and carved into him with so much force that that skin came up rigid and torn. Getting resistance as it began cutting into the bone, he honestly wasn't sure if he would survive this given he didn't get anything to cauterize the wound.

Could use a tourniquet, not like he would have to worry about him losing his limb. He giggled a bit more from the thought while continuing to slowly saw through his forearm. Eyes getting heavy as he fully cut through the arm of the chair. Which ended up pulling Todd’s arm closer causing him to step back so he wouldn’t lose the tension in the saw. His screams were almost as beautiful as seeing Svlad trying to get out of his restraints to help him. He could feel his cut pulling a bit from how much he was smiling, knew his lips were getting to the point they might start tearing and bleeding again. He laughed when Todd eventually fell silent, curious if he passed out. He picked up the pace of sawing through his arm listening to Svlad begging him to save him the second the saw finished cutting through. He watched the chain fall to the ground as the severed arm hung awkwardly off the chair from the bindings.

“Relax, Svlad.” He walked over grabbing the severed arm as he pulled out a key and uncuffed it from the chair. Carelessly tossing the limb in Svlad’s lap. “I’ll even let you hold his hand.” He giggled to himself when Svlad stared at him with wide eyes. Obviously not as amused from the joke. He walked over to his supplies, grabbing a rubber tube before going back to Todd. Tying it tightly around his arm near the wound, so it was only dripping blood rather than pouring it onto the floor. He glanced at Svlad who looked too scared to move as he glanced between the arm in his lap and up at Todd.

“Please… please j-just stop.” Osmund leaned over the back of Todd’s chair. Grabbing him by the hair he tugged the boy’s head up so he wasn’t slouched to the side.

“Want him to live like this? His legs are practically shattered, probably won’t be able to walk again. He’s only got one hand now. I pulverized his ribs to the point one could kill him in any second by stabbing him somewhere vital-“

“Stop-“

“Shattered his cheekbones, he’s missing teeth now. Don’t even get me started on these.” He slid his hand down the boy’s neck and started to drum his fingers along the five nails he had hammered into his collarbone.

“Stop it!” He giggled from that while noticing Todd was stirring in his sleep. Groaning from the obvious pain he was in.

“You know, Svlad, I find myself really liking your Boyfriend’s eyes.”

“N-no-“

“Yeah… they’re a nice color, think they will still have that shine to them when I cut them out?” Svlad was crying as Priest grabbed Todd by the hair and yanked his head back over the back of the chair. Petting the boy’s cheek as he moved to go grab a knife off the desk.

“Mr. P-Priest, j-just leave him alone. Please just stop. I can’t- I-I-“

“You’re going to sit there, and watch your friend die. If you behave maybe I’ll let you have a final moment with him.” Priest looked over his shoulder as Svlad just continued to cry, grabbing a thinner knife he walked over to stand behind Todd. Forcing his eye open as he brought the knife to it.

“Mr. Priest!” His Voice sounded so hoarse from all of his screaming. He ignored him while pressing the tip against his tear duct and pressing it in under the eye. He could hear Svlad fighting against the binds as Priest popped Todd’s eye out free hand moving to cup under it as he cut the ocular nerve and caught the eye. Grinning when Todd seemed to have woken up and started to flail as he screamed. Breathing getting ragged and crackling again like he once more stabbed himself in the lung. He laughed while stepping away and looking the eye in his hand over. Enjoying the look of it as Todd struggled to breathe.

“T-Todd, pl-please. Please Mr. Priest-“ Priest dropped the eye, kneeling down and cutting the boy’s legs free. Grabbing Todd by the hair he yanked him off the chair enjoying the yelp and cry in pain as he forced him down on his knees and shoved him into Svlad.

“Guess you’ll get to watch him suffocate.” He giggled while walking over to his tools. Turning off the playlist so Svlad could listen to his friend die. He glanced back watching how Svlad was trying to move to touch him. Like he wanted to comfort Todd who was coughing up blood all over the boy's pants and his own severed arm. The hand that was still cuffed tugging at its binding to try and reach for Svlad. He just smiled while going back to what he was doing.

“T-Todd- I-I’m sorry. I’m sorry-“ Voice breaking off in heavy sobs which he seemed to be choking on. Like he couldn’t catch his own breath as Todd slowly died in his lap. “Todd please!” Priest just whistled while shoving his phone in his pocket, loading up his tools and zipping up the bag as he put it over his shoulder. “Th-this is a nightmare… it’s not real. Pl-please don’t let this be real.” He grinned as he watched the boy lean forwards as much as he could to rest his forehead on Todd’s slumped over form.

“I’ll be right back.” He mused the words out while leaving Svlad I’m hysterics. Exiting the room, he dropped the bag next to the door and left to go move his car closer. Getting in and driving it right outside he got out and headed back inside the building. Amused that it was already night time as he grabbed the bag and loaded it into the very back of the SUV. Heading back inside the Detective Agency he couldn't stop from smiling when he found Svlad staring with glazed over eyes at Todd’s body. He grabbed Todd by the hair and pulled him off the boy, letting him slump onto the ground. Giving an amused hum as he watched Svlad lean forwards trying to follow him. He caught the boy by his chin and shoved him back into the chair. “Ready to go home now?” He grinned when Svlad actually flared at him. Fighting his binds harder as he tried to get out, like the little shit actually wanted to attack him.

“Blackwing is not my home! And I don’t want to go anywhere with a monster like you!" Priest grabbed him tightly by the jaw. Nails digging into the boy’s face as he just smiled at him.

“Blackwing will always be your home, since that day Riggins brought you there. And as I told you before you’re mine now and you’re going to be stuck with me for a long time, Darlin’.” He moved to cut the ropes that bound his legs, catching them when he actually tried to kick him. He giggled before smacking Svlad across the face. “Let you hold your boyfriend’s hand as he died and this is the thanks I get?” Amused as he shoved the severed leg off his lap. Punching him in the gut when he started to get all huffy. Watching as he folded in on himself with a grunt in pain.

“You’re sick-“ Priest shoved him back into the chair and punched him again. Smiling as he coughed this time.

“I can go all day, Svlad.” He stepped on the boy’s feet to stop him from kicking as he pulled out his headset and put it on. “Priest to command.” He waited patiently for the reply while pulling out the key to the cuffs.

—“This is command.”

“Hey, Ken~” He practically purred the greeting, watching as Svlad shifted trying to fight him uncuffing the link that was attached to the chair arm. Dragging it over to attach it to Svlad’s bound wrist. “You might want to send a crew over to clean up the mess left at Svlad’s office.” He smiled from the silence on the other end as he uncuffed the other link and slapped it around Dirk’s opposite wrist so he was double cuffed. Not like he needed it, but that was beside the point.

—“Is the objective okay?”

“Svlad is fine.” Physically anyway. “His friends got in the way-“

“In the- You murdered and tortured them!" Priest punched him across the face as he giggled.

—“Get Icarus out of there, Mr. Priest, I’ll have a team take care of the collateral.”

“We’ll be at the extraction point in an hour.” Muting his headset after before looking back down to his new prize. Or pet, rather. He smiled while yanking Svlad up by his cuffed hands. Dragging him by the links between the cuffs as he dragged him out of the office. Free hand muting the headset as Svlad dug his feet into the floor and tried to fight him. Tears pouring from his eyes as he sobbed and fought, though the fighting seemed pretty pathetic to Priest. It was more or less flailing uselessly behind him and trying to wrap his leg around a door frame to slow him down. “This is just sad now, Svlad.” He mused over his shoulder while yanking him cruelly after him, enjoying how he stumbled into him and had to use him to catch himself and stop from falling.

"Pl-please, just stop." He finally just sunk down to his knees in defeat, staring at nothing while Priest continued to drag him by his cuffs. Easily sliding the boy across the floor on his knees, like the weight of him going limp like this was nothing. "This is a dream." Kept trying to convince himself that he didn't just lose his friends. "A very, very, bad dream." Almost in a whisper this time as Priest reached the door, shoving it open and pulling the boy up to his feet. Dragging him outside he opened the back of the SUV and shoved him inside. Pulling out another pair of cuffs he attached one to the links between his wrists and hooked the other to the handle that was in the ceiling.

"You going to be a good boy for me, or do I have to bind your legs too?" He shifted a bit in his spot, grinning as he stared into Svlad's face. The boy looked lost in his own head, he moved and smacked him across his face so the boy would look at him. "Svlad, are you listening."

"That's not my name." Even broken he was going to be a little shit, that was good for him at least. He gently patted his cheek before smacking him again and leaning back.

"Your name is Svlad Cjelli, and when I talk to you I expect you to answer." He moved his hand grabbing him by the back of the neck as he dragged in closer to him. Ignoring the awkward angle it put the boy's arms, as he was forced almost half out of the vehicle. "Do you understand?"

"My name is Dirk Gen-" He punched him that time, watching as he tried to reel back and away from him. More blood dripping from his nose as he gave a pained groan, hands tugging to try and move to his face.

"You're lucky I don't have time to do everything I want to do to you right now. But the second we get home," he leaned his head back while biting his lip, eyes getting heavy with fantasies over how much pain he was going to put him through. "I'm going to break you." He shoved him back in before closing the door. Whistling to himself as he walked around to get in to the driver's seat. Turning the car on he started to drive away to head towards the extraction point. He smiled as he listened to Svlad struggle against his cuffs, boy even put his foot on the back of his seat and pushed so he could pull on the cuffs and attempt to escape them.

"You're not getting out of those." He chimed in while glancing in the rearview to watch Svlad determinedly trying to get his hands out of the cuffs. Only causing blood to run down his arms as the metal bit and dug into his skin.

"I'm not going back to Blackwing! It d-doesn't work h-how a-anyone wants I-it too. I-if it did... If I was psychic..." He trailed off, staring at his hands and gripping at the handle till his knuckles turned white. "W-we wouldn't have... y-you wouldn't have..." He was crying now, burying his face into his arm as he started to cry. Priest just smiled while leaning back in his seat, drumming his fingers on the steering wheel while watching the road.

"Killed your little friends? Taken you away from this bullshit life you made for yourself?" He was giggling again while listening to Svlad cry. "I think you'll come to enjoy what Blackwing has become." He knew Svlad was going to hate every minute of it when he realized that Priest was serious about practically owning him now.

Chapter Text

Priest figured Svlad wouldn't behave for the rest of the ride, but that didn't stop him from giving an annoyed sigh as he pulled over to the side of the road. Going into the back to grab some rope as Dirk threw a fit and kicked around in the back seat. He was just dealing with it until the little shit managed to get his foot between the two front seats and almost made him drive off the road by hitting his arm. He whistled while walking over to the back door, yanking it open and looking at Svlad who was already sitting on the seat and kicking at him when he got close. "Svlad." Had a chastising tone in his voice, sounded calm though.

"I'm not going back!" Osmund grinned while catching him by the ankle, when he kicked at him. Squeezing it threateningly before pulling on it till he had the boy as far out of the car as he could. Only thing keeping him up right was the cuffs around his wrists. He couldn't help but step forwards, shoving him against the seat as he stood between his legs, which kept kicking trying to get him away. Priest couldn't stop the smile on his face as he leaned more against Dirk. Hand's resting on his thighs and squeezing to get him to pay attention to him. "D-don't t-touch me-" Priest slid his hands up the boy's body, one resting on his throat in a threatening position, the other grabbing him by the face. He leaned more of his weight into him, watching him struggle and ware himself down even more than he already was. Couldn't help but wonder if Dirk was even registering he was still worked up from hurting and killing his friends. But all the friction had Priest more or less grinding his hips against the boy, who seemed a little stunned when he finally realized what he was doing.

"Svlad." He repeated the name, patiently waiting until he forced the boy to look at him. "How much longer are you going to fight your 'fate'?" Teasing tone in his voice as he punched him in the side, watching his body jerk as he gave a small yelp. "You're going back home, where you're going to live for the rest of your life." He informed him while showing him the rope. "You going to stay still long enough for me to tie you up, or am I going to have to make you."

"I. Am. Not. Going. Ba-" Priest punched him in the stomach this time. Cutting off his defiant tone, and pathetic attempt to act like a tough guy. Causing the boy to cough and gasp from the fact Priest hit him right in the diaphragm.

"It's not negotiable." He informed coldly while looking the boy over, enjoying how much his arms were straining, how most of his weight was resting just above his pelvis. He slowly moved a hand to brace himself on the doorway of the SUV, leg lifting and pressing against the boy's ass as he stepped in the doorway and hoisted himself up and into the back. Smirking when he ended up with Svlad bent awkwardly in his lap and trying to wiggle away. Despite the fact he was trapped by the handle that was now behind Priest's head. Cuffed arms keeping him nice and close to him, it was rather adorable actually how fearful and uncomfortable he was with the new position. He grabbed him by the face again shoving fingers into the boy’s mouth when he opened it to protest what he was doing. Giggling when he choked on them from how Priest more or less shoved them down his throat. Finally pulling back enough to rub the blood covered digits along his tongue. He bent his fingers and dug them cruelly into his tongue when he tried to bite down on them. “I’d be careful, Svlad. If you do anything stupid your home coming party might be worse for you.”

“Wha’ ah oo ‘oin’” He more or less babbled over his fingers. Priest just grinned as he moved to continue to finger the boy’s mouth. Enjoying his little whines and whimpers as he tried to pull his head away. Obvious disgust plastered on his face as he dug his foot into the floor of the vehicle and tried to shove himself backwards. Being unsuccessful from how his other leg was trapped between Priest’s body and the back seat.

“How does their blood taste, Darlin’?” He couldn't stop the laugh when Svlad actually bit him for it. He pulled his hand back and punched him in the face. Watching him reel back to the point his arms stopped holding him up as he stared dazedly up at the ceiling of the car. He moved his hand and punched him in the side before glancing at his fingers which had nice indentations of Svlad's front teeth. "You're lucky I do actually need you in good condition, otherwise, I would break your teeth for that.” He moved his hand, sliding it up Svlad’s chest before grabbing him by the tie. Hand wrapping around it as he pulled him closer by it.

“Pl-please—“

“Ohhh, going to go back to begging now?” He grinned while tugging the tie so he was tightening it around his throat. Even moved to pull it behind Svlad's head, getting up more on his knees as he leaned over the boy and continued to choke him with his tie like it was a noose. His body pressed against Svlad's to the point he could hear his shoulders pop from the strain of him pressing him in the opposite direction of his arms. Watching him struggle and feeling Svlad try to dig his elbows into his shoulders from how close he was. “Go on, Svlad, you sound cute when you beg." Teasing tone as he watched him try to lean into how the tie was pulling on his throat. "Going to keep crying and pleading? Lying to yourself about this not being real?” He pressed his hips forwards more against the boy’s ass just to try and relieve the pressure in his groin. Smirking at how he moved his mouth without any sound coming out. “I can’t hear you.” He watched how his face was turning purple now and he choked over trying to speak and breathe. He let his eyes linger on how exposed his throat was like this. Enjoying how much it was bruised from when he choked him earlier.

“That’s what I thought.” He let go and pulled back. Listening to Dirk cough and choke as he struggled and pulled himself as close to the handle he was cuffed too, and Priest, as he tried to reach his tie with his fingers. To try and get it off his neck, he whimpered and Priest found himself amused how it felt like the boy was trying to snuggle up to him, trying desperately to get to his own hands only to be blocked by him being there. Priest just giggled as he shoved him backwards and grabbed his leg, adjusting himself so he was sitting on them and forcing them together. He worked the rope under his thighs and began tying them together. Stopping randomly to punch Dirk in the thigh every time he tried to wiggle away. Knew by the end of this he would have a large bruise there he would have to play with later.

Getting his legs properly bound he tugged on the ropes to make sure they wouldn't slide as he slipped out of the back of SUV. Shutting the door, he walked around to get back in the front, putting the vehicle back into drive as he merged onto the street. He glanced back at Svlad who finally managed to pull himself closer to his cuffs tugging the tie off and gasping desperately for air. He was coughing a bit as well while trying to shift and get comfortable in the back. Once more pulling at his cuffed hands as he leaned over and pressed his face into the back of the seat. He could tell by the way he was trembling that he was crying again.

"Wh-where'd you get th-that shirt?" Osmund laughed from the question while looking back at the road, curious if that would ever come up. Though he supposed they were to stressed, and in too much pain to comment on it before this. He wanted to laugh at that thought while shifting a bit in his seat, thinking on how he wanted to answer him. Could play with him more... Seeing as during his research on Svlad's little friends he learned about Todd's history with his band.

"Cardenas' Family Motor Inn..." He moved one hand to tug on the shirt which was covered in dried blood. "Was a, uh, souvenir from my hunt of Miss Brotzman and Incubus Number Four." He smiled when he noticed the boy tensing from the mention of Amanda. He turned off the road leading them to a rather empty looking area, knew the helicopter would either be waiting for them already, or it would be arriving soon. "It was Todd's, right?" He grinned when he heard Svlad shift in the back, looking at him with a pained expression. "Don't know why he bothered keeping them, seeing as he broke up his band-"

"Don't talk about him!" He grinned from how much venom the boy actually held in his voice with that demand. "You know nothing about him!" Priest gently squeezed the steering wheel as he turned down a dirt road. Glancing at Svlad in the mirror as he watched the boy turn to try and confront him. So grown up.

"What's there to know? He was a loser-" He giggled when Svlad tried to lunge at him only to be pulled short by the cuffs.

"Don't you dare talk about him like that!" He could see the tears as Svlad took the defensive over his friend. "He is a good person!" Yelling it with such conviction, the present tense, however, needed to be changed. Todd wasn't around anymore. "A-and a gr-great friend." Getting more and more distressed as he continued trying to defend him. "A-and-"

"Was." Priest finally corrected, there was a long silence before he listened to Dirk fight his cuffs like his life depended on it. Just making him giggle more from how upset he was making him with a few words, "He was a thief, and a liar. But I guess it doesn't surprise me that's the only type of friend you could get." Being such a "dangerous" thing and all, he was grinning at the thought while looking back at him.

"Stop it!" A mix of demanding and begging in his voice that time. It wavered with tears despite him trying to sound so stern. "Y-you don't know anything!" It amusing to him how much this was hurting Svlad. Would have to keep it in mind when he got to the point he couldn't hurt him without causing too much damage to make him useless to the tests.

"Poor, dangerous little Svlad Cjelli," ignoring him as he continued on, "hookin' up with liars, thieves, and delusional, ex-body guards." He could hear Svlad crying harder, begging him to stop as Priest pulled the SUV over to the side to wait for the extraction team. "You really do need Blackwing, can't even make friends with the right kinds of people." Putting the car in park and shutting it off.

"A-and y-you're su-supposed to be be-better than th-them?" There was a little venom in his voice and Priest just laughed while shrugging.

"Oh, Svlad, you have no idea what you're in for with me." He laughed even more when the boy glared at him through the chains. "I think you'll come to enjoy it, in time." One way or another, even if it was just doing everything he could to prevent himself from going through any more pain.

"I will never do what Blackwing wants me to do." Priest turned more in his seat as he leaned against the door to keep the boy's attention.

"Oh, bless your heart." He giggled a bit with the words. "What Blackwing wants is inevitably what I want." He could see the growing unease and fear in the boy's eyes as he shifted to try and pull more on the chains around his wrists. "And I know you remember how persuasive I can be." Just wanting to get free, kind of reminded Priest of a caught animal, was waiting for Svlad to try and chew through his arm to escape. He couldn't stop the smile at the thought as he reached his hand up to unmute his headset. "Priest to command, I've got Project Icarus at the extraction point."

--"The team should be there soon." Priest reached up and muted the headset again while going back to focusing on Svlad.

"You know," He tapped his foot on the ground of the SUV before turning and wrapping his arm around the head of his seat to see Svlad better. "I think I'm mostly disappointed that you guys were too stupid to realize we set up a trap for you." So carefully crafted and thought out to get them to stay out of hiding.

"You let us go-" He still didn't understand why Svlad would ever believe that, why he would think Ken would let him go after the confrontation with Project Moloch.

"So you would stay out of hiding and we could keep better tabs on you till it was time to extract you." Moving his hand to point at the boy, amused how he started to breathe heavily as he looked at him in confusion, and disbelief. "Again, disappointed you were too stupid to realize-"

"Why does Blackwing want me anyway!?" He slowly let that smile disappear from his face as he watched Svlad throw his little fit. "Why does it want any of the projects!?"

"Because, Svlad, according to the CIA you're all too dangerous to be with normal people." One reason he was glad it took a lot of digging on Ken's part to find out he was a project.

"But-"

"Which," he raised his voice, easily cutting Svlad off, "with the way death follows you around, hoooo can I see their point." He laughed as Svlad jerked the chains around his wrists, even started struggling with the rope around his legs. Honestly, Priest could never see Svlad as dangerous. No, the only project he thought was dangerous was Bart.

"We have been free for sixteen years!" Dirk tried to explain, as if Priest didn't know. Sadly. he had been miserably bored for sixteen years without the fun entertainment that was Blackwing. Never did find anything to fulfill the thrill he got from working with this department. "And everything has been fine until you people showed up and ruined our lives!" Priest blinked slowly, clicking his tongue as he rocked his leg and leaned forwards.

"Fine, really?" He arched a brow earning a sniffle from the boy in the back.

"It's... been fine." He tried to sound like he knew what he was talking about but he sounded so uncertain now. He watched how he grabbed at the cuff holding his cuffed wrists to the roof of the car. "It's been fine." He repeated. Priest watched him bend his bound legs and try to pull them to his chest as he clicked the links, staring off to the side with a broken expression.

"Oh, yeah, you're right." Mocking tone in his voice as he slowly dragged his eyes away when he heard a helicopter heading their way. "Totally fine if you ignore all the times you got yourself thrown in the hospital and how many people you got killed. Not dangerous at all." Playful tone in his voice as he watched the Helicopter start to land, he got out of the car and walked to the backdoor, pulling out a key to uncuff him from the roof. Grabbing him by the arm he dragged him to the edge of the set before slinging him over his shoulder. Holding him by the legs so he wouldn't try to kick him as he turned to walk towards where it was landing.

"L-let go, I'm not going back." He sighed when the boy tried hitting him in the back to make him let go. Eyes boredly locked on the agents who got out of the large military grade helicopter and ran over to him to take the SUV keys. He could see a couple vehicles already driving out the back and heading back up the dirt road they came down.

"Where you going to go than, Svlad?" He really wanted to know, he could feel the way he clutched at his jacket. "Back to that office of yours?" He shifted and hoisted him up better on his shoulder so he wouldn't slide off. "Go back there and cry on your dead friend and boyfriend before my people clean that mess up?" He laughed when he picked up the struggle, listening as the agents continued towards the vehicle as he got to the Helicopter.

"Just let me go." He grinned while walking up the back ramp, heading towards where they usually had people for transport he carelessly tossed Svlad off his shoulder. Watching him hit the floor with a pained yelp, rolling on his side and moving his hands to try and rub his back. He leaned down and grabbed him by the cuffs, forcing him sit up on the floor as he cuffed him to one of the railings. Priest comfortably sat on the seat, shifting to rest his feet on Svlad's thighs, digging the heel of his foot in to it. Making sure it was on the same spot he had been punching him earlier, he grinned as the boy writhed on the floor. Watching as the agents drove the SUV in, strapping it in place as they took their spots and called to the pilot they were ready to leave. "You can't do this, you can't just-" Priest leaned in, grabbing the boy by the hair and dragging him closer. Forcing him to look up at him as his body twisted and he grabbed at the rail he was cuffed to so he wouldn't fall on his face.

"I can, and I am. Just accept this is the fate the universe has in store for you." He hummed while pressing his foot more into his thigh to get him to squirm. He shoved him backwards and watched the boy lose his balance and grip falling clumsily on his back. He grinned when he moved to try and roll on his side. He humored him by lifting his foot enough for him to be successful and then rested it back on him. Other foot joining to cross over his ankle as he held out a hand. Waiting patiently as one of the agents ended up rushing to him with his work pad. Taking it, he turned it on and decided to ignore Svlad as he cried on the floor. Mumbling to himself, probably about how this was all a bad dream still, he made sure to rock the boy occasionally as a gentle reminder that it wasn't a dream at all.

That it was all painfully real and he was stuck here with him. That Svlad was his little pet now and probably would be for the rest of his life.

--

The ride back to Blackwing didn't take long, he just worked on filling out his report, unsure exactly when Svlad seemed to have passed out from all the stress and trauma he endured. He just let him sleep till they landed and the helicopter was lowered down into the base. He leaned forwards and pulled his knife out of its sheathe as he kicked Svlad hard in the leg. Grinning when he cried out in pain and jerked his body away from him as much as he could. Blinking wearily as the back of the helicopter opened and they unloaded the SUV. Svlad obviously became more panicked as he worked on waking up, he watched as his eyes fluttered around before locking on him. Which he quickly started to pull on the cuffs, Priest watched with a grin as blood start to drip onto the floor from the cuffs. He gave the boy a small 'tsk' while standing up and uncuffing him from the rail.

"You're such a mess, decontamination is going to have a field day with you." He watched Svlad's eyes widen as he shook his head, flinching back from Priest showing him the knife.

"Please, not again-"

"Oh, we have better things in store for you after that." He giggled while cutting away at the ropes on his legs. Uncaring if he cut him at all before forcing him up onto his feet.

"Wh-what do you-"

"Don't." He said the word harshly enough a lot of the agents stopped what they were doing to look, he could see Svlad squirm from all the eyes that were starting to lock on him from that. He enjoyed how he looked so uncomfortable from everyone staring at them. "Don’t ruin the surprise, Svlad." He added in a cheerier tone that time as he turned on his heel and began walking out the back of the Helicopter. More or less dragging the boy behind him, he listened to the boy stumble behind him as he headed to the door that lead further into the compound. "Home, sweet home." He announced happily as he buzzed them through the door, grinning when Svlad kept trying to jerk back.

"Th-this isn't my home! Let me go!" He laughed at his protest while coming to a stop at a large door, watching as other people came over and opened it for them so Priest could walk in with Svlad. The contamination shower was large, and had bright white walls and tiles with an even more blinding white light. Priest shoved Svlad against the wall as he worked on uncuffing him. He wasn't surprised when Svlad tried to run, only for Priest to catch him around the waist and slam him back into the wall. Amused by the cough he let out as the force actually winded him. "St-stop-" Priest ignored him while working on yanking his brightly colored jacket off and tossing it to the side. Pulling his tie all the way off and letting it join the jacket. "D-don't—Mr. Priest-" He ignored him as he ripped open the dress shirt he wore, listening to buttons clatter along the tiled floor. Using Svald trying to fight him to get it off faster, he shoved him into the wall again, using his body mass to keep the boy pinned as he ripped his under shirt off. He couldn't stop the grin from how more and more uncomfortable Svlad obviously became as other agents entered the room with everything they needed to scrub him down.

"N-no- pl-please-" He was crying again in frustration and embarrassment. Priest moved his hands after tossing the tattered white remains of his under shirt to the side. Grabbing Svlad by the face and shoving him more into the wall, thumbs brushing over his cheeks, which thanks to the tears caused him to smear blood on his face even more.

"Do you want to keep their blood on you, Darlin'?" He asked with mock sincerity, watching the boy tremble as Svlad moved his hands to his chest and tried to shove him backwards. "Answer me, or maybe I'll be the one to scrub you down-"

"N-no. I-I do-don't w-want it on me. I-I c-can take my own cl-clothes off-" Priest pressed him more into the wall, continuing to brush his thumbs gently against his cheeks before letting go. Hands already sliding down to grab his belt and start to undo it. Priest started to giggle when the boy kept crying and tried to fight his hands, earning a punch in the chest this time to get him to knock it off. Yanking his belt off he tossed it over to the rest of the clothes that were being gathered. "Pl-please-"

"Ah, leave the jacket." It might have been too small for himself but he still wanted it. Could get it tailored later... "You can take everything else." He put his hand on the wall, blocking Svlad's attempted escape route as he leaned in more. "Take off your clothes." He didn't budge as Svlad stared up at him, crying as he pressed himself more into the wall, trying to look as small as he could. But not making any action to do as he was told, looked like he was getting closer and closer to a type of break down. "No?" He grabbed the boy by the face, forcing him to look at him.

"Pl-please, I want to go home-"

"You are home." He stated while pushing his hand off the wall, grabbing Svlad by the waistband of his pants as he tugged him closer to unbutton and unzip them.

"I-I'll do it-" Svlad insisted, even moved this time to lift his leg high enough to pull off a shoe and sock, repeating the same process as he glanced down. Too embarrassed to look at anyone in the room as he started to tug his pants down, Priest watched as he looked at his bloodied clothes with uncertainty. Giving a small laugh he knocked them from the boy's hand and grabbed his knife again. Sliding it along the boy's side, enjoying the way he shivered and cried harder. He grinned while moving the knife down till it slipped between the boy's underwear and his skin.

"You forgot something." He informed him with a smile while pulling on the knife and cutting off the remainder of his clothes, giggling when the boy moved his hands to try to cover himself. Priest slipped the knife back into its sheathe while moving and shoving him towards the shower. "Behave for them, or I'm going to make this even more humiliating for you." He announced while looking to the agent who picked up the jacket and looked to him. "You know where to put it." He watched the agent leave the room before looking back to Svlad in time to watch him get hosed off. Eyes lingering on the way the dried blood started to spray off him and mix with the water, the boy was shivering and trying to get out of the spray only to be forced by into it by an agent in the appropriate suit to not get soaked. They began scrubbing the boy down, covering him in suds before spraying him again to get it off.

Shoved into the next part of the shower he was roughly dried off, he gave a low hum when the agent who took the jacket came back with his gloves. Taking them, he slipped them on and moved over to Svlad who was shivering and hugging himself with a broken look on his face. The medical team was already moving over to take care of the cuts on his wrists, checking him over to make sure they just needed bandages before pulling him from spot to spot to look him over. Checking around the bruises on his body, even touching some and getting the boy to yelp as they felt for the damage underneath.

"Clear." They stepped away and Priest didn't waste any time, just grabbed the boy by the back of his neck and shoved his head down as he lead him naked out of the room.

"Sh-shouldn't I get clothes-"

"I don't think you've done anything to deserve them." Priest mused as another agent opened a door for them. Walking in and shoving Svlad in he pushed him towards a chair that had his clothes sitting on it along with restraints. "But you're lucky the new boss thinks otherwise." Eventually that would change, he would take that privilege away from him if he kept being a little brat. Svlad hesitated, staring at the uniform he had been forced to wear that marked him as a project. Priest just continued to admire the view before grinning at the obvious conflicted boy, "I mean if you want, you can stay naked. I don't mind the view." He giggled when Svlad seemed to register what he was saying and quickly started to put on the uniform, despite how much he hated it. "Good boy." He grinned when Svlad shot him a glare over his shoulder and moved to try and step away from the chair. "Sit down." Priest was already heading over to him in case he needed to force him to.

"I am fine not sitting in the torture devi- hey-" Priest shoved him down into the chair, already strapping him in while Svlad squirmed and tried to protest. "Wh-what is this?"

"If you actually used your abilities you would know." Chastising only for Svlad to gape up at him like he said something offensive.

"I'm not psychic!" He shouted glaring at him, Priest stared at him and backhanded him for talking back to him. He watched the way his head snapped to the side before he stared back up at him with tear-filled eyes. "I'm not... psychic... these tests are pointless-"

"This isn't going to be one of your tests." Priest mused, sitting up when a woman walked into the room and just dragged a stool over to sit behind Svlad. Priest watched the boy try to turn his head and look, but he quickly grabbed him by the hair and yanked his head forwards, exposing the back of his neck to her. "We're not shaving it, just give it the tattoo." He liked to pet Svlad's hair, to tug on it, it was too fun to lose till whenever he'd grow it back to this length.

"What do you mean it!?" Svlad seemed to have taken a minute to register it, already trying to pull his head up only for Priest to pull his hair harder.

"Yes, Mr. Priest." He could tell the boy was getting worked up from being ignored.

"Why do I need a t-tattoo!?" He grabbed the boy by the jaw with his free hand when he tried to pull his head away.

"Icarus..."Purring out his project name and getting a small whimper from the boy. "Stay still." He knelt down, looking up at the boy's face as he continued to pet his hair. "If you ruin this tattoo, I will skin it off of you and find another place to put it. And we will repeat that process till it's done. Do you understand me?" He grinned when he felt the way Svlad clenched his jaw. He slowly started to release it, gently petting his hair as he stood up straight, so he could watch the woman put on a pair of gloves and grab the tattoo gun. Loading the needle, she needed she grabbed the black ink setting it up before grabbing the sheet that had Svlad's barcode on it. Pressing the sheet to the boy's neck to make sure she would have the lines prepared for herself.

"I already have a stupid Blackwing tattoo." He watched Svlad grip the chair as she got the ink on the needles and brought the gun to his neck. Resting the side of her hand on his skin as she set to work tattooing him.

"This is a new tattoo." Priest mused, free hand moving to join the other in his hair. "One that will be a lot more useful than the one on your shoulder blade." Gently petting him to not move him at all as she worked on getting the barcode on his body. Osmund enjoyed Svlad's uncomfortable noises and how he actually ended up pressing his face against his hip during her shifting to get more comfortable to continue. Priest was standing between the boy's legs as he buried his face against him and whined about the tattoo. Didn't take long till she cleaned it with a wet rag to get the ink off the surface of his skin. She leaned back and setting the tattoo gun down. Pulling off her gloves to get new ones grabbing a rather thick needled syringe that had a microchip in it. Priest continued to pet the boy's hair and grinned as he watched her pinch the skin on the back of his neck where the new tattoo was causing the boy to yelp. She pulled on it and without a word stuck the needle into his skin and injected it into the middle of his skin under the tattoo.

"All done." She was carelessly pulling her stuff away from the chair to begin cleaning up, ignoring the two of them as Priest rubbed his hands more through his hair, stepping back and forcing Svlad's head back as he watched him tremble, a blank expression on his face as he seemed to be processing what had happened.

"Wh-what now?" Svlad's voice was shaky from tears again, Priest just smiled while continuing to pet him before letting go and leaning back. Letting the boy raise his head, giving him that small luxury as he reached forwards to pull at his restraints and get them undone.

"You're the psychic one, why don't you tell me."

"I'm not psychic!" He snapped back at him, Priest moved his gloved hand and grabbed him by the back of his neck. Pressing his gloves cruelly into the new wound as he watched him squirm.

"You are, and I'm going to help you get control of it." He let go before continuing to unstrap him from the chair, pulling him out of it when he was free of the restraints and dragging him towards the door. Svlad was crying as he stumbled after him, he seemed to be losing the anger he had, seemed to be starting to get swallowed up by all the pain and trauma. He couldn't stop the smile from that thought as he reached Svlad's room, unlocking it and shoving him inside. Watching how he stumbled and fell on his hands and knees with a weak noise. He didn't even look like he wanted to get up just sat there while staring at the floor blankly. Priest found his eyes landing on Ken who currently stood in the room obviously expecting them.

"You can't control it... You... you just can't..." He seemed to be talking to himself, so lost in his own thoughts.

"Svlad." Priest giggled to himself when Dirk flinched from Ken saying his birthname. Priest crossed his hands in front of him as he stood in the doorway, watching the two of them with interest, wondering if Ken was going to do this thing where he greeted every project they brought in. "We last saw one another on rather stressful circumstances-"

"You... shot me." Svlad had anger back in his voice, but Priest could still hear the tears. The way his vocal cords shook with them as he choked on a sob, slowly leaning forwards and gripping at the floor.

"Yes. As I said, stressful circumstances." He was so dismissive of it, which Priest found himself amused by. How he stayed so business like even as Svlad more or less cried at his feet. "You'll come to find Blackwing is a lot different since you were last here." Ken informed, staying professional as he watched Svlad before glancing up at Osmund. Who couldn't stop that smile as he shifted his weight to his other leg. "We'll let you get rest before Mr. Priest begins your training." Priest finally walked more into the room, watching Svlad, wasn't sure if the boy was actually listening as he continued to cry into the floor. He glanced up at Ken and stepped to the side, watching him walk out, he looked from his boss back to the boy on the floor.

"See you later, Darlin'." He chimed down to him while exiting the room, closing the door behind him and listening to the lock click into place before continuing after Ken.

"Mr. Priest." Ken stopped walking and turned to face him, Priest just kept smiling as he stopped rather close to him, curious what it was he wanted. "Why don't you get cleaned up and rested, I want you to start your work with Icarus as soon as you can."

"Before I do that, who did you send for the cleanup team?" He kept his hands by his sides as he watched Ken who started to straighten out his jacket. A look of curiosity on his face, that for some odd reason made him feel compelled to explain why he wanted to know. "Left something there I feel will help with training Svlad."

"Your usual group..." He could see Ken's eyes linger on his nose which made him wonder if the cartilage was starting to separate again. Should go fix that- "I figured they would be more prepared with what was left behind from what I heard Svlad say over the headset."

"Ohhh, catch that did you?" He giggled a bit getting an amused look from Ken. But that was good, his people knew what type of souvenirs he wanted from there. "That's not a problem is it?" He mused while stepping closer to him, almost in touching distance, Ken just continued to stand his ground while visibly thinking it over.

"I knew you planned on killing them before I even sent you due to your last question. But I wasn't expecting torture." Priest moved a hand to rub his jaw, ignoring the pain that caused the cut along his chin and bottom lip as he really thought on it. "You did what you had to do." He really liked Ken when it came to this shit, knew Riggins would bite his head off. And Hugo... well he would be a whiney little bitch about it the whole fucking time.

"Great, and you know, Ken," He was still worked up though, felt unsatisfied kind of wishing he took longer with them. He let his eyes linger on Ken's mouth as he smiled down to him. "How about you and I," hand moved to press against his chest, stepping forwards and physically pushing Ken backwards into the wall. "go back to your office and have some fun."

"You're still covered in blood-"

"That's what makes it better." He was leaning in more, could taste his breath he was so close, tilting his head to make sure not to hit his already injured nose against the man's face as he leaned in to kiss him.

"No." The man even put a hand on his chest and pushed him back, which didn't actually do anything but Priest stepped back for him with an annoyed sigh. "Shower." Stern tone in his voice making Osmund bite his lip in annoyance. "And then, maybe." Priest grunted while rubbing his hand along Ken's chest, amused how he didn't seem to falter in his stubbornness about not wanting to fuck while he's covered in blood. Such a killjoy sometimes...

"Fine."

Chapter Text

Osmund didn't sleep much due to excitement. He ended up showering, replacing the band-aids on his face and adding another staple to his nose in hopes of keeping the cartilage together. Especially in case Svlad decided to punch him again, he stopped by Ken's office mainly to talk business and go over how he planned on training Svlad, where they spent more time talking about that rather than anything else. So, when he finally did get into bed he actually couldn't shut his mind off. Wondering and fantasizing about how much this all was going to drive Svlad insane, about how much he would get to hurt him for not following orders. Oh, and he bet he was going to be able to hurt him a lot, that the boy was going to be a wreck right off the bat from the trauma he went through. He couldn't stop from tossing and turning imaging how much the boy was going to cry and beg. Mind replaying the way he did when he was torturing and killing Todd and Farah. Getting himself worked up to the point he found himself needily grinding himself into the mattress, could still smell and taste their blood it was driving him insane.

All that aside, he still managed to wake up early. Meeting with a member of the crew that collected his souvenirs he brought them back to his room, making sure to properly store the most important item as he drank a cup of coffee. Once satisfied he moved over to his dresser and slipped on a pair of black jeans, which from how tight they were on his thighs he realized were Martin's old jeans. And a faded black T-Shirt that had a skull on it. He pulled on his gloves and the sleeveless jacket he also stole from Martin, and headed out of his room. Walking down the halls and stopping by the room he would be working with Svlad in, checking that it was how he wanted it before he continued down the hall to Icarus' room.

Priest practically kicked Svlad's door open, eager to start as he barged into the room like he owned the place. "Rise and shine, Sweetheart!" He grinned when he looked to the boy who was sitting in the corner of his room, squinting from the sudden bright light that had flooded it. He could see the bruises along his cheek and even one on his eyebrow, causing his grin to grow. He watched how Svlad shivered in his spot, eyes red and puffy like he had been crying, he was even shifting and pushing himself further into the corner. "Oh, don't tell me you stayed up all night." He laughed while walking over to him, "I was hoping you would be well rested for your first day of training." Watching how he flinched and tried to sink more into the corner, staring up at him with wide eyes.

"St-stay away from me." Priest reached down and grabbed him by the front of his jumpsuit, yanking him up to his feet.

"That anyway to greet your new master, Darlin'?" He wasn't sure the boy actually processed what he was saying.

"Y-you c-can't control it-" Priest already smacked him across the face, liking the sound of the leather against his skin as he shoved him more into the corner. Grinning down at him as he shifted in his stance, hand moving to gently rub his cheek. Wiping tears off it as he leaned in, grinning at Svlad as he watched how the boy sobbed, clearly still effected by what had happened yesterday. "M-Mr. Priest-" Boy didn't even want to look him in the eyes, was doing everything he could to look everywhere but at his face.

"Svlad," purring the name as he kept petting his cheek, pulling him away from the corner before shoving him back into it. Giggling when he hit his head on the wall, the boy whining a bit while pushing at his chest trying to get him away. "You're going to learn how to work with your powers." He listened to the boy sniffle from his words, watching how he helplessly looked up at him.

"I-it can't b-be controlled." Priest just kept that smile on his face as he stepped away from the wall and began dragging Svlad behind him. The boy stumbled to keep up with him, looking around the long hallways as they passed doors with other project symbols on them. Priest found his eyes lingering on Bart's door before he lead them to the testing area. He came to a stop and grabbed Svlad by the hair, pushing his head forwards as he kicked him in the back of the knee. Watching him drop with a cry of pain, he kept his head shoved down as his other hand grabbed the back of his jumpsuit and pulled on it to reveal the barcode.

The scientist by the door already scanning it causing Priest's grin to widen as the door began opening for them with an automated voice announcing; 'Welcome Project Icarus'. He let go of his hair and watched as Svlad slowly raised his head to stare at the open doorway almost with a look of betrayal on his face. When he didn't move Priest lifted his foot and kicked him hard in the shoulder watching him fall forwards on his hands and knees.

"Get in the room." He watched as Svlad clutched at the ground before forcing himself up on his feet to turn and face him. The boy holding a look of anger and hatred on his face as he tried to stand his ground.

"No." Osmund just watched him, smile slowly falling from his face as he stepped forwards. Grabbing him by the front of his jumpsuit and pulling him close. Hands fisting through the cloth as he yanked the boy up on his toes and leaned in.

"When I tell you to do something I expect you to do it. And if you don't..." He trailed off while letting go of his suit with one hand and punched him hard across the face. Letting go with his other hand the second the punch landed to watch the boy fall on his side with a loud thud. He just laid there with a hurt look on his face, hand holding his cheek as more tears fell from his eyes. Blood was even dripping off his lips, yet he still refused to move. Priest stepped forwards, kicking him hard in the stomach, actually causing him to slide back on the floor as he curled up on himself with a pained gasp.

Breath shuddering as he held his stomach and pressed his face into the floor, going back to crying as the Scientist just watched on. A bored expression on his face before he finally stepped over Svlad and walked into the room, taking notes as he did so. Priest walked over to Svlad and knelt down. Knee next to his head as he reached his hand down and grabbed the boy by the hair, forcing him to get up on his hands and knees and eventually just his knees.

"If you want the pain to stop, then you'll do what I-" He pulled his face back the second Svlad actually swung for him, causing him to giggle as he punched him in the stomach in return. Keeping him up by his hair as he punched him again, letting go and watching with a smile as Svlad fell forwards and ended up resting his face on his shoulder. Gasping, and struggling to breathe from Priest's fist still being buried against his diaphragm. He leaned in so his lips were at the boy's ear as he finally moved his hand, sliding it up his stomach and chest before grabbing him around the throat. Watching how Svlad grabbed at his wrist while trying to pull away from him.

"Most of our day is going to be spent with me teaching you manners, isn't it, Svlad?" He asked with his lips actually brushing his ear. Causing the boy to shiver as Priest put most of his weight on his foot and stood up, dragging Svlad to his feet with him. "We have all these people here to watch you, and all they're going to see is me beating you to a pulp."

"The tests... won't... work." He said the words through gritted teeth as Osmund started to squeeze his throat and dragged him more into the room, glancing back as he listened to the doors close. Priest dragged him over to the seat in the room and shoved him down in it, watching him as he looked around to try and see what his test was going to be. He could see the growing look of confusion as he glanced around the empty room, Priest's excitement was growing as Svlad looked up at the scientists than over to him with a puzzled expression. "There's nothing-"

"Exactly! I looked at those stupid tests they put you through and decided to change it up. Guessing numbers and symbols... trying to disarm something while you're blind... it's pointless." He giggled a bit as he stood in front of him, leaning forwards and watching Svlad slink back in his chair to try and avoid him being so close. It was cute how much he feared him, was going to make the testing even better. "We're going to make this interesting, Svlad."

"Interesting how?" Stressing the word, he could see how not knowing what was going to happen was killing him. Priest moved his hands, cupping the boy's face as he ran his thumbs over his cheeks. Smile growing as he finally moved one thumb to swipe some of the blood off his lip, smearing it along his skin before he stood up straight and stepped away. Thumb moving to his own lips as he sucked the boy's blood off the leather before standing in the middle of the room. Hands dropping by his sides as he thought over how to really word this.

"It’s a feeling." They all felt it, the pull the universe had to go where they needed to go and do what they needed to do. Nagging, and annoying. Like an overbearing parent following you around and poking at you till you did what they wanted, Priest turned back to face him. Hands clapping together as he walked back over to him. "We're going to start small, Svlad. With the very basics. Then we're going to work you up the chain till you're competent enough to follow what that feeling is." He could see Svlad narrowing his eyes on him, like he was actually thinking on what he was saying. Watching him open his mouth he knew this was going to lead to asking him how he knew. "For this test you're going to need to stay silent." He even clasped his hand over the boy's mouth. Covering his nose too as he leaned in again, watching Dirk move his hands to try and shove his away. "I know that's going to be hard for you given how much you like to run your mouth." He finally let go and watched Svlad run the back of his hand over his mouth, like he was trying to get rid of the feeling of having his hands over his mouth.

"So, what... I'm just supposed to-" Priest rolled his eyes, head leaning back as he smacked the boy across the face midsentence. Watching him yelp as he stared off to the side and quickly put a hand on his cheek before looking back to him with tears in his eyes.

"Silent." He stated flatly, walking around him as he rested his hands on the back of the chair, leaning in so his lips were once more at the boy's ear. "I just want you to sit there, and pay attention to that feeling you get. To focus on it and what it wants." He smirked as Svlad pulled away from him, turning to look up at him with an annoyed expression.

"And what if I-" He reached his hand around and grabbed him by the jaw. Squeezing and digging his fingers into his cheeks to stop him from talking as he gave an exasperated sigh.

"You know. I made a collar special, just for you. I was originally thinking you wouldn't need it untill later. But since you can't even shut your trap for five fucking seconds I think you should get it now." He shoved him forwards, knocking the boy off the chair and watched him fall on his hands and knees. Watching as he dug his fingers into the floor before looking back at him with a look of hatred. Priest whistled and held out his hand, watching from the corner of his eye as a scientist stepped over and handed him a pink shock collar. Priest couldn't stop the grin when he saw Svlad's eyes widen, the boy quickly scrambling to his feet and turning to face him. Beginning to back up as Priest advanced towards him.

"No. No!" Like he was the one who gave orders, Priest just giggled as he backed him up against a wall. Hand shooting out to catch him when he tried to dodge to the left, he shoved him back into the wall. Staring into his face as he rested his hand on his chest, feeling the way his heart was hammering against his ribs like a trapped bird. "Don't. I-I'll try a-again. Y-you don't have to-"

"Oh, but I do, Svlad." He said in mock concern as he moved his hands to wrap the collar around his throat. Giggling as Svlad tried to pull it off as Priest clicked the lock into place and let him go. Svlad kept desperately pulling on it, trying hard to get it off, hands even feeling around to the back of it to try and figure out how it was secured. Priest held out his hand again, grinning when the scientist handed him the remote, the boy's eyes went wide as he reached a hand out to try and stop him.

"Don't-" Priest hit the button, holding it down as he watched Svlad scream and fall to the ground. Grabbing at the collar and trying the pry it off as he fell on his side, crying out as his muscles tightened from convulsing under the strong current. It was amusing to Priest watching him flail around on the floor, he finally let go of the button. Listening to Svlad try to catch his breath as he kept convulsing from the lingering feeling of the electricity that surged through his body. Priest crouched down this time as he looked Svlad over, watching him cry into the floor and refuse to look at him. He gave a small hum while reaching a hand out and petting the boy's hair. Giggling when he flinched away from the touch, like he was scared he was going to hurt him again.

"Think you can be quiet now?" Priest waited for it, waiting so patiently for Svlad to talk again, but he managed to remain silent. Staring at the floor with a look of disdain on his pretty face, he continued to pet his hair before standing up straight. Standing over the boy rather menacingly as he watched him slowly push himself up into a seated position before going back to trying to figure out how to get the collar off. Priest shifted and kicked the boy in the shoulder, watching him fall so he had to catch himself on his elbow. "Taking that off is not what you're here for."

"And wha-" Priest pushed the button on the remote, watching how Svlad's arm dropped out from under him as he went back to convulsing and writhing on the floor.

"No. Talking." He slowly let go and watched Svlad pant and try to catch his breath as he rolled over to turn his back to him. "Just," he moved his hand motioning a bit towards the boy before he crouched down to watch him. Forearms resting on his knees as he looked the boy over, "Just feel for it, what the universe wants from you." Svlad slowly turned his head to look up at him, he let the smile fall from his face as Svlad finally rolled over on his hands and knees and forced himself up so he was standing. Priest was already standing to full height to watch him, casually brushing off the front of his shirt as he watched Svlad walk around him to go sit in the chair.

Priest crossed his hands in front of his body to turn and watch the boy who was clearly, visibly, struggling with staying still and not saying anything. He watched him open his mouth and already rested his finger on the button. Only for Svlad to quickly close it and cover his mouth with both hands. Osmund found himself amused when Svlad finally raised a hand, wincing from the obvious pain in his ribs as he successfully held it up high in the air. Like a kid at school with a question. "Yes, Svlad?" He watched how the boy glared at him when that name left his mouth before he took in a deep breath to begin his question.

"So, how long are we going to sit here?" Priest ran his tongue over his bottom lip before walking over to him, biting his tongue as he leaned forwards and rested his hands on the arm of the chair. Watching as the boy tried to sink down in the chair and keep distance between them.

"Don't worry about that. Stop focusing on everything else in this room, or do I have to start with sensory deprovision already?" Svlad shifted in the chair, staring at him with wide eyes, but he was already meekly raising his hand like a good boy. Priest decided to reward him by running a hand through his hair, other hand lifting off the arm to motion for him to continue.

"And what happens if I don't feel anything? And not just today, but like... ever." Priest slowly stood up straight crossing his hands behind his back this time as he narrowed his eyes on him.

"When you get your cases, what happens? You can answer freely now." He could see the boy leaning over to try and look at his hands before squinting quizzically up at him. Like he didn't trust him to be serious about that. But he finally sighed before leaning forwards and running his hands through his hair, and dragging them down his face. Repeating the process almost like he was itching everywhere Osmund had touched him.

"I don't know it just... happens. I go to the right place at the right time and everything happens. That's all it is, that's all it ever is. I don't control it, and I certainly don't ever know when I am in the right place. In fact, a lot of the times I don't know anything until I'm almost at the end of the case. I don't have any control over when things happen, or how things happen, even the why is out of my grasp. And it's certainly not lead by any feeling." Priest narrowed his eyes a bit while watching him as he stared at the floor and rested his head in his hands. Eyes watering as he seemed lost in his own mind, even tried to quickly wipe the tears away when they finally decided to run down his face. "E-everything just c-connects, and I fi-figure out why. Th-that's it. N-no psychic powers, n-no abilities. J-just me trying to solve a thing that's broken." Priest moved his free hand, cupping Svlad's face and pulling it away from the boy's hands as he pushed his head back. The room felt so quiet he could hear the scratching of pen on paper from the scientist.

"What makes you decide to go to these places where your case starts?"

"I just fee-" He watched the way his eyes narrowed on him before the boy actually shoved his hand off his face, leaning back into the chair with a glare. "It's not like what you're getting at I just... it's my own feeling. Like craving eggs or something and going into a restaurant, not like... st-stop smiling!" Osmund couldn't contain his giggle from the boy's reaction, as he grabbed him by the hair this time and pulled him closer. Getting in his face as he looked between the boy's eyes.

"That's it, Svlad, that's what I want from you. To get that feeling that you have been ignoring this whole god damn time." He leaned back to pet his hair more, brushing some of the locks off his forehead. He couldn't help but be amused by the glare on the boy's face. From the look of hatred as he shifted in the chair and tried to pull away from him.

"I feel like I shouldn't be here." Priest just smiled, running his tongue over his bottom lip, lingering on the cut there before backhanding Svlad. Standing up straight as he watched the boy whimper and lean over the side of the chair.

"If you weren't supposed to be here, then during our little trip something would have happened to save you. But it didn't." He started to walk around him, like a vulture circling its prey. Eyes on the boy as he walked slowly smile growing and turning into a small giggle, so pleased with the conversation falling in this direction. "I wouldn't have been able to catch you. And your friends," He trailed off with a laugh when Svlad sat up and stared at the floor. Tears already pouring from his eyes at the mention, he watched him lean forwards and hide his face in his hands. "You kept them around, for a false safety net, to have people worse off than you to convince you you're not a complete fuck up. But they're gone now, and now you're stuck with seeing what you really are."

"No-"

"Dangerous, little, monster, that can't save anyone. I mean... look at you Svlad, look at everything you've caused because you refuse to accept what you are."

"I-I'm a H-Holistic D-Detective. M-my name is D-Dirk-"

"Svlad Cjelli," He corrected harshly. "And you're a sad little boy who refuses to accept what you really are." He watched Svlad shake his head as he sobbed into his hands.

"Pl-please, Mr. P-Priest-"

"Project Icarus, finally having to sit in the consequences of its actions and accept that it is a monster without Blackwing there to keep it in check."

"Th-that's not t-true-" Priest stopped in front of him, eyeing him before grabbing him by his hair and dragging him out of the chair, forcing the boy to look at him as he shifted his weight from one foot to the other.

"It is true, Svlad. But it's going to be okay now." He adjusted his grip and started to pet his hair, smiling as Svlad started to fall to his knees, just sitting on the floor and crying as Osmund pet him. Watching him unintentionally press his forehead into his thigh as he sobbed into his hand. Trying to lessen the sound by muffling it from him. "I'm going to train you."

"Y-you can't-" He gave his hair a sharp tug, staring down into the boy's tear streaked face as he watched the boy rest a hand on his leg so he wouldn't lose balance from the sudden action.

"I can." He moved his hand to brush some of his tears away again, smiling from all the bruises that were starting to present themselves. "And I will." Thumb sliding down to smear more blood along his lips as his eyes got heavy. "You're mine now, and I'm not going to stop until you are as efficient and in touch with your abilities as Bartine Curlish is with hers." He let go of his face, watching the boy lean forwards and cry more on the floor, hands scratching at the ground. Priest just smiled before walking around him and sitting in the chair Svlad was in not that long ago. "Let me know when you get that feeling, Svlad." He mused the words out while lifting a foot and resting the sole of his boot against Svlad's back. Watching as the boy leaned forwards more to cry pathetically into his hands, really made him wonder how much he was going to crumble when he saw the souvenir he got him.

"Pl-please, j-just let m-me go."

"Oh? Not done getting people killed? Tsk, tsk, tsk." He grinned when Svlad shoved his foot off him, turning his body enough to face him as he glared at him through the tears in his eyes. Osmund slowly let the smile off his face as he sat up and leaned forwards, elbows resting on his knees as he motioned at him. "You think I'm wrong?" He stood up, grabbing him by the collar and dragged him up, smiling from the little yelp he gave as he shoved him towards the door. "Go on then, Svlad. You think you don't belong here, then prove it." He watched as Svlad shifted looking from him to the door, walking over to it Priest arched a brow, arms crossing over his chest as he watched and waited. Svlad stumbled a bit as he touched the door, looking it over before eyeing the interface to the right of the door. Slowly moving to it as he wiped the tears from his eyes looking it over with an expression of determination. Priest casually walked over and leaned on the wall to the left of the door. Smiling as he watched the boy trying to figure out what the code was.

"You have three tries before it puts this room on lock down, don't fuck it up." He grinned when Svlad looked over to him with uncertainty before glancing back at the interface. Taking a shaky breath as he eyed the number pad that appeared on the screen. "Lot of choices, Svlad. If only you had some way to know what it is." He couldn't stop the small giggle as he turned to press his back into the wall, eyeing the Scientist who now actually looked interested and was walking over to see if Svlad actually could figure it out. "Oh, wait... You do. You just constantly ignore-" He looked over to Svlad again when a loud buzz came from the interface. "-the feeling. That's one try, Darlin'. Two more to go before you're trapped in here with me. And ohhh, you're going to get punished if you still haven't learned to work with that feeling to open this door." Svlad looked more nervous now as he tried another number combination getting another buzz. "Two." He giggled as he saw Svlad's hands shaking. "One more." He taunted, watching him with narrowed eyes as Svlad gave a shaky breath, closing his eyes as he seemed to really trying to be focusing.

"Come on. Come on, thinkthinkthink." He watched the boy open his eyes and push in a third code, looking pleased with himself as he pressed the enter button. Priest couldn't stop his laugh, which was a rather hearty one, as the lights in the room turned red and started to flash as an alarm went off. The sound of a large metal lock sliding into place could be heard from the door itself. Priest finally pushed off the wall with a fit of laughter still evident, he didn't give Svlad time to react, just grabbed the boy who was pleading with the interface to just open up. He slammed him hard into the wall, easily winding him as he punched him hard across the face. Watching him hit into the wall with a cry of pain before Priest punched him again. Catching him by the front of his jumpsuit and shoving him back into the wall.

"Was going to start small, Svlad." He was still giggling as he shoved his hand hard into his chest to keep him there as he punched him again. He could smell the blood from how badly he was tearing the boy's lip up with his own teeth. How his nose was obviously bleeding now. Could feel him starting to slide down as he gave a groan in pain. He punched him again, letting go as he watched the boy fall hard on his side with a pained whine. One that was almost hard to hear over the alarm. He lifted his foot and stomped down on his shoulder, causing him to fall back down right as he tried to push himself up on shaky limbs. Osmund continued to giggle as he put a hand on the wall and kicked him in the side. Enjoying the sight of the kick forcing him to bounce into the wall and fall flat on the floor again. "But then, you had to go and be so fucking insistent on getting out of here." He kicked him again when he tried to push himself up off the floor for a third time. Smiling wide as he watched him hold his side with a rather pretty cry in pain.

"You're going to listen to me next time. Got that?" He could hear small grumblings but nothing else over the alarm. He bit his lip, scrapping his teeth over his cut to the point he could taste his own blood as he knelt down. Grabbing the boy's hair and yanking his blood covered face up. Watching with heavy eyes as it dripped off his lips and chin onto the floor. "Can't hear you Svlad. You're going to need to speak up." He could tell the boy was barely conscious, that he was slipping in and out. "Nothing?" He let him go, watching him fall flat on his face with a little giggle as he got up and walked over to the door. Punching in his own code he watched as the alarms stopped and the door's safety lock released. He slowly walked back over to Svlad and knelt down next to him. "Svlad." Purring the name as he forced him to roll over on his back, shaking him a bit before standing up with a disappointed sigh.

"Guess that's it for now." He moved and kicked the boy hard in the thigh, watching Svlad's body jerk as he groaned but no more than that. He gave a few 'tsk's while grabbing him by the front of his jumpsuit and pulling him into a seated position. Pulling him up into a fireman's carry as he walked over to the front of the door. Could feel the way the boy's blood started to soak into the sleeve of his shirt and drip down his arm. The scientist walked over to him and scanned the boy's barcode so the door would open, that automotive voice kicking in with; 'Project Icarus, first test resulted in; Failure.' Priest grinned from that as he slowly walked down the hall, heading to medical smiling a bit as he passed Ken and came to a stop when he noticed the man staring at Svlad quizzically.

"He... you didn't kill him... did you?" Ken was checking his watch only increasing that look of concern as Priest giggled.

"He's fine... well he's alive, anyway." He shrugged his shoulders, noticing how Ken was eyeing the blood running down the back of his arm. "Broke his nose," he shifted his hand to motion to his own "they really do gush." He giggled a bit while moving his hand back to Svlad's leg to keep him stable as he slowly kept walking.

"I take it, it didn't go well?" Ken was walking after him, basically ignoring the agent he had been talking to as they headed down the hall. Priest arched a brow while smiling as he glanced ahead, walking into medical where agents opened the doors for them. He slowly set the boy down on one of the beds, curious if he would wake up from choking on his own blood. He couldn't help but enjoy the slight stir in his sleep as he turned his head. He was such a mess, there was blood all over the lower half of his face, and down his throat. Staining that little jumpsuit of his- "Mr. Priest."

"Oh, no." Sounded a little distracted before he giggled and looked over to Ken. "You really didn't expect the first day to go well, did you?" He smiled while grabbing a cup and filling it up with some of the water from the sink that was there. Slowly walking back over to Svlad, while spinning the water around the cup. Watching it boredly as he got in reaching distance of the bed.

"I kind of... hoped." Priest just blinked at him while splashing the cup of water into Svlad's face, watching him jerk awake with a gasp and try to sit up. Priest was quick to grab him by the face, hands cupping his face as he stepped forwards, forehead pressing against his as he enjoyed his obvious panic from the rude awakening. He loved the way the water made the blood even more of a mess running down his jumpsuit like that.

"Shhhh, Svlad, Darlin' you're okay." Lying as he brushed his thumbs over the boy's cheeks, amused how he started to try to pull back. Hands even grabbing at his wrists trying to pull his hands off him as Osmund continued to rub his hands along his cheeks. "Just relax," Head tilting a bit as he kept his eyes locked on Svlad's terrified ones. Gently moving his just under the boy's eyes, brushing some of the water away as he lined his thumbs up on either side of his nose. He could see the realization of what he was doing dawning in the boy's eyes.

"N-no, no-no-n-n-no-" Priest snapped his thumbs to the side harshly and giggled as he listened to his nose snap back into place. Letting go as he listened to the boy scream, biting his own lip as he watched Svlad fall back into the bed holding his nose while crying and writhing a bit as his nose gushed more blood which he was just smearing along his skin. He couldn't even bring himself to look away to give Ken his full attention.

"He decided to do his own test instead of stick with mine. I humored him until he failed and then I punished him for it. We'll try again when he's able to continue, isn't that right, Svlad?" He mused the words out as the doctor made their way over to them, Priest just kept his eyes on it as she set to work on getting him to leave his face alone so they could pack his nose and make sure he didn't have a concussion, and whatever else it was they wanted to check for. Osmund slowly looked back over to Ken, grin widening as the man stared at him, couldn't quiet place the man's expression. "I'll be sure to keep you up to date on his progress."

Chapter Text

Hurt.

Everything hurt.

He couldn't find a comfortable way to lay without bugging a bruise. His body ached and felt sore to the point every time he shifted he swore one his bones popped. He gave up trying to get comfortable what felt like hours ago, and just laid on his side on the bed they had in his room. Thankfully he was given a mandatory break on the doctor's orders. But he knew, he knew Mr. Priest was on the other side of his door. Waiting, counting down the hours and minutes till he could hurt him again. The man was a devil, actually, Dirk was pretty sure sometimes he was the devil. The big bad Satan himself masquerading around like a human being. With how the man seemed to thrive off of hurting people, how he could smile and laugh while people suffered and died in his hands. It wasn't right... knew Priest never was right in the head from years ago, but this... Everything he had done, and was going to do... He slowly started to curl up more on the bed, ignoring the way it hurt as he used one hand to hug his knees to his chest. The other moving to slowly wipe his own tears away.

He sniffled, whining from the pain that brought his unfortunately broken nose. Hands moving to protectively hold it as he pressed the side of his face into his pillow. Which was soaked with tears, he hadn't been able to stop crying. He couldn't hold in the pain that was wracking inside of his chest, the heartbreak, the guilt, the self-hatred... it was all over taking his body. He wanted to continue to blame that it was all Blackwing's fault... that it was all Priest's fault, but he didn't know if he believed that anymore. Dirk had always gotten other people in trouble, he had always been followed by death. Even in his few escape attempts years ago people died because of him.

Blackwing was never going to let him have anything good, it was never going to let him live his own life. He should have gone back in Bergsberg... when Priest found them in the house... maybe... maybe Todd and Farah would still be alive than. He felt so stupid for not realizing they were actually in danger after that case. His hand moved away from his face to his thigh where Ken had shot him. Rubbing at the cloth over the scar as he stared at the door. Waiting for it to finally open again and for the little moment of peace he had to be ruined... Though he supposed mentally tormenting himself wasn't very peaceful at all... There was a part of him that kind of wanted those doors to open. If only to save him from his own mind, from starting to do what Priest wanted and blame himself. He shouldn't...

He couldn't have known.

But Priest was so sure he should have...

He rolled over on his back and stared at the ceiling, resting his wrist on his forehead as more tears started to slip from his eyes. Because the man was right, he should have known. He should have gotten that feeling that something bad was going to happen. It happened at times and it was usually right. But he didn't... or maybe he did and he ignored it. Maybe he got too used to being free, to having friends, that he shrugged the feeling off because he was no longer on the case. Maybe he doomed them-- He forced himself to sit up, staring out at nothing as he crossed his legs. Shaking the thoughts from his mind. He wasn't going to let those thoughts happen, he wasn't going to give Priest what he wanted. There was no way he could have known. Todd and Farah were no longer wanted, no one came after them when they opened the Agency. There was no tip off that they were even being followed, they were too smart. They were always too smart... well. Friedkin wasn't an improvement at all.

He slowly found himself staring at the wall thinking about him, wondered if he had passed away, if Blackwing killed him for helping Mona, Francis, and himself escape. He slowly rubbed his hands along the bruises on his thighs, guess it was another body to add to his list if that was the ca- No. He leaned forwards and held his head. No. He wasn't going to do that, he wasn't going to blame himself he was not responsible for other people's actions. He could never be held responsible like that, he rubbed at his forehead trying to calm himself down. Wondering if he should try to sleep instead...

But every time he closed his eyes he saw what Priest did to them.

He put a hand to his mouth, feeling sick when just thinking about it brought the smell of blood rushing back. Of their blood, how he could still taste it from when Priest shoved his fingers in his mouth. He shivered, feeling sick to his stomach as he shoved himself off the bed and rushed to the toilet to throw up what little food he had eaten that day. He grabbed at the bowl of the toilet while heaving and choking on stomach acid which burned the back of his throat and left that awful taste in his mouth. He was once more back to crying, sobbing heavily and making it worse on himself as he coughed and heaved, throwing up stomach acid now.

God. What did they do to them. Would they get a proper burial? What would their families be told? Did Amanda know, did she learn? His heart was racing at the thoughts as he heaved a bit more. Would they go after the others? At least Amanda had the Rowdy 3, and she did pretty well handling herself. He shouldn't worry about them... but he wanted to know. He wanted to find out if he could talk to her and tell her the truth if she didn't already know. He just wanted to talk to someone he actually liked, he wanted to make sure that Amanda was at least okay and that Blackwing wasn't ruining her life for traveling with the Rowdy 3.

He sat there on his knees for a while, slowly forcing himself up as he flushed the toilet and walked over to the sink to rinse the taste out of his mouth. Looking at himself in the mirror had frowned when he saw all the bruises on his face. He leaned closer to look at his jaw, touching it and examining a bruise there. Slowly turning his head to examine the rest of them. Eyes lingering on his nose which was bruised all around it and heavily under his eyes from his nose being broken. He then finally let his eyes fall on the collar around his throat, hands moving to touch it and pull on it. He wanted to take it off and—he blinked when he noticed the tag shining on a loop. Remembered feeling it but her wasn't sure if Priest actually...

He leaned closer to the mirror, fingers moving the tag so he could attempt to read it. One side of the circle saying 'Icarus' the other... He felt sick again from the words. He closed his eyes with a small shaky breath as he let go of the tag. 'Property of Mr. Priest' It was degrading to have to wear it. And sadly, it looked like the ring it was attached to was soldered on so he couldn't even remove it.

He slowly pushed away from the sink and walked over into the main area of his room. Eyes locking on the bed which he slowly walked over to and sat at the edge. Taking a deep breath to calm himself down as he heard movement on the other side of the door. He gave a low whine before pushing himself off the bed and sinking back into the corner of the room. As far away from the door as he could while listening to it open. He curled his legs to his chest, hiding his head under his arms as he pressed his forehead to his knees. He couldn't take anymore, he couldn't-

"Svlad." Hearing his birthname making him cringe and refuse to look at the man. He could hear the sound of his heavy boots against the floor, could hear him walking closer to him. To hurt and torment him some more under the guise of 'training' him. But he refused to look up, he refused to do what the man wanted.

Even though he could feel him standing over him. Like a heavy presence in the room, dark, and cold, and violent. Threatening him with a future promise of pain he didn't want to endure. He was too scared to look up at him, too nervous about what was going to happen next. He couldn't stop the whimper when he felt a gloved hand in his hair. How the gentle touch felt like spiders moving in masses down the top of his skull and back towards his spine. His fingers twitched as he pulled away from the man, feeling gross and itchy all over like there really were spiders crawling on his body. He shoved his back into the wall when it felt like they were amassing there. Just wanted to crush them. Just wanted the feeling to go away.

"My name is Dirk Gently." He wasn't Svlad... He wasn't. Not anymore, not since he left Blackwing all those years ago. He changed his name, he took on a new identity. He wasn't going to let Blackwing take that away from him not again- He guessed he shouldn't have been surprised when Priest stood up straight and kicked him. Legs falling to the side and bumping into the wall as he yelped and reached his hand down to grab his thigh. Eyes watering in frustration as he finally stared up at the man.

"Get up, Svlad." The name on the man's tongue making his eyes drop as he glared at the man's legs. But refused to move, he wasn't going to let Priest push him around. He wasn't going to- He gave a sharp cry as his hair was grabbed and yanked on. His scalp protesting and forcing him to follow so he wouldn't have his hair ripped out. He could feel how there were strands that were pulled free despite his efforts as he grabbed the man's wrist. Trying to keep his hand closer to his head as he forced himself up to his feet. Only for Priest to let go and shove him against the wall.

"Mr. Priest-" Almost begging, pleading with him. He didn't want to do this anymore especially not today. He felt wobbly as he moved his hands to try and push the man backwards. Trying being the keyword. The man's chest felt like solid muscle each time he tried to shove him back. He whimpered when Priest's hand started to shove hard into his sternum. Almost felt like it was going to crack under the pressure as he moved his hands to his wrist. Trying desperately to redirect it, looking up to the man's face with worry. Fear slowly growing in his chest from that heavy look in his eyes. From the sadistic grin on his face.

"You really have a problem with listening, don't you?"

"I could say the same to you!" He snapped the words back, forcing a glare and trying to swallow that fear back as the man giggled. An act one should usually find fun, and sometimes cute. But from Priest it was the equivalent to nails on a chalkboard. Made Dirk shiver and his hair stand on end with absolute terror given he never knew what was going to come of it. Dirk gasped when the man punched him in the stomach, jerking forwards from the pain of the bruises already there as he put his head down and coughed. Felt sick again as he tried to desperately pull the hand away from his chest. Started to feel like the man was crushing him from the pain surging on his insides.

"You get a little break and now you're acting like a brat again, huh?" He closed his eyes, waiting begrudgingly for more pain to occur. It felt like he was stuck in an unending nightmare and Priest was the horror he was trying to avoid. "Look at me, Svlad." He flinched when he felt the man pet his hair some more, he took in a shaky breath before slowly opening his eyes to look into his face.

"That's not my name anymore." He moved his hands to try and block his face with his arms when he saw him pull his fist back to punch him. Dirk yelped when Priest punched him in the ribs. Body flinching away as he tried to hide in the corner, staring up at him with wide eyes as he held his hand over where Priest had hit him. He could feel the tears of frustration growing as he watched him. "Pl-please, Mr. Priest."

"What's your name?" He couldn’t stop the tears from falling as he pushed himself more into the wall. Just wanting to disappear, he wanted out of that room. Out of Priest's hands. He wanted to be free, he cried a little harder while going back to trying to push Priest away from him.

"Dirk-" He yelped when the man hit him across the face again. He could feel his cheek stinging and throbbing even more so than it already did thanks to all the bruises there. "My name is Dirk Gently." Hearing Priest's disappointed sigh he found himself sinking down onto the floor when the man let off on his chest. He slid down and stared up at the man who was reaching in his pocket. Realizing exactly what he was going for he scrambled to the side, getting to his feet awkwardly and almost falling as he tried to run for the door. Hoping that enough distance would stop the remote from-

His teeth slammed together as his jaw tightened from the current that rushed through his body. He fell hard to the floor, body tightening and convulsing under the current as he curled himself into a ball with a pained scream. Drool slipping between clenched teeth as he rolled over on his back, arching up off the floor as his muscles started to spasm and cramp. It was hard to tell he let go of the button for a second as he writhed on the floor. Body tingling and cramping up as he rolled over on his side and cried against the floor. Hardly registering the pain in his nose from how much he ached. He was panting and trying to catch his breath as his hand finally moved to feel why his face was wet under his nose. Touching it he pulled his hand away and stared at the blood before looking to Priest who gave those small 'tsk's as he walked towards him.

"Svlad." Purring the name and making him shiver in fear as he moved his hands and tried to crawl away from him. "You got your new uniform all dirty." He was crying harder as he scooted along the floor, felt like Priest was playing with him now as he would pause in each slow stride so he wouldn't get to him too quickly. "Such a messy boy." He ran his hand along the closed door. Smearing his blood on the metal as he forced himself up on his knees.

"Pl-please, M-Mr. Priest." He couldn't take anymore, he whimpered when he was grabbed by the back of his suit and yanked backwards so he ungracefully fell on his ass and his back leaned against Priest's legs. He slowly leaned his head back to look up at the man who rewarded him by petting his hair, he pulled his head away, vision blurred by tears as he tried to slide to the side. Which was unsuccessful as Priest caught him by his hair and yanked him back into place.

"I have to re-set your nose." Said it like it was such a burden. He could still remember how happily he did it not that long ago. He shook his head as he pulled himself forwards and went back to trying to crawl away from him. He yelped when Priest kicked him in the hip and knocked him over on his side, Dirk rubbed at the muscle there and went back to trying to scoot away. But Priest was already climbing on top of him, he tried weakly to swat his hands away. But Priest ignored them while cupping his face, he couldn't stop from sobbing harder as Priest framed his nose with his thumbs.

"P-pl-please, d-don't-" He cried out when Priest ignored him and snapped his nose back into place. Sending a fresh stream of blood racing down the back of his throat. Felt like he was choking on it as he tried to turn his head away, only for Priest to hold him still. Forcing him to swallow down his own blood. He felt sick from the taste, memories coming back full force of the car ride. He felt like he was hyperventilating while thinking about it, thinking about what Priest did to Todd and Farah. The image of Farah's organs spilling out of her body burned into the back of his mind. Along with how cruelly Priest cut Todd up before letting him die. He didn't know when Priest let him go.

He didn't know how he went from being on his back to curled up in a ball struggling to breath as he cried. Eyes wide with fear and horror and disgust. Mind refusing to track anything that was currently happening. He should be more worried about not knowing what Priest was up to, but he couldn't stop from closing his eyes and covering his head as he sobbed and trembled on the floor. Choking on his breathless sobs, on his attempts to gasp for air, on his own blood. He felt like he was going to be sick again, he slowly moved one shaky hand off his head and forced himself on his hands and knees. Trying to stand only to fall again as he held his stomach from the sick feeling worming through his guts. He fell on his hands and knees as he began dry heaving, eyes closing as the room started to spin from his lack of air.

He trembled more when he felt a hand on his back. Slowly rubbing along his spine. He wished it was Todd. He wished he was with Todd, that they could just joke around and talk and that the man would do whatever he could to try and cheer him up. Even when sometimes it didn't always work how he wanted it to, but it was something. His elbows felt week as he slipped so his head was resting on the floor. Not even noticing how his breathing was starting to follow the calming rubs to his back. He slowly turned his head, letting his eyes open as he looked at Priest who was smiling down at him like the devil he was. The kind gesture no longer bringing him peace as he turned away and moved his hand trying to push him back by his leg.

He didn't want anything from him.

Especially not his mocking kindness as he had a panic attack over what Priest had done to his friends. "Wh-what did y-you guys d-do with them?" He asked it softly, he didn't know if Priest would tell him the truth, he wouldn't be surprised if the man lied to him. He shifted when Priest knelt down next to him, reminding himself to take his words with a grain of salt.

"Oh, Svlad." He giggled, making Dirk press himself more into the floor, already not liking how this was going. "The CIA has a nice way of disposing the bodies of traitors." Dirk's eyes widened as he sat up, scooting back to look at Priest with disbelief.

"Traitors?" He could hardly breathe. "They a-aren't traitors! H-how can you do that to them!?" Priest didn't care. Why would he care. Dirk closed his eyes and hid his face in his hands, shaking his head. He didn't want to believe it, it wasn't true, he was lying. That's all Priest did, lie and cause pain-

"They were." The 'correction' to past tense made him cry harder as he shook his head more. "Aiding, hiding, and enabling government property. That they stole by the way." Dirk looked up at him as more tears started to pour from his eyes. Property. He thought of the collar, of the way Priest spoke about him like he was an object and not a person. He looked to his hands which had his blood on them before looking back to Priest. He felt so... defeated.

"I'm a person." He said it soft, feeling even smaller as Priest easily shoved his hand between his arms and grabbed his collar. Yanking on it so the metal prongs on the inside dug into the back of his neck as he was pulled forwards. Hands automatically grabbing at the man's wrist to try and stable himself.

"No." He said it so matter-of-fact like. So callous and cold, his smile not even on his face anymore. Honestly, Dirk didn't know what was scarier, Priest's stoic expression. Or his grin. He dropped his eyes from Priest's not wanting to look in them. Not wanting to look in his face anymore. "You stopped being a person the day I brought you home all those years ago." This isn't my home. This will never be my home. Dirk closed his eyes, wanting to protest, to fight. To scream at the man until he left him alone and let his friends get a proper burial. To get the love and respect they deserve. But he couldn't find his voice for once. He felt so broken, and angry, and lost.

He wanted Todd.

"Please... please... just stop." He couldn't even bring himself to flinch away when he felt Priest's hand on his cheek. "I j-just want t-to st-stop. Pl-please?" He closed his eyes when Priest cupped his face in both hands, thumbs gently brushing his cheeks and he knew the man was wiping his tears away.

"Svlad." Dirk. "We haven't even finished day one of your training." Dirk slowly opened his eyes to look up at him in disbelief. Mouth opening as the man slowly let him go, that grin back on his face.

"It's not going to work! I'm not like Bart! I can't just-" He took in a sharp breath when Priest actually wrapped his hand around his throat. Palm of his hand digging into the collar and digging those prongs into his skin. He couldn't breathe despite the fact he wasn't even choking him yet. Just squeezing the sides of his throat to the point he was starting to feel a little lightheaded. He moved his hands trying to desperately pry his hand off of him.

"You can. You already admit you follow a feeling before your cases start." Dirk struggled, taking in a shaky breath as he pulled more at his arm. Panicking when that cause the man to squeeze his throat to the point he was actually cutting off air supply now. "I want you to get in touch with that feeling. And hell, maybe you will be able to tell what I'm going to do to you next. Maybe then you'd actually stand a chance." He was giggling making Dirk nervous as he tried to slink down more into the floor. Which he realized was a bad idea when it just made Priest lean over him more and put more pressure on his throat. No. Getting so worried and nervous Priest would just end up killing him now.

Getting more and more distressed when a voice in the back of his head told him; at least I'll be free than. He refused to let his mind linger on that as he moved his foot and started to push it against Priest's stomach, trying to deter him from strangling him to death in his room as he began clawing as his wrist trying to get him to stop. Dirk felt desperate now as he ended up fully on his back with Priest on top of him, his weight on his stomach felt heavy. Like he was being crushed while he was getting strangled. He felt useless as he kicked his legs, hand moving from Priest's hand to try to go for his face, to get him to stop. But the man leaned back enough his fingers barely brushed his chin. The man was laughing at him now for the attempt, making Dirk feel weak as his vision started to fade. He could hear his heartbeat pounding in his ears as the man wrapped his second hand around his throat.

This is how I'm going to die.

He closed his eyes, feeling the tears slip from them as he struggled under the man, expending the last of his oxygen trying to fight. But finally, by some miracle, Priest released him. He coughed heavily while trying to roll on his side. Clutching at his throat as he gasped in deep and heavy breaths, trying to make up for all the air he had lost. He was insane. Priest was out of his mind. Dirk pressed the side of his face against the floor, not wanting to look up at him, just laid there and stared at the wall as Priest got comfortable on top of him.

"Ready to try now?" He looked up at him, opening his mouth to say no. But before he got the word out Priest was already grabbing him by the jaw and forcing him to nod. He winced from his teeth biting into his cheeks. "Yes, you're ready to try again? That's good Svlad. Don't fuck it up this time." He winced when Priest punched him in the chest, hard enough to make a hollowish thud through his chest. Which felt weird, like it messed with his heartbeat and breathing. He rubbed there with a look of disdain on his face when the man stood up. Reaching down and dragging him up to his feet as well.

His legs felt wobbly, almost like they were asleep as he stumbled after the man who insistently dragged him by his collar to the door which was opened for them before the man started to lead him down the hall. He slowly started to pick up his struggle when he saw the scientist waiting outside the door for them with that scanner of his. He dug his feet into the floor and pulled the opposite way. Wishing the collar would snap so he could get away, he gave a surprised noise when Priest stopped walking all together.

"Svlad." The warning tone in his voice was making Dirk's blood run cold. But he would not be treated like a piece of meat and get the back of his neck scanned like that.

"I'm not doing your stupid test!" He gave a surprised gasp when Priest actually let go of the collar. Not prepared for that he fell right on his ass. Wincing from the pain shooting up his back from his tailbone, he glared up at the man and blinked when he saw him pull the remote out again. "No!" He managed to start pulling himself up, only for that pain to course through his body again, causing his arms to fall out from under him as he screamed and started to pull at the collar. Writhing around on the floor as Priest didn't let go of the button, he could feel the man standing over him, he wanted so badly to kick him but he couldn't get his muscles in his legs to stop cramping to even attempt the feat. He was panting when Priest let it go, when he was finally freed of the pain and left twitching on the ground.

"You ready for your test now?" He mused the words, hearing that cheery tone in the man's voice was making his anger rise.

"It's not going to work, please. Wh-why can't I just tell you when I have the feeling. They come at random I c-can't control when I get one-" He cut himself off when Priest held the remote up, Dirk looked at it than back to him. "Please... M-Mr. P-Priest. I-it d-d-doesn't work h-how you w-want."

"It works better than you think it does." Dirk stared at him for a moment, thinking on his words, on what he said before that. It's almost like he knew from experience rather than just telling him he wasn't doing it right. But that would mean- He was yanked out of his thoughts when the man grabbed him by the bicep and pulled him up with him. He could feel the man's fingers digging in and knew he would bruise from it, he winced while stumbling after him again. Grunting when he was kicked in the back of the kneed and forced down to the floor. The man grabbing the back of his head-

"No." Svlad moved his hands covering the back of his neck, not wanting them to have access to the stupid tattoo. He could feel it like a scab under his hands as it worked on healing. He found himself with the sudden urge to dig his fingers in and ruin it so they could never use it again. He yelped when Priest grabbed his wrists and pulled his hands away, Dirk craned his head back to cover the tattoo as he struggled in Priest's grip. Refusing to let the Scientist scan it. Priest started to laugh before letting go of his wrists. Shoving his head down enough for him to lift his foot and step on his head. Dirk gasped when he was forced down so his cheek was pressed flat into the floor. Pinned between it and Priest's boot. Which he felt in a rather awkward position from having his bum up in the air and his face against the floor. He moved his hands trying to shove Priests foot off his head.

Memory playing back to what he said to Farah when he took her down, causing his panic to grow that he didn't even notice the scientist scanned his barcode until he heard those degrading words again. 'Welcome Project Icarus' he slowly pushed himself up on his knees when Priest lifted his foot off his head. He stared at the open doorway that lead to the room with nothing but a chair in it. Eyes locked on the chair before he turned his head to look up at Priest when the man nudged him with his foot.

"Do I have to drag you back into that room, Svlad?"

"My name. Is Dirk Gently." He closed his eyes when the man started to electrocute him again, falling over on his side and writhing and screaming as the man giggled above him. He was digging his heels into the floor sliding across it a bit as he continued to cry out in pain. Felt a lot longer than the other times before Priest let it go. He swore he could smell his skin burning where the prongs pressed against his throat, his throat was aching and felt sore, he didn't even want to move. He didn't want to try to move, he snapped out of it when Priest kicked him in the side, forcing him to roll over as he whimpered and held his side. The muscles there turning into a rather painful cramp that was making him writhe a bit more and press his hands into the muscles, trying to work the cramp out. He gave a small sob when the man grabbed him by the bicep and dragged him into the room, dropping him in front of the chair which Priest actually sat in.

"Let me know when you get that feeling, Svlad." Dirk grunted when he found the man's feet once more resting on him. Pressing and digging right into his shoulder as Dirk laid there. Slowly moving to try to get the man to get off him only for Priest to stomp on his shoulder and dig his heel in anytime he tried to move. He found himself too tired and in too much pain to try anymore. His entire body was cramping up and spasming to the point he was scared to move anymore to trigger a severe cramp somewhere in his body.

Chapter Text

Priest watched as Svlad eventually started moving under his feet, pushing himself up when he no longer appeared to be in massive amounts of pain. He grinned while watching him actually crawl out from under him and finally pulled himself up so he was standing away from him. Using the sleeve of his uniform to wipe at the blood under his nose, seemed to be a little frantic about it. But in trying to get it off Svlad only caused it to smear more across his skin as he looked around the room. Priest shifted in the chair, feet now on the ground, legs spread lazily before he sat forwards to rest his elbows on his knees. "What's up, Svlad?" His smile widening when the boy glared at him.

"That's not my name." Someone was in a mood. Priest just clicked his tongue while getting up out of the chair, walking over to him as Svlad shifted backwards to keep distance between them.

"Your name is Svlad Cjelli." He watched as the boy hugged himself and stared over at the wall opposite of him. Refusing to meet his gaze, Priest grabbed him by the jaw now that he seemed to realize he couldn't escape him at this point. Grabbing tightly as he turned his head so he would face him. "Now I want to hear you say it."

"My name is Dirk Gently." He moved his hand to the boy's bruised throat gently squeezing as a warning.

"Your name is Svlad—"

He had to stop letting Svlad get lucky.

He could feel the way the pain radiated through his entire skull, centering around his nose and his eyes. Was actually a good hit from how Svlad actually slammed the ball of his hand right into him. Couldn't help but wonder if Farah had taught him that one. He was already dropping him as tears welled in his eyes from the burning nerves in his face, he could taste blood as he already dropped on one knee. Blinking and trying to recover from the hit, his blood covering his gloved hands as he slowly let out a little chuckle. He was amused, however, that in Svlad hitting him in the nose the staple he ripped out was sticking out of the boy's hand.

The searing pain started surging in pulses through the center of his face, his nose once more awkwardly flowering open. He couldn't stop from giggling while pushing it back together, fingers feeling along the damaged cartilage to see if Svlad broke it from that hit. He was ignoring how Svlad was desperately back at the door, trying to get the code. Like it somehow would work this time, he forced himself up motioning for the scientist to stand down when he noticed the man was about to call someone on his phone. Making sure he listened and wasn't going to try and ruin the fun, Priest stalked over to Svlad who was more frantically trying to figure out the code. Talking to himself in a panic, the boy looked over towards him right as Priest grabbed him by the back of the head and slammed him face first into the wall. He could hear Svlad's cry in pain, watching him fall to the ground holding his face with a heavy whimper. Priest stood over him and glanced to the blood that was on the wall from where he rebroke the boys nose. This was three times now someone would have to reset it for the boy.

"Svlad," Staring down at him with heavy eyes as the boy tried desperately to try and crawl away. As if he wasn't trapped in the room with him, he enjoyed how his hands were smearing blood along the floor as he slipped and fell on his stomach. "Where you going to go, Svlad?" He asked coldly as he kicked him over onto his side.

"Pl-please-" Leaning down Priest grabbed him by the jumpsuit as he looked at the boys, almost flat, nose giggling as he punched him across the face. Hitting his cheekbone hard enough he split the skin there. He waited for the boy to recover before doing it again, repeating the process a few times before dropping him. Watching him groan and roll over as Priest spit his own blood off to the side. Giggling to himself as he walked to the boy's feet, grabbing one of his ankles and dragging him away from the wall. Actually, taking him to almost the other side of the room as Svlad scratched at the floor, trying to grab onto something to pull himself away. Other foot kicking trying to make him let go, but it was pointless, they both knew that.

Finally, Priest dropped his ankle, hand raising to press his nose back together again when he realized his temporary fix didn't do anything. The pain was almost unbearable as he worked on fixing the band-aids. The nerves had been causing tears to continually build in his eyes, some even falling from them as he worked on catching his breath. Sticking to breathing through his mouth from now given the air passing between his nose and out the wound was making the pain worse. Knew Medical was going to be even more annoying and insistent on helping him with the injury when he finally took Svlad back there.

"You know, Svlad, I've decided. Next time you decided to hit me, I'm going to break your arm." He looked down at the boy, who was crying a bit harder and still trying to crawl away. Priest grabbed him by the back of his uniform and yanked him backwards so he was pulled onto his knees. "Yeah, not like you really need to use them to work with a feeling." He slid his hand up the boy's back and into his hair, tugging on it and craning his head back so the boy would stare up at him. "Would be so easy to, probably as easy as it was when you were a kid." He stepped to the side of him, slowly moving till he stood in front of the boy and was cupping his face. "I bet you remember that a lot don't you. How easy it was for me to snap your arm like a twig." He shoved him backwards, watching him fall on his back as he followed after him. Not wanting to give him enough time and space for the boy to crawl away.

"M-Mr. P-Priest-" He was quick about it as he stomped hard on Svlad's stomach. Watching him curl up on himself and roll to his side, Priest stepped away as he watched him start to throw up more stomach acid. Priest gave a disappointed sigh as he watched Svlad get up on his hands and knees, one hand resting on his stomach as he choked and gagged. Blood dripping off his face to join the mess of bile on the ground. He grabbed him by the back of the jumpsuit and dragged him away from the mess. Grinning when the boy tried to weakly pull away as Priest let go of him and kicked him in the side. Hard enough for him to go down, just curling up more and more into a ball.

He walked behind him and kicked him in the back, right in the shoulder blade. Watching him twist as he cried out. Continuing to kick him in the same spot before he lifted his foot and rested it on his back when he once more got on his hands and knees to try and escape him. He was pressing his foot against his back and keeping him shoved down into the floor. He slowly leaned forwards and rested his elbow on his knee and his chin in his hand. Grinning down at the boy who was whimpering and crying. He looked so pathetic like that, crying into his forearm smearing more blood along his suit. Priest was starting to wonder if Svlad's nose was ever going to heal right.

At this point he doubted it.

He could feel his own blood running down his hand as he looked at Svlad. He watched his shoulders heave as he cried harder into the floor. "You going to behave now?" He put more weight on him, waiting patiently for his answer. Hearing his muffled sobs was causing him to shift a bit in his stance, shaking him with his foot to get the boy's attention. "I feel like you want me to beat you at this rate, Darlin. You enjoyin' this as much as I am?" Accent sounding a little thicker, he slowly pulled his foot off him and kicked him over onto his side. Eyes lingering heavily on him as he knelt down next to his face.

"Pl-please, Mr. Priest-"

"You do enjoy this, don't you?" Teasing, he knew he didn't he moved his blood covered hand and ran it through Svlad's hair. He was definitely going to have to go through decontamination again after this, "I mean, what I'm asking of you is so simple." He talked over him when he tried to plead again, watching as the boy kept his hands on his face. Covering his nose in obvious pain, bet it was so uncomfortable. "And yet you can't do it." He kept running his hand through the boy's hair pulling it to get Svlad to look at him when the boy clearly seemed to be losing focus. "All you have to do right now, is tell me your name."

"D-Dirk-" His smile slowly fell off his face, he watched Svlad flinch trying to pull away from him knowing more pain was coming. Priest moved his hand and pulled a knife out, watching as Svlad forced himself to sit up and tried to scoot away. "N-no-" Priest grabbed him by the ankle and pulled him closer, climbing on him as he shoved him down more into the floor.

"Relax. You're bleeding too much in your eye." He poked the puffed up swelling of a bruise that was building under Svlad's eye. Grabbing the boy by the jaw as he cruelly pressed his knife under it, cutting along the skin more than was necessary. Knew it would leave a nice scar though, he watched as the blood escaped from the wound helping the swelling go down as Priest moved the knife to the boy's throat. Getting him to stop moving.

"Y-you c-can't k-kill me?" It didn't even sound like a statement, it was like it was a question. Like Svlad didn't know if that was a possibility.

"You're right, I can't." He pulled the knife away from his throat as he rubbed the blade against his uniform to get some of the blood off it. "There are other things I can do though, Svlad." He shifted the knife and tucked it under the collar of his jumpsuit, dragging it down and cutting the cloth away. Not like it mattered, the thing was ruined from blood anyway. He watched as Svlad struggled under him, trying to get away as Priest cut his undershirt as well. He let the tip of the knife press against his chest over his heart. "Since you won't admit who you are," he already was putting enough pressure to pierce the skin, "I guess I'll have to leave you a reminder." Watching the blood bead around the tip of the knife as Svlad yelped and moved to try and push him back. "I wouldn't do that if I were you." He stated while dragging the knife along his skin. "If you make me mess this up, well, I'll keep cutting you until I get it right." He moved his free hand to press his palm flat against the boy's chest as he continued to carve into his pec. Cutting the boy's symbol into his chest, nice and agonizingly slow to make sure Svlad felt how the blade was cutting into his skin. Hoping the boy would realize what he was doing as he cut the diamond shape into his chest.

"N-no- no- M-Mr. P-Priest-"

"I don't think the tattoo being on your back helps you realize who you are." He stated while cutting a circle into the middle of the diamond. "You know, the whole... out of sight out of mind thing." He giggled as he started to drag the knife across his skin to cut the line into the symbol. Finishing it with a rather deep cut that time as he listened to the boy under him whimper and cry out in agony. "This way you won't be able to avoid what you are anymore." He mused while leaning back to admire the symbol he carved into him. Enjoying how Svlad was trembling under him, crying more was he finally tried to move again. Priest moved his free hand to smear the blood along his skin. Enjoying the way it looked as he dragged his hand up more, smiling as he watched Svlad try to inch away from him. Could hear him digging his heels into the ground to try to push himself away. Priest rested his hand on his chest as he pushed more of his weight down on him so he wouldn't even budge.

"Now I'm going to try this again, and you better answer correctly." Leaving that statement as a promise, he watched Svlad slowly open his eyes to stare at him as more tears streamed down the side of his face. "What's your name?" He asked softly while rubbing more of Svlad's blood against his chest. He leaned in more to get closer as Svlad moved his hands to try and push him back. Head shaking due to not wanting to answer him. Priest sighed as he changed what hand held the knife, cutting his shirt more to press the tip against the scar he had from being shot with a crossbow. Remembered reading about it in the reports and seeing it after the shower. He pressed the knife down till the tip of it began piercing the scar tissue. "If you don't answer me, I will stab you." He threatened while putting more pressure on the knife, enjoying how much he was struggling now and cutting himself even more on his knife.

"P-please, M-Mr. Priest-" Priest pressed down harder watching the knife pierce more into his skin, stopping as it pressed against the bone in his shoulder. Getting a pretty scream from the boy that was under him. "M-my n-name, is D-Dirk Gently." He sighed while pulling the knife out before stabbing it back into him, watching how Svlad arched his back with a scream, more or less flailing under him, legs kicking trying to get away. He twisted the knife some more before sliding his other hand off the boy's chest to rest it on the floor by his head. Watching as his own blood dripped onto Svlad's face. Causing more panic as he turned his head to the side to try and not get any of it on his face.

"You're lucky Svlad, I'm being nice to you." He wiggled the blade making it scrape against the bone. He could feel the way it caught and scraped causing him to shudder from the feeling. He loved that feeling, made him wonder if he was scarring up his bones from it. "I stabbed Farah way deeper than I stabbed you. Can you just imagine how much pain she was in?"

"St-stop! Pl-please stop!" Priest couldn't stop his giggle, as he listened to the boy cry watching as he moved his hands to shove at the one holding the knife. Trying to get him to pull it out, Priest slowly let Svlad push his arm back before he pressed it back down. Enjoying how much he squirmed from that as he easily over powered him and stabbed the knife back down to the bone.

"All you have to do is answer my question correctly and I'll stop." All he had to do was admit who he really was.

"I-I'm not-" Priest moved his hand off the floor to push on his shoulder, thumb and forefinger framing the knife as he pressed and rubbed mercilessly into the skin. Watching as the blood pooled out of the wound and Svlad struggled more, going back to making it worse for himself. Causing the knife to cut and tear inside of the wound with each frantic movement.

"What's your name."

"S-Svlad- my name is Svlad." He slowly started to pull the knife out, rubbing his finger over the wound. He leaned in and pressed his mouth to the boy's ear as he continued to touch and rub the wound he left him. Finger rubbing along the mouth of the wound, threatening to press in.

"Full name."

"S-Svlad Cj-Cjelli." He let go of him, wiping the blade off on his jeans as Svlad put his hand on his shoulder. Clutching at the wound as Priest sat up straight and watched the blood ooze between his fingers.

"Good boy." He moved his hand to run it through his hair, giving him a soft gentle touch almost as if to reward him for finally saying what his name was. He watched as he continued to cry, getting off him and watching Svlad curl into a ball, sobbing heavily into the floor. He looked like a complete mess, covered in his own blood, clothes torn and cut away on his chest. He couldn't stop the giggle from how broken he looked as he slowly slid his knife back in his sheathe. "You get any of those feelings during all this?" He was smiling from how Svlad seemed to have been ignoring him. He stepped closer, lifting his foot, pressing it against his shoulder to rock him with it. "I asked you a question."

"N-no..." He sounded so defeated, it was making his grin grow as he let his foot slide off of him. He moved his hand to grab Svlad's arm and pull him up. Dragging him so he was on his knees, Svlad shifted from the new position still holding his shoulder and crying.

"No feeling, that's a shame, Svlad." Priest mused, while watching him. "Get up."

"Pl-please, i-it's n-not g-going t-to w-work." Priest watched as Svlad looked back at him. Enjoying how much blood was dripping off his face as he stared at him. He found his eyes locked on the way it dripped off his chin and the tip of his nose. Staining his uniform and the floor as he shifted trying to get comfortable on his knees.

"Don't make me repeat myself." Svlad leaned forwards with a sob, hand smearing blood all over the floor before he hesitantly pulled himself up to his feet. He was holding his shoulder again as blood dripped down his arm, soaking into his uniform some more. Priest walked around him, grabbing his wounded shoulder and pressing the ball of his hand against it. Digging Svlad's own fingers into the wound as he watched him stumble forwards, actually pressing against him and leaning into him to stop from falling. Enjoying his little cries of pain and how he was panting so heavily. He slowly moved his hand off his shoulder, sliding it up his neck and smearing blood on it and the collar. Cupping his face he tilted his head up to look at the damage that had been done. Eyes lingering on the cut under his eye, he moved his thumb to rub it along the wound catching Svlad when he tried to pull away.

"Pl-please-"

"You know, I don't know why Riggins liked you and coddled you so much. You're one of the most useless projects in this place." He was giggling when Svlad started to cry harder, the boys blood-soaked hand pushing against his chest to try and get away from him as Priest cupped his face with both hands. Smearing more blood on him as he took a step forwards to Svlad's step back. Staying right up against him as he brushed those tears off his face. "Once you stop trying to fight it, once you give in to what I tell you, we'll change that, Svlad. You just have to submit." He ended up backing the boy against the wall, amused how he seemed to distraught once his back ended up against it. Clearly just wanting to get away from him, wanting to escape him. It was funny he thought he could.

"M-Mr. P-Priest-"

"Shh, I think we're done for the day." He slowly moved his hands off the boy's face, resting them on his shoulders and being mindful of the wound this time. "Are you going to be good and let our friend here scan you? Or do I have to force you to again?" He loved how the boy just cried harder, Priest stepped back and watched him slide down the wall, his uniform barely hanging on his upper body now. Barely hanging on his arms as he sat on the floor in a pathetic lump clearly not wanting to do anything. Priest leaned down and grabbed him by the hair, tugging his head forwards as the scientist walked over and scanned him. Curious how he would react now that he was awake this time that they were leaving.

"Project Icarus, second test resulted in; Failure." Priest leaned down when he heard Svlad cry harder, his grip in his hair lightening up as he started to run his hands through it. Petting his hair and brushing it off his forehead. Finally pulling his head back so he would look at him.

"Come on, Svlad. I need to take you to medical and then we'll get you all cleaned up." He let go and watched Svlad as he sat there for a second, slowly the boy forced himself up on his feet. Priest could see how his eyes locked on the door when it opened for them. How much he clearly wanted to run, he put his hand on the boy's wounded shoulder. Fingers resting right over the wound there as he leaned in so his lips were by the boy's ear. Smearing more blood on him from how his nose was still bleeding from the hit earlier. "Where are you going to run, Svlad?" He could feel how tense he was getting under his hand. "And better yet, do you really think you could get to that door before I got to the remote for your collar." Hand moving from his shoulder to give the collar a gentle tug. Priest giggled as he finally started to walk towards the door, turning to face him when Svlad didn't seem to be moving. "Come on boy." Was patting his thigh like he was calling a dog. Grinning a bit when Svlad shifted in his spot and pulled his uniform over his injured shoulder.

Still trying so hard to be modest, Priest found it amusing as the boy slowly started to walk after him. Tears and blood still dripping off his face. Some even dripping off his finger tips from the blood running down his arm from the shoulder wound. Priest waited till the boy was next to him before he began walking hand automatically moving to grab the boy's collar to make sure he stayed nice and close one step behind him. He smiled when Svlad tried to pull away only to be yanked forwards again. Priest turned his head to look at him as Svlad lifted his hand to grab his wrist, trying to stop from falling as he stumbled from the pull.

"You going to start this again?" Priest turned to fully face him, tugging on his collar and pulling the boy close, amused how Svlad looked around. Almost like he was trying to find someone to save him. "Look at me." He watched Svlad close his eyes with a small sob before looking to his face, eyes opening slowly clearly not wanting to fully meet his. "Svlad." He finally raised them enough to stare into his eyes, shifting uncomfortably under his gaze.

"C-can I j-just walk w-without--" He trailed off but Priest couldn't stop his laugh as he adjusted his grip on his collar. Leaning in and pulling him so the boy was stuck with his body against his.

"You were just eyeing the door like you were going to run not that long ago. And now you want me to just let you walk freely?" Giggling a bit with his words, he couldn't stop his grin when Svlad actually seemed to get flustered from the words. Face heating up with a tinge of pink under the blood on his face, like he was embarrassed for being called out on it. "That's what I thought." He stepped back before turning to continue the walk, he was pulling on the collar again getting the boy to continue to trail after him. Really would have to bring the leash next time...

He lead him through the halls amused how every time they passed agents Svlad seemed to try and pull away. Causing Priest to yank on it and get the boy stumbling into him only bringing everyone's attention on them each time. Obviously making it worse for the boy who was squirming by the time they reached the medial wing. Priest smiled when the same Doctor from earlier looked up to them, her eyes landing on Svlad before looking to him. She stood up with a sigh while motioning to the bed she wanted Svlad on, Priest guided him over and shoved him against it. Watching as the boy touched the bed smearing blood on it before he hesitantly climbed on it and situated himself.

"You going to finally let me look at your injury, Mr. Priest?" Priest moved his hand to wipe some of the blood off his face.

"Should be fine."

"You say that now, but at this rate I don't think your nose will ever heal together." Priest just laughed before walking passed her and Svlad, helping himself to what he needed to fix his nose, turning slightly so he could make sure Svlad wasn't up to anything. She was checking out the boy's face, eyeing the wounds before rolling her stool over to a drawer which she unlocked and rifled through. Priest slid over in curiosity when she pulled out two long sticks that had large wads of cotton on the ends. "Hold still for me, Icarus." He watched as the boy's eyes narrowed on her, leaning away when she brought them closer to his face.

"My name is not Icarus." Priest turned to fully face him, he watched as the boy stopped when their eyes locked. How he let his hand, which Priest assumed he was going to use to shove her away, drop to the side and he looked away from him. The Doctor was rather impatiently waiting, he could see the annoyed look on her face as he walked closer to the bed. Once Svlad seemed to be done with his fit she pressed some of the stick with the cotton up his nose on both nostrils. Getting a pained whimper from the boy who shifted uncomfortably on the bed.

"This is going to hurt, Mr. Priest, why don't you come hold Icarus’ head so it won't make me stab it in the brain." Priest couldn't stop the giggle as he walked closer, easily grabbing the boy by the jaw and the top of the head. Pushing his head back into the bed and holding him in a vice like grip that he could tell was hurting the boy from the wince he was receiving. He just smiled while looking curiously at what the doctor was doing, head tilting a bit as she yanked on the sticks and popped the boy's nose back into place. Svlad cried out in pain and started thrashing a bit, Priest could already see the way the cotton was soaking up all the blood. "I'm leaving those in there till I'm done." Informing coldly as she leaned over to get what she needed. Priest let the boy's head go and rested his hands on his shoulders. Ready to hold him down again if needed, she started to clean the cut on his cheek and pulled out a needle and thread watching Svlad push himself more into the bed.

"Can't you take care of the hole in my shoulder first-"

"Is it going to question everything I do?" Priest grabbed the boy's shoulder harder when he noticed him trying to sit up. How he was about to start protesting and he just smiled back at the doctor who wasn't even paying attention to Svlad. Ignoring him and his little fit as Priest shoved him roughly back into the bed, looking at his face when the boy looked up at him with hatred.

"Icarus is a mouthy one. Never knows when to shut up." He stated coldly, amused by how much the boy seemed to be getting uncomfortable from all this. How much he so visibly hated everything they were saying. He moved his hand off his uninjured shoulder and grabbed Svlad by the jaw digging his fingers in before adjusting to rub his thumb over the boy's bottom lip. "Been thinking about sewing its mouth shut."

"Wha-"

"Would be an improvement." She scooted closer, using how Priest was holding Svlad to her advantage as she worked on stitching the wound together. Priest just watched how Svlad closed his eyes and cried as she worked. Squirming each time the thread pulled through his skin before she tied it off and cut it. Moving to his other side to check out his shoulder. "How deep did you go?" Svlad started to thrash now when she started to touch the wound. Crying out in pain as Priest let go of his head and moved around to the side of the bed.

"I'll hold it down better for you. And to the bone." He added as he got on the bed, straddling the boy's hips and catching his arms when he moved to try and shove at him. Pulling them down and pinning them under his knees he leaned forwards and held him down by his chest. Pushing a decent amount of weight into him as the doctor moved to cut more of his clothes away to see it better.

"Mr. Priest... I'll want to look at these too." She was poking at a bruise on the boy's rib making him whimper as he kicked his legs trying to get away. She rolled the stool away to grab the supplies she needed to take care of his shoulder, Priest was giggling a bit while sitting up.

"I'll get it ready for you." He watched how Svlad looked from the doctor to him, fighting harder and trying to wiggle his hands out from under him.

"Mr. P-Priest pl-please-" He seemed almost desperate about it as Priest grabbed the boy by his uniform and carelessly started to rip it away. Destroying it enough and then working on the boy's undershirt which he practically tore off as he tossed the fabric to the side. He watched how the boy cried and kept struggling his arms still having bits of fabric on them from the sleeves. Priest hummed a bit to himself while touching the boy's stomach. Fingers rubbing along bruises and gloves smearing more blood on his skin. He ran his hands up his body before pressing them against his chest again when the Doctor rolled back over to them. Setting up a tray as she set to work flushing out the wound on his shoulder. Priest could feel the boy try to shift away, body stretching and straining under him trying to get away as she cleaned the wound before working on looking at it more.

"Mr. Priest... Is there a reason the inside of this wound is so shredded?"

"Not my fault it can't stay still while there's a knife in its arm." He mused out earning a bit of a sigh from her as she looked to her tools.

"I'm a person." He said it so soft and a little broken, Priest found himself enjoying the look on the boy's face as he looked over to see what she was doing. Priest could see her grabbing a scalpel out of the corner of his eye and taking the sheathe off it. Priest giggled a bit when he noticed how Svlad was shifting, all while watching the scalpel with horror.

"Well, that's going to make this take longer. There's tissue inside that's too damaged to try to heal so I have to cut it away." He could see the panic growing in Svlad's eyes as the boy tried to sit up only to be stuck by Priest holding him down.

"Wa-wait—Sh-shouldn't I g-get m-medication for my pain? Y-you know before you-" Priest moved his hand off Svlad's chest to grab him by the jaw. Shoving his head back into the pillow with an amused grin on his face.

"Why should I let her reward you like that? You've been so bad all day." He went from holding his face to gently petting him, hand moving to run through his hair brushing it out of his face.

"Pl-please-" He watched Svlad close his eyes as he begged, Priest couldn't stop the smile as he continued to pet the boy's face. Thumbs stroking his cheek so tenderly as he got more comfortable on top of him. "I-I'll b-behave."

"I don't believe you." Priest purred the words down to him, hand moving back to the boy's chest as he listened to him go back to crying. Eyes focusing on the wound as the doctor went back to what she was doing, using tweezers and a scalpel to cut away at ruined tissue. He listened to the boy cry out in pain as she worked on him, finally setting those tools down to work on getting a needle threaded. Working meticulously to sew up the inside of the wound as Svlad trembled under his hands. Causing Priest to gently rub his chest before looking back to his face. Eyes tightly closed and face screwed up to show his pain as he shifted uncomfortably as much as he was allowed. He looked like he was going to pass out-

"You can remove the sticks from its nose." She stated while tying off and cutting the thread before working on sewing the outside of the wound, Priest slowly slid one hand off the boy's chest. Moving it up and grabbing the sticks and slowly pulling them out, tossing them on the discard section of her table where slivers of the boy's flesh was. "Try not to break its nose anymore. Next time you could lodge some of the cartilage into its brain and kill it."

"I'll keep that in mind." Would be an unfortunate thing to have to explain to Ken... He rubbed the boy's chest more when she finished sewing up his shoulder, watching as she leaned over to look at the bruises on his ribs and stomach. Eyeing them before sitting back down rolling over to another drawer as she removed her gloves and tossed them before putting on a new pair and grabbing a syringe. Rolling back over she turned her attention to Svlad who was pressing his cheek into the pillow, still whispering that he was a person. That they couldn't do this to him. That it was wrong. Priest was giggling a bit before looking to the doctor who injected Svlad with the contents of the syringe.

"I'll want to check out how this is healing in a week. Though I get the feeling I'll see it before than." Priest just smiled at her while climbing off the bed, stretching his back a bit before looking back to her.

"Yeah, probably." He watched as she started to reach for a bandage to put on his shoulder and chest and lifted a hand to stop her. "We're off to decontamination to get it all cleaned up. They can take care of it." She put the supplies away before standing up to take care of the tray.

"Great. And you really should see me, I can fix that." She stated while motioning to his face, making Priest laugh as he grabbed Svlad and pulled him up.

"Come on, Icarus." He slowly started to pull, trying to get out of his grip with a look of panic on his face. The sleeves of his suit no longer being held on and slowly sliding off his hands now and onto the floor and bed.

"Pl-please—Mr. Priest... I can't-"

"Just to decontamination, and then you're going back to your room." He stepped closer, pulling the boy so he was sitting on the side of the bed. He stepped closer so he was between the boy's legs as he pet his face and his hair. "It's almost over."

"Wh-why can't I-I j-just shower l-like a n-normal per-person." Priest just smiled, enjoying how much being treated like an object was affecting him. He moved both of his hands to his hair now, continuing to pet him before he pushed the boy's head back and leaned down so their foreheads were touching.

"You haven't earned that privilege." He announced coldly before stepping back and pulling the boy after him, giving an amused smile when the boy tried to catch what was left of his uniform. Priest watched him in his pathetic attempt to stay modest, he moved and grabbed the boy's wrists, pulling them away from the cloth. Watching his squirm and get more upset as the uniform started to slide down his legs. Priest pulled him closer watching as he forced the boy to step out of them so he was in his underwear. "You'll get a new one." He watched the boy squirm and try to get his wrists out of his hands, he slowly let go of one before he started to lead him towards the door. He could feel the boy's panic grow as he tried to fight him, wanting to get away. But Priest just held his wrist tighter as he dragged him out into the hallway and towards decontamination.

He once more shoved the boy into the room, watching him as the boy shifted and hugged himself, trying to make himself small and get away from everyone. "You can take off your clothes this time, or I can cut them the rest of the way off." Priest stated while watching him. Already pulling his blood-soaked leather gloves off so he wouldn't get the boy dirty again when he grabbed him after.

"Pl-please, M-Mr. P-Priest. D-don't-" Priest walked over to him grabbing the waistband of his underwear while pulling the knife out, already cutting the cloth away and yanking his underwear off before tossing it to the side. Svlad cried as his hands moved to try and cover himself, Priest grabbed him by the jaw, hand still holding the knife which was now pressed against his cheek from how he held him.

"You going to take your shoes and socks off or do I have to do that too?" He could feel the boy shift as he stepped on the back of his shoe and pulled it off that way, kicking one to the side before repeating the process with the other. He even moved to step on the toe of his sock to get one off and then the other. "Good boy. You going to behave while they clean you?" He watched as Svlad turned his head to look at the Agents who were already getting ready.

"Mr. Priest-"

"I will chain you up so they can work if I have to." He mused the words out while moving his hands to cup the boy's face, turning his head so he would look at him. "Do I have to do that, Svlad?"

"W-won't th-the hose m-make the w-wounds tear." Priest shifted with a grin, amused by Svlad bringing up that concern as he rubbed his thumbs over the boy's cheeks. Finally moving to slip his knife away so he could come off as more caring.

"Ohh, don't worry, Svlad. I'll make sure these stay intact." He giggled a bit while dragging the boy over to the other agents. "Boys, we're going to do this a little differently today. You know, don't want to tear his new stitches and all. And if either of you end up breaking his nose again I will personally kill you." He smiled when they both shifted in their stance obviously uncomfortable from the threat.

"So, uh... 'gentle' wash than?" One of the agents asked while looking to the one with the hose who sighed while taking the attachment off of it.

"You got it." Priest moved his hand, reaching in his pocket to pull out a key, shoving Svlad against the wall and pinning him there with his body as he unlocked the collar around his throat and held it out for the agent who usually collected clothes to come grab. Priest moved his hand and slowly rubbed where Svlad's skin was red and irritated with light burns from the collar. "Don't want to get that wet." He hummed the words to the boy's ear as he stepped back to let the agents work. The hose used a gentler stream this time as they worked on his back first from that being what Svlad was giving them. Eyes lingering as the other Agent started to scrub him down having to push him against the wall a few times to get him to stop fighting before he was rinsed off again.

He watched as they shoved the boy around so his back was against the wall. Working with fighting his hands as they continued to wash him. Priest found his eyes locked on the bloodied water that ran down Svlad's water as the water stopped for him to get scrubbed down again the agent being careful when they got to his wounds. Rinsing him off the one with the hose got closer, forcing him down on his knees so they could wash the blood out of his hair. Cleaning it and scrubbing down to the scalp before rinsing him off again. Making sure none of the blood lingered on his body as they moved him to dry the boy off and bandage him. The agent holding the collar running it back over to Priest who walked back over to Svlad. Who had fallen on his knees when they were done with him, grabbing him by his damp hair to raise his head.

"C-can I h-have my cl-clothes now." He watched how Svlad was still covering himself as he locked the collar back around his throat, grabbing it and pulling the boy up higher on his knees.

"They'll be in your room." He was amused how much he started to cry from that as he pulled on the collar. "Get up." He let go and watched Svlad as he dropped his head before forcing himself up on his feet. Going back to covering himself as Priest grabbed him by the collar and dragged him out of the room. Leading him back to his room. He let the door close behind them as Svlad looked to the new uniform laid out for him, eyes lingering on them before he grabbed the clothes. Putting the new pair of underwear and the undershirt on first before deciding to slip the uniform on. Priest could tell he didn't want to, he could see the look of hate in the boy's eyes as he put the thing on.

"How long are you going to try and make me use my abilities." Priest walked over to him, hand touching the boy's back as he smiled from how he flinched at his touch. Already he was trembling from his touch, so uncomfortable and bracing for whatever he was going to do to him next. He just kept rubbing the boy's back, smiling when he slowly started to relax under his touch.

"Until it works, Svlad."

"Wh-what if it doesn't." Priest just smiled before moving his other hand, grabbing the boy's face and forcing him to look at him. Eyes lingering on the stitched up cut under his eye before he looked into his face.

"It will." He could see those tears of frustration build in his eyes as Svlad tried to pull away from him and stare off to the side. Obviously upset by his words, the sight was making Priest giggle as he slowly dropped his hands to the side. "We'll find out what works soon." He promised while heading over to the door, being let out by one of the agents on the side. He couldn't stop his smile as he listened to the door shut and headed towards his room so he could clean up.

Chapter Text

Priest watched the Agents set up the testing room to how he wanted it, eyes lingering on the wall they were putting up before he walked over and attached the chains to it. Tugging on them to make sure they were stable before he turned his head to look at Ken when the man walked in the room. "Hi, Ken." He mused out the name while dropping the chains, turning his full attention to the man who was looking at the room. "You're a little early if you wanted to watch the test." He mused while motioning around the room.

"Mind if I ask why this test?" Ken seemed more interested this time. He had a bit of an epiphany last night, since he had to hold back on physical torture thanks to Svlad being 'too' injured. So, he barged into Ken's office, told him what he would be doing tomorrow. Ignoring the slight uncertainty and concern in Ken's voice as he left the room to tell his people what he needed. All of whom were rather eager to help him. Priest slowly leaned against the wall they had set up, smile on his face as he looked at Ken. Thought he had explained it well last night, unless Ken was too focused on what he was doing rather than the why.

"Stress. Fear. Adrenaline." He moved his hand, gently running it along the wall, right where he was going to chain Svlad up. Could already imagine his face, how much he would panic, and flinch, and cry. How he would struggle so much the sounds of rattling chains would fill the room. He let his eyes slowly trail away from it, trying to stop the small fantasy of what was going to happen. He was slowly turning to look back at Ken. Finally stepping away from the wall to head over to him. "All of those emotions usually kick in people's survival instincts, so I'm hoping that will get Svlad in touch with his abilities. We all know he has them, he just keeps resisting it. Thinks too much and all. So, I'm putting him in a situation where he doesn't have time to think. Where he won't have the ability to protest what he is because his main focus is going to be on what I'm doing." Priest stopped just short of Ken as two agents brought a table in that had a cloth covering it. Walking in they glanced at him as Priest made a motion to the side, almost like he spoke an order they moved and set up the table exactly how Priest wanted it. He smiled before looking back to Ken, shifting a bit in his spot from the growing excitement.

"I have a good feeling about this one." Priest added with a grin. And usually his feelings were right, because, unlike Svlad, he actually listened to them. Ken seemed pleased, or more at ease anyway, with that information as well.

"I think I will watch this one, through the mirror, I don't want to interrupt your test." Priest could just feel that excitement growing, pleased that Ken was interested enough to want to watch this. "When do you plan on bringing Icarus in?"

"Well now that the room is all set up, I'll go grab little Svlad Cjelli now." He mused while heading out the door, into the hallway where he headed down to Svlad's cell. Staring at the Icarus symbol before opening it, stepping in to find Svlad actually curled up on the bed this time. Sound asleep too from the light snoring coming from him. Along with little grunts as he would shift and change sides, he watched him carefully as he walked further into the room. Wanting to embrace this wonderful opportunity of having the boy completely unaware of him being there. He walked slowly around the bed, being careful to make his footsteps light as he stood at the foot of the bed.

Reaching a hand down as he pulled his gun out of its holster, cocking it and watching how the boy barely moved from the noise. He slowly removed the clip after getting one bullet in the chamber. Wanting to start the psychological torture early. He moved closer, aiming the gun at the floor as he held it near the boy's head, grinning as he pulled the trigger. The sound was loud, echoed through the room, and even made him tilt his head with a little wince from the ringing in his ears. He watched as Svlad had jolted up, screaming in a panic, fear evident on his face as he held a hand to his head, covering the ear that was closest to the gun. Already scrambling and pulling away from him and trying to get to the other side of the bed. Getting tangled awkwardly in the blankets and falling off on the other side in an ungraceful lump. Wincing and holding his injured shoulder from the pain of it all.

"Morning, Svlad!" Priest mused out with a little giggle while walking around the bed. Fixing the gun so Svlad wouldn't know that the gun wasn't loaded when he used it again. Watched the boy try to kick his legs out of the blankets and pull himself up to his feet, pressing his back flat against the wall. "I have a fun test set up for you today."

"M-Mr. Pr-Priest, wait." He sounded so scared and jittery already, it was actually kind of adorable. Priest reached out and grabbed him by the throat, pushing him more into the wall as he moved his other hand to catch Svlad's wrist when he tried to push him back. He pinned it above the boy's head smiling from how he winced thanks to the wound in his shoulder. He kept him pinned there before his hand slowly slid down his throat to rest on his chest. Feeling how hard his heart was hammering against his chest as he left his eyes locked on Svlad's tear filled ones.

"We're going to have a lot of fun today." He rubbed his hand firmly along his chest putting more weight on him as he looked the boy in the eyes. Stretching his arm further above the boy's head to make the stitches in his shoulder go taught.

"O-ow--"

"Well... I'm going to have a lot of fun. You on the other hand..." He giggled while slowly moved his hand from the boy's chest to catch his other wrist. Moving it to join the one he already had pinned above his head, holding both wrists in one hand. Once more grabbing the gun he holstered as he pressed the barrel against his chin, digging it in as he forced the boy's head back. Enjoying how he winced and tried to pull his head away. "You might not enjoy it as much as me." He tilted his head while pulling the gun back, watching as the boy cried and struggled against the wall. Not having anywhere to really go, just ended up squirming against him and the wall.

"Y-you c-can't kill me."

"I can shoot you though. There's a lot of non-vital areas I can put a bullet." He grinned as he shoved the gun against his mouth, watching the boy panic as he forced it into his mouth. Jabbing the gun hard into his cheek forcing him to turn his head so his cheek pressed against the wall. Pinned between it and the gun. He could feel how Svlad was struggling a bit harder, teeth going from touching the gun to him widening his jaw trying to pull his head back. "Here for example." He smiled as tears poured from the boy's eyes as he pulled the trigger. He couldn't stop from laughing at the click of the empty gun, watching Svlad flinch with a muffled and panicked plea. Only to let go of his wrists and watch as the boy dropped like a stone to the ground. Crying and holding his cheek, like he was really checking to make sure Priest didn't shoot him.

"Y-you're insane." Priest kept laughing while pulling the clip out and loading the gun, making sure to do it low enough that Svlad was watching. He pulled back on the gun cocking it letting Svlad watch as the bullet entered the chamber. He crouched down in front of him while smiling into his face, enjoying how Svlad was trying to push himself into the corner and shaking his head. "N-no." Priest moved the gun, pressing it against the wound in the boy's shoulder and pushing him more into the wall with the barrel of the gun. "M-Mr. P-Priest."

"Here, I can shoot here too." He moved his finger to the trigger, rubbing his index finger along it as he watched Svlad get more and more tense. "But, I need your arm in decent condition for this next test." He pulled the gun away, slipping it into his holster after turning the safety on.

"Wh-what's the te-test." Priest moved his hand, grabbing him by the jaw, forcing the boy to look up at him as he gave a small laugh. Petting his cheek with his thumb as he reached his hand in his jacket again, watching the boy flinch back.

"Darlin', one day you're going to know what the tests are. And then you can stop asking me that question."

"I-I'm n-not psychic."

"Svlad, for this test you better hope, or pray, that you are. Because if you're not you can die today." He watched how Svlad's panic grew from that, how he shoved himself more into the wall and shook his head.

"P-please. M-Mr. P-Priest--" Osmund just slowly pulled a leash out from under his leather jacket, showing it to the boy who moved his hands to grasp at the ring of the collar. Obviously not wanting him to put it on. "Y-you're joking! You're n-not r-really going to-"

"Svlad." Cutting off his protest. "Don't start." Priest hummed while leaning forwards pulling one of his hands away from the collar. "Let go." Svlad shook his head rather defiantly while twisting his wrist and body trying to escape his hold. Priest sighed while standing up, foot moving to step on the boy's inner thigh. Digging his heel in as he pressed down with a good majority of his weight, causing Svlad to squirm and move his hand to try and shove his foot away with a cry of pain. Priest used that to his advantage and clipped the leash into place. Already tugging on it as he started to step away, "Come on, Svlad, I have a really good feeling today." He stopped by the door and smiled back at him. Watching how Svlad was grabbing at the leash and trying to get it off. "Ah, ah." Priest pulled out the gun, aiming it at the boy's leg he grinned when Svlad kept trying to fiddle with the leash only for Priest to shoot next to his foot. Watching how he flinched and jumped away, staring at the bullet that was half embedded in the floor. Priest used his distraction to pull the boy after him.

"Mr. Priest..." He watched the way the boy's eyes narrowed, how he opened his mouth before shaking his head and looking away. "N-never mind..." Priest watched as the boy slowly stood up, shifting uncomfortably as he looked to the leash. "W-what do I have to do to not be lead around like a dog?" Priest pulled on the leash, watching him stumble forwards as Priest turned to him. Giggling a bit as he cupped the boy's face when he ended up in reaching distance. He pulled the boy closer to him, Svlad's hands already grabbing at his wrists and trying to pull his hands away.

"I was thinking slave. But if you want to be a dog I can make you crawl-"

"No! No! I--" He looked so panicked at the thought. "I-I'll take the walking on two legs option." Priest slowly rubbed his thumbs over his cheeks before letting go and starting to walk again.

"We'll see how long that lasts." Priest mused out while pulling the leash when the boy didn't automatically follow after him, making the boy stumble a bit. He glanced back to see Svlad staring at him suspiciously while begrudgingly starting the walk down the hall. Priest looked back ahead when the boy did what he wanted, getting closer to the testing area he could feel Svlad slowing down.

"Mr. Priest," He sighed heavily in annoyance, wondering why he was so fucking chatty today. "I know you have a good feeling about today... but." He turned more to face him when he realized where this was going. His smile getting wider as the boy started to fidget with the leash, eyes dropping as he stared at the floor. "I... I have a bad feeling." Perfect.

"Svlad." He was giggling as he closed the distance, grabbing him by the chin and forcing his head up as he smiled down at him. "That's good. You want to know why that's good?" Svlad's eyes were wide now as he stared at him, he could see the fear already there. It was fucking beautiful. "That's good, because that means your abilities are already starting to work today." He watched the boy try to pull away and shake his head.

"N-no, I just-" Priest hummed while pulling him closer, wrapping the leash more around his hand to make the distance shorter.

"You used your abilities, and I know this because you're right. This is going to be very bad for you, Svlad. And, now you can't tell me you're not psychic." He pulled him towards the door, when the boy tried to pull away from him a little uneasy. Osmund was looking to the scientist who was already getting the scanner ready. "You can go ahead and write down that Icarus got its first feeling today." He watched the scientist perk up a bit. Sudden excitement on his previously stoic face. "Bad feeling about what we're doing today." He added as he looked at Svlad, yanking on the leash again when he tried to pull away.

"I don't want to go in there, please, Mr. Priest-" Priest pulled him closer tugging his head up by getting his collar tucked just under his jaw.

"It's funny you think you have a choice." He mused the words, smiling when the scientist managed to scan the boy while he was distracted.

"Welcome Project Icarus." Priest was already dragging him in the room, he could feel the boy struggling more as he continued to drag him through the room and over to the wall they had set up. He stopped to turn and face him. Grabbing him by the collar so he could unlock the leash, already shoving him against the wall.

"Mr. Priest." He could see Svlad looking at the chains before glancing back at the cloth covered table, obviously getting more nervous.

"Take off your uniform." He tossed the leash towards the table in a bored manner, before resting his hands on either side of the boy's head. "I don't want to get it bloody this time." He grinned when Svlad closed his eyes.

"Please-"

"Take. It. Off."

"M-Mr. Priest p-please, d-don't d-do this." Priest moved and grabbed the zipper of his suit, he tugged it down rather roughly. Watching as the boy tried to pull away, hands moving to try and catch his, to stop him from taking off his uniform. Priest just smiled while letting go, working on pulling the suit off his shoulders and tugging it down despite Svlad's fighting. If you could even call it fighting. He shoved Svlad more into the wall, watching his suit drop further down his body. Catching the boy by his wrists when he tried to grab it, he shifted and pinned them against the wall by the boy's head. Leaning in as he shoved his knee between the boy's thighs. Feeling the way they closed on his leg, trying to stop him as he stepped on the mess of cloth on the ground. Pulling on it and forcing Svlad to step out of the rest of his uniform. He kicked it to the side, so he wouldn't be able to dodge out of the way and grab it. Watching the boy's face the whole time, rather enjoying how much he was already getting upset about losing that much clothing.

Priest let go of one of his wrists, stepping back as he dragged the boy closer to one of the chains which he grabbed cuffed his wrist to it. Moving he pulled the boy the other way by his opposite wrist, till his arm was taught out next to him raised a bit at an uncomfortable angle. Holding him there as Svlad struggled and turned his body, pulling hard on his arm trying to get it out of his grasp. He reached over and grabbed the other chain, cuffing Svlad's other wrist to it. Making sure the chains were tight enough and he was where he wanted him he slowly started to walk backwards. Looking the boy over as he started to struggle and fight his chains. Pulling on them and trying to slip out of them, he couldn't help but enjoy the sound of his struggle. The way the chains rattled restlessly against the wall, but he wanted to make this worse for him. He stepped back over to the boy, grabbing his undershirt, and pulling on it. He watched the way Svlad pulled away from the wall from the action.

"I don't think you need this either." He stated while pulling out his knife.

"N-no- Mr. Priest-" He ignored him as he started to cut into the fabric, watching Svlad shove himself into the wall as he cut along the shirt from the bottom up to his throat where he rested the tip of the blade in the dip in his collarbone. He watched as Svlad basically held his breath not wanting to move and get cut. He laughed a bit before adjusting the knife and cutting down the sleeve, repeating the process before tossing the mess of his undershirt away. Leaving the boy shifting awkwardly in just his underwear. He put the knife away as he took a few steps back to admire the view.

"Ready to see what I have in store for you today?" He said the words in amusement as he walked over to the table, hand grabbing the cloth. "Or, do you think you can tell me what it is?" He grinned when Svlad locked his eyes on the table, hands pulling a bit more at the chains.

"Pl-Please, M-Mr. P-Priest-" Begging, and he didn't even know what the surprise was yet. Priest couldn't stop from giggling as he yanked the cloth off. Revealing the array of knives that were there. He watched as Svlad's eyes widened as he started to fight the chains harder. "N-no."

"This test is simple." He spoke over the boy's protest. It sounded so broken, Priest grinned as he looked back at the boy, slowly pulling his jacket off and letting it rest on the bottom run of the table. Grabbing one of the knives as he got in position in front of the boy. Pausing right before he threw it, holding the blade tighter as he clicked his tongue. "You know. Actually. I think something's missing." He was amused how the boy was already closing his eyes and leaning to the right side. Almost like he knew he was aiming at the left. "Yeah, I want to make this better." He knelt down checking the lower shelf of the table and giggled when he saw the speakers sitting there, just like how he wanted. He reached in his pocket and pulled out his phone, could see Svlad staring at him could already feel the panic in the room as Priest plugged the phone in. Like the boy knew what playlist he was loading up. Hitting shuffle on the playlist he turned to face Svlad.

Right as "Broken Bones" by CRX started to play. He could already see the tears filling the boy's eyes as he continued his futile struggle. Giggling a bit harder when he realized why Svlad was starting to cry so heavily before he even started. "Ohhh, that's right..." He couldn't stop the laugh as the memory of why this song was so upsetting started to play in his head. "This is the song that was playin' when I cut off Todd's arm, wasn't it?" Could remember when he picked up the pace he was starting to saw to the rhythm of it. "What a way to start the playlist." He giggled while throwing the knife, watching how Svlad flinched to the left just in time for the knife to just graze his shoulder, knowing if he didn't move he would have that knife sticking out of where his stitches were.

"Can he see where you're aiming?" He glanced at the scientist before looking back to Svlad who had his legs drop from under him. Staring up at the knife in horror, already panting as more tears started to blur his vision. While he was distracted Priest discreetly picked up the second knife and threw it at the boy. Aiming right for his nose only for Svlad to jerk back enough it barely grazed him rather than cutting it off.

"Did you see that one coming?" A little sarcastic tone in his voice as he listened to the boy let out a little sob. The Scientist seemed satisfied which was good, because if he interrupted again...

"M-M-Mr. P-Pr-Priest... Please." He was trembling, he could hear the way the chains shook with his body, Priest just grabbed a third knife. Could already feel himself getting into this, enjoying the fear coming from Svlad, the way he was already a mess.

"You'll want to stand up. Or you're going to run out of dodgin' room." Svlad looked back at him, crying harder as he forced himself up on shaky legs. Stepping forwards so he arms were pulled back, but further away from the wall that he wouldn't bump into the knives sticking out of it. Priest grinned while taking aim again, shifting in his stance to get into a better position. Doing a few test throws, watching how much the boy started to tense up each time. How he was slowly turning his head like he didn't want to watch but refused to fully look away and close his eyes. He grinned from that while throwing the knife, watching as Svlad pulled his right leg away, Priest could see the way the blade grazed his skin before sinking into the wall. His eyes felt heavy as he watched the blood drip down his thigh, he grabbed the fourth knife as Svlad hesitantly step his foot down.

"M-Mr. P-Priest... Stop."

"Think you can call out what side I'm throwing?" He watched as Svlad shook his head, dropping it as he leaned forwards more. He could see the tears falling off his face from this angle. Making Priest shift a bit more from the sight, feeling a heat in his gut as he moved his hand to unbutton a few of the buttons on the shirt he wore.

"Mr. P-Priest" Priest threw the next one, watching him flinch to the right, knife cutting his side just below his ribs before sinking into the wall. Making the boy cry harder as he adjusted to grab onto the chains, face slowly raising to face him when he grabbed the fifth knife. Spinning it around in his hand as he took aim again, watching the boy who was shaking his head, breath shaking as Priest threw the knife. Svlad flinched to the left enough that the blade didn't even hit him this time.

"You're getting' better at this." He slowly walked over to the table, grabbing the blindfold that was there as he started to walk towards him. "Don't want our friend here to think you're seeing where I'm throwing them." He mused while showing him the blindfold.

"W-what. N-no, no—Pl-please n-no! M-Mr. Pr-Priest!" Begging. "I-it's b-bad enough w-without th-that! Pl-please!" Priest just grinned when the boy tried to lean back and away from him only to bump into the hilts sticking out of the wall. Giving a small whimper as Priest tied the blindfold around his head. Leaning in so his mouth was at his ear, lips brushing as he caught the boy's face by his cheek, pulling him closer.

"You're doing so good, Svlad. I told you I had a good feeling about today." He giggled a bit while letting go when he cried harder, legs dropping out from under him as he went limp in his spot. He let his eyes follow him, how he just hung there, too scared to want to stand anymore. Priest moved his hand to grab him by the collar, forcing him back up to his feet and shoving him against the wall. He could hear his whines from having the hilts of the knives digging into his back.

"Pl-please, stop." Priest grinned as he let go of him, watching him lose his footing again as he walked back over to the table. Picking up the sixth knife as "Fear & Delight" by the Correspondents started to play for them. He glanced at the scientist as Svlad slowly forced himself up on shaky feet, legs trembling in fear as he shifted in his spot. Obviously terrified from not being able to see as Priest took aim again. Throwing the knife and laughing when Svlad still managed to dodge it. The knife cutting the boy's left bicep this time as his arms trembled, the blood running down his arm and dripping off of him. Priest grabbed the seventh knife, glancing at the mirror this time curious how Ken was reacting to this before he looked back to Svlad. Taking aim with the knife he threw it, watching how the knife grazed the boy's cheek before stabbing into the wall behind him. The boy was shaking as he leaned his head to the side. Panting heavily in realization Priest could have killed him if he didn't know where it was going.

"M-Mr. P-Priest, pl-please. Pl-please st-stop." His voice was quivering, honestly, he found himself a bit turned on by it. Shifting in his stance and feeling a bit too warm as he started to pull off the shirt he wore, which was Martin's old one. Pulling the buttons free he tossed it to join his jacket so he was in his undershirt. He pulled at the cloth before reaching over and picking up an eighth knife. "Pl-please--"

"But you're doing so good, Svlad." He watched as the next knife cut the boy's forearm, he barely dodged that one in time. He was giggling from how deep the wound looked, how Svlad squirmed and went limp again to keep the knife away from his arm. He could hear the heavy crying, he could see the boy was getting exhausted. Priest gave a low hum while walking back over to him, cupping his face and tilting his head up as he pushed the blindfold off him. Looking into his tear-filled eyes as Priest ran his thumb over the cut on his cheek. Smearing the blood on it as he tilted his head up, "Don't tell me you're already losing the feelings."

"I-I d-don't want t-to d-do th-this any m-more. Pl-please Mr. P-Priest."

"Funny, I don't recall givin' ya choice, Darlin'... Ever, actually." He giggled a bit while forcing him to turn his head, so he could look at the knife that almost killed him. "Is it because of that one? I had a good feeling about it." Svlad was shaking, trembling as his lips quivered and he gave a small sob.

"Pl-please-" He looked so stressed, so tired, he slowly rubbed his thumb along his cheek. Getting the boy to look back at him, he slowly let go before walking back to the knives. "I-I d-don't w-want to die."

"You're getting yourself locked in that head of yours again." He turned to watch Svlad shake his head as he picked up the ninth knife. Watching Svlad scramble to stand up straight again, eyes wide as Priest took aim.

"N-no--"

"You were doin' good when you weren't thinkin'." He added before throwing the knife. Watching Svlad flinch and pull his leg away only for it to cut into his left thigh, a lot deeper this time. He cried out while falling limp again. Priest could hear his shoulders pop as he tried to stand back up.

"Pl-please, I-I'm not psychic. I'm n-not-" He was pleading, feet slipping as he tried desperately to stand, but he just couldn't get his footing. Priest watched as the boy practically broke down, crying and begging him to stop to the point he was babbling over gasping breaths for air. Priest frowned, eyes narrowing on him as he set the knife back down with a disappointed sigh.

"Svlad." He said the name calmly while walking back over to the boy, grabbing him by the chin and forcing his head up as he looked to the tears slipping from his eyes. Listening to him sniffle and try to catch his breath at the same time. MISSIO's song "Twisted" felt faded in the background as he watched Svlad give up on trying to stand. The only thing keeping him up being the chains, he looked to the knives sticking out of the wall behind the boy before he gave a heavy sigh. "Since you're not going to be good anymore." Priest stepped back, eyeing the cuffs around his wrist as he pulled the remote from his pocket. He watched Svlad stare at it before glancing at the metal on his wrists.

"N-no- no! M-Mr. Pr-Priest!" He forced himself to stand while letting go of the chain as if that would save him. "I-I'll d-do I-it--" Priest just pushed the button, watching how the boy's muscles contracted, body convulsing as he lost his footing again once more falling so the chains were the only thing holding him up. Hands twitching and contracting in odd ways as he screamed through gritted teeth. Priest let go of the button watching the boy twitch and pant, trying to catch his breath. His hands still twitching as he leaned back, ignoring the hilts he was pressing in to as his head lulled forwards. Priest was giggling as he stepped over to him, grabbing the boy by the hair and pulling his head back.

"Ohh, I bet that hurt more than usual." He could feel the way the boy still trembled from the shock, how he seemed to be in and out of focus as he shifted and tried to stand again. Grabbing at the chain with his uninjured arm as he started to pull himself up.

"I-I'll continue." Voice slurred a bit as he slid in his stance, Priest just smiled while brushing his hand through the boy's hair. Slowly walking back over to the table, turning to look at Svlad who was standing once more. Priest picked up a knife, watching as Svlad blinked a bit, looking drained as he shifted to get in a better stance. Not knowing how his reflexes would be he threw the tenth knife, watching it imbed itself into the wall. Right next to the left side of the boy's head but not close enough to hit anything, he watched as Svlad collapsed again in actual relief, letting out the breath he was holding.

"Did you know that's where it was going." Svlad slowly looked up to him before glancing towards the knife. Chewing on his lip helping the split that was there start to bleed again. Clearly not wanting to answer, fighting with himself till he glanced at the chain on his left arm. Head slowly dropping so Priest couldn't see his face.

"I... h-had a hunch y-you weren't a-aiming f-for me." Priest couldn't stop the grin from that. This was perfect. "C-can w-we pl-please stop? I-I-"

"I have ten more."

"I h-have a bad f-feeling." Dirk was crying, in obvious panic while trying to escape the chains.

"Maybe that's enough for now." The Scientist actually seemed genuinely nervous for Svlad. Probably just worried that Priest didn't know what he was doing. Priest narrowed his eyes on him while picking up the eleventh knife, actually staring at the man. He found himself not really wanting to stop. He wanted to continue until Svlad finally admitted to himself he was psychic. Maybe not in the way everyone wanted him to be, but enough that it actually helped the boy in a way.

"Mr. Priest." Hearing his name spoken like that from the Scientist made his eye twitch. Priest narrowed his eyes on the man before tossing the knife blindly. Glancing over to see it land right above the boy's head digging into the wall but not hitting him at all. Priest just smiled before arched a brow towards the scientist, almost daring him to see what the man would do.

"Nine more." He stated in an almost dark tone, which had the scientist holding his notes closer to his chest. Priest could hear Svlad shifting again, he looked over at him when he started to shake his head. Begging him not to as Priest picked up another knife. Dragging it along the table as he listened to it scrape against the metal. Turning to look at Svlad, but instead of throwing it he started to walk over to the boy. Watching as he shook his head and awkwardly shoved himself more into the wall.

"N-no, no-" Priest grabbed him by the throat, pulling him up and pushing him back into the wall. Having him lifted just enough his toes barely touched the floor. He hoped that the knives digging into his back was hurting. He started to rub the blade against the boy's thigh, enjoying how much he was trembling as he fought the chains so he could try to grab his wrists.

"If the problem is me throwing the knife, there's another thing we can do." Humming the words before dropping Svlad. Listening to him cough and gasp as he pulled a key out of his pocket. Walking over to the boy's left hand and unlocking the cuff around his wrist. Watching him collapse the second one wrist was free, sliding along the wall and the floor till his other hand was held straight in the air. Priest slowly grabbed Svlad's hand, raising it above his head and pinning it there as he adjusted how he held the knife. "You're going to want to straighten and spread out your fingers, Svlad."

"N-no! No! Pl-please no-" Priest pulled his hand back with the knife, waiting as Svlad shifted trying to do as asked. Song changing to "I Feel Like I'm Drowning" by Two Feet right as Priest stabbed the knife down. The room felt silent, even with the music playing in the background, Priest slowly looked from the boy's face (which he found himself disappointed it didn't contort into pain, and agony), to the knife which was stabbed into the wall, Svlad's hand clenched into a fist so his knuckle has only been grazed. He giggled a bit while letting go of Svlad's wrist. Finally walking around to the other side to uncuff his right one, watching his arm drop. Svlad instantly was hugging his arms to his chest, leaning forwards to cry, cradling the hand he seemed afraid he almost lost. Priest slowly crouched down in front of the boy. Hands moving to run through his hair, getting Svlad to look at him.

"Guess what, Svlad." He was smiling while continuing to pet the boy's hair. "You actually passed the test today." He was giggling still while watching the blood run down his cheek. He watched the scientist out of the corner of his eye when he started to walk over to him. Typing into the scanner before approaching, Svlad shifted trying to pull away only for Priest to catch him by the hair. Pulling on Svlad's hair and yanking so the boy's forehead was pressing against his thigh as the Scientist scanned the barcode on the back of his neck.

"Project Icarus third test resulted in; Success." Priest glanced at the door, watching as it opened for them before looking over to Svlad. Running his fingers through his hair before letting go so the boy could sit up, his eyes locked on where his suit was, causing Priest to smile. Knowing that the boy wanted it back on despite hating it. He tugged the boy's hair again to get him to look at him, amused smile lingering on his lips when Svlad refused to look at him. Head raised and eyes downcast, hidden behind wet lashes from how much he was crying.

"Want to get it all dirty again?" Teasing as he moved his hand to smear the blood on his arm, he watched the boy wince and pull back. "That's your last suit till they make you more." He pushed the boy back till he pressed him against the wall. Hand rubbing along the boy's chest as he looked at the wounds on his body. "But if you want to ruin it and start running around more like this-"

"N-no... I... Pl-please M-Mr. P-Priest, I don't w-want to g-go back t-to the de-decon-contamination sh-showers." Priest just grinned, hands moving to cup the boy's face as he pulled him closer, getting more on his knees as he looked between the boy's eyes.

"No?" He hummed the word, so amused by this, by how shaken up he still was. How scared he still was. "And how do you suppose you'll get all this blood off you?" He shoved the boy more into the wall, letting go of his face as he trailed a hand down, watching his body tremble as he started to rub his fingers along the cut in his side. Pressing against the wound and watching it bleed more, enjoying how Svlad twisted his body trying to get away.

"W-wait!" Priest blinked when the boy's expression changed so suddenly. How he seemed to have had a thought that was distracting him. Hand moving to try and shove his away, going back to squirming and pushing himself more into the wall. Other hand moving to Priest's shoulder to try and keep him back. Honestly Priest didn't even register he was moving any closer to him. Both hands rested on the boy's ribs, thinking about how it would be fun to break them. He forced himself to look back into the boy's eyes.

"Yes, Svlad?"

"I-I... I passed th-the test." Priest leaned back, smile reappearing on his face as he sat back on his calves and kept his eyes on the boy who. Seemed to notice how awkwardly close he was and was pressing himself more into the wall and leaning to the right to try and weasel away from him. "S-so, I should be able t-to take a shower by myself." Priest couldn't stop from laughing, a full-blown hearty laugh like Svlad just told him the funniest joke. He moved his hands to grab the boy's collar and tugged him forwards from it.

"Svlad!" Still laughing, he had to bite his lip to try and stifle it. "You don't get to choose your own reward, that is not how this works. I decide what you get, and what you don't." He forced himself to stand up, just dropping the boy as he walked over and picked up the boy's suit. "This," he held it up for him, "being intact, that's your reward." He watched how Svlad just looked at him with disbelief while slowly standing up.

"B-but-" He watched how Svlad glanced at the knives, giving a low whistle when the agents in the room aimed their guns at him. He laughed at that as Svlad rather quickly moved away from the knives. Hands raised slightly as he stared at the guns in fear.

"Calm down, boys." Priest mused, slowly walking over to them and watching them lower their guns. "Know you're all still itching for combat, but Icarus here is harmless." He mused the words while looking back to Svlad who was shifting uncomfortably and hugging himself. Obviously wanting out of there, tears of frustration welling up in his eyes. Priest nodded his head towards the table, watching out of the corner of his eye as one of them headed to the wall. Working on removing the knives as the other worked at the table.

"W-what now?"

"Now, Svlad," Priest walked over to the boy, noticing how his eyes were slowly locking on his chest. Made him wonder if he could see it, the navy-blue lines of his project symbol thanks to how the neck ran on the undershirt he wore. "I'm going to take you back to medical, and make sure this one isn't as bad as it looks." He grabbed the boy's arm, digging his thumb into the deep wound that was on Svlad's forearm, watching him collapse to his knees with a cry in pain. Hands desperately trying to shove Priest's hand off him.

"Mr. Priest." Priest let his eyes move from Svlad to the voice that interrupted, at first there was a flash of anger in his eyes till he looked at Ken. Smile quickly taking over his face as he let go of Svlad and walked over to him. "I wanted to congratulate you on the success of your test. No one's ever gotten Icarus to respond like that." Priest was giggling while looking over the boy and then back to Ken.

"Oh, that's simple reason why. See, scientists have no problem cutting people open and seeing if their insides are still the same. But god forbid having a test that can potentially kill a subject." He looked over to Svlad, could hear Ken shift as he saw the way Svlad was staring at him with wide eyes.

"So... you didn't know he was going to-"

"Told you I had a good feeling." Priest mused out while stopping even closer to the man. Practically ignoring Svlad now as the boy cradled his arm to his chest just staring at them.

"What... would have happened if he didn't dodge the one you threw at his head?" Priest ran his tongue over his lip, glancing at the wall where the knives were before looking back to Svlad when he heard the boy moving.

"Well, I guess I would go back to having missions with Bart as my main priority." He found himself amused with how Ken just closed his eyes. Like he wanted to say something but didn't even know where to start.

"Bart..." They both looked over to the boy who was pushing himself up, still hugging himself as he stumbled forwards. A look of shock on his face. "Sh-she's here?" Ken looked away from Svlad over to Priest, fixing the cuff links on his suit before turning to head out.

"I have things to take care of, please try to make sure Svlad makes it to his room safely, Mr. Priest." Priest just sighed while folding up the uniform he was holding.

"Yeah, yeah." He turned to walk over to Svlad, grabbing him by the bicep, right on a bruise that was there from previous times he'd dragged the boy around. Svlad seemed hesitant but he slowly walked with him. Clearly uncomfortable about being out in the open like this in just his underwear, Priest took his phone back from the agent in passing. Slowing to a stop to look at the man with an amused smile, had been so long since he'd seen him out of full gear and only in uniform he almost didn't recognize what one it was. "Any news on my new jacket, Bosco?" The agent rested his hands on his gun looking to Priest before slowly shrugging his shoulders. Posture going a bit slack like he was relaxed, only to quickly stand up right again when Priest arched a brow.

"You'd have to ask Mason, she's the one that set everything up, Sir." Bosco slowly looked from Priest to Svlad than back again. "I'll send her to medical to meet you." He announced waiting for Priest to keep walking before the man turned on his heel to head down the hallway. Priest glanced at Svlad when he noticed the boy reaching down to touch his thigh, rubbing around the wound which was over a bruise that was there.

"What did you mean..." Priest slowly looked over to Svlad as he put his phone in his pocket. Looking back to the boy from his question he arched an eyebrow. "E-earlier when you said you go on missions with Bart..." Priest smiled as he stopped walking turning to face Svlad who was eyeing his uniform and shifting uncomfortably from being as exposed as he was in the freezing hallway.

"Svlad, when you're finally useful to Blackwing, you're going to be given missions, where those abilities of yours can finally do some good. Bart has always been in touch with her power, and now that we have someone who understands that and isn't crying over the fact she's a child... Well, she can go out and do her thing whenever she needs to." He watched the way the boy's eyes scanned his. How he shifted and looked away finally. Eyes on the ground now as he really seemed to be thinking it over.

"So, one day... I can leave?" Priest just laughed at that before walking again, dragging the boy down the hall to the medical wing.

"Svlad, I'm never letting you go if that's what you're getting at."

Chapter Text

"Why am I not surprised to see you again?" Doctor Bahr asked, having slowly glanced at them when they entered the room before looking back to her computer. Focusing more on her work than paying too much attention to them. "Make it sit. I'll work on it when I'm done." Priest couldn't stop the laugh from how carelessly she spoke. Even motioning her hand at them boredly like Svlad wasn't worth her time or focus. Priest dragged the boy over to a bed and shoved him at it. Waiting for him to take the wordless command to sit down. He looked so exhausted and yet so angry it was kind of adorable. Still wanting to fight even though he was reaching his limit.

"Sit down." Svlad turned to face him on shaky legs glaring at him before looking to the doctor.

"You can't just treat me like I'm not a person." His voice even waivered, Priest ran his tongue over his teeth. Smile still on his face as he stepped forwards, punching him hard enough in the side the boy yelped and stumbled. Hands instantly clutching at the bruise he struck and looked to Priest with a mix of shock and anger. Osmund just grinned as he grabbed the boy by the collar, pulling on it as he stood in front of him. Hand sliding down to his chest before he gave him a hard shove that knocked him down into a seated position on the bed.

"Icarus," he purred the project name, hands moving to grab the boy's face, forcing his head up so Svlad was staring at him. He watched how the boy moved his hands to his wrists trying to pull them away, he could see the growing distress on his face like he realized he messed up. "You aren't a person, you're a project." He rubbed his thumbs over his cheeks, smearing the blood that was there from his knife as he watched the boy try to shake his head. Try to pull away, getting more frantic about it as Priest continued to pet his face. "You're my project." He giggled with the words, watching as Svlad struggled even harder. Crying more now as he shook his head.

"I'm not." He almost sounded like he was begging him, like he was pleading with him for that not to be the case. "I-I'm not-"

"You are." He mused the words, said it in such a caring and concerned tone. Almost like a parent to a child as he moved his hands to start running them through the boy's hair. "You were being so good today too. Passing that test so well, but then you just..." He trailed off with a solemn sigh, hand moving from the boy's face to his wrist. Grabbing it as he tugged it to the railing, other hand grabbing the restraint that was already attached. He watched as Svlad went tense before trying to pull his arm away from him. Struggling and flailing as he tried to shove the restraint and Priest's hand off him with his free hand.

"W-wait, y-you don't-" Priest tightened the restraint painfully, he could tell by the little yelp and way his hand already looked a little red it was too tight. He moved his hand to shove the boy down by his chest, getting on the bed and dragging the boy's other wrist over to the other side of the railing. Restraining that one as well, watching with amusement as he pulled against the restraints with growing panic. Priest moved his hands back to the boy's face, wiping his tears away before getting off the bed.

"From being so good, to being bad. And to think I was actually going to reward you." He was giggling as he stepped away, watching Svlad out of the corner of his eye as the boy began fighting the restraints harder.

"M-Mr. Pr-Priest please-"

"No, you definitely can't beg your way out of this."

"Mr. Priest?" He glanced towards the doctor as he continued to write something up, made him curious what was so important she couldn't be bothered to sew Svlad up. "When I fix whatever's wrong with it, do I have to clean it too? Or you going to the decontamination showers again?" Priest grinned as he looked to Svlad who was shaking his head no. Actually, staring up at him with begging eyes.

"Decontamination showers, maybe then it will learn why it shouldn't try and make its own rewards." Priest smiled from how much harder the boy was crying from that. He glanced back to the doctor when she rather quickly rolled her chair over. Priest rested his hand on the railing, staring from her towards the computer and back. "What has all your attention?" He sounded amused as she gave a small groan while glancing up at him as she rather roughly started to clean the wound on Svlad's forearm.

"Ugh, one of the teams fucked up, I'm sure you remember Project Abaddon." Priest laughed from the name, actually standing up straight and tilting his head.

"Hoo boy, I was hoping to get that one again. How many did it kill?" Bahr gave a small sigh, as Priest looked to what she was doing. Watching how Svlad was shifting in obvious discomfort looking between them and seemingly not wanting to look at her sewing up his arm.

"Enough that I'm drowning in paperwork, they wanted to bring one of the bodies in." She was laughing while shaking her head at that. "Can you believe that? I was able to argue my case why that was a bad idea, they got a nice little morgue set up where the bodies are. I'm sure is just full of destruction and those damn bugs." Priest clicked his tongue as she finished stitching the boy up, giving the wound one last cleaning before she pushed herself away and back to the computer while taking off her gloves.

"I'll have to talk to Ken."

"No rush, I'm fine without it being here." She said in a bored tone, Priest just stood up straight and glanced to Svlad who was back to fighting his restraints. Guessed he should kill some time while he waited for Mason...

"Abaddon?" He noticed the look of curiosity on his face as he still tried to fight his restraints.

"Don't worry about it, Icarus." He stated flatly while moving his head to brush the boy's hair off his forehead. Watching as Svlad opened his mouth, like he was going to try and push for details on it. "So, your feelings are 'hunches,' huh?" He sounded amused, breaking the conversation so he could actually understand better how Svlad operated. It would make training the boy easier if he knew more about how Svlad even used his abilities in the first place. He smiled as Svlad closed his eyes, lip quivering as he tried to turn away, causing Priest to cup his face and make sure the boy continued to look at him. Even as he bit his lip trying to stop it from shaking as he got closer to crying harder.

"I-I'm not psychic." He sounded so upset causing Osmund to smile as he tilted his head up more. Ignoring the boy's attempt to deny his abilities.

"Clearly you are. Not in the way Blackwing wants you to be, but enough to know when things are going to happen." He watched as Svlad slowly opened his eyes to glare at him, was even shifting in his spot as he pulled against the restraints some more. Looking more and more like a trapped animal that wanted to get out and away.

"Then you should know things won't work how-"

"Icarus." He said the name harshly, watching how the boy flinched, even looking away as Priest giggled and pet his hair some more. "You can't tell me it's not going to work, especially after today. Through all the years we have had you, today is the first time you tested successfully." He watched the boy shift, stare off to the side clearly trying to process what he said. "I know what I'm doing, and how to work with your abilities." He watched how a calculating look slowly started to come across the boy's face. How he stared at the new stitch job on his arm.

"Mr. Priest... A-are..." He took in a deep breath before finally looking up at him. "Are you a project?" Squinting at him suspiciously as Priest just started to giggle.

"And what makes you think that, Svlad?" Purring the words, watching how he seemed to be working up what it was that made him think that. Like he was slowly starting to doubt his question, before he took in a deep breath and seemed to think more on it. More on how to answer, it was almost like he could see the gears turning in the boy's head.

"W-well... A lot of things, honestly." He glanced up when the boy pursed his lips together. Looked like he was in heavy thought as he pulled on the restraints, trying to move. "To start... yesterday, with how you talked about the feeling. Like you knew what it was like instead of just the stupid assumptions the scientists make and try to recreate." Which were stupid fucking tests, only good that could come of it was humiliating the boy by setting him up for failure. "How today you had a 'good' feeling," even used his fingers for air quotes, "about what you were going to do. In such a confident way you tried to kill me." Priest giggled as Svlad glared at him, noticed his eyes trailing down, how he then looked to the bandage on his chest where Priest carved his symbol. "And your tattoo..." He trailed off as Priest stood up straight.

"Oh, I bet that's just killin' you isn't it?" He ran his tongue over his bottom lip as he leaned over the boy, hand resting by his head as he watched Svlad try to sink more into the mattress. "Tryin' to figure out why I have been running around workin' for Blackwing so long if that's really what I am." He was laughing, amused how Svlad was staring off to the side, could still see the glare though as the boy squirmed in his spot. He watched Svlad bite his lip again, hands moving to grab the railing he was restrained to. "Debating if you really wanna know, Darlin?"

"Why is a monster like you allowed to be free, while I'm stuck here?" He couldn't stop from laughing from the venom in the boy's voice as he stood up straight. Punching the boy in his shoulder and watching him flinch and cry out in pain from the cut there.

"Watch that mouth of yours, Icarus." He then leaned in and grabbed him by the jaw, forcing his head up to look at him. "And you're the 'Detective'." Mocking tone in his voice as he let go of him, looking to the door as he saw a rather short agent walk through it. "You figure it out." He stood up straight, smiling when the woman walked closer to them, hair pulled back in a pony tail and her bangs framing her face dropping just to her shoulder. She came to a stop and stood at attention as Priest turned his full attention to her. "Hey, Mason."

"Hello Mr. Priest. Your jacket should be ready by the end of the week. And I would stay and chat, but I need to go find where Bart apparently wandered off to."

"I would try the kitchen first." He sounded amused as he watched her vanish out of the doorway, he finally looked back to Svlad who was shifting against his restraints, could see the boy's eyes lingering on where Priest put his suit. "I guess it's time to get you cleaned up." He mused the words while grabbing the boy's wrist and getting the restraint off. He watched with amusement how he was so quick to hold his wrist when he took the second one off. Rubbing it and flexing the hand almost like he was trying to get feeling back. Could see the hand start to turn a normal color from the purple it had been turning. "Get up."

"Please, I don't want to go back to the decontamination showers." Priest grabbed him by the collar, pulling him up so he was sitting on the side of the bed. One hand on his and the other gripping the railing. Like he had been bracing himself, "Pl-please Mr. Priest." He watched him close his eyes, visibly getting upset from the idea of having to go back there.

"Don't you want all this blood off you?" He rubbed his thumb through the blood on his arm, watching the boy squirm a bit.

"I-if you would let me have a rag... I c-could wash it off in the sink." Priest was amused how he would rather do that than go through the showers. He pulled more on the collar forcing Svlad off the bed as he started to walk with him. Picking up the suit on the way.

"You're getting cleaned properly." He could hear Svlad cry as he stumbled after him, hands grabbing his wrist trying to get him to let go.

"Y-you need hot water to be cleaned properly." Priest looked back at him with an amused smile as he dragged the boy back into the familiar room, eyes locking on the agents who were in the middle of passing time by playing cards. He watched as they looked up to him, lowering the cards and starting to stand up.

"Don't let us interrupt you, you can continue your game." He chimed in as he dragged Svlad over to where he was usually scrubbed clean, tossing the uniform away before looking to Svlad. "Do I have to cut those off of you, or are you going to be good?" He watched as the boy looked from him over to the crew who looked unsure if Priest was being serious or not.

"Mr. Priest." Suddenly seeming even more nervous as Priest moved his hand to the boy's chest and shoved him against the wall.

"Tsk, tsk, tsk, really had high hopes about your behavior today." He pulled handcuffs off his belt, watching as the boy tried to slip away from him. He grabbed Svlad by the arm, being careful not to tear his stitches, as he slapped one cuff around his wrist. Grabbing his other he dragged the boy over to the railing that was there for more troublesome individuals. Cuffing his wrists around the railing which held the boy's hands at eye level. He watched him tug on them, struggling in his new position as he glanced back at Priest.

"W-wait-"

"You know how well telling me what to do goes over, Svlad. If you know what's good for you, you would stop before you get yourself into even more trouble." Priest mused while pulling out his knife. Watching Svlad try to slink away from him only to be pulled short. He could see Svlad's eyes shoot over towards the other men in the room who had gone back to playing their card game. "Going to beg them for help?" He mused the words while sliding the knife down the boy's side, once more cutting away the boy's underwear as Svlad trembled and forced himself more into the wall. "Go on, I want you to see just how helpless you are here. How alone you are. That there's no one here who will help you." He purred those words down to him as he sheathed the knife. Reaching in his pocket he pulled out the key to the boy’s collar. Turning him and shoving him more into the wall as he unlocked it and took it off. Looking at the bruises and burns he moved a hand to rub along the back of it. Watching the boy squirm before he finally stepped away. "Take off your shoes and socks." He stated harshly while leaving the boy there, completely naked and unable to do anything about it. Listening to him frantically trying to escape the handcuffs as he cried and tried to press himself more into the wall.

"You want a suit, Mr. Priest?" One of the guys asked as Priest set the collar on the table to keep it nice and safe. He smiled at them before moving to pick up the hose, looking from it over to them with a small laugh.

"I'll be fine, boys." He mused the words with a wink while taking off the attachment that made the water hit harder. Didn't need to accidentally break the boy's nose again, he took his gloves off and set them to the side before picking the hose back up. Walking over to the boy, kicking his shoes and socks off to the side so they wouldn't get wet. He turned the hose on when he figured they were far enough away, grabbing him by the hair and pulling his head back so he would step away from the wall as he let the water spray down his back. Watching how he jumped forwards with a yelp. He could feel the way the rather cold water splashed back on him, ignoring it as he slowly worked the water along his body. Watching him shiver and squirm. Trying to pull his hair away as he shifted uncomfortably. "I'm going to show you how bad these can be, maybe then you'll be grateful the next time I drag you in here."

"P-please-" Voice was shuddering as his teeth chattered. Knew the boy was already cold before he even started. He let go of the boy's hair, shoving his head forwards and down as he dragged the stream of water up his body so it was now running down from his head. Soaking into his hair and running down the front and back of him as he struggled and tried to step away. Priest grabbed him by the side, catching him and rubbing his thumb along the skin with a little hum as he kept the boy trapped there. Finally, forcing him to turn around as he shoved the boy's back into the wall. Working on getting the blood off his arms, feeling some water splash on his face as he slowly worked on rinsing him off.

He watched as Svlad shivered and squirmed, whimpering a bit from the cold. Found himself curious if he was always this vocal and just missing it from being on the other side of the room. He moved the hose, spraying it along the boy’s torso. Even put his thumb over the spray so it would come out harder. He gave an amused noise when the boy actually squeaked as he tried to turn away just giving Priest better access to his thigh which he rinsed off. “I need your other one.” He mused waiting patiently as Svlad slowly shifted, crying to himself with shuddering sobs before he turned for him to get his other leg. “Good boy.” He set the hose to the side. Grabbing the soap they used for cleaning and one of the scrubbers, he got it soaped up. Pulling Svlad closer to himself as he started with the boy’s arms and worked his way down the boy’s body. Watching the suds as they turned a pinkish red from the blood as he went over all the cuts he had.

He could feel how tense the boy was getting as he got further down his stomach. He just smirked while glancing up at the boy who was refusing to look at him, shifting uncomfortably in his spot and clearly trying to ignore where Priest's hands were going. "You know, I'm honestly amazed how shy you still are." He grinned when Svlad whimpered, obviously crying more as Priest casually ran his hand, without the scrubber, over the boy's cock. Head tilting when Svlad jerked away and actually kicked him. He laughed at that while stepping back, noticing the little bit of soap on his jeans from how much it had already been running down his body.

"W-wait--" He loved that, how quickly he went from ready to try to fight him to scared when he realized what he just did. How the boy stumbled back, slipping a bit and hitting his back into the wall. Only not falling because of the cuffs that held him into place. Feet still slipped a bit on the floor as he tried to get his footing. "I—Pl-please j-just don't t-touch me." Priest couldn't stop himself from laughing as he stepped forwards. Grabbing the boy by the throat and shoving him more into the wall, watching him struggle as he leaned closer to him. Ignoring how he got that soap on himself as he stared Svlad in the face.

"Svlad," He purred the name, hand moving from the boy's throat to his jaw as he tilted his head up. "What have I told you about telling me what to do?" He watched how much he was shivering and shifting against the wall.

"Please, Mr. Priest." He watched as the boy closed his eyes, trembling as he gripped the rail he was cuffed to. "I am m-more th-than capable of w-washing m-myself." Stuttering over the way his teeth chattered, he just grinned from his response. How he was still so insistent about not having to go through this process. "Pl-please, I-I'm s-sorry." He cupped the boy's face, tilting his head more, thumb rubbing along his cheek as he smiled from that.

"Look at me. And why are you sorry, Svlad." He watched as the boy slowly opened his eyes to look up at him. Tears running down his cheeks as he sniffled and shivered and tried to shift and get more comfortable. Looked so cute with his eyes all red, made the blue stand out more against all the tears.

"I'm s-sorry I-I tried to m-make my own re-reward." He slowly let go of him while standing up straight, stepping back and watching how the boy slumped a bit against the wall. Squeezing his legs together in an attempt to keep him away, Priest picked up the tool to clean him, watching as the boy cried and turned his head away. Tensing as he came closer and started to clean the cut along his thigh, getting the blood that was still trailing down before getting the other side. He turned the boy so his back was too him, cleaning, and scrubbing him down before standing up straight. Tossing the scrubbing brush to the side he grabbed the key from his pocket and unhooked the cuffs. Watching as the boy actually slid down the wall and onto his knees. Hugging himself and trying to curl into a ball, Priest grabbed the shampoo/condition mix and yanked the boy's head back by his hair. Rubbing the product into the boy's hair, watching as it got all bubbled up before letting him go. Grabbing the hose again, he worked on hosing him off, watching the boy squirm and try to get away from it only helping Priest to clean him off. He turned off and dropped the hose, watching as Svlad worked on rubbing at his arms, trying to warm himself.

"Come on, do I have to drag you, or are you going to move to the next step by yourself?" He smiled watching as Svlad looked from him towards where he usually got toweled off. Slowly forcing himself to shaky feet as he made his way over, Priest was already grabbing the towel. Wrapping it around the boy as he rubbed it along his shoulders. He had to bite his lip to stop from laughing when Svlad actually started to lean against him. Shivering and shuddering as Priest rather carelessly worked on drying him off. He had to actually push the boy back so he could get to his legs, fingers running over the cuts on his thighs as he looked those over. Making sure they weren't as deep as they seemed, he tossed the towel to the side, dragging the boy over more to uncuff his other wrist. Attaching the handcuffs to his belt he worked on putting bandages over his wounds. Cleaning the random spots where blood had started to drip from them again. "Good as new." He mused the words while standing up straight, motioning to where he threw the boy's suit. "Go on." He was amused how quick Svlad was to head over there, already tugging the suit on his body and getting it secured. Noticed the boy watching him as he walked over to the shoes and socks to put those back on too.

Priest slid on his gloves before grabbing the collar, stepping over to Svlad watching as the boy tried to back away. "If you try to fight this, I'm ripping that suit off you and you can be naked until they make you more. Am I understood?" He watched as Svlad hugged himself, eyeing the collar before finally nodding. He was starting to look so exhausted now, shivering and hugging himself, even with the bruises he could tell the boy had bags under his eyes. He smiled at the thought as he stepped over to him and slid the collar around his throat, locking it into place before grabbing him by the bicep. "Good boy." He mused the words out while dragging him out of the room, leading him down the hall back to his room. He shoved the boy inside, already looking to where he'd shot his gun, noticing it was already cleaned of the bullets and bullet casings.

"M-Mr. Priest..." Priest looked from the dent in the floor from his gunshot over to the boy who had collapsed on his knees in the middle of the floor. He could see him playing with the sleeves of his uniform in an almost childlike state as he stared off at the wall. "Wh-what are you g-going to do t-to me tomorrow?" He watched how the boy actually turned his head to glance towards him. The boy's eyes not going any higher than his collarbone. They just lingered there before flickering down to the floor, head still raised to try and make it look like he was staring at him. It was kind of cute actually how much the boy didn't want to look him in the face.

"Wont it be nice, when you no longer have to ask me that?" He mused the word as he slowly walked towards the boy. Grabbing him by the jaw and lifting his head so the boy was looking up at him.

"I-it doesn't-"

"Svlad, you really don't want to argue with me right now. I can take away this nice and peaceful ending to your day so quickly." He knelt down in front of him, getting close as he looked between the boy's eyes with a grin on his face. "Is that what you want me to do." He smiled as Svlad already started to shake his head. Hands moving to grab onto his wrists as he shifted up higher on his knees and started to beg him. "That's what I thought, so, until we tap into your abilities and until you learn to use them to their full potential... Well, we're just going to assume that your psychic ability goes more than just dodging knives." Svlad was crying a bit harder as Priest slowly wiped the tears away with his thumbs, he slowly let go of him and stood up. Watching how the boy scooted back from him and hugged his knees to his chest as he cried. "See you bright and early in the morning Svlad, make sure to get some rest." He teased while walking out of the room, shifting a bit in his stance while thinking back on what Bahr said.

Excitement starting to fill him as he walked down the hall right for Ken's office, opening the door he just smiled at the man who seemed to be working on something. A look of obvious frustration on his face, the man looked from the screen to him and seemed to pause while looking over his appearance. Priest glanced down at his wet clothes and couldn't stop from laughing as he continued to walk further into the room. "I hear you found Abaddon." Ken leaned back in his chair, looking from him to the notes before rubbing his face. "Where is she?"

"You just... just please, focus on Icarus." Someone sounded stressed. He couldn't help but giggle from that.

"I do have the capability of doing more than one thing at a time." Even put his hand over his heart in mock offense. Ken took in a deep breath, as Priest walked over to the desk, leaning on it with his hands as he glanced to what he was looking at. "What's wrong, Ken? Not expecting your guys to die?" He grinned while watching him. "A lot of these projects are dangerous people."

"I know. I just..." Ken was looking back to the files, like he was missing something and trying to figure it out. "How did you capture her last time?" Priest rubbed at his jaw while staring at the computer before looking back to him. Leaning more against the desk with his elbows now, resting his chin in one hand and grabbing one of the files and pulling it over to himself.

"What, didn't read the file?" He mused the words out with a little smirk, watching how the man glared at him. Motioning to the computer in obvious frustration.

"We tried approaching her from a nice way-" It just made Priest laugh from that.

"She took down a team of your guys, Ken, an entire team." He flipped through the photos that were in the file, of the aftermath. Scientist dressed in hazmat suits with a tent being set up. Bodies littered the floor; even small fires were being put out. Looked like something out the apocalypse with the way locusts were swarming all over the bodies. The few pictures they did have of the bodies had them all dried out like something sucked all the liquid out of them. "I went in, alone, to talk to a lost, and scared Teenager. You're now against an adult who won't fall for the same tricks again, I mean look at Bart... After you taste that type of freedom, why on earth would you want to come back to this." Ken looked from him over to the computer as Priest slowly stood up.

"It's different now-"

"It's different for Bart." Priest mused in, watching as Ken looked from his screens over to him. "She gets to go where she needs to. You really willing to let Icarus go out before he's done being trained?" He mused the words out as Ken shifted in his spot, like he was really thinking about it. The man even moved to rub the bridge of his nose.

"Maybe, I mean if something happens, and he gets a case... I can't just stop him from taking it, now can I?" Priest grinned while he looked the man over, even giggled a bit before shrugging.

"Well, we are stopping Bart from killing you, and she does say the universe wants her to kill you." He smiled when Ken looked back to the computer, motioning to it.

"They're all going to have their purposes, Mr. Priest. Svlad will find his, and even if he's not where we want him to be with Blackwing... You'll just have to make sure he stays on track. Maybe actually working on a case while in our hands he'll see how better suited it will be. I mean... I don't know if you recall the Spring case, but he has this habit of running into people who out gun him." Priest couldn't stop the laugh from that, he definitely read up on all the information they had on that. Especially from Ken's side involving him and Bart coming to the rescue and finishing the case for them. Priest ran his tongue over his bottom lip, smiling from that while stretching a bit. One hand pulling at his shirt to get it to stop from sticking to him.

"Alright." He mused the word out before crossing his arms over his chest. "Well, if you really want Abaddon, and don't want to lose more men just remember, she likes me, maybe we can still use that." He mused while walking away from the man's desk. "Think about it." He mused out while heading out of the man's office, guessing he should work on what he planned to do to Svlad tomorrow. He slowly came to a stop in front of a door he noticed guards standing in front of. It didn't have a marking but clearly, they were keeping someone in there. He would look into it later, he turned and slowly kept making his way down the long halls, heading to his room while checking his phone to see if he got anything from any of his guys.

Chapter Text

He had Svlad for a total of five days now. The training after the knife throwing didn't go as well, he hadn't had any more good feelings about the trainings so he knew from the beginning they weren't going to be a success. He made sure Svlad thought he was disappointed though. Breaking the boy down into a mess of tears and pain for his punishment of not doing what he wanted. Continuing to try and break his spirit by berating him for how much of a failure he was, can't even do the simplest of tasks. He smirked to himself while shifting in his car, mind lingering on how he was when he left him that morning. How he was a mess of tears and begging and pleading that this wasn't how his abilities worked. Trying so hard to convince him he didn't fail anything. It was adorable to watch him try so hard to convince him of what he already knew.

But that was what was so damn fun about it. Making the boy struggle over things he knew wouldn't work. Making him feel horrible for everything despite it not being his fault. Trying to hammer it into the boy's head that he could do better, even though he couldn't. He could spend all day playing those mind games with him. Hurting him both mentally and physically for things he couldn't control and had no power over. He bit his lip at the thought, biting at the wound that had finally been scarring over. Which he wasn't surprised that it still didn't fully connect at the top of his bottom lip and bottom of his top lip. Leaving a nice little open diamond shape from the scar tissue between his lips. Honestly it was just amusing to him despite Doctor Bahr insisting she could fix it.

Priest hummed to himself from the thought as he glanced back at the road, he had gone out to pick up his jacket given it was finally ready. Something about having to dye the leather to match taking a while before they stitched it all together in a way that it wouldn't ruin the design. And boy did he have a sick sadistic glee from when he took off his old leather jacket and slipped the bright yellow one on. He hadn't really been one for wearing much color, but he would get used to that eventually. Should go by Svlad's home one time and see if Blackwing already cleaned the place out. Maybe pick up more of the boy's jackets so he could taunt him with a different one each day. That would be fun.

He hummed to the music playing rather loudly over the speakers as he leaned back in his seat, reaching over to grab his phone and looked to the address he had typed up on it. Looking from it to the small box he had sitting on the seat, just a few things he felt Riggins would enjoy. Okay, a few things Scott was going to hate, he hoped he got the old man to break down when he opened the box. When he saw what horrible things he put inside of it just for him.

He grinned at the thought while starting up the GPS and heading to his destination. It had been a long drive, but it was definitely going to be worth it. Honestly, he wondered how Scott would react to the new jacket he had. If he would pick up on who's it was before he got it tailored to fit him. He smiled imagining the fit the man would hopefully throw, starting to turn down a street and hitting his breaks when a pedestrian stepped out in front of him. There was something about the way that they dressed, even how they carried themselves that was odd. Not blatantly odd, they didn't walk funny or have any sort of limp to them, in fact their gait seemed pretty steady if not a bit long for how short they were.

They were wearing a pair of ill-fitted jeans, and a rather large hooded jacket that seemed much too big for them. They were holding their hood up, yet he could tell they were looking at him from the corner of their eye before they continued on. Honestly, the whole thing felt weird and out of place, maybe that was also because this area wasn't that busy. He had only seen a few cars and no one seemed to be walking anywhere, everything was too far apart from everything. And with this heat, walking around with every building and business so far away from one another seemed like it would be a bit unbearable.

He let his eyes follow them, taking in the rest of their appearance to see black work boots that were torn up and faded the steel toes completely visible and they looked much too big for them like the rest of the outfit. They slowly came to a stop before reaching the other side, turning slightly despite the hood still covering their face, then he slowly started to continue on their way. It just all felt slightly bizarre, he couldn’t manage to pull his eyes away from them. Watching them as they continued crossing the street, seeing them stuff their hands in the pockets of their jacket as they continued down the sidewalk on the other side.

He couldn't stop watching them, curious where they were headed and who it was given the weird feeling from this. It seemed so familiar yet strange as he watched them, his thoughts were interrupted by a honk of the car behind him. He glared at them in his rearview mirror before looking back for the pedestrian who no longer seemed to be there. “Hmm.” He blinked a few times and sighed to himself before continuing on his way.

He couldn't help but wonder where this person was headed. Wasn't really anything over that way, he shifted in his seat. Resting his elbow against the window and resting his chin in his hand as he continued to watch as they headed towards the only gas station for miles that was on the corner. His thoughts were interrupted by a honk of the car behind him, he glared at them in his rearview mirror before starting to drive again. Snapping out of his thoughts about the odd person, honestly slowly putting the memory off to the side. It wasn't important, just some probably homeless kid that was lucky he didn't just hit them. After all he had things he wanted to do today. Like talk to Scott... well he wanted to brag to Scott about how well things were going in Blackwing without him.

The neighborhood looked nice, seemed like a place someone would settle down to raise kids though. Not retire, in fact there were a few of those annoying "Slow, Children at Play" signs around the place. Priest whistled low as he looked to the address he had then back to the small home that his GPS happily announced was his destination. It wasn't really what he expected, white picket fence, nice car and- oh. Not that one. He squinted a bit annoyed they would have light numbers against even lighter colored home. The one he really wanted was next door. He slowly looked to the other house and laughed from the more disheveled appearance of the house he actually wanted. Yeah that was better, the lawn was in desperate need of being mowed, even had dandelions sticking out all over the place. Wondered how bad the inside was going to be compared to the outside.

He drummed his gloved fingers on the steering wheel before turning the SUV off and getting out of the car. Reaching over to the passenger's seat to grab that little gift he had made for Scott before stuffing it in the pocket of his jacket as he glanced around the rest of the place. The neighborhood definitely gave off the vibe as some place someone would move to to settle down. Knew the man had lived here a long time, probably moved in with that ex-wife of his and decided to stay. False hope of security she would go back to him, he couldn't help but laugh at the thought. He glanced down to the basketball that ended up rolling over and hitting him in the side of the foot. Eyes lingering on it before slowly raising to the kids who were heading his way, till they got a good look at him.

Most of them stopping, one of the older boys even caught a younger boy who rather bravely still continued towards him. Honestly, he wondered what the reaction would be if he still had the Band-Aids and staples on the top and bottom half of his face. That part had finally become more of scar tissue than an open wound so he finally removed those. His nose on the other hand still had the safety measure of the staples and Band-Aids. Although he knew it would probably never heal right at this point, he might as well still try to see if the skin would bridge itself together. He finally kicked the ball, deciding to be nice and kick it right to the boy who looked more curious about the wound on his face rather than scared like the others. "Thank you, Mister!" Cute kid, and well-mannered that was good, they were rather quick to run back off to where it was they were playing. Priest slowly shut the door of the car before turning and headed around his SUV and went up the badly crumbled little walkway to Scott Riggins house.

Which just looked pathetic, paint was faded and chipping away, it looked like it could use some repairs... Really it was just awful, he wondered what he was even doing with all that retirement money. He gave a loud, heavy knock, hand resting on the doorframe as he waited patiently for Scott to open the door. Wondered how he would react to seeing him. The thought was making his excitement grow, just couldn't wait to see the man's face. "Just a moment!" He could hear it muffled from behind the door, making Priest tilt his head as he listened to the heavy footsteps across the floor. Listening to the door unlock with growing sadistic excitement, causing a smile to pull on his face as he watched the door open.

He looked to the man who stood there with a look of shock and surprise on his face. He could see the man was mainly staring at the wound cutting down the middle of his face. Watched as he actually stepped back with surprise giving Osmund the chance he needed as he stepped into the doorway. Free hand moving to the door, shoving it open more as he forced his way in. "Hey, Scott, decided to pay you a visit, it's been a while." He mused the words while walking passed him, could hear Scott rather quickly slamming the door shut before rushing after him. Priest just rested his hands on his hips as he looked around the place. "Wow, this is some shithole you have here."

"Osmund, what are you doing here?" He could hear the anger and disgust in the man's voice. "And where did you get that jacket?" Concern in his tone this time as the man seemed to be taking in his clothing appearance now. And he bet that jacket stood out so nicely against all the black he was wearing. Priest just ignored him as he walked into the kitchen, noticing the dirty dishes piling in the sink. Eyes shifting over to the fridge that had a picture of Scott with his ex-wife which seemed pointless to Priest for the man to have. He ignored that and eyed the coffee pot, already walking over and picking it up. Opening the top to smell if it was fresh or not.

"Never got to congratulate you on your retirement." He giggled as he watched Scott rather quickly go into the kitchen, even going so far as pulling the coffee pot out of his hand suspicious look on his face. "Going to get me coffee?" He mused the words while taking a step back, almost waiting for the man to do it. Instead Riggins just put the pot back and looked to him with a glare.

"Ozzy-" Priest's eyes narrowed on him for that. "Get out of my house." Priest moved his hand grabbing the man by the front of his button-down shirt and shoved him into the counter. Grinning as he leaned down to get in the older man's face, threateningly as he looked between the man's eyes.

"Or what, Scott? Going to call the cops on me?" He sounded so amused as he watched the man shift uncomfortably. "Go ahead. I mean, you know I only exist to Blackwing, but if you want to get people killed so badly you can get the public involved." He shrugged while moving his hand and pulling out his handgun, already cocking it after turning off the safety. "While you call I can work on taking out everyone who saw me come here... The neighbor kids got a pretty good look at me-"

"No!" He smiled as Scott actually put his hand on the barrel of the gun and pushed it down to aim it at the floor. Look of horror in his eyes, could tell from the way his mouth twitched he wanted to add to that. Probably going to try and beg and plead that they were only children, like Priest should care. Priest slowly let go of the man's shirt, brushing it off before glancing to the coffee pot then back at the man. He watched as Riggins grit his teeth before grumbling and moving to get two coffee mugs. He slowly put the safety back on his gun and slipped it back nicely into his holster. "What do you want, Ozzy?"

"Mr. Priest is fine, I like the formality-"

"I am not calling you that, Ozzy." Priest could feel his eye twitch as he shifted in his stance. Always hated when the man insisted on calling him that. "Here's your coffee. You can take the cup and leave, I don't need it back." The man holding it out to him and more or less shoving it in his hands, causing Priest to giggle as he looked at it.

"Scott," He sounded so amused by the way the man was trying so hard to kick him out of his home. "Where's your hosting spirit, I am a guest here." He mused, while taking a sip of the coffee, pulling the cup away while looking to it and back to the man. "And where's your sugar and creamer?" He hummed the words, watching as Riggins grunted before moving out of the way and motioning to the sugar. Priest stepped forwards with a smile on his face before helping himself to the sugar, even opened the man's fridge to grab the creamer and add it. Pleased that Scott was already begrudgingly holding out a spoon for him, Priest grabbed it and stirred his coffee while walking out of the kitchen. He could hear a heavy sigh and glanced over his shoulder to see Riggins pour himself a cup with obvious frustration. "You need to mow your lawn by the way, it's getting out of hand. I thought you got fined for that shit in nice neighborhoods." He took another drink while walking further into the house.

"It's not that kind of neighborhood-"

"Should really get your house repainted too, the current condition isn't good for it." Hell, even he managed to keep his place up and running and he wasn't home that often. The inside of the house was... well surprisingly clean aside from the dishes in the sink. Very out dated though and it looked like he needed to replace a few lights-

"Did you really come all the way over here, from whatever circle of hell you crawled out of, to lecture me on my home care?" Sounded so impatient, Priest just grinned over the rim of the coffee mug, taking another drink before setting it down on a wooden dresser. He could feel the man walk over and he smiled to himself when Scott picked the mug up and put a coaster under it. "Just tell me what you want."

"I have been thinking about something for a while, Scott." He turned to face the man, looking him over as he crossed his hands in front of him to take a more professional stance. "I can't help but wonder how you thought you could bring Blackwing back without me." He looked over to the man who was shifting a bit in his stance. Clearly uncomfortable with where this topic was leading, the man almost seemed to squirm under his gaze.

"Blackwing was shut down." Trying to keep that lie up. Like Priest didn't know, he watched him with narrowed eyes before continuing on. Since Scott clearly thought he was an idiot.

"Don't play coy." He knew Riggins was the reason why he wasn't called back the second the program started back up. Why Friedkin had to be the one to do it... but still. "Scott, even with how much you hate me, you have to admit I was the best thing that ever happened to Blackwing."

"That is highly debatable." Riggins said it so quickly Priest couldn't stop the smile.

"I brought in thirty of those Projects." He shifted while watching him. "Thirty, there were only twelve you guys managed to catch yourself, and one of those twelve you technically got because of me." He was just so curious why he wouldn't think to bring him in, why he thought he could do anything without him. "Did you even tell Director Wilson about me? Or did you keep that part a secret. I'm sure she read the files." They all knew he didn't really do this work for pay if it being under funded was the issue.

"You didn't need to be brought up." Priest's eyebrow actually twitched from that one, his smile slowly falling off his face as he dropped his hands to the side and almost relaxed his entire stance. Head tilting to the side as his eyes narrowed on him, he stepped closer to the man, hand reaching out to grab him by the shirt again. Pulling the man closer to him as he leaned down to invade his personal space.

"Because you knew I would be called in if she got all the details on me." He stated flatly, looking the man over, he could feel the irritation building in his chest. "You know Wilson would have loved my tactics for dealing with your little projects." Scott shifted clearly uncomfortable, Priest could feel the way the man was eyeing where his gun was before looking back to his face.

"I wanted Blackwing to be different..." Like that was an excuse. Like that explained everything on why he did what he did.

"I made Blackwing successful. I have always made Blackwing successful, and you just keep tearing it down." He couldn't help but laugh as he let him go with a small shove, watching the man step back from it as he turned to look more around the man's home. Going deeper and feeling the man following after him, almost with a sense of urgency.

"I gave you your freedom!"

"Ohhh, Scott." He turned to face the man, eyes narrowing on him. "You can preach that bullshit to me all you want but you know how much it pisses me off when you lie to me. You hate me, you hate how I work despite the fact I get results, it wasn't even your decision to sign me on as a soldier. You're old Director made that choice-"

"You were. No are, dangerous, and deranged. You don't care about anything other than yourself. I lost men to you. Of course, I didn't want to sign you on, you showed no remorse for anything. But I still, in the end made sure your records of you being Project Kronos, that your little stunts were buried far enough down that it would take a lot to find them." Priest couldn't help but smile as he listened to him, slowly tapping his foot on the carpet as he gave the man his full attention.

"Scott, you still tried to keep me from the only job I have ever loved." He smiled when he noticed the way Scott seemed to be processing this whole conversation. "Tried being the keyword." He watched how he closed his eyes and clenched his fists in anger. "I'm back now, and I cannot tell you how much more I love this job without you constantly being in my way." He stepped closer with a laugh when he noticed the look of dread on the man's face.

"Hugo..." Priest grinned even more at that before turning his back to the man, walking closer to a wall that full of newspaper clippings and strings. He looked a little closer to try and see what all it was about, before it slowly started to click in his head. It was tying weird occurrences together, things Blackwing had been linking to projects. It was only confirmed when his eyes lingered on a business card for Svlad. He lifted a hand and ran it over the name for "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" he slowly pulled it off the wall, holding it away when Riggins tried to grab it.

"I think the best part of this is, if you brought me back in from the start you wouldn't be stuck in this pathetic little hovel with little boards, newspaper clippings, and strings keeping you up to date on your precious little projects."

"Put that back-"

"You don't need it anymore. Svlad Cjelli is home and safe now." He even shoved the card in the pocket of his leather jacket before looking to the man.

"No-"

"That's what I came to talk to you about." He giggled as he watched the man. "I brought something for you. I have decided I'm going to give you a little something from each of the projects when I get them. A nice little package of something from all of your favorites-"

"Ozzy-"

"You know how much I love souvenirs. Thought maybe I could start a little collection for you, that’s something retirees do, right? Collect postcards of places they've been." He watched the man's hands shake as Priest pulled the package out of his pocket and handed it over to the man. It was small, about the size of the palm of his hand. "Please, open it, I want to see your face." He watched the man as he looked from him to the package, moving to sit down on one of the recliners in the room that was facing towards his little wall.

"What is it-"

"Open it, and you'll see." Priest was grinning as the man slowly moved and started to open the box, Priest's excitement was growing as the man opened it before quickly closing it again.

"Osmund." Sounded so broken as Priest leaned in and rested his hands on the arms of the chair, watching as Scott leaned back. The man obviously looking sick to his stomach. "You didn't-"

"Maybe you can start hanging those on the wall." He stood up straight, already grabbing the box with an amused hum. Walking over to the wall and opening the box. Pulling out the bloodstained tie, causing the eye that he'd taken from Todd to roll to the bottom of the box. He also removed the picture in there that was of Svlad very badly bleeding and crying. He pinned them to the wall where the business card used to be. "See... It looks so much better this way." He started to laugh before looking back to the man.

"Who's eye-"

"Svlad's doing really well under my care." He watched as the man just stared at the box, cringing as Priest grabbed another pin and stuck the eye to the wall by the ocular nerve that was still attached to it. Not feeling the need to tell him it didn't belong to Svlad, he would let Riggins torture himself over it. He slowly pointed to the newspaper clippings that clearly had to do with Bart before looking back to Scott. "I have her too. I wanted to bring her with me, you have no idea how badly." His eyes were getting heavy as he slowly walked towards the older man who was clearly still upset over the news of Svlad. "How fucking satisfyin' it would be if this little visit lead to havin' to kill you." He sounded so excited before he took in a deep breath and looked away from him. Staring back at the board, "But then I decided this was better, that I want you to live. I want you to sit here and suffer as you learn more and more about what is happening in Blackwing. I want you alive to receive all the packages I decided to send to your house. I want you alive so you can understand just how badly you have fucked up trying to keep this job away from me."

"Osmund please-"

"You should see how broken Svlad really is, especially because I have succeeded where all your scientists and little tests have failed."

"What are you talking about?" He got closer, leaning down so he was in the older man's face. Hands resting on his knees as he smiled at him. Giggling over his excitement to be able to tell him the news.

"Svlad Cjelli is mine." He announced it so happily, watching how Scott just gripped the arm of the chair. "I own him, and I get to train him so use those little abilities. He's going to become what Blackwing has always wanted him to be. And you know, really, I have you to thank for all of this. If you never tried to keep me out then I guess you would still be the supervisor, but because you did, and Hugo realized I was actually useful to the cause. Well, we wouldn't be where we are today, funny how the universe works out isn't it." He couldn't stop laughing as he stood up straight, stepping away from the man as he looked back to the wall. Eyeing everything he had, before he started to walk away. Pausing when he saw something familiar out of the corner of his eye off to the side. Someone in an ill fitted hooded jacket. "I'm going to keep sending you packages, maybe little notes with how things are going."

"They should have killed you." Priest couldn't stop the laugh from that, from the sudden anger in the man's voice. He even stopped in his step as he turned to look at the man with a grin. "After Diamond... they should have killed you. You're a monster." Priest ran his tongue over his bottom lip, giving another small giggle as he walked back over to the man.

"You're right, I am, you guys probably should have killed me a long time ago. But instead you gave me a job, and freedom, and now here we are." He motioned around the house, smile growing on his face. "You, forced into retirement obsessing over things that are no longer under your control. And me... Well," He was laughing again as he looked over to the wall, to all those newspaper clippings and his new addition. "I'm going to make Blackwing better than it has ever been." He turned and started to walk to the door, to show himself out as he smiled. "I'll see you, Scott, there might be some things I want to deliver personally... and," He paused while opening the door, glancing back towards where he left the man. "Do us all a favor and take care of your house." He mused while stepping outside and shutting the door behind him. Heading to his car he climbed in and started it up, looking around before driving away to head back to Blackwing. Was just glad Scott actually lived in the same state so he didn't have to worry about setting up a pickup time.

He couldn't stop thinking about that hooded person though...

So much to the point he headed to that gas station besides the fact it was dark out by the time he reached it. He pulled up to the pump and climbed out to start filling the gas as he headed towards the station. Looking at the teenager who was boredly leaning against the counter on his phone, clearly not paying attention to anything that was going on around him. Priest walked around looking for any signs of anything being out of place as he grabbed himself a water and a box of donuts before heading over the counter. Setting the items down only for the guy to glance at his stuff.

"Will that be everything." Stated in a monotone way as he grabbed the items to scan them, slowly looking up to his face. "Holy shit! What happened." Priest couldn't stop the giggle as he pulled out his wallet.

"Work accident." The kid was looking at the wound as he looked at the total and pulled the right amount of cash and change out. Handing it over to the boy who blinked, "Have a good day, kid." Mused the words, while slowly heading towards the door, stopping as he looked to the camera that was above the door. "I have an odd question, before I leave." He turned to look at the kid who blinked while looking over to him.

"Y-yeah?"

"Did someone come in earlier with clothes obviously too big for them. Wearing a hood, standing about this tall." He held his hand where she would have stood up to him compared to his SUV. The kid slowly shrugged his shoulders while rubbing the back of his neck.

"Dunno, I just got on, dude." Priest clicked his tongue while shoving open the door. Maybe it just wasn't important, could be anyone from that newspaper clipping. Didn't even have a story really around it was just pinned off to the side, like even Scott didn't find it important. Yet it had to be if he pinned it to the wall. He walked over to the SUV, opening the water and taking a drink before making sure his tank filled all the way. Putting the pump back and closing the fuel door before climbing in and driving off. Eating the donuts on the way back to Blackwing's base, feeling in a rather good mood from how well today went.

Chapter Text

He wasn't sure how long he had been laying in the bed, curled up in a ball hugging his pillow to his chest as a poor excuse of a blanket laid over him. He was freezing, and it did nothing to stop the aching in his muscles and his bones. He couldn't get comfortable despite how hard he tried, finally gave up looking for comfort and just looked for ways to lay that hurt the least. And curled up around his pillow seemed to be the winner so far. He took in a deep breath as slowly blinked his eyes, feeling so exhausted and emotionally drained, but he didn't want to sleep. He hated the nightmares that managed to plague him every time he shut his eyes. But it was so hard to stay awake, honestly, today felt like torture. He had only seen Priest in the morning. Thinking he was going to get dragged off to testing, when instead the man just sat down, ate in front of him. And let him know he was getting the day off, he could feel the pain in his stomach just thinking about it. How tightly it clenched and growled, he was so hungry. But Priest decided his punishment for not passing the last test meant he didn't deserve food.

He slowly glanced up when he heard the doors open and found himself face to face with Bosco. The man just smiling at him, his smiles were different than Priest's, not as sadistic and cruel. It actually always looked mildly friendly, until you looked into his eyes. He swore in those dark almost black eyes of his you could see your own death coming. He slowly sat up, inching back a bit unsure what to do now with this man in his room. His eyes were locked on the tray of food he carried though. He could hear how loud his stomach was growling as he moved his hand to try and muffle the sound with it.

"Good afternoon, Svlad." He walked in and Dirk watched the door as it closed, once more engulfing them in darkness before the lights kicked on. Causing Dirk to wince from the bright light, he watched they tray though, eyes locked on it. He sat up more with a small whimper when Bosco tilted it enough that the contents fell on the floor. Dirk had ended up sliding forwards on the bed, one hand out stretched as if he could stop the food from falling. But he just watched it pile up on the floor as Bosco slowly let go of the tray. Dirk winced while listening to it clatter on the floor, watching how it landed on top of the food.

"Boss says I have to stay in here while you eat it." He seemed so fucking gleeful, crossing his arms over his chest as he looked him over and then down to the floor where the food was. "So, hurry up, I've got better shit to do than babysit you." Dirk shifted, so tempted to actually get off the bed and eat it from how hungry he was. He didn't even care that the food looked tasteless. It definitely didn't smell as good as Priest's breakfast earlier. He bit his lip, debating on what to do. He gasped when Bosco walked over to him, grabbing him by the hair roughly enough to dig his fingers into his scalp as he dragged him off the bed and threw him at the mess on the floor. Which Dirk landed at, on his knees which were already painfully bruised from how much he fell on them while working with Priest. Hands on either side of the tray, he slowly grabbed the tray and pulled it off the food. Glancing on the bread that looked old and stale from how it wasn't even affected by the tray landing on it. And the slop that they deemed as food.

"Don't tell me I'm going to have to force feed you." He felt a foot on his shoulder, shoving him forwards more. He braced himself on his hands and glared back at the man who just kept that smile on his face. "Not going to be a good dog than? That's fine. I can work with that." Bosco took his foot off his back, Dirk shifted trying to block the man he kicked him. Hitting his arm and knocking it back into him as Dirk tried to sit up. Scrambling to get to his feet as he pulled himself away from the man who no longer appeared to be smiling at him. "Of course, I get stuck with the Bratty one."

"I'm not going to eat that."

"Svlad-"

"My name is Dirk!" He hated how the man just smiled from that, the way it made his stomach clench as the man walked over to him. Dirk backed himself up only to bump into the wall with nowhere to go, no escape. Just trapped inside his room with one of Priest's deranged lackeys. He tried to move to the side when Bosco closed in on him only to get punched right in the side, the man hitting the cut that hadn't been healing well from the knife throwing. Priest managed to break that wound open doing the same things, to the point he wondered if he told Bosco about that injured in particular. He couldn't stop from dropping to his knees again. Hands clutching his side form the burning pain of fabric pressing into the cut so hard he swore the scab that finally settled there was ripped off.

He felt too weak to try and fight back, he was just so hungry, and tired. His body and mind so exhausted, maybe giving in once wouldn't be so bad... He grunted when Bosco grabbed him by the hair and yanked him up higher on his knees. One-foot lifting to rest on his thigh before he started to put weight on it. Making Svlad cry out as the man basically lifted his other foot off the floor so he was standing directly on his thigh. One hand in his hair the other braced on the wall. And the asshole made it worse by shifting his weight to his toes before bringing his heel back down. Rocking back and forth from toe to heel.

"You going to be good for me? If you don't I'll do it to your arm instead. And then you can explain to Mr. Priest that I had to break your arm because you wouldn't eat your food."

"Pl-please-" His hands were desperately trying to shove his hard-soled boots off his thigh, he could feel every point and individual groove to the point he was sure it would leave an indentation in his skin.

"So, you'll eat it then?" He leaned forwards, pushing his body against the man's leg trying to throw him off balance so he would stop, only for him to move and put his other foot on his thigh, slowly starting to lean into it. Dirk squirmed while nodding his head.

"Y-yes-"

"Good." He gave a sigh of relief when the man stepped back onto the floor, stretching casually while moving out of his way. "Go get it, boy." He hated it, he hated that tone, like he was an animal rather than a person. He couldn't decide yet which one he hated more, being treated like an animal or an object. He slowly forced himself up to his feet, walking over to the food and kneeling down next to it. His pride was begging him not to actually do it, but his stomach was pleading with him. He finally grabbed the bread, feeling how hard it was as he ripped a peace off and stuffed it in his mouth. He closed his eyes just from the feeling of having food in his mouth. Taste no longer really meaning anything as he continued to eat more or less ignoring Bosco. Or trying to anyway, it was hard not to hear the little laugh here and there as he actually used the bread to scoop some of the slop up and eat it.

Telling himself that at least the floors were always clean. That Blackwing thankfully kept everything so bloody sterile. He felt humiliated when Bosco walked over to him and pet his hair when he was done, even calling him a good boy while ruffling his hair and shoving his head down. Made Dirk have to catch himself with his hands so he didn't fall face first into the floor. "Maybe next time Mr. Priest will have you trained not to use your hands." He laughed while walking away, scooping up the tray and leaving the room. Darkness once more engulfing the area the second the door closed behind him. Dirk found himself sitting there for a while before slowly moving back to his bed. Going back to curling up with his pillow and turning his back to the camera.

He just wanted out of this hell hole. He wanted to be home... he wanted his friends. He just wanted to curl up on the couch with them, huddle under a blanket and watch silly movies. Eat some popcorn... god, he missed popcorn. There was a lot of things he missed actually, not being humiliated at every turn being one of those things. He pressed his face into his pillow, closing his eyes and trying to calm himself down from the breakdown he wanted to have. But he'd had so many he honestly wasn't sure if he could cry anymore. It didn't help that he felt dehydrated, couldn't remember the last time he actually was able to drink some water that wasn't from the bathroom sink.

He slowly rolled over on his back, blinking when he heard the door open. Already getting tense and getting ready to scurry off the bed away from whoever was going to bug him now. Hoping it wasn't one of Priest's other little lackey's, or Priest himself. He just wanted a break... but then he saw them, Todd and Farah both coming into the room, Farah holding a gun that seemed to have green eyes on it to indicate it was Mona. "Dirk, we have to hurry!" He couldn't stop himself from crying as he got off the bed and hugged them. Clinging to both of them so tightly and crying against them burying his face into Todd's shoulder as he gripped and clung to the back of their jackets.

"I'm s-so happy to s-see you." He didn't even care if this was a dream, he just wanted to hold on to this moment, just wanted to hold on to them.

"We're going to get you out of here, Dirk." Hearing Todd's voice was a comfort, but something started to feel wrong, something started to smell wrong. The copper smell and taste of blood hit rather quickly and strongly, he slowly opened his eyes, nice and wide as he stared behind them into the hallway. He found himself not wanting to look at them, "Even though you killed us." He could feel a warmth he easily recognized as blood on his suit, staining it and he could hear it drip onto the floor in puddles. Hearing a wet thud as the hand that was pressed against his back no longer felt to be there.

"No..." He said it so softly to himself, he didn't want this.

"You shouldn't have come into our lives." He could hear the way Todd gurgled on the words from the blood in his mouth. The way it dripped down his chin and onto the floor. Dirk stumbled back, slipping in the blood and falling on his back. Staring up at them in horror, they looked exactly like they did when he last saw them. Covered in blood, Farah's organs spilling onto the floor, she even stepped forwards, causing them to drag behind her. Squishing some of them under her own feet as she got closer.

"You did this to us." Dirk covered his ears, shaking his head as he trembled and cried.

"N-no. N-no! I d-d-didn't... I didn't w-want this." He felt a hand grab his hair, tugging on it, eyes opening to be face to face with Priest who looked a lot taller than normal. Grin seemed even more twisted with that cut on his face split even wider to the point he swore he could see the man's skull.

"Poor, dangerous, little, Svlad Cjelli. Can't take any responsibility for yourself. Just look at all that blood on your hands." He glanced down, looking to his hands noticing a knife in one of them. He gasped and jolted back, shooting up in the bed as he looked at his hands. Feeling himself to see if there was any blood on him while slowly, very slowly, looking to the door. When he didn't see anything, his nightmares created he slowly laid back down on the bed. Closing his eyes and rubbing his face.

"Did you like, have a nightmare?" Dirk actually screamed from the voice that pierced through the darkness of his room. Sitting up and throwing the pillow into the darkness he heard it make a very solid hit while looking at Hugo Friedkin who was just standing there. Wearing a black suit with the first few buttons of it undone and no tie in sight.

"W-what are you doing here?" Dirk was panting, working on catching his breath as Hugo made a face at him from the assault of the pillow. He took in a deep breath while leaning his head back, honestly the man always reminded him of a child that got too overwhelmed by things. Though there seemed like something was different with him. Like in the light, or lack thereof, his eyes appeared to be pure black.

"I like, have ah... uh..." He leaned his head forwards and started to rub it. Other hand motioning like he was trying to remember the word. "Case!" Seemed excited now as he stepped forwards, and Dirk found his eyes widening as he looked into the man's eyes, to the red irises that were odd in shape and much larger than they should be. "I... We I guess? Have a case for you."

"Is... is this... another dream?" He moved his hands to rub at his eyes, trying to blink this figment of his imagination away. After all, from what her heard when he finally asked, Priest said Hugo was dead, that he didn't survive from the battle. Could still remember how cold he was about it, and uncaring. Taunting him for how he'd still be alive if he didn't get the kid involved in his silly little case. But now here he was, in his room, staring at him, and telling him he had a case for him.

"No. I'm here?" He even was feeling his chest to confirm that statement. "Yep. I'm here see." Dirk blinked when the man stepped forwards, grabbing his hand and bringing it to his chest to feel. And... well he had a heart beat so that was good. "Look, I just am..." Dirk slowly let his hand drop, moving to pinch himself to see if he really was dreaming. "Uh... I have to go around and like, try to help the others... the ones like you. Okay? So, I have like a big case for you."

"And how exactly am I supposed to go on this case?" Hugo gave him a confused look, mouth half open as Dirk finally motioned around them. "I don't know if you noticed but I am trapped and being held prisoner by Blackwing! Worse, actually. By Priest." He watched as Hugo rubbed his face, closing his eyes a little tight before he sighed.

"Look, Dirk." He felt tears coming to his eyes from that name, from his name being spoken out of Hugo's mouth. Not his deadname, or his project name. But his chosen name, he couldn't stop the tears from over flowing from his eyes from that simple thing. He didn't realize he was already climbing off the bed until his arms wrapped around the man and he buried his face in his shoulder. Getting a confused noise as the man gently patted him on the back in an awkward fashion. "So... uhm, Dirk... I need, like... really need. You to find the Hooded Woman." Dirk blinked as he looked around the room, slowly pulling away from the hug and watching Friedkin gently dust himself off. He slowly motioned at the room again like Hugo wasn't understanding the fact he couldn't do anything. And he doubted Priest would be up for running off on a case with him. And honestly, no. He would rather stab himself in the eye with a pencil than go solve a case with that man.

"Well I-if she's not here I don't really know what to tell you." He watched as Hugo walked over to the door, standing next to it as it slid open spilling light into the room. He winced from the sudden brightness of it before slowly walking over to it. Amazed that Hugo was able to open it so easily, he couldn't stop himself from staring out into the seemingly empty hallway as Hugo motioned out to it.

"She's not, no. But uhhh, talk to her friend. You'll like... know? What room he's in?" Dirk looked out in the hallway, he could feel his heart pounding away as he looked over to where Hugo was. Was being the keyword, as he appeared to no longer be standing there when he looked over. He blinked and took in a deep breath before staring out at the hallway. Okay... find the hooded woman's friend. That should be easy... this was just a dream. He slowly stepped out in the hallway, glancing around to see if he would spot any agents, or god forbid, Priest. Upon seeing neither he slowly started his way down the hall, eyes scanning over the doors that all had symbols on them for projects. He stopped and ducked behind one of the support beams, moving around it and holding his breath as a group of agents passed him. Once in the clear he continued on his way before stopping in front of a door that didn't have any symbol on it. He looked around before walking up to it, looking at the keypad he gave a small sigh.

"Bloody hell, you could have given me a code, Hugo." Muttering to himself, he blinked when he saw a scanner, eyes locked on it as his free hand moved to rub the back of his neck. Maybe.

No...

But...

Bloody hell.

He hated it. He didn't want to subject himself by scanning his own neck like he was product being bought. But he needed into that room. He took in a deep breath closing his eyes before he grabbed the scanner and leaned his head forwards. One hand moving his collar up given he didn't know if it covered the barcode or not as he used his other hand to scan the back of his neck.

"Welcome Project Icarus." He quickly looked around to make sure no one was around that would come running as he watched the door slide open. Quickly sneaking in the room and giving a surprised noise when he was tackled the second he stepped in the doorway. The man easily taking him down and holding him there. One hand pulled back like he was going to punch him before he stopped, Dirk's hands were already up to try and block his face. He gave a relieved sigh when the hit never came.

"You're not an agent." Dirk slowly dropped his hands from his face, looking over the man that was on top of him. He was a little roughed up, had a split lip and a busted eyebrow. His clothes seemed dirty, kind of looked like they were covered in sand. He had long dreads pulled back in a half pony tail that hung off his shoulders and were almost touching Dirk. Very pretty brown eyes too, and almost a reddish hue in his dark skin-tone.

"No, I'm a Detective, my names Dirk, Dirk Gently." He held out a hand watching at the rather tall man stood up, taking his hand and pulling him to his feet. He couldn't help but like the bright teal color of his shirt, made him miss being able to wear things he actually enjoyed. The man was eyeing him warily before looking down the hallway.

"Nice to meet you, Dirk," Dirk honestly couldn't stop smiling from hearing his name from another person's mouth. To feel validated as the man stepped around him and out into the hall. "I'm Miles, do you mind if we walk while you do... whatever it is you came here to do?" He asked while already heading down the hall like he knew where to go in this maze of a facility.

"Not at all!" He was rather quick to follow after the man who was heading down the hall. "Miles, I actually have come to talk to you as I have been hired to help find your friend." He blinked when Miles had stopped walking and he ended up running right into him. He gave a small noise in the back of his throat when Miles turned to look at him with a mix of annoyance and rage.

"So, you're a new tactic. I'm not giving you people Skylar." Sounded mad as he grabbed him by the front of his uniform dragging him closer. Dirk quickly raised his hands in surrender and waved them a bit when he ended up being pulled by his suit so much he was standing on his toes.

"What! No! I am not a part of Blackwing. Okay well, that's not entirely true either. But I definitely don't work for them. I'm here against my will if you hadn't noticed from all my lovely injuries. And this horrid device." He motioned at the collar with a disgusted look on his face, Miles just squinted at him with disbelief. Even scoffed while shoving him backwards. It took Dirk more effort than he wanted to stop from falling. His legs were so sore and shaky from all the bruises that covered his thighs. Hand sliding against the wall to catch himself as he winced. Could tell from the look on the man's face he actually seemed sorry for the pain he caused him. Before quickly shaking the expression away and looking him over like he couldn't be trusted.

"Then who 'hired' you?" He asked even using air quotes. Guessed he didn't blame him, Blackwing was good at making people paranoid.

"Uhm... a... dead guy?" He watched as Miles blinked at him, obviously thinking he was lying. Who would believe him about getting a case from a dead guy. "Look, I don't really know, the universe gave me a case and told me to find the hooded woman and to do that I needed to talk to you. I don't really know if the dead guy is who I'm finding her for or if it's for something much bigger that none of us will know until la-" He blinked when Miles covered his mouth and pressed him into a wall, glancing down the hallway before leaning back around the corner.

"Okay, Dirk," He couldn't stop smiling from having his name spoken. He could even feel tears of joy actually welling in his eyes. "We're going to need to be quiet. If we don't want to get caught." Dirk slowly nodded his head, even gave the man a thumbs up. Miles slowly let go and moved closer to the corner so he could see what was going on. "Okay looks like we're clear. Just... stay on my tail, okay?"

"You got it." He said softly, trying his best to stay quiet as Miles started heading out into the hallway, Dirk quickly trailed after him being careful to stay on his heels as they made their way through the halls. Stopping randomly to let agents pass before continuing on. Honestly, he was getting excited now. Hoping that they would actually get out of there. He had to cover his mouth when they ended up in the lot with all the SUV's and humvees and every other type of military grade car.

"So... you a Holistic Detective then?" Dirk perked up while following after the man.

"Yes! I take it your friend is a Holistic... something-or-other?" That would make since why he was stuck here and why Blackwing was after this woman.

"Holistic Epidemiologist." Dirk tilted his head as he watched Miles heading for one of the cars, Dirk trailing after him, watching as the man opened the front door and started to dig for keys.

"Huh, that's a really fancy title, what does she do?" Miles seemed more hesitant as he leaned back and closed the SUV to move on to the next one. The cars felt like they were thinning out more as they kept searching trying to find where the keys were so they could get out of there.

"It's complicated..." Dirk shifted a bit before nodding. He could understand that, gosh he really hoped they would find keys soon. But something started to feel wrong, he slowly started to turn his head and he blinked when he saw him. Priest, standing there next to an SUV opposite of them, donut in one hand and that remote to his collar in the other.

"No-" He gave a cry in pain, teeth clenching together as he fell to the floor. Flailing and convulsing as he was electrocuted, eyes shut tight as he squirmed and writhed on the floor.

"Hands in the air." He could hear Priest order, he was clawing at the collar now, muscles in his hands eventually contracting so much that they just curled around the collar as he started to curl in a ball. He could hear a gunshot, the sound of Miles hitting the floor, a cry in pain. He couldn't open his eyes, he just wanted to pain to stop, the never-ending surge of pain that was causing his muscles to spasm and contract painfully. He'd never been shocked this long, he felt like he was going to die. His chest was starting to hurt to the point he felt like he was going to have a heart attack. And then it stopped, he laid there, panting heavily. Too afraid to move and stretch out the muscles but it hurt. He whined while wiggling around, trying so hard to make the pain go away, he glanced up to see Miles was at least alive. Holding his leg which was bleeding pretty badly.

He could barely see Priest through the tears blurring his vision, but he could hear his heavy footsteps. The way the man was actually laughing, he grunted when the man kicked him in the shoulder. Dirk weakly rolled over and gave a heavy 'oof' from the foot that pressed hard into his chest. He squirmed under him and looked up to the man with a look of terror. Realizing punishment for this was going to be very bad. "Who's your new friend, Svlad? Do I have to show you what happens when you make friends, again? Did what I do to Todd and Farah not stick with you."

"N-no, n-no pl-please. M-Mr. P-Priest-" He watched as Priest aimed the gun at Miles' head.

"Maybe I should just shoot him now-"

"Mr. Priest!" Hearing Ken's voice he gave a sigh in relief, could hear other soldiers as they came around and grabbed Miles. "We need him, alive."

"Maybe I should just cut his legs off then." Dirk took in a shaky breath while shaking his head, hands moving to Priest's foot as he shoved at it. Eyes slowly falling to what the man was wearing. The bright yellow jacket... His... That was his jacket. He blinked when Priest grabbed him by the front of his uniform, stepping off his chest and dragging him up to his feet. Dirk was quick to grab the jacket and even started pulling on it before looking into the man's face.

"This is mine. Take it off, it doesn't belong to you!" He pulled harder on it trying to get it off the man's shoulder, he gave a sharp yelp when he found the gun in Priest's hand smacking him across the face. He fell into the side of the SUV and hit the ground, he could hear struggling behind him as he put his hand on his jaw which stung painfully from the hit. He flinched when Priest knelt down next to him with a chuckle, he closed his eyes not wanting to look at him as the man grabbed him by the chin. Forcing him to turn his head and look at him, was even shifting a bit before slowly opening his eyes, settling on staring right under his eyes. Had started to learn where he could stare that looked like he was making eye contact but really, he wasn't.

"Svlad," Dirk. "You're mine, which means by extension all of your things are mine." He closed his eyes when the man cupped his cheek, thumb rubbing along his jaw. He could feel the pain radiating up his jaw from that, he squirmed and tried to pull away from him. "Now, you're going to be a good boy and tell me what you're doin' way out here and out of your room." Dirk slowly opened his eyes, glancing from Priest to Ken and over to where Miles was trying to fight the Agent's off him, only to be getting roughed up more. He tried to stand to go to him, wanting to help. But Priest caught him by the collar, dragging him back down and shaking him to get his attention. He felt so trapped and conflicted he didn't want them to know... He didn't...

"Just leave him alone." Miles was actually trying to defend him, he slowly looked back to the man with a thankful look in his eye. Priest clicked his tongue while putting his gun away and pulling out his knife, Dirk froze when he felt it press against his thigh.

"You have to the count of three to tell me what you were doing here, or I will shred the muscles in your leg so badly it will cripple you for life, Svlad." He flinched, feeling the man press the knife harder against his thigh he knew it was cutting his uniform. "One." Dirk felt tongue tied as he stared at the man, mouth opening like he was going to speak but he couldn't get the words out. "Two." He didn't want to, he closed his eyes tight as his hands shot up and covered his mouth, Priest was already raising the knife as Dirk got ready to scream.

"H-he's on a case!" Miles shouted it, Dirk didn't know if he was grateful or not. He slowly opened his eyes watching as Priest dragged his tongue along his bottom lip, eyeing him quizzically before glancing up at Miles. An amused smile on his face as Priest lowered the knife and rested it on Dirk's thigh, hand squeezing so the side of the blade was pressed firmly against his skin.

"What's your case, Svlad." He couldn't stop himself from glaring at Ken when he heard that name come from his mouth. Like it ignited a fire inside of him, he moved trying to shove Priest's hands off him.

"That is not my name anymore! My name is Dirk Gently!" He grunted when Priest punched him in the stomach, already falling back and curling in on himself. He felt sick, like he was going to throw up all the food he ate earlier.

"Your name is Svlad Cjelli, now tell us what your case is. Or is your new friend going to have to fill us in?" Dirk shook his head, rolling over on his stomach and looking up to Miles with a pleading look. They couldn't know, he didn't know what they would do with this type of information. They couldn't just know he was hired by the universe to track down another Blackwing Project. They would think their training was working and the Universe wanted him to do it for them-

What if it was for them.

He clutched at the floor, everything felt like it was spinning, his ears were ringing like he was going into vertigo. He moved a hand to cover his mouth, the voices all around him sounded muffled, Miles was yelling. Ken was yelling. The Agents were yelling. But he couldn't make out what they were saying over the ringing in his ears. He felt like he was going to be sick, he didn't even notice he was pulled up into a seated position until Priest slapped him. He blinked, hand moving from his mouth to his cheek. Just holding it and staring at him with wide eyes.

"To stop you from running again. I'm going to break your legs." Priest announced so coldly, he blinked when the man grabbed his ankle. Pulling on him to get him to lay down as he started to press his foot on the side of his knee.

"I have to find the Hooded Woman!" He shouted, shifting in his spot, blinking when Priest actually let him go with a look of interest, shock, and even amusement on his face. Dirk laid there for a second before slowly pushing himself up, hands running through his hair as he realized what that look was for. "You saw her." He said it softly, repeating it to himself while obsessively running his hands through his hair. He wanted it off his face, could feel his fingers pulling on knots, there was a rising panic in his stomach as he actually started laughing. He didn't want this. He didn't want any of this. He blinked when he felt Priest grab him by the arm and pull him up into a standing position.

"Who is she?" Priest asked, sounding so amused, and excited. Actually, he'd really only ever seen him this excited when he was about to hurt someone. Or kill someone, so him wanting to know who he's looking for really wasn't sitting well with him right now.

"I don't know." He said it soft, Ken cleared his throat and Dirk watched as Priest looked over to him, watching how Ken just motioned to Miles.

"Miles there, he was found traveling with Skylar Day." Dirk didn't know how he felt as he listened to Priest laugh. The man slowly letting go of him as Dirk slid down the SUV, staring up at the man who was resting his hands on the vehicle, continuing to laugh away at this news. It was a little scary, Dirk looked from Priest over to Miles who was shifting. He remembered how protective Miles was from their first few minutes of meeting one another. How badly he didn't want Blackwing to have her. And now their Bounty Hunter knew. He gave Miles a very apologetic look, even mouthed he was sorry, eyes slowly falling to the floor as Priest stood up straight. Catching his breath, Dirk gave a surprised noise when the man stepped away from him. He watched as the man moved right to Ken, grabbing him by the tie, he could feel the agents get nervous as Priest just smiled in his face.

"Abaddon."

"Don't call her that!" Dirk's eyes widened from that, thinking of what Doctor Bahr said about her, about how she brought disease and destruction... And yet Miles seemed fine.

"Shut up." Dirk flinched from the sound of an agent hitting Miles for speaking out like that. Dirk slowly looked back to Priest and Ken, noticing the man wasn't even paying attention to them. So hyper focused on Ken like no one else was here.

"Look at that, Ken, looks like I get to go after her anyway." Dirk closed his eyes shaking his head. He didn't like the sound of this one bit. "Don't you just love it when the Universe does shit like this." He was laughing as he let go of the man, tongue running over his bottom lip.

"You don't even know where to look, she was last seen in the desert-"

"I saw her today, actually. Didn't realize it was her, but ohhhh, now I know. Just have to pick up the trail." Dirk slowly forced himself up on his feet, looking between the two of them then to the agents that were restraining Miles.

"She's dangerous, Mr. Priest."

"Oh, I'm fully aware. Besides, maybe she'll be more interested with her friend being here." Dirk closed his eyes before looking to Priest who was smiling in Miles' direction. He shook his head before stumbling over towards them, he couldn't let this happen, he couldn't just let them use this to trap her.

"You can't! That's not how my cases work! I need to find her for a reason, this is going to develop into something, you can't just lock her up! It doesn't work that way!" Hearing the little tongue click from Priest made Dirk shift a bit in his stance. He closed his eyes waiting for the man to hit him before giving a soft almost whine when the man just cupped his face instead. He slowly opened his eyes looking at Priest's before lowering his gaze. No longer wanting to look the man in the eyes, not wanting to look at that smile that was on his face.

"Svlad, you're going to solve your little case, fix whatever it is in the universe that's broken. And Skylar is going to see how much different Blackwing is now. You're going to be the prime example of how we're working with you guys and your abilities. Do you understand what that means?" Dirk flashed his eyes up to Priest's, could feel the tears stinging in them as he stared the man in the face, hands moving to grab his wrists.

"You-"

"I mean, this is what you wanted, wasn't it, Ken?" He watched how Priest licked his bottom teeth before turning to look towards Ken. Dirk slowly let his eyes trail over to the man who was straightening out his tie. Frown on his face a bit before he took in a deep breath through his nose.

"Yes. I want you to be rested before you head out, and Miles needs to be taken to medical. Mr. Priest, I'll want to talk to you after you escort Svlad back to his room." Dirk glared at Ken again, that anger boiling over as he tried to pull away from Priest. Who just tightened his grip on him before sliding his hand down to grab the boy's collar.

"Of course, Ken." Sounded so happy. Dirk found himself at a loss as he watched the Agents drag Miles away before Priest started to pull him along. Heading the same way as them before turning down a different hallway. Dirk gasped when he was shoved back into his room, stumbling and catching himself on his bed before he finally fell. Eyes a little wide as he glanced back at Priest who slowly walked into the room. He was hoping they could avoid having a conversation, hoping the man would just leave him but of course Priest wanted to talk to him. He hated it, he hated that man and that he had the audacity to wear his clothes. He slowly took in a deep breath trying to calm down before standing up and turning to look at the man. "Who gave you the case? How'd you get out of your room?"

"If you really want to know, why don't you watch the bloody camera!" He shouted at the man, actually shouted. All that bottled up rage and frustration starting to come forth. "And I'm not your dog, or your pet, I'm not just going to work for you!" Dirk closed his eyes when the man stepped forwards and grabbed him by the arm, grip tight and unforgiving as he stepped closer and invaded his space.

"You're going to do this case, Svlad."

"Not. With. You." Dirk gasped when the man punched him in the stomach again, he collapsed at the man's feet instantly, groaning when the man lifted his foot and stepped on his head. Shoving him down into the floor. His jaw ached from the earlier hit with the gun and now being pressed so hard against the floor was just making it go back to radiating with pain.

"Remember what I've said, about you having a choice?" Dirk closed his eyes from the words, could feel the man put more pressure on his head. Making him nervous as he moved his hands trying to shove him off of him. "What have I said?"

"I-I do-don't have one-"

"Exactly." Priest just mused down, Dirk cried a bit into the floor when the man finally stepped off his head. He could feel him kneeling down. Feel his hand suddenly in his hair, running his fingers through it as he pet him. "Now get some sleep." Dirk slowly looked up, tears clouding his vision as he watched the man walk out the door. He just laid there as the lights turned off, slowly pushing himself up to his knees. Leaning back so he was sitting with his back pushed up against the bed as he brought his legs up to his chest, hugging them to him as he started to cry. He didn't want to be used like this, like some cheap party trick to try and make Blackwing look good after they solved the case. If they solved the case... having trigger happy Priest around seemed like it wasn't going to end very well.

Chapter Text

"You know he's going to be a flight risk." Ken stated as Osmund slid his hands in the pocket of his jacket, thumb running along the business card in there. Thinking about his conversation with Scott, and how much better it would have been if he stopped by while he had Svlad in toe. But he knew Ken was worried that due to Svlad not being properly trained he would try to get away from him any time he could. Honestly, that was one thing Priest was excited for, to go on a hunt for the dumb boy. Kill people he tries to beg for help from and drag his ass back to the car. He couldn't wait to raise the boy's body count, to break him down even more for being stupid.

"Obviously." He mused the word a smile finally pulling on his face. "But he'll learn the hard way what happens when he tries to run." He watched how Ken interlaced his fingers as he rested his hands on his desk. The man leaning forwards, like he was really thinking on this, like he was really worried about this. "Don't tell me you don't have faith in my abilities, Ken, that's just insulting."

"He got away from you at the Cardenas house, and he got away from me with two other projects. It's not that I don't believe you can't track him down, it's just if the universe wants him away from you, he's going to get away from you." Priest ran his tongue along his bottom lip while shrugging his shoulders, head tilting to the side as he just smiled.

"That's what makes it fun, Ken. And do I have to remind you of that fun little tracking device you left in the back of his neck? Even if he escapes me we’ll know where he’s going." He smiled at the man who was slowly nodding. "Have you checked the cameras in his room by the way?" Ken was looking to his computer before slowly working on bringing them up, Priest walked over, rounding the desk and standing behind the man. Leaning a bit against the back of his chair as he pulled back the footage.

"All I saw was him and Miles entering the garage." Ken said with a small sigh, Priest just smiled wondering if that's why he ended up having to stop them before the other agents got there. He watched as Ken stopped the cameras to start playing them. Svlad seemed to be having a nightmare and- he squinted as he saw it, like a shadow slowly starting to become more and more solid. "Is... that..."

"Friedkin?” That pretty boy was rather easy to recognize... definitely looked very much alive though, which was not what he was told. “I thought you said he was dead." Priest sounded so amused as Ken turned on the volume for the recording.

“He was... He got stabbed in the back with scissors. He was choking on blood when I shoved him into that portal.” Priest found himself actually excited by this, he couldn't stop giggling.

"Looks like something fun happened to him when he went through." Ken was leaning back in his seat, Priest stood up slowly as he watched Hugo even open the door for Svlad before vanishing.

"Well, this seems bad. I wonder what helping the other projects is going to be like..." Priest just shrugged while starting to head towards the door with a smile on his face.

"Who knows Ken, the universe works in mysterious ways."

"Wait! Mr. Priest." Priest stopped mid-step, slowly taking a step backwards to turn his head and look at the man who was taking in a deep breath. "He needs to blend in with other people during the case." Priest gave a small sigh at that, head leaning back. "His clothes we collected from his apartment are in the same area that we let Bart get ready for her missions.” Oh, that was good to know. Now he could get those jackets of his a lot faster and easier. “I need you to keep in contact with me about the updates of his case. And please talk to me before you take any hostile actions that aren't necessary."

"What do you consider necessary?" Priest asked while arching a brow, after all, he felt all his 'hostile actions' were necessary.

"Necessary being you guys are getting shot at. Or attacked. Anything other than that we should discuss."

"You got it, Boss." He wasn’t going to do that though... He was already heading out the door, going to his room so he could sleep and prep for whatever fun the case would hold for tomorrow. Which sleeping wasn't that easy of a thing to do, he found himself to curious where this would lead. Knew nothing was ever simple with Svlad's cases, it all lead to a much bigger picture. He wondered if it would link with whatever it was Abaddon did during her freedom.

Even when he was keeping tabs on the projects during that sixteen-year break he didn't get that much information on her. A few stories of a pandemic, mysterious increase in locusts, but nothing like Blackwing feared would happen. She was strong and powerful and could kill so many people if she just wanted to. But he knew from speaking with her back in the day she hated everything about her powers. As a scared fourteen year old she didn't seem to care too much about being locked up. It was easy to convince her it was safer for other people. So weak, yet so strong.

Sleep really didn't come easy for him, he doubted it was any better for Svlad who seemed so heartbroken about them knowing what his case was. Priest got up early regardless, starting his morning routine; bathroom, water, work out, more water, shower, brush/floss teeth. And, of course, getting dressed really felt like the thing that took the longest. He thumbed through his clothes before grabbing a black shirt that said "shhhh... no one cares" in white letters. Slipping on a new pair of boxers and socks he pulled on a pair of faded light blue jeans on. Buttoning them up he pulled a belt on, working on re-situating all of his gear on his belt before securing it into place. Grabbing his boots, he pulled them on before propping his foot up on the chest at the foot of his bed to tie them. Making sure they were secured he stepped over to where his jackets were hanging, smiling as he grabbed his new yellow one and slid it on.

He stepped out of his room and shut the door, making sure it locked before he headed down the hallway. Making his way right into the kitchen which even from outside of the room he could smell the food and coffee. He smiled when as he entered he saw Bosco, Mason, Poole, Sullivan, and Deshmukh sitting at a table. He watched as Bosco ended up pulling Poole rather roughly into a choke hold before Priest slowly walked over to where all the food was, stopping for coffee first.

"Hey, Priest, nice jacket." Deshmukh mused the words while taking a drink of her own coffee, even getting up to join him. Honestly, she was the only one that got away with calling him his last name without his preferred title before it.

"Morning Deshmukh, and thanks took a while to get it ready." Running one hand down it as he stirred sugar and creamer into his coffee, "I see the kids are already in a mood." He motioned over to where Bosco more or less shoved Poole off his seat onto the floor. "What's Poole doing now?"

"Usual things he always does." Priest arched a brow while grabbing himself a plate and serving his breakfast.

“Which is?” He mused before going to the table with Deshmukh behind him, they sat down and Priest glanced over to Bosco as Poole got resettled in his chair.

“Being annoying.” She muttered into her coffee while looking around the room now apparently uninterested in what was happening.

"Hey Mr. Priest! I heard your new pet has a case? How's that work? Is it true you're going after Abaddon? Will you need more people for-"

"Poole." Priest said the name firmly, he seemed a little too energetic for it being so early. The boy slowly leaned forwards so his elbows were resting on the table. "I have to say, for a secret facility you guys sure do share a lot of information." Amused by that though as Poole practically squirmed in his seat. "Fletcher fill you all in?" He arched a brow, remembered seeing her helping detain Miles last night.

"Yeah, don't worry though, Boss. She only told us." As if that actually meant anything, Priest just continued to eat his food. Would rather go do this case thing than talk about it. But he couldn’t help but notice how Bosco was shifting in his seat, so Priest slowly glanced over to him.

"I know last time you got Abaddon you did it alone, but she was only fourteen back then. She's thirty-seven now. She's been free for sixteen years, you really think she's going to come back to Blackwing without force?" Priest slowly moved a hand to rub his face from the question. He guessed he shouldn't be surprised Bosco was worried about that, she was dangerous after all.

"If you look at what happened last time a team tried to force her you would know that's the worst option to take." Mason finally spoke up she looked to be in the middle of writing up a report, slowly rubbing the back of her neck and turning her head to crack it before looking back at the table. Eyes landing on Bosco as she set her work down and picked up a piece of toast. "I can show you pictures if you want." Saying it off hand as she continued to eat.

"Fuck. Yes!" Poole was already up and moving over to Mason who slowly saved and closed out of her report to pull them up. Priest could feel Bosco staring at him, so he slowly glanced back over to the man with an amused smile.

"I don't know if I should be insulted or flattered that you're that worried about me Bosco." He mused while getting up, finishing his coffee and walking away from the table. "See you guys later."

"Good luck with your case, Detective Priest." He could hear the amusement in Deshmukh's voice and the childish laughter from Poole as he left the room. He sighed a bit to himself while looking around the halls to see if he was going to have to endure another annoying conversation. He knew a lot of them were bored from lack of things to do. One of the reasons he decided to use Bosco to keep Svlad occupied while he was busy. Gave the boy something to hurt so he didn't start causing trouble with other agents out of boredom... Guessed he could have him look after Poole, Bosco did like to hurt that boy. He smiled at the thought while putting his hands in his pockets.

Already heading to the room where he learned Svlad's clothes were going to be. He slowly looked through them, deciding he would be the one to choose what he wore. Liked the power play on choosing people's outfits anyway. After that he headed down to one of the labs, walking in and heading to one of the tech specialists he had been talking to. "Hey, how's that device you're making for me going?" He was smiling as he leaned against the man's work station, watching as he slowly looked up and smiled at him.

"Oh, I just finished it last night!” Good, it would definitely come in handy for taking Svlad out on a mission. He watched as the man walked over to grab something before rushing back to the station. Holding up a device the size of a silver dollar up for him to look at. "So, this is the outside... obviously," he ran his thumb over the smooth surface that had a little bit of a dome shape before turning it over to show the pointed end on the other side that had a few needle like points and a larger one in the very middle that looked like the points actually moved. "This is the back. All you gotta do is stab it in, twist the top like this." He watched as the man twisted it and the needle points he was staring at actually bent, the middle ones flowering open to reveal a smaller device in the middle. "And then it is ready to use whenever you want."

"Don't tell me it's as simple as twisting it again to remove it?" The man laughed while opening pulling out a small remote to show him. Had a few buttons on the front and two on the side with a + and a – symbol.

"This is how you unlock it." He watched as the man hit the very top button that actually had a lock on it. The needles went back into place and he held it out to him. "This one is to turn it on, turn it off, the buttons on the side increase the intensity of the shock." He slid the remote in his pocket while smiling at the man.
"I'll let you know how it works."

"Please do! I can make any improvements to it if you feel I need to." He slowly paused while looking back to the device in his hand.

"What's the range on this one?" Knew Svlad was going to be stupid and run, so knowing the range would help him be aware of how far he could actually let him go for a false sense of hope.

"Hundred feet in flat open areas... Sixty feet is what I would recommend at any time, though." Priest nodded with the information while heading out of the room while continuing his way to Svlad's room. Unlocking the door, he watched it slide open and looked to Svlad who was curled up on the bed. Couldn't tell if he was sleeping or not as he walked in, setting the clothes on the foot of the bed. From the fact he wasn't reacting he was either deep in thought or still asleep. Didn't even flinch when the lights came on, he walked around looking at the boy to find him nuzzling into his pillow which he was hugging tight to his body. Definitely asleep.

"Svlad." He hummed the name already climbing on the bed, watching him stir from that as he used his free hand to shove him onto his back.

“T-Todd?” He asked so sleepily, hand even moving to rub his eyes which was causing Priest to laugh. The boy's eyes quickly shot open at that as Priest got on top of him, holding him down as he quickly started to struggle.

"I have a present for you." He informed while showing him the device from the flat side, pulling it away when he actually tried to swat it out of his hands.

"I don't want it-"

"Svlad, you really don't want to start with that attitude." He smacked the boy on the face, earning a whine. "You got out of your room, stole a prisoner, and almost escaped. You should be thanking me right now for not hurting you so quickly this morning." He moved his hands to start unbuttoning the boy's suit. Watching how quick he was to try and stop him, grabbing at his hand and trying to shove it away.

"W-wai-"

"Svlad." He let go and punched the boy hard in the chest. Listening to him cry out and cough as he rotated his top half trying to squirm away from him. Priest grabbed the suit by what he had opened and yanked on it, listening to the buttons rip as he worked on pulling it off of him. They boy inevitably helping with his struggling, making Priest giggle as he managed to get it off the boy's arms. Finally moving his free hand to grab him by his undershirt as he pulled on it. "Take it off." Svlad was crying as he tried to stop him.

"Wh-what a-are you g-going to-"

"Just take it off.” He snapped the words down, watching him flinch as the boy hesitated, hands finally moving to grab at the fabric on his stomach. Pulling on it to get it out from under Priest's body before pulling it up over his head. Priest's hand immediately went to the boy's chest, running over it as he tried to find where he wanted to put it. He hummed low in his throat before raising up higher on his knees so he wasn't sitting on him. "Roll over."

"M-Mr. Pr-Priest please." Osmund glared a bit annoyed from him being so stubborn this morning. He grabbed him by his hair, putting the device between his teeth, and punched the boy across the face, watching his head turn to the side with a pained yelp. He let go of his hair and moved his hands to wrap them around the boy's throat, squeezing tightly and watching as he started to struggle. The boy's hands moving to grab at his hands, trying so desperately to pry them off of him. He let go with one hand to pull the device out of his mouth.

"Svlad. You're going to be getting so many things you don't deserve today. Stop acting like a brat, when I tell you to do something, you need to do it." He finally let go listening to the boy cough as he grabbed at his throat. Gasping for air now that he was no longer being strangled, he finally started to move though, rolling over onto his stomach. Priest settled back down, shifting a bit to get comfortable as he ran his hand along his back. Listening to and feeling the boy cry under him as he rubbed his fingers into the meat of his shoulder right above where Blackwing tattooed him as a project.

Perfect.

He pressed the device lightly against his shoulder at first, noticing how tense the boy was getting before Priest pressed down hard. The cry of pain he gave was beautiful. He watched the boy squirm and writhe under him as he rested his other hand on his back between his shoulder blades. Holding him down as he made sure the device was flat against his skin. Turning the top, he smiled as the boy screamed out in agony. Bet that just felt wonderful digging in, he watched as he managed to move a hand reaching over his own shoulder trying to find the source of his pain. He leaned over him, one hand resting on the bed as he brought his mouth to the boy's ear.

"You can try all you want, to take that out, but it's just going to hurt worse than getting it put in." He rubbed the boy's back before sitting up, looking to the blood that was running down his shoulder.

"W-what i-is i-it?" He sounded in so much pain, Priest slid his hand over the blood smearing it on the boy's back. Enjoying the smell of it as he watched the boy flinch and whimper when his fingers ended up brushing over it.

"Think of it as your temporary collar replacement." He smiled when Svlad went so still under him, his hand moving to the device finally and trying to pull on it. Fingers getting covered in his own blood as the boy went as far to dig his fingers under it and try to pry it off. Only to stop with a jolt, one Priest swore he could feel as the safety measure went off. "Oh, right, it will shock you for trying to remove it while it's locked. Guess I forgot to mention that." He was giggling while listening to Svlad whimper. "I'd be careful not to lean against anything too hard." He was laughing now as he slowly got off the bed. "And since, you're still in trouble. I think it's the perfect time to test it." Svlad was moving to try and shove himself off the bed, as Priest pulled the new remote out of his pocket hitting the button and watching his arm straighten out and fell. He was squirming and screaming, actually screaming so nice and loud. Body was twitching and thrashing around the bed before starting to curl up on himself. Priest finally pushed the off button watching as he panted and twitched on the bed.

"I can turn it up too."

"N-no" His voice sounded so slurred as he tried to push himself up on the bed, Priest walked over showing him the remote, pointing to the light on the side of it that was half way lit.

"See." He started to turn it up, watching as the boy started to shake his head. Eyes wide as he watched the light starting to go up. "Wonder if this will trigger a heart attack." He tilted his head watching as Svlad tried to push himself up again, only for Priest to hit the button. Watching as the boy instantly curled up, screaming through gritted teeth as he convulsed on the bed before Priest turned it off. He looked rather adorable with how disheveled he looked. Drool actually pouring down his chin. Priest moved his hand to the boy's chest feeling how hard his heart was beating as he climbed back on and got on top of him. Hand pressing there as Svlad leaned his head back, panting and twitching under him. He could feel the way his muscles kept convulsing and spasming under his hand before he slowly pulled it away. "Should get your collar altered even more to do the same thing."

"N-no-" He sounded so weak and sluggish, he moved his hand off the boy's chest.

"Yes. I could play with that all day, start it low, and turn it up each time you do something wrong." He grabbed the boy's jaw, pulling his head up by it as he leaned in closer. "Wonder if you're jaw will tighten so much you break your teeth when it's on the highest setting." Was digging his fingers into his cheeks, forcing his head back to look in the boy's mouth. Eyes running over his teeth before he slowly let him go. "Wouldn't that just be fun?"

"Pl-please, M-Mr. P-Priest-" He slowly got off the bed and rolled his shoulders as he slipped the remote back into his pocket.

"Get up." Watching as the boy tried pushing himself up, he stopped the second he put weight on his right arm. Probably hurt the muscles that were shredded by the device in his body. Priest ran his tongue over his lips, watching as the boy finally sat up enough to try and grab his undershirt. Moving to put it on before he saw the folded clothes sitting on the bed. Was amusing to see how much his expression changed, how he went from being so visibly upset to so happy over one thing. Seeing him reach for them he grabbed the boy's wrist, twisting it as he yanked him rather roughly off the bed.

"Ah, I didn't say you could put them on yet." Watching him stumble and fall, only being half held up by the wrist Priest was holding. One leg half on the bed the other bent with his foot on the floor. He shifted enough to prop himself up on his elbow and stare up at him with a hopeful look.

"Y-yet." He repeated it while glancing back at the clothes. "A-and when do I get to put them on?" Priest dropped his wrist watching him fall fully on the floor with a little 'oof.'

"Well, Svlad, you're all bloody again," Saying it in such a disappointed tone. Like it was the boy's fault he stabbed him in the shoulder. He watched as Svlad quickly started to reach for the device. To touch it with a wince. "You know what that means." He smiled as he watched the boy get tense again, head shaking as he actually got up on his knees. Grabbing at the hem of his shirt with a begging look on his face.

"Pl-please Mr. Priest. Not decontamination, c-can we d-do something else?"

"Something else, huh? Care to elaborate on that?" He was so amused though, watching how Svlad shifted, hand moving to touch at his shoulder as he tried to move and stretch it. Obviously still in pain from the whole thing. Wondered what type of pain, if it was typical burning. If it radiated. Or if it just surged... If he still felt the initial stab or if he just felt that muscle spasm of pain from being electrocuted.

"I-I mean during the case I-I'll... I'll be using a shower... Right?" He looked so unsure now, like he knew what he was talking about in the beginning and now he was grasping at straws. "U-unless you plan to make trips back here the entire time, which would really delay the whole..." Priest couldn't stop his grin as the boy sank lower onto the floor, the boy's eyes scanning his like he was trying to grasp for something. "You know... case... thing." Priest moved his foot to the boy's thigh, pressing on it and watching how he was already squirming before he put that much weight on it. He giggled at that wondering if that meant Bosco had some fun using his thigh as a balancing beam.

"Ohh, so you want to practice what will happen when we're wandering around for days then?" Svald looked so nervous, as Priest tilted his head with a low hum. "I can work with that."

"Wh-what does that mean?" Priest slowly stepped off his thigh, reaching to grab him by his messy hair and pulling him to his feet. He watched as the boy went from trying to grab his wrists to stop the pain from catching his uniform from falling down and pulling it back onto his arms. Hands holding it closed as he stumbled after him, "M-Mr. Pr-Priest, pl-please tell me what that means."

"Look at you, using manners." He sounded so amused as he stopped to look at him, letting go and running his hands through his hair to try and fix it. "I was going to drag you to my room," He started walking closer, watching the boy back himself up into one of the support beams. "And throw you in my shower," He moved his hands on either side of his head with a large smile. "Where I was going to get you cleaned up. Which is what I plan to do while we're jumping around from place to place." Svlad was staring at him with wide eyes, the look of horror and mortification on his face was honestly amusing.

"I-I a-am perfectly capable of cl-cleaning myself. M-Mr. Pr-Priest." He watched how the boy slowly slid himself against the wall. Like he was about to slide all the way down it to sit on the floor.

"Sure. But... It will save time if we do it together-"

"Mr. Priest!" He couldn't stop from laughing with how red in the face Svlad was, how the boy was covering his mouth after yelling his name like that finally sliding all the way down the wall. Priest tilted his head while moving his foot to nudge him in the leg with it.

"You are always talking about how you miss showers." He said it in such a playful tone that had Svlad reeling back a bit before looking away from him.

"Being by myself is one of the reasons I miss it." He was shifting putting his left hand on the floor as he scooted himself to the side. Well, tried, Priest stepped his foot over to stop the boy from moving anywhere. Kept him nice and trapped against the wall, he moved his other foot to the boy's thigh, pressing on it to force him to turn to the opposite side. Watching how he squirmed and grabbed at his foot as he pressed his shoulder into the wall. Whimpering from the pain there as his hands grabbed at his boot.

"You don't get privacy anymore, Svlad. Especially while we're out of this place, ya're a flight risk." He moved his foot and pushed himself off the wall with a hand. "Now get up." He watched as Svlad slowly moved his hand to the wall and started to pull himself to his feet. Hugging himself as he stared out at nothing. Priest moved his hands to the boy's shoulders, turning him to face him as he pushed him more into the support beam. "So, what's it going to be? Freezing water while you get roughly scrubbed down and thrown around. Or, hot water while I clean you up?" He arched a brow, watching while Svlad squirmed in his spot before looking up at him with begging eyes. Priest finally sighed while starting to step back towards where the decontamination showers were.

"Sh-shower." He smiled as he watched Svlad close his eyes. Tears already running down his cheeks. "I-I'll take the sh-shower... I-in y-your..." He couldn't even look at him as he said it, just moved his hands to pull his ripped uniform closed. Staring off in distance clearly uncomfortable with this idea, but he very obviously wanted that shower. He smiled while moving his hand to grab him by the bicep, pulling him along and down the halls. Typing in the code for his door he opened it and lead him over to the shower, already opening the door and pushing him inside of it.

"Take off your clothes." He watched how the boy seemed even more nervous this time than he has previously. He couldn't help but smile from that, wondering if he was realizing how he was all alone with him now. And in such a vulnerable way. He watched as he slowly started to pull off his uniform, turning his body away from Priest. His eyes lingered on the blood that had been trailing down his back. How badly smeared it was from the cloth rubbing against him. He actually smiled when the boy took his underwear off himself, slowly pulling his socks off while holding the bundle of cloth closer to himself. Priest held the door open wider, "Toss them out." He watched as the boy did so, moving to hug himself as he glanced at the dials for the shower. So very obviously wanting to start it to the point he was actually squirming.

Priest shifted and pulled off his nice new yellow jacket, tossing it on the bed. He could see how Svlad was eyeing him out of the corner of his eye, pressing himself more into the wall as Priest took off his boots. "Come here." He reached in his pocket, pulling out the key to his collar. Svlad was hesitant but he slowly walked over to him, turning so he had access to the back of the collar. Priest unlocked it and pulled it off, tossing it behind him on to the bed. "You are lucky I already showered this morning." He hummed the words, pulling off his shirt and tossing it to join his jacket. He watched as Svlad pressed himself more into the wall, inching closer to the dials.

"Th-the new device... it's waterproof, right?" Priest just smiled at that question, actually moving his hand to grab the dial for the water.

"Should be." He mused as he turned the hot water on watching how the boy flinched nervously holding his right shoulder away from the spray of the water. But that didn’t last long as he almost desperately moved to huddle under the hot water when nothing bad seemed to happen.

"Y-you really don't have to wash me." So insistent, Priest hummed from that as he slowly worked on getting the rest of his clothes off. He could see Svlad squirm as the boy stared at everything but him, Priest finally stepped into the shower. Closing the door behind him as he stepped closer to the boy, hand resting on his back as he pushed him forwards into the wall. Watching how Svlad moved his hands to brace himself, he could feel the boy trembling under his hand as he watched the blood run down his back.

"I bet you really missed this, didn't you?" Playful tone in his voice as he stepped closer, feeling the spray of water against his back as he leaned over Svlad so his chest pressed against the boy's back. He could feel him squirming with discomfort and terror. Priest grinned while listening as he started to cry from him being so close. "Can't help but wonder by the end of our trip if you'll hate decontamination or this more." Mused the words while reaching over for a clean rag and the soap he used. Wondered how much Svlad would hate that, when he realized he was going to smell like him the rest of the day. He stepped more into the spray of the water as he worked on cleaning the blood off around the wound.

Enjoying how much he whimpered from the pain as he cleaned the blood off the device and around it. He moved his hand and ran his fingers against the boy's skin, brushing them right next to the device so he could feel the outer needle points right under his skin. He giggled when the boy yipped and pulled away from him, he was turned slightly to try and glare at him. But that look fell off his face the second he actually faced him, could see the way the boy suddenly became nervous from quickly taking in his appearance and turning away from him. Face all red as he looked back at the wall, even pulled further away.

"Pl-please, can I just... d-do this myself? Th-there's nowhere I c-can go here." Priest just grinned while stepping closer, hands moving on either side of the boy's head as he watched him cover himself. Head still looking away, face getting even redder from the close proximity of them facing one another.

"Svlad, do I have to remind you how you had nowhere to go in your room either, and you've gotten out a few times now. Back when you were kid. Once not that long ago from teleporting to Bergsberg, and then again last night. You just walked right on out of your room. I don't find it that farfetched that you can find a way to escape this shower too." Svlad made a noise in the back of his throat while shifting in his spot.

"In my defense, someone usually is the one to get me out of my room for all of that to happen. And I doubt you'll be letting me out of this shower." Priest couldn't stop his smile from that, he moved his hand and grabbed the boy's face. Pressing his head back into the wall and forcing the boy to face him, he was amused how quickly he kept his eyes basically above his head not wanting to look at him at all.

"You're going to have to get used to this." He hummed the words slowly letting him go and grabbing the wash rag again. He shifted brought the rag to Svlad's chest, cleaning along the carving of his symbol he gave him. Which was healing really well. His eyes slowly shifted over to his shoulder and he smiled when he realized eventually during their travels he would have to remove the stitches himself. Svlad was going to hate that... he gave a light hum when the boy started to turn his body the lower he got on his stomach and he laughed while shoving him into the wall with his free hand. "So, paranoid. What do you think I'm going to do to you Svlad? Suddenly realizing the position you've put yourself in?" He leaned closer to him putting his mouth by the boy's ear. "All alone in my room, in my shower, naked and in my hands." He could hear the boy crying a bit harder from that. "Ohh, this is killin' you, isn't it? Wonderin' where I'm goin' to take this little shower of ours." He was giggling as he felt Svlad's hand move to grab at his wrist and pull it away when Priest slowly dragged his hand down the slope of his ass.

"Pl-please-" He sounded scared now, he could hear his almost frantic breathing as he tried to turn away. Hand moving from his wrist to his chest trying to push him back and away from him. "M-Mr. Pr-Priest." He watched him with heavy eyes, as that fear and realization seemed even more evident on the boy's face that he really didn't like the position he was put in.

"Bosco really did a number on your thigh, Darlin'." He mused, looking to the bruise that was perfectly shaped as the man's boot right on his thigh. He ran his hand over it before finally pulling back. He watched as Svlad slowly slid down the wall with a look of almost relief on his face. Eyes downcast as he turned his head to not look at him. "I think we should get your haircut." He dropped the rag on the boy's leg, grabbing him by his hair as tugging his head back by it. Getting his head under the stream of water.

"I think my hair is fine... I just need to be allowed to style it-"

"Could just shave it all off." Priest continued noticing how much Svlad was tensing up. "That's what they wanted to do to you when we brought you in here."

"Wh-what!?" Sounded so offended, he was about to turn to look at him before very quickly changing his mind after he half turned his head. Realizing where his face was level to he seemed to blush as he stared rather firmly at the wall. Priest noticed out of the corner of his eye how the boy had grabbed the rag and started to clean himself with it. "I-I mean... I think it will be fine with how long it is now." He gave an amused noise as he began washing the boy's hair, enjoying how much being put in this position was making him squirm. Like Svlad had no idea he just saw this as washing a dog. He washed the shampoo out of his hair pulling him more into the spray of water to get the soap off the boy's body. Amused how he shifted to try and get his head out from under it. Wondered if the boy thought he was going to try and drown him... ohhh... that could be a fun thing to do if he was being a brat.

"You keep acting like you have a choice again, Svlad." He mused down to the boy before working the conditioner into his hair. Giggling a bit when Svlad seemed to be trying to figure out an argument against that, wondered briefly if he was acting this way due to actually having a case. He seemed to be in an odd mood and all. He slowly worked on washing the conditioner out of the boy's hair. Making sure there was no soap or anything on himself as he shut off the water and stepped out of the shower. Waiting by the door for Svlad to follow after, he watched as the boy slowly got up, going back to covering himself as he stepped out. Priest more or less tossed a towel at the boy and worked on drying himself off enough to start putting his clothes back on.

"Mr. Priest." Svlad was shifting while eyeing his yellow jacket, frowning when Priest picked it up and put it on again.

"You going to thank me for letting you use my shower?" He sounded amused now as he walked over to the boy. Watching him pull the towel closer around him, how the boy looked to him with an uncertain look before giving a soft noise in his throat. Obviously not what the boy was going to do... but he finally put his head down.

"Th-thank you... Mr. Priest." Sounded so resigned about it before he slowly looked at him. Blinking when Priest grabbed him by the bicep and started to drag him out of his room. "Y-you're not really going to have them cut my hair off... are you?" Priest couldn't stop from laughing at that as he dragged Svlad back to the boy's room, throwing him at the clothes on his bed.

"Maybe." Svlad looked at him with an almost begging look as he rather quickly began to get dressed in the clothes Priest picked out for him. Which was his navy-blue pants, the light blue, almost white, button down, a navy tie to match his pants with little designs on them in the blue that matched the leather jacket he pulled on after everything was in order. He sat down on the bed as he pulled on his socks, and the dark dress shoes that were laid out for him. He shifted on the bed with a little smile, hands touching the clothes before he stood up and headed to the mirror. Using his fingers to try and comb out and style his hair the best he could.

"I still need to talk to Miles." Svlad said while looking back to him. Priest tilted his head with an amused smile. "I think... from how things were going... he might actually need to join us-"

"Really?" He watched how much the boy tensed as he walked towards him, watching the boy back himself up into the wall.

"W-well, it makes sense, the universe put us together, and we were going to solve the case earlier but then..." He slowly just motioned to him.

"You know what that tells me, Svlad? That the universe wants me involved with that little case of yours." He laughed from that as he grabbed the boy by his tie, pulling on it as he looked him over with a low hum. Watching how the boy squirmed and shook his head, clearly not wanting to believe that was the case. "Otherwise I wouldn't have come back in time to catch you." He smiled when Svlad turned his face away from him, could see how visibly upset the boy was getting from this. "I bet you just hate that don't you? That the universe wants us to work together."

"I-I still feel Miles is important to the case, Mr. Priest. It is his friend we're looking for."

"With how protective he was of you, I'm sure you just want him around to save you." He watched as Svlad squirmed, glancing away from him. "I mean, he saved you so eagerly from being crippled-"

"It's not like I really want to put him in close proximity with you!" Pleading, like it was the furthest from what he wanted, he couldn't help but wonder what was going on in that little head of his. "I-I just... I know he's important to the case." He pulled on his tie, watching the boy grab his wrist to stop him from tightening it, he enjoyed how he could already see the tears building in his eyes. "Pl-please... Mr. Priest... I... i-it’s a hunch." He wondered briefly how Ken would react if he did take the prisoner with him as well. Probably insist he take another Agent with him...

"We'll see." Was all he said as he pulled the boy by his tie out of the room, amused how Svlad was stumbling a bit after him. "He might not be in any condition to go anywhere given the bullet I put in his leg." He mused the words out, giggling a bit from how Svlad was trying to pull his hand off his tie.

"Figured you would like that. Gives us less of a chance to run from you." Svlad stated bitterly causing Priest to laugh even more, he even stopped to face him. Hands moving off the boy's tie to cup his face and tilt his head up, pulling him nice and close. He enjoyed the obvious fear building in his eyes as he gently stroked his thumbs over the boy's cheeks. So gentle it actually made the boy close his eyes and give a shaky breath.

"Svlad, it's like you've forgotten how much I enjoy chasin’ after you." He watched as Svlad opened his eyes, tears over flowing from them now as if he really was remembering the good old days. "Me, chasin’ you, while you hid behind and inside of things. Cryin’ so hard you had to cover your mouth and nose in hopes that I wouldn't hear you," Purring the words in such a gentle tone, his lips twitched into a larger smile as he ran his tongue along his bottom teeth. "I'm sure you remember all the fun we've had. Like playing a nice game of hide and seek." He slowly started to brush Svlad's tears away as he took in a deep breath, enjoying the fond memories of chasing him through houses while the boy was covered in the blood of whoever he was trying to hide behind.

"H-hide and seek!?" He sounded so upset as Priest gave a little giggle. "It was nothing like-" Priest slowly started to hum the tune of 'that's life' while moving his hands. Grabbing the boy by his bicep when the tune seemed to have shut the boy up. He could feel how his breathing increased in urgency, like he was on the brink of having a breakdown... That would be a fun trigger to play with, would keep it in mind... Made a little mental note as he started to continue down the halls. Guessing he would start in the medical wing to see if Miles still happened to be there. "Mr. Priest?" He still sounded like he was on the verge of tears as Priest gave him a small noise in acknowledgment. "Y-you will consider taking him though?"

"If that's really what the universe wants, Svlad." He said it in a tone like he was brushing what he said off. Walking into the medical wing, he watched as Doctor Bahr slowly looked up at them before looking away. His eyes trailed away from her to the person who was in the bed, and to his disappointment it wasn't Miles.

"Mr. Priest." Saying it as an acknowledgement as she went back to taking notes. "There a reason you and it is here? Icarus doesn't look like it needs medical attention." She stated flatly while adding notes to her computer.

"Just working, Miles back in his room?" He sounded amused as Bahr just looked back at him with a small sigh, hand moving to rub along her face.

"Yes, why? Not planning on shooting him again are you?" Sounded so annoyed, Priest just grinned as he adjusted his stance to rest his elbow on Svlad's shoulder. Keeping him there by using him as an arm rest.

"He was trying to escape." She slowly pointed to Svlad with a glare.

"With this one. You didn't shoot it." She stated in obvious annoyance, which just made Priest giggle as she rolled her eyes. "I am trying to study him to see if Abaddon did something with him. I can't afford to have you shooting my patients, Mr. Priest." She looked back to her notes while scrolling through what she was looking at. "Being alone with a person who spreads plagues, for a couple of years, mind you, and he's showing no signs of being sick it's fascinating. I would appreciate it if you kept him alive and uninjured till I'm done studying him."

"Yeah, yeah." Dismissive tone as he looked to Svlad who was glaring a bit off to the side, knew the boy just hated how she treated him like an object and yet seemed so fascinated by Miles. Even using the preferred pronouns for the boy and sounding like she cared for his well-being. "Guess I'll see you around, Doctor Bahr." She just gave a grunt in response as he grabbed Svlad by the arm again and began the walk to the room they were holding Miles in. Eyeing the agents who were acting as guards and he put in the code to let them in and walked into the room. He could see Miles sitting at a table, hands cuffed to it like he was in an interrogation room. The cuffs gave him a little leeway so he could move a few feet away, at least. Probably just so they wouldn’t have to deal with him when he needed to use the restroom. Priest shoved Svlad towards the table, watching him stumble before he caught himself on the chair across from Miles. Shooting him a quick glared over his shoulder before he pulled the chair back and sat down.

"Miles... I just want to start by saying, I'm really sorry about everything that happened last night." Priest watched how Svlad couldn't even look the man in the face. Just shifted and played with his tie as the man looked him over.

"With the new outfit, I would assume you played me if your fear wasn't so real while dealing with... him." Priest couldn’t stop the grin from the way Miles motioned at him, he crossed his hands in front of him and just waited patiently for Svlad to finish up his little investigation. He couldn't help but notice how Svlad couldn't even look his way either. Just stared at the floor before finally looking to Miles. "Who is he anyway?" Like Priest couldn't hear his attempted whisper, he just smiled when Svlad glanced over at him and quickly looked away.

"I... I hate this." Svlad finally muttered while rubbing his face, Priest finally walked over, hand moving to the boy's back, rubbing where he placed the device in his shoulder. He smirked when Svlad yelped and pulled away, hand reaching over his shoulder to tenderly rub the area. "Mr. Priest-"

"Look, Miles,” Priest finally interjected since this really didn’t seem to be moving anywhere fast. “Svlad here-"

"I don't care what you say, or what you want. I'm not giving you Skylar." Oh, Miles was going to be stubborn? That was fine, he could work with that.

"Miles," Said the name a bit forcefully that time, watching how the boy leaned back and crossed his arms over his chest. "Svlad's abilities are to fix whatever in the universe is broken. Skylar happens to be involved with something Svlad needs to fix. Now, if you tell us where she was heading before-"

"Before you CIA fucks decided to try and force her to this place by gun point?” He sounded so unimpressed while shifting in his spot. “I don't care what you say, she is not coming back here!" Priest just smiled, patient, watching as Miles stood up rather forcefully causing his chair to fall and clatter on the ground. He even went so far as to slam his hands on the table while glaring at him. "Now why don't you fuck off?" He stated the words through gritted teeth, finally standing up straight, wincing from putting too much pressure on his injured leg.

"If it makes you feel any better, I was against that stupid fucking move. If I knew about it I would have tried to call it off." Miles just scoffed, standing up straight and crossing his arms in defiance, "I remember Skylar, sweet girl," Priest shifted and mimicked his stance "Soft hearted," too soft in his opinion. "Hates her abilities. You know, she actually used to kill her locusts a lot before I talked her out of it." He watched how the man slowly started to look at him from that statement. "She still hate those little abilities of hers?" He could feel Svlad staring at him now, Miles was watching him and gave a hard tug on the restraints. Listening to the chains rattle before looking away from him again, like he wanted to say something but then he just didn't. "Ya know, she always said she liked Blackwing, only place she felt she couldn't hurt anyone. She ever tell you about that?"

"No, but she told me plenty about how you sick fucks would experiment on her. Put her through sick twisted tests. I've seen the scars you people left on her. She doesn't belong here."

"She doesn't belong out there either." He drummed his fingers on his arm, watching how Miles just glared at him. "Does she really want to be out or are you convincing her to be?" He waited patiently for his response before Svlad finally stood up, shaking his head as he glared at him.

"No!" Priest looked to the boy with an amused smile. "That is not what my case is. I am not bloody helping you people bring a project in, we're going to go out there. And we're going to follow clues, and hunches, and then we're going to solve the case and leave. I am not going to be responsible for bringing you people another project!"

"We won't know that until we solve the case, now will we, Svlad?" He grinned from how Svlad looked at him with such a defeated and broken look, visibly shaking with rage and frustration. He could even see the tears building up in his eyes before he took in a shaky breath and looked back over to Miles. Finally trying to force a smile, trying so hard to play happy and optimistic.

"Miles, do you know where she was heading? Or anything about what she was doing... Like really... anything?" He watched how Miles looked from Svlad before glancing to him with a frown.

"Dirk, is there any way we can talk without him?" Priest couldn't stop the laugh as Svlad slowly sunk his shoulders and went back to fiddling with his tie.

"Miles, there's a good possibility I'm draggin' you along for the ride, you're just going to have to get used to me." He smiled while slowly stepping away from the table, looking around the little set up they had for the man in here. He glanced back briefly when he heard movement, watching as Miles walked around the table to be closer to the boy. Like the distance would cause him not to hear what they were talking about in such a small room.

"I don't know." He figured as much, didn't think anyone actually knew exactly where they were going when feelings hit. "She just said we had to move and we started going. She doesn't know what's supposed to happen, although she rarely does when she's on a job."

"And as a Holistic Epidemiologist, what exactly is it that she does?" Priest bit his lip, scrapping his teeth over the bottom of it to stop from laughing. Miles seemed to have shifted to sit on the table, Priest turned more to watch as he rubbed his face. Like he was trying to think of how to phrase it correctly, Svlad was just shifting in his spot before sighing. "I heard about what happened with the Blackwing agents... I know what she can do if you’re worried I’ll think ill of her."

"She doesn't do things like that normally!" Insistent, trying to defend her from any bad things or slander it honestly made him curious if he really thought that. Or if he was just trying to convince himself that was the case. "She was... she was trying to protect me. And then she realized she couldn't and I made he go. B-but that's not what her job is. She doesn’t... she helps people, okay? She finds people who are sick, or getting sick, and she helps stop the outbreak from reaching pandemic levels." Priest couldn't help but wonder if that's why they couldn't find anything on her, because she wasn't killing people she was helping people. He wondered how she did it than, always thought her abilities could only cause death and destruction.

“And how does she stop the outbreak?” Priest finally asked, noticing how Svlad had seemed to get excited about the fact she helped people. He watched as Miles just rubbed the back of his neck and Priest couldn’t stop himself from laughing. “She kills those that are sick, Svlad.” He looked to the boy who was frowning at him. From how much that excitement seemed to falter, realizing that once more another project was something violent and dangerous.

“Okay. Thank you Miles.” Svlad finally added, looking like he wasn’t sure how to continue this. Priest watched with a bit of a glare when the man actually put his hand on Svlad’s left shoulder. Squeezing it to get the boy to look at him. He clicked his tongue while walking over, grabbing Svlad by the back of his jacket as he started to drag him away from Miles who looked a bit outraged and tried to walk after them. Even after the cuffs pulled him to a stop with his hands stuck behind his back. He dragged the boy out of the room, listening to the doors close as he turned to look at him.

“So, he doesn’t know anything.” Priest mused out while looking Svlad over. The boy was shifting in his spot before taking in a deep breath.

“I still feel like we need him. He’s going to be important-” Priest grabbed the boy by his tie, dragging him closer and looking his face over. Grin widening when Svlad did everything in his power to not look him in the face.

“Or do you just want him around so you have a replacement for Todd and Farah?” Musing the words out, amused when Svlad looked to him with a hurt expression. Tears already in the boy’s eyes as he shook his head. Hands moving to try and shove his off his tie.

“It’s not like that!” So insistent as Priest just laughed and finally started to walk, dragging the boy along with him. “Pl-please, Mr. Priest-”

“If he’s really that important I can have Bosco bring him to us later.” He stated flatly while continuing to walk.

“You’re little attack dog will probably kill him before he reaches us!” Svlad shouted at him, it honestly was making him smile, hadn’t had the boy talk back to him this much before. He’d be lying if he said he wasn’t enjoying it, just set up so many possibilities to hurt the boy over this. “And what if, the case moves-- will you just... Stop! Mr. Priest! Please just listen to me!” Priest stopped and turned around to face the boy, getting right in his face as he wrapped his hand around his tie.

“You know, I think you only want Miles around because he makes you feel normal. Calls you by that stupid name you gave yourself, tries to give you comfort. I don’t think you want him around for the case at all.” He almost growled those words down to him, smiling when Svlad pulled harder trying to get away. Even leaning back with all his weight trying to make him let go of his tie.

“Th-that’s not why! L-look! If Skylar is as dangerous as everyone says she is, having her friend working with us seems like the bloody smart thing to do! N-now will you l-let! Go!” Priest dropped him, watching with amusement as the boy lost his balance from how hard he was fighting him. Stumbling backwards and falling right back down on his ass with a pained whine as he laid down fully on his back. Rocking a bit before rolling on his side and rubbing at his tail bone. Shooting Priest one of those pathetic little glares.

“Wow, Svlad. That’s pretty manipulative, I’m impressed.” He was giggling when Svlad just shook his head, forcing himself to sit up with a little wince.

“N-no. D-don’t put words in my mouth-”

“Using Miles like cannon fodder to get Abaddon to stand down.”

“Pl-please, you know that’s not what I-”

“Didn’t think you had it in you to be so cruel.” He moved his foot to press it against the boy’s thigh, watching as he rather quickly scooted back and worked on standing up. “Actually... I guess I do, what with how you kept telling Todd everything was going to be fine even though you knew it wasn’t-”

“Stop! Please!” He had those tears in his eyes, hands clenched into fists as he stumbled a bit forwards like he was actually going to do something. The boy moved his hands to rub his face, wiping the tears away furiously. “Mr. Priest... Please, just... just bring him with us.” Priest stepped forwards, cupping his face and pulling him closer as he leaned in. Smile still on his face as he brushed his thumbs over the boy’s cheeks. Watching how Svlad closed his eyes with a little whine.

“You really want him to come with us? I want you to beg me, properly too.” Svlad’s eyes slowly opened to look at him, a confused expression on his face that was making Priest smile. “Get on your knees, and beg, like the little pet you are.” Could see those tears of frustration building up in his eyes, face turning a bit pink just from thinking about it. Priest slowly let go of him, waiting for it, waiting so eagerly for the boy to comply. Wanting to see just how badly Svlad wanted Miles to come with them.

"Mistah Priest!" He found his eyes widening a bit from her voice, noticing how Svlad actually looked hopeful from hearing it. He slowly turned to look at Bart who was rather happily walking towards them hoping she wouldn't see the boy behind him- “Oh my god! Dirk!? What're you doin' here?”

Shit.

Chapter Text

“Bart! You really are here!” Like he couldn’t actually believe it, Priest couldn’t help but notice how Svlad seemed a mix of excited and nervous to actually be in the same area as her.

“Hey, Bart.” Priest interjected, saying her name in a charming tone, smile on his face as he listened to Svlad move from behind him over towards Bart. Clearly feeling like she would protect him; and honestly, Priest wasn’t sure if the girl would or not. He felt they came a long way in their own “friendship” that she might be more loyal to him. But… you never knew in these kinds of situations. “Svlad and I were about to go on a case.”

“Isn’t his name Dirk?” She tilted her head, hand moving to her mouth so she could chew at her hangnails before looking over to the boy. Almost forgot she only knew him by that name rather than his birthname. He just kept his patient smile though as he watched the girl. Noticing she was actually wearing a CIA uniform rather than whet ever she felt like throwing on from the room that had clothes for her in it. Was an interesting look, the uniform was a bit baggy on her making him wonder who she took it from. She seemed to be taking in Svlad’s beat up appearance, he couldn’t help but give a small sigh from how the boy seemed to be smiling from Bart calling him by his real name.

“Why yes,” Svlad announced while glancing over at him. “Yes, my name is in fact Dirk.” He could see the nervousness in the boy’s eyes as he actually moved closer to her to the point he was almost standing behind the girl. Priest couldn’t stop his smile from that as he shifted and slid his hands in his jacket pockets. He slowly started to move closer to the two of them as he watched Bart turn so she could look at either of them.

“What’s he callin’ you that other name for?” She tilted her head and Priest happily decided to cut the topic this conversation was headed too.

“You getting ready for your own mission, kiddo?” Amused as she looked up at him with a large grin.

“Yeah, I’ve gotta go, are you free to tag along, Mistah Priest?” She was smiling at him as he slid one hand out of his pocket, holding it out and watching as the girl took hold of it. Almost in a childlike manner as he started to walk, glancing at Svlad who was watching this happen.

“Not right now… Hopefully soon, I’m not sure how long Svlad’s case is going to last. They’re fun that way…” He moved to wrap his other arm around the boy’s shoulders, pulling him closer as he started to walk with both of them. “Isn’t that right?” He smiled at the boy who gave a whine in the back of his throat. Hands moving to shove Priest off him as he skirted around to be on the other side of Bart.

“Well.” He sounded a little distressed with the word as he did his best to focus on Bart. “Do you know where your mission is, Bart?” Priest narrowed his eyes on the boy as she looked over to him. Wondered if now he wanted Bart to join them since she was heading out anyway. She gave a small hum before shrugging.

“Don’t know. I just go until the universe makes me stop. Don’t even have a name of whos I gotta kill this time. But I’ll know when I run into them.” He watched out of the corner of his eye as the girl nudged Svlad getting his attention more while smiling over to him. “Blackwing’s not so boring now, huh?” She was even laughing with her excitement, Priest just ran his tongue over his bottom lip. Biting it as he waited for whatever bullshit it was Svlad was going to try and pull.

“You actually like it here?” He asked in a hushed tone like Priest wouldn’t notice, he slowly looked back ahead of them watching the agents passing by hoping to spot Mason to get her to grab Bart. Not that it wasn’t uncommon for her to wander the halls, but he didn’t want her to tag along while he roughed Svlad up for all of the things he was trying to pull.

“You don’t?” She seemed confused from his statement. “Why?” Even smiling at the boy who seemed so uncertain of himself now. “We actually gets ta do stuff now. I mean, I getta go on missions, you’re goin’ on a case… That’s exciting.”

“Doesn’t it bother you you’re working for Blackwing?” Priest couldn’t stop his giggle from that, biting his lip when he glanced over to see Svlad glaring at him before he turned his attention back to Bart. Who just shrugged her shoulders, free hand moving back to her mouth for her to chew on.

“No?” Like she didn’t understand why it should bother her. “I mean, it’s not like we’s really workin’ for them. Theys just give us a place to eat and sleep an’ we still follow what the universe wants.” She shifted a bit, gently swinging the hand he held in that usual childlike manner. “Last time I tried to stop doin’ what it was the universe said I was supposed ta do people that shouldn’t ‘ave gotten hurt got hurt… I have friends here, and I getta do what I have ta do.” Priest watched how Svlad actually started to slow down, and just stopped walking all together, like he realized she wouldn’t be any help to him. Priest finally came to a stop, not wanting him to get too far behind. “You guys are lettin’ Dirk do what he needs ta do too, right?”

“Yes, that’s why I’m joining him for his case.” Priest smiled while rubbing his thumb over Bart’s knuckles before looking back to Svlad. He could see the boy was getting upset, shifting in his stance, hand moving to rub at where the device was in his shoulder. Obvious anger slowly starting to build as the boy took in a deep breath.

“But they’re holding us prisoner here!” He finally shouted, Bart just blinked at him head even tilting.

“Svlad…” He moved his hand from Bart’s to put it around the girl’s shoulder, pulling her closer with a smile while looking the boy over. “Bart is able to go wherever she wants, isn’t that right?”

“Yeah.” She was looking up at him with a slightly curious look on her face.

“She’s not a prisoner here.” He watched how the boy just gapped at them, clearly working on an argument in his head. “Bart, why don’t you go find Mason, alright?”

“Okay.” She sounded a little disappointed before walking off towards where Priest had been leading them.  

“Bart! Wait!” Svlad shouted, almost in desperation, even stepped after her and held a hand out. Priest’s eyes narrowed on the boy as Bart turned around to look at him.

“Yeah?”

“You may not be a prisoner here, but-” Priest grabbed Dirk by his shoulder, hand clasping down on it tightly as he pulled the boy back to his side. Patient smile still on his face, but he could tell from the look on the boy’s face he was close to having an anger fit.

Svlad, that’s enough, let Bart go on her mission, you two can catch up later.” He squeezed his hand harder when the boy opened his mouth like he was going to try and protest. Digging his fingers into the pressure points there to shut him up. “See you later, Bart.” He could see how she was staring at his hand before she slowly turned to start walking, giving a little wave as she headed down the halls. He waited till she wasn’t in view as he pulled that remote out of his pocket. Could feel Svlad rather quickly pulling away from him. Swatting at the arm of the hand that was grabbing his shoulder. Already turning to try to head back to where Miles was.  

He watched him practically scramble down the halls for a bit longer than necessary; just wanting to get the boy’s hopes up that he might have actually gotten out of range for the remote. He casually pressed the button, watching as Svlad started to drop to his knees. Hand moving to his shoulder as he fell forwards, more or less face planting into the floor before he fell on his side. Body twitching and convulsing as he curled up in a ball with a muffled cry in pain. Priest just watched him and came to a stop right next to the boy, slowly turning the shock off. Eyes lingering heavily on him as he continued to writhe in his spot on the floor.

“O-ow, ow-”

“And where do you think you’re off to?“ He asked while kicking him in the shoulder, watching how he whimpered while grabbing the assaulted area. "Going to try and break Miles out again?” He walked around him, kicking him in the stomach this time. Watching how he curled up even further into a ball. “Or, were you just going to wander the halls till you find a way to get out of this place?” Lifting his foot and resting it on his shoulder as he began shaking him with it. He could hear the boy crying and he sighed while finally pulling his foot back, kneeling down next to him, hand moving to the boy’s hair as he ran his fingers through it. “Poor, confused, dangerous, little, Svlad Cjelli…”

“St-stop-”

“Realizing how alone he really is in this world.” He pulled on the boy’s hair roughly to get the boy to look at him. “Only friend you have in this place and she loves it here. OH!” He couldn’t stop the giggle as he pulled on his hair harder, watching as the boy just curled up tighter to keep crying into his hands. “Here’s the best part. Bart and I are good friends now, all that time spending road trips together. Killing people together. Getting ice cream together… you didn’t really think she’d want to help you, did you?” He mused the words down to him. Wasn’t fully sure if the boy was even hearing him from how badly he was choking on his own sobs. Just begging him to stop repeatedly as he shook his head and buried his face so hard in his hands Priest couldn’t help but wonder if he was going to offset his nose again. “No one’s going to save you.” He purred the words down to him, watching as the boy eventually rolled on his stomach and tried to pull himself up. A little too distraught to do more than just get himself up on his knees. Priest slowly stood up, standing in front of the boy as he ran his hands through his hair. Pushing his head back enough so that the boy was staring up at him. Eyes all red and puffy as tears continued to stream down his face.  

“Pl-please, M-Mr. P-Priest.” He pulled on his hair, dragging his head forwards letting the boy cry against his thigh. He smiled when he felt the boy grab his leg, pushing a bit like he wanted to get away despite how much his fingers were holding on to his pant leg. “I d-don’t wa-want to d-do th-this.” He was shaking his head, finally willing himself to pull away from him, sniffling and moving his hands to try and wipe the tears away.  

“There you go again…” He mused the words down to him, watching as the boy gave heavy sobs, trying to catch his breath between them. Hands more or less covering his face now like that was going to help anything. “Acting like you have a choice.” He giggled when that just made Svlad cry harder, watching the boy trying to scoot back and away from him.

“I want to go home.”  

“You are home.” He watched as Svlad shook his head and Priest couldn’t contain his giggling. “Ohh, you mean that pathetic excuse for an agency of yours? To those little rejects you called friends?” He moved his foot to nudge the boy, watching as he managed to move away. Using the wall to pull himself up to his feet, that anger slowly starting to show itself again.

“They’re not rejects-”

Weren’t. Svlad. They’re dead, or do I need to go grab a souvenir Bosco picked up for me?” He stalked forwards, catching the boy by his tie when he tried to pull away. He grabbed it tight as he pulled Svlad closer to him, devilish grin on his face as he looked him over. “I think you’ll like it. Give you a hand in remembering how dead they are. All thanks to you.” He watched as the boy shook his head while trying to shove Priest’s hand away.

“Let go of me! J-just stop it! Please, just stop!” Priest gave a low hum from his little breakdown while moving his free hand to the wall behind his head. Other hand twisting around the tie he was holding to force the boy to continue to stand. “I-I c-can’t help Bl-Blackwing-”

“You don’t have a choice.” He repeated it, saying it in a calming tone as he finally moved his hand’s to cup the boy’s face. Gently wiping his tears away and letting him slide down the wall onto the floor. He dropped his hands by his sides with an annoyed sigh. “You finally going to beg for me to bring Miles with us while you’re down there?” Arching a brow with an amused smile, he giggled when Svlad just glared up at him while shifting in his spot. Hands moving to wipe his tears away some more as he looked away from the man. Priest finally reached down to grab him by the tie again. “Then I guess we should start moving-”

“Please, Mr. Priest… Miles ne-needs to come with us. I know h-he needs to come with us. He’s important t-to th-the case.”

“Convince me that he really needs to come with us.”

“Mr. Priest.” He said the name in a surprisingly harsh tone, scooting back enough to try and put distance between them. It was actually amusing to watch as he listened to Svlad take in a shaky breath, hands actually rubbing along his bruised thighs as he glared up at him. “Miles is my first clue. You have to take him with us if you really want to solve the case.” Priest reached down, grabbing him by the hair, enjoying the flinch before he even did it. He pulled the boy up higher on his knees, hand moving off his hair to pet his cheek before he smacked him across the face. Hitting hard enough that the boy leaned over and caught himself on his hand before he fell on his side. “You said convince you!” He snapped the words at him while holding his cheek. Wincing while actually flexing his jaw. It made Priest laugh as he moved his hand back into his hair, pulling on it and forcing him to sit up right. He actually enjoyed the pained whine that left his throat as he continued to rub his cheek.

“I also told you to beg.”

“I’m not going to degrade myself by begging you to bring my clues along!” Priest just giggled from that while watching the boy shift in his spot.

“Oh really?” He could see the uncertainty on the boy’s face from that question, face heating up in anger and frustration as Svlad actually looked away from him and continued to rub his cheek. Other hand clenched in a fist which he held on his thigh, just staring at the floor, Priest was amused by this. Amused watching the inner turmoil that was going on with the boy below him. How he seemed so lost and unsure of himself and what to do now. He moved his hand to go back to petting the boy’s hair, brushing it off his forehead and watching the way it tangled and pulled from his gloves running through it. “From the sounds of it, Hugo only said to talk to him.” He watched how Svlad quickly looked up at him with a shocked look on his face as Priest giggled. “We have audio in your room too.” He watched how that look of shock turned into one of hatred. “You spoke to him, and he didn’t know anything.” He tilted his head with a smile. “And from me being able to stop you two I don’t think the universe really wants him to come.” His smile turned into a grin as he listened to Svlad take in a deep breath through his nose before pulling away from him.

“N-no. It’s not…” He watched how he rubbed his face in growing frustration before looking back up at him. “You want me to tell you when I have hunches.” Looks like a lesson was actually sticking, that was good. “My hunch is we need him with us.” Priest ran his tongue over his bottom lip, biting it while petting his hair. Actually, patting the boy’s head.

“Good boy.” He mused the words, watching how Svlad looked even more annoyed before forcing himself up on his feet and shooting him a glare. “Finally taking a step in the right direction and listening to an order I gave.” He moved to wrap his arm around the boy’s shoulder as he pulled him nice and close. Leaning in with a grin, “And you kept trying to insist that day one of training was pointless. Clearly the first lesson stuck.” He laughed as Svlad ducked down and slid out from under his arm with an offended glare. “Come along now.” He patted his thigh and continued to walk, looking back at Svlad who was hesitant but finally followed after. He could see the boy glancing around as he led him further down the halls than he has before. The boy slowly getting closer to him every time they passed agents who shifted their guns and kept their eyes on him. Honestly, he was amused by the fact Svlad was moving closer to him almost as if he was looking for protection. It caused a grin to come across his face as they continued down the halls, stopping in front of a room that Priest pushed a code in for. Watching the door slide open he grabbed Svlad by the tie and pulled him with him. Seeing Ken look up from his desk he continued to smile as they came to a stop closer to the man’s desk.

“Mr. Priest?”

“Hey, Ken, Svlad here has something he’d like to tell you about the case involving your little prisoner.” He moved his hand from the boy’s tie to his shoulder, shoving him in front of him with an amused smile from the noise Svlad made in the back of his throat. He watched how the boy looked at him from over his shoulder before turning his attention back over to Ken.

“Yes, well… um… I have a hunch that Miles needs to join me… us.” He watched him glance back before looking ahead again, obviously still annoyed that he would be joining him for the case. “He’s important.”

“Mr. Priest,” He watched how Ken looked from Svlad to him with a look of uncertainty on his face. “I’m not sure that’s a good idea for you to have to deal with both Svlad,” he could practically feel the anger coming off the boy, “and Miles.”

“There you go doubting me again, Ken.” He put his hand over his heart with a mock offended look on his face. “After all I’ve done for this place.” He was laughing though before carelessly shrugging, once more moving to use the boy as an armrest. “Curious what your plan is though if we do end up actually needing him.” He giggled when Svlad actually turned to look at him.

“There’s no if! We do need him.” Ken was leaning back in his seat with a look of uncertainty on his face, like he also wasn’t entirely sure what he meant by that. “Ken.” He turned to look at him, a pleading look in his eyes. “Please, please just let us take Miles, it’s not like he has the ability to run at the moment.” He stated with a pointed look in his direction, just making Priest giggle more as he crossed his hands in front of him. Amused smile lingering on his face as he shifted in his spot. “And I think it will go by quicker if he’s actually with us rather than… well whatever it is you plan on doing for him and I being in contact during the case.” Priest just grinned looking from the boy over to Ken who was staring between them.  

“If you’re really worried about it you can have them plant one of them trackin’ devices in the kid.” He moved his hand and grabbed Svlad by the back of his neck, thumb rubbing over the tattoo there. “That way if he somehow does escape, which I highly doubt, you’ll have a way to know where he’s goin’.” He watched how Svlad pulled away from him, hand moving to the back of his neck with a glare on his face as his fingers ran along the tattoo. Even took a step away from him like the distance was going to save him from just realizing there was a tracer inside of him.

“He should not be running around with his leg in the condition it’s in. You will be put on calls with him anytime you need to get a hold of him. He’s a liability at this point, and since Skylar appears to be close by given the fact you saw her and you didn’t have to travel very far, if you absolutely need him he can be dropped off at your location.” Priest smiled while walking back over to Svlad, grabbing the boy by the tie as he scratched the skin on the back of his neck.  

“But what if we need him for something! What if without him Skylar just kills us-”

“Svlad.” Ken stated the name in a harsh tone as Priest tightened his hand on the boy’s tie when he actually, stepped forwards. He could see the anger on the boy’s face as he clenched his hands into fists. Tears of frustration building in his eyes as he reached a hand back to start scratching at the tattoo again. “I’m sure Mr. Priest can handle whatever it is you’re going to be running into.” Priest couldn’t help but be amused as he yanked on Svlad’s tie so the boy actually stumbled into his side, turning his attention away from Ken.

“I’ll let you know when we need him.” He mused the words out while dragging Svlad out of Ken’s office. Looking back to Svlad when he noticed how much he was rubbing the back of his neck. Almost as if he was trying to rub the skin off.

“A tracer!?” He could hear that break in his voice, the little crack and waiver as he turned his full attention to him. He could feel the way his hands were trembling as he finally stopped poking at his tattoo and tried to pry the tie out of his hand. Watching how his breathing seemed to get more and more ragged as he tried almost desperately to escape him. “You put a tracer in me!? I-I am n-not an object! I am a p-person-” He pulled him closer before punching the boy in the stomach, watching him drop like a rock at his feet. Seeing the boy hug himself as he sat on his knees, chest and face pressed into the floor as he coughed and choked on his sobs. “I’m a person.”

“Not anymore.” He watched as the boy started to cry harder into the floor, how he continued to sob and choke on his tears by his feet. He was smiling as he felt other agents glancing at them in passing, he slowly crouched down by the boy’s head. Forearms resting on his knees as he looked the boy over.

“D-does Bart-”

“Have a tracer? No. She’s not stupid, unlike you.” He watched as Svlad shoved himself up on shaky arms, looking up to him with a look of pure unadulterated hatred. He laughed from the look, watching as Svlad sat higher on his knees, tears staining his cheeks. Listening as the boy sniffled and started to rub his eyes, making Priest wonder if he was finally done with his childish breakdown.

“Not wanting to work for the people that kidnapped and tortured me for years doesn’t make me stupid!” He laughed in his face from that, hands moving to cup Svlad’s face as he pulled him forwards to the point of making the boy have to crawl a bit closer to him. The boy’s hands moving from the ground to his wrists as he gave a keening whine in the back of his throat.

“I own you.” He purred the words out, thumbs swiping his tears away as he looked between the boy’s eyes, watching how he sat up more on his knees and tried to pull away. “You’re mine.” As if he wasn’t getting the picture the first time. “Which means you’re going to do whatever I tell you to do like the good little pet you are.” Svlad shook his head while trying to pull away from him more, hands moving to Priest’s to try and pry his hands off his face almost desperately.

“No-” Priest let go with one hand only to smack him across the face, other hand moving into his hair to pull him back up when he almost fell.

“Yes.” He hated how he kept trying to deny it. Wanted to make it sink in that it was true, that he owned him. He wanted him to admit it, he could feel his eyes get heavy at the thought of forcing him to. “I want to hear you say it.” He pulled the boy up and shoved him against the wall, body pressing against him as he pinned him to the wall.  

“N-no, let go-” Hands cupping his face as he shoved him back more into the wall.  

“Say it. I’m yours.” He leaned in and growled the words against him, waiting for it, to see if he would submit and say it or if he would be stubborn. “I own you.” He grabbed his jaw tightly, leaning in as Svlad whimpered and tried to shove him off, head shaking as he tried to turn it away. He rested one hand on the wall, the other forcing the boy to turn his head back towards him. “Say. It.” He slid his hand from the boy’s face to his throat. Gripping it tightly as he pressed him more into the wall, cutting off his airflow as he pressed against him more. “Svlad.” He was crying harder and desperately trying to pry the hand off his throat. “All you have to do is say it.” Submit to me.

“M-Mr. P-Priest–” Svlad’s hand moved to his shoulder, shoving at it to try and push him back as the other hand kept trying to pull his gloved hands off of him. He was trying to gasp for air, just looking like a fish out of water as he squirmed and even kicked at his leg to try and get him to let go. “Pl-plea–” He smiled from how much he was struggling to breathe and to talk, he watched his struggle for a little longer than necessary before dropping him. Watching the boy fall at his feet as he took a step back to watch him choke and gasp for air. Hands on his throat and even tugging at his tie to loosen it, like the item felt like it was still choking him.

“Darlin’.” He watched as the boy looked up to him. He moved his foot, resting it on his shoulder where he had stabbed him with the knife. Pressing the heel of his boot against the wound as he shoved him against the wall. “Say it. I’m yours. And I won’t break open your stitches and be forced to drag you back to medical.” To prove he was serious he pushed harder as Svlad struggled and tried to shove his foot away. Tears streaming down his face as he gave a pained cry from Priest putting so much pressure on the wound.

“I-I’m yours-” Barely over a whimper as he choked on a sob. He slowly started to pull his foot off his shoulder, watching as the boy leaned forwards. Hand grasping at the wound as he cried, visibly shaking in his own anger.

“Good boy… Now let’s go.” Stating the words harshly as he stood up and dragged the boy to his feet by his hair. Watching how much Svlad was trying to struggle as they headed down the hallway, his struggle picking up as they passed where Miles was being kept.

“W-wait-”

“He’s not coming with us.”

“L-look, Mr. Priest.” He gave an annoyed sigh as Svlad tried so hard to remove his hand from his hair. “You don’t seem to care about rules. Why don’t you just grab him and take him anyway.” Priest couldn’t help but stop at that, blinking a bit before grinning as he turned around to look at him. Watching how Svlad seemed unsure about the way he was smiling at him.

“Svlad,” He mused the name while stepping closer to the boy, grabbing him by the tie and holding him so he couldn’t run. “Now I’m really impressed with you.” He was giggling while looking him over. “Fixin’ to talk me into treason because you don’t want to be alone with me longer than you already have to.” He watched how Svlad frowned at him as he pulled him even closer. Forcing the boy up on his toes as he looked between his eyes and watched how he was trying to pull the tie out of his hand. “Don’t much see the point in dragging him into this yet. We still have to find her and he’s going to try and sabotage every attempt to do so. He will join us when we get further in your case.”

“He could have important pieces of information to the case that he doesn’t know he has until we run into something.” Priest just kept that smile on his face, humoring Svlad’s argument for now.

“We can call him up if we stumble upon something that he might know. Unless,” He moved his free hand, grabbing the boy by the thigh and rubbing his thumb over the scar there from when Ken shot him. “You just want to watch him limp around from that injury of his.”

“N-no-” He was trying to pull his thigh away from him just making Priest giggle.

“Really are a sadistic monster aren’t you Svlad?” He could see tears in his eyes from that statement. “So dangerous and unpredictable, it’s a good thing you have me around.” He let go of his thigh starting to walk and dragging the boy with him by his tie. “Keep those civilians safe from the likes of you.” Purring the words as he continued to drag the boy who was shaking his head.

“I am not a monster-”

“That body count of yours says otherwise. How high are we now? Have to be in the hundreds-”

“No!”

“Should sit down one time and go over all of them.”

“M-Mr. Priest, please.”

“You remember all of their names? Or do you just see them as bodies?” He was grinning as he looked over his shoulder when Svlad started slowing down. He could hear the boy crying as he shook his head.

“I-I didn’t-”

“Get them killed? Of course, you did. The number one thing all those people had in common was you in their lives. I certainly wasn’t there to help things all the time.” He was laughing as he more or less started to drag the boy behind him when he seemed to refuse to follow. Hand adjusting on the tie to tighten it as he listened to his frantic gasp and how the boy finally stopped dragging his feet in order to stay two steps behind him and not choke himself. The rest of the walk to the garage was uneventful, just the random sniffling from Dirk, the continued struggle. But the boy didn’t open his mouth again to try anything, just bitterly silent about how the conversation was going. He led the boy over to the SUV he typically used, had it adjusted to how he liked it, and he could play his playlists from his phone over the stereo making it that much better. He dragged Svlad to the back of the car and opened the door before turning to look at him. Slowly letting go of his tie as he smiled at the boy who was fixing his tie and staring off with a pout to the side.

“Get in.” Watching the boy as he looked from the vehicle to him with a small sigh, slowly climbing into it. Working on getting himself situated and even pulling his seatbelt on. Priest grabbed one of the boy’s wrists and slapped cuffs around it, already cuffing him to the handle on the roof of the car.

“Is that really necessary?”

“Would just hate for you to try and jump out while we’re driving, Darlin’.” Leaning over him to give him a playful slap on the cheek before he leaned back to make sure the child lock was on and closed the door. He whistled to himself as he walked around to the back of the SUV, opening the hatch and checking the guns he had in there making sure he was properly loaded up on clips he would need for his machine gun, and checking extra clips for his handgun. He could see Svlad looking at him from over the back of the seat as he pulled out his M16 from the gun rack he had in the back. Looking it over and grabbing a clip to load it checking to make sure it was working correctly.

“A machine gun seems like over kill.”

“Farah always brought guns.” He mused the reply out, ejecting the clip and the spare bullet he put the gun back and loaded the bullet back into the clip.

“A handgun.” Priest slid his hand down to his holster and pulled the handgun out, showing it to him with a smile. “Mr. Priest… I really don’t think you need to bring that many weapons.” He was even turning to peak over the back of the seat to try and look at his gun rack.

“Svlad. You were not only attacked by some hen with a magic wand who withstood an entire clip of bullets, and a rather high fall from building… but also an army from another dimension last time you and I were involved in a case together. Not to mention, the Spring case, where Farah, Detective Estevez, Project Incubus, and Bart all had a show down with those body swappers y'all got tangled up with.” He was checking another gun, looking it over before glancing up at Svlad. “And you mean ta try and tell me we ain’t gonna need heavy artillery while chasing after a project that kills people who are sick with unspeakable illnesses?” He watched how Svlad just slunk down in his seat, frown etched heavily on his face as Priest slid the gun back in its holster. Gloved fingers drumming on it as he waited for his reply. “That’s what I thought.” He stated while closing the hatch and walked around to the front, opening the driver’s side door as he climbed in and started the car to check on how he was on gas, pleased to see that they had already filled it from his last trip.

He put his headset in and pulled his phone out of his pocket, scrolling through playlists as he turned the headset on mute. Finding one that would fill the silence nicely he turned it on before starting to drive. Exiting the carport into the barren desert of the test area they were in. There was only one small visible section of Blackwing from up top which looked like an old radio station surrounded by a big metal fence, which opened the closer they got to it. The road was almost hard to see against the sand that blew around, which looked open for miles.

“Feel free to speak up when you get one of your hunches, Darlin’.” He mused the words, hand already moving to turn the volume for the radio down. He gave a pleased noise in the back of his throat as “Raise Hell” by Dorothy started, he glanced back at Svlad rearview. Adjusting it as he continued speeding down the road towards civilization. Curious if he was going to have to start a conversation or if Svlad would finally fill the silence running his mouth-

“So, where exactly are we going? You seem so sure you know where Skylar is.” Svlad actually pitched in, could hear him shifting and he glanced back in his rearview to see the boy fighting his cuffs, twisting them this way and that while pulling on them. He just smiled while glancing back ahead and motioning to the desert in front of them.  

“We’re headed to Mesquite. I saw her on the outer edges of the city while I was payin’ Scott a visit.” He glanced to see if Svlad would pick up on that, saw the boy shifting in his seat before scooting closer.  

“You… You didn’t… kill him… did you?” Svlad asked with a shaky breath. It was kind of adorable really, he couldn’t stop his laugh as he looked back at the road.

“Don’t worry, Svlad, he’s not worth the bullet.” He could hear his sigh of relief, “Surprised you actually care. He is the reason you were put in the program.” He mused the words out, listening to the way Svlad was struggling against his cuffs as he kept his eyes on the road.

“So where exactly are we?” Priest rested one hand on the steering wheel, resting his elbow on the window he propped his chin in his hand with a smile.

“You can’t tell?” He mused the words while looking back at him in the mirror, grinning when the boy just glared at him. “Not even from the town name I gave?” He was giggling as he grabbed the wheel and turned down a road that finally appeared out of the sand, heading down the long drive to Mesquite. Which was a few hours out from where they currently were, he glanced back at Svlad who just sunk back into his seat and pressed his face against the glass of the window. Priest slowly turned the volume up as “Birds with Broken Wings” by Ben Caplan started, drumming his fingers on the wheel as he watched the road. “Figured all those books you read as a kid and how much you ran around you would have a good idea.”

“This isn’t the same place as when I was a kid.” Priest grinned as he looked back at him and ahead again. Giving a little giggle this time as he gripped the wheel tighter.

“Actually, it is, you just always have had weird, questionable, and paranormal ways of escaping that I don’t think ya ever actually gotta see outside of the facility.” Dirk sighed heavily as Priest looked back at him and then ahead again. “We’re in Nevada.” He mused the words, looking around as they continued their drive, watching the way the sand blew around the road.

“Why did you visit Riggins?” He looked back at him through the rearview mirror and smiled wider. Watching how Svlad fussed at his lips with his teeth before he leaned back more in his seat. Slowly lowering the volume on the radio as the song switched. “Is he… coming back to Blackwing?” Sounded so hopeful.

“He’s been forced to retire, Wilson doesn’t like his plans of operation. That he wants leaves dangerous people like you out on the streets, and we just can’t have that-”

“Yet they let you go wherever you want.”

“Still on that theory, huh?” He mused the words, listening to Svlad shift and fight against his cuffs in the back of the car. “I was just swinging by to tell him about how great Blackwing is without him driving it into the ground.” He couldn’t help the grin as he looked at him in the mirror again. “Maybe we can drop by since he’s in the area.”

“No!” He ran his tongue over his teeth from how panicked he sounded at the idea. “N-no, th-that’s okay Mr. Priest, we don’t… we don’t have to do that.” He knew the boy didn’t want him to turn that into an excuse to kill the older man, he hummed at the thought.

“Could finally get revenge on him for locking you up all those years ago and making your life a living hell-”

“Pl-please, Mr. Priest. I-it’s fine. We don’t need to see him. L-let’s just find Skylar and see why the universe wants us together.” Priest just smiled while leaning his head back against the headrest. Tilting it to the side to look at the boy who was shifting uncomfortably as Priest looked back ahead and worked on getting on the interstate.

“Does seem like an odd combination, doesn’t it? Casualty Psychic with a Paranormal Entity that deals with bugs and disease. Honestly, sounds like a beautiful combination for disaster.” He was laughing with the words, blinking when Svlad sat forwards.

“What… what did you just call me?”

“Casualty Psychic. That’s the general term for yourself and Bart, you do bring about as much death as she does.”

“That’s not true!” Priest moved a hand off the steering wheel. “A-and she actually, kills people. I don’t kill people-”

“Ohhh… Svlad. Just because you’re not pulling the trigger doesn’t mean you’re not killing them.” Grabbing his knife and sliding it out of its sheath as he held it up and rested it so the point was pressing against the center console. Just holding it there as he slowly started to spin it, not caring about the way it was digging into the armrest of the console. “I meant it you know… All those years ago when I said I would cut the tally of everyone you killed into your body. Maybe seeing the numbers carved into your skin will help you accept what you are.” He laughed when Svlad actually kicked the center console, his anger so evident from the back seat.

“I am not a psychic. And I most certainly am not a casualty psychic! I’m a Holistic Detective, who solves cases and helps people!” He moved the knife and slowly slid it back into his sheath. Passing the few cars that were on the road as the open barren area started to gain more life and use.

“You’re a selfish little boy who gets himself involved in things out of his league and gets people killed for it.” He laughed to himself while putting both hands back on the steering wheel. “Here’s how I see this case going.” He shifted in his spot, giggling a bit as he glanced from the road to Svlad and back again. “You’re going to hook up with Skylar, and the second you two come into contact with one another you’re going to trigger an event that’s going to cause a mass casualty.”

“No-”

“You can try and stay in denial all you want, Svlad. But we know how much death likes to follow you around.” He could hear the boy sniffling in the back seat, he couldn’t stop his smile as the desert around them began to rise into rock walls on either side of the highway, eyes lingering on the sign for the town before Mesquite. He decided to just let Dirk stew in his own mind as he continued the drive. Slowly pulling off the interstate and taking the exit into the small town that was there. His eyes were scanning over those few who were out, most of them on smoke breaks or heading to parked cars. Didn’t take too long to reach their destination. He stared at the Terrible’s gas station sign, looking it over before pulling into it and parking off to the side. He slowly climbed out of the vehicle and walked around to Svlad’s side. Opening the door as he pulled out his handcuff key, grabbing the boy by the tie and pulling him closer with a little grin.  

“Skylar came in here yesterday. The kid I talked to claims he didn’t see her at the time I didn’t care enough to push… There’s cameras in the shop so if they really don’t know anything the cameras could have seen something.”  

“That’s not really how my cases work… The whole… you know… actual investigation of things.” Priest blinked at him, hands moving to rest in the doorway of the SUV as Dirk practically squirmed under his gaze. “I follow Coincidences, and the interconnectedness of things. It’s not like I follow real clues around, and I definitely don’t look at film footage.” Priest took in a deep breath through his nose, one hand moving to grab the boy’s tie as he yanked him closer to the open doorway.

“Alright,” would humor this idiotic idea for a while. “you got a good hunch about this place?” He watched as Dirk looked at the gas station with a little frown on his face as he shifted in his seat. Finally shrugging and looking over to him, he could still see how red his eyes were from crying.

“I don’t know, but I don’t always have hunches either.” Priest sighed while standing up straight and showing him the key so the boy would hold still for him. 

“How you manage to solve anything is beyond me. But I guess that’s what you need other people for, isn’t it Svlad?” Teasing tone in his voice as he uncuffed him. Watching as the boy rubbed his wrists before wiping his face off of any tears that were there. “Now, Svlad.“ He leaned in, one hand holding the top of the doorway as he got into the boy’s personal space. Smiling at him as his free hand moved to straighten out the boy’s tie. Could feel the tension rising as he ran his hand down his chest to keep it straightened out. "If you try to pull anything I will kill everyone in there. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Mr. Priest.” He slowly unbuckled his seatbelt and Priest stepped back far enough to let the boy climb out of the car. He kept an eye on him as he started to look around the area before heading towards the gas station, Priest locked the SUV and followed after the boy, lingering a bit behind as Svlad forced a smile like everything was okay and headed over to the door. Priest walked in after Svlad, glancing at the monitor that displayed the cameras as he walked in before looking to the man behind the counter who looked a little nervous about them entering. He could see the beads of sweat on his forehead which seemed slightly out of place. Although it was warm outside, it was nice and cool in here. As he got closer to the counter, however, he could already smell a familiar copper smell. That almost made him laugh as he changed his direction from the counter to the shelves, boredly scanning over the stock they had on display as Svlad headed over to the counter. The boy very, obviously, oblivious to the smell that was tainting the front of the gas station. Priest couldn’t stop his smile as he moved to look around to see if anyone else was in there with them.

“Hi!” Said it in that perky upbeat tone that made Priest grin as he walked farther into the store, looking down the aisles, listening for any movements. Feeling like Svlad should be fine, knew he had a habit of getting hurt on cases, but if Bart couldn’t kill him he doubted a possible robber could. “I’m Dirk, Dirk Gently Holistic Detective.”

“Holistic Detective?” The man behind the counter sounded just as nervous as he looked, he continued to search as Svlad continued to try and talk to the man. “What the hell is that? You like, work with plants or something?” Nervous talker, apparently. He couldn’t stop his giggle as he moved to glance at the camera monitor again from where he stood. Smiling to himself when he caught the sight of someone with a gun crouched behind the aisle close to him.

“Plants? No. I…” He swore he could practically see the lightbulb appear over Svlad’s head as he continued to move. Grabbing his gun as he got closer and closer to where the person with the gun was. “Oh! You mean like Horticulturists.” He noticed also how Svlad seemed to have been writing something as he spoke. “No.” He was laughing a bit though, as Priest stepped around the corner quickly seeing the suspect attempting to sneak around the other side. “You know you’re actually the first one to-”

“Hey-” Priest caught them by the back of the shirt, yanking them backwards and throwing them hard to the ground. Already kicking the gun out of their hand, he could hear movement up front but ignored it for now as he drew his gun and shot the boy right in the chest. He turned his head to look and see the kid behind the counter had leapt over it and was holding his own gun to Svlad’s head. Watching as the boy stared in shock more than anything. Hands on the man’s arm as the kid stood there with his gun aimed at him, hand holding the weapon shaking horribly. Priest couldn’t stop the giggle when he noticed blood spatter on the boy’s shirt.

“D-drop the gun! I-I’ll sh-shoot him-” So nervous, such an amateur, he was giggling more now as he walked around the aisle watching as the boy took a step back and dragged Svlad with him. Only backing himself up into the display behind them.  

“Will you, now?”

“L-listent to me.” Svlad was trying to sound calm, squirming a bit in his grip as he tried to look at the kid over his shoulder. “H-he’s going to kill you. J-just drop the gun and run-”

“Shut up!” Priest was amused how Svlad still wanted to save the kid’s life. Even while he was being held at gunpoint.  

“Looks to me like this is your first time usin’ a gun, I’m curious, did you mean to kill the cashier or you just a little trigger happy?”

“D-dude I mean it. I-I’ll kill him!” Shaking so badly, Priest just grinned, biting his bottom lip before rather quickly raising his gun and shooting the boy right in the head. He watched Svlad close his eyes and flinch from the action. The body slumping down onto the floor as Svlad just stood there slowly opening his eyes wide, tears in them as blood and brain matter slowly started to drip off his face. Priest slid his gun back in his holster as he started to walk over to them, shoving the door open to walk behind the counter he looked to the body that was there. He knelt down next to it and started to search the older man for keys, finding what looked like normal house keys and store keys he just took both and started to walk back around the counter.

“You… shot… him.” He looked over to Svlad, who was still standing there with a look of shock on his face, the boy finally stumbling to the side and staring at the body. Hand moving to try and desperately to wipe the blood and gore off his face. Almost frantically trying to get it off, just getting more blood on that pretty blue jacket of his. “He-”

“Going to thank me for saving your life?” He mused the words, walking over to him and grabbing the boy carelessly by the arm and dragging him towards the back of the store. He stopped when they reached the door in the back, turning to look at the boy who was still rubbing at his face. Just making a mess of it, he shoved him into the wall by the door. Hand grabbing his chin and tilting his head up so he would look him in the face. “Svlad.” He watched as his eyes finally focused on him, looking him in the eyes with that still shocked expression on his face. “You going to shut down like this every time someone dies?” He watched the tears that filled his eyes as he looked from him to the dead body near the front of the gas station.

“N-no—I just… What if he killed me…”

“If he was really going to kill you he would have just done it after I shot his friend.” He could see that increasing Svlad’s very visible agitation.

“You’re insane!” He giggled before smacking the boy across the face, watching his head snap to the side as he lifted his hand to rub his cheek. Which was a nice shade of red from the hit, he gave a soft sigh while grabbing him by the face and shoving him more into the wall.

“That any way to talk to me after I just saved you?”

“You’re the one that put me in danger in the first place!”

“Svlad.” He leaned in, hand moving to the wall next to his head as he grinned at him. “You have been around blood long enough to know that smell.” He moved his free hand, grabbing at the boy’s jacket and pulling on it before sliding his hand into the boy’s pocket. He’d noticed the pen hastily dropped on the floor when all the action started. “Or were you too busy,” he pulled a piece of receipt paper out of the boy’s pocket, watching how he was trying to grab it back from him, “trying to write notes to notice.” He looked at the receipt paper pulling it away when Svlad tried so hard to grab it, seeing rather hastily written in pen the words ‘HELP ME’.

“I-it’s not–”

“You would have gotten the cashier killed anyway.” He crumpled the receipt up before shoving it in his pocket, watching the way the boy looked at him with a distressed expression. “You still going to try and deny you’re a casualty psychic.” He pulled out the keys and worked on figuring out which one went to the lock on the door. He gave a pleased hum and opened it, grabbing Svlad by the jacket and shoving him inside as he looked to the camera set up they had. Shoving the boy down in the chair he set to work figuring out how the system worked. Playing around with it as he listened to Svlad shift in the chair and go back to trying to clean his face.

“Can I please go to the restroo-”

“No. You’re staying right here, or do you want to get more people killed?” He arched a brow, finding what he wanted he rewound the tapes to get to what date and time he wanted, watching as eventually Skylar stepped into the store. Hood pulled close, he could feel Dirk leaning forwards now as the boy seemed a little more engrossed in what was going on. He followed her on the cameras as she walked into the back to grab food and drinks, cradling the supplies in her arms. Could see locusts crawling all over his hands and slipping under her hoodie as she finally headed over to the counter. Making sure to avoid the camera, but it was so easy to tell it was her.

“She really does have locusts… they just… follow her?” He smiled from the question while glancing over to him. Looking back to her at the counter watching how the cashier was talking to her while ringing up what she needed. And, of course it was the same kid he tried to talk to last night. He gave a low hum from that and stood up straight, fast forwarding it a bit and noticing they ended up talking for a while before she eventually jumped behind the counter and hid… right before he himself walked through the door. “Is she a psychic?”

“No, probably saw me pull in…” He stood up straight before closing out of what they were watching. Walking over to the files in the room and using the keys he collected to unlock them. Opening the drawers, he flipped through paperwork before finding files on current employees. “Looks like we have more stops to make.” He looked over to Dirk, eyeing the blood on him before sighing in disappointment, hand reaching over to grab him by the front of his tie as he dragged him out of the room. Heading to the bathroom he grabbed a rag on the way and dragged Svlad in with him. Shoving him against the wall as he turned on one of the sinks, letting the water run to get hot before putting the rag under it. Grabbing the boy’s chin and tilting his head as he worked on cleaning the blood off his face.

“I can do this myself, you know-” He gave a small groan as Priest continued to clean his face up anyway. Rag brushing and cleaning along his skin gently.

“Take off your jacket.” He gave a small smirk when the boy’s hands moved to his wrist, trying to still him in cleaning his face.

“Why?” He looked so fearful, which was making his grin widen as he smacked one of the boy’s hands away with his free one before grabbing him by the jaw again. Forcing him to turn his head away as he cleaned the boy’s face by his ear before starting to clean the side of his throat.

“Don’t question my orders, just follow them.”

“I am not an Agent. I don’t just follow orders-”

“But ya’re my pet.” He leaned in, smile staying on his lips, could smell the blood lingering on his skin as he brought his mouth to his ear. “You even admitted it.” Teasing tone as he gave a small giggle, feeling the way the boy shivered from it. “You need to do what I say like a good boy.” He informed so casually before leaning back, going back to cleaning him as Svlad glared off to the other side of the bathroom. “I guess I’ll just take it away-”

“N-no.” He was quickly moving to take off the jacket, Priest took it from him before the boy could pull it close to himself.

“Stop. I don’t want to already have to buy you a new shirt because you got blood all over this one.” Chastising as he grabbed the boy by the chin with the hand that still held the rag. Looking to his shirt to see if he got any blood on it at all. Not seeing any he slowly let go and stepped back to work on cleaning the blood off the jacket. Not handing it back as he started to walk away, heading towards the front door, Svlad was quick to follow after him.

“Can I have the jacket back-”

“After the shit you tried to pull? No.” He gave a small chuckle as he grabbed the boy by his tie and headed back out to the SUV, shoving him towards it as he opened the front seat to toss the jacket in before opening the back door for him. “Get in.” Hand moving to unmute his headset, eyeing Svlad who was looking out towards the almost abandon roads. Almost like he wanted to run, he shoved the boy at the open door waiting for him to follow the unspoken command to get in. “Priest to command.” He slowly climbed into the SUV, he leaned in while grabbing the cuffs and cuffing Svlad’s hands to the handle on the roof. Slamming the door closed.

–“This is command.”

“Things got a little zany.” He was giggling when he could hear Ken’s sigh.

–“Already… You’ve already–”

“Relax Ken, it was robbers, had to kill them. Found a possible lead on Skylar though, so we’re heading there now. I’m also sending you the location of this place to get it cleaned up.” He was pulling out his phone while texting the address to Ken. Walking around the vehicle slowly to give the conversation some time. He could see the SUV shaking a bit as Svlad tried to fight his restraints inside of the vehicle.  

–“Please talk to me before you kill anyone else.”

“That was a situation you deemed as necessary.” He mused while muting the headset, climbing in the driver’s side he looked over to Svlad who was practically half on the floor pulling with all of his might on the cuffs. Like he was actually going to get them to break. He just arched a brow at the boy, listening as he kicked at the door in his little fit. Pulling his seatbelt on he already started up the SUV and looking to the addresses he had for the employees. Guessing by the date of births of which one to try first, “And what exactly is your plan when you get out of those?” Priest couldn’t stop his giggle when Svlad shot him a glare before continuing to fight his bindings.

Chapter Text

Priest drove to a nice suburban area and stopped the SUV outside of the address he wanted, smiling a bit to himself while glancing towards Svlad in the rearview. Noticing the boy was practically sitting on the floor. Arms awkwardly hanging above his head, was pressing his face into his biceps and his legs were awkwardly bent and tangled up in themselves from how much he had been struggling. But he hadn't been moving, looked more like he was sitting there in defeat. He just watched him while leaning back in his seat more, turning his head to look over at the boy. He could see Svlad's hands wrapped around the links of the cuffs, gripping them and rubbing his thumbs along the individual chain almost obsessively. He turned off the car and watched as the boy slowly raised his head, sniffling and wiping the tears off his face on his bicep as he finally pulled himself up into the seat.

"You know, we're only a few blocks away from Scott's place." Grinning when he saw the boy shaking his head.

"We should focus on the case."

"He's investigating her too. You should see the wall he has dedicated to his favorite little projects." He leaned back, hands moving and motioning in front of him. Imagining the wall and the photo of the hooded figure there, he turned his head to glance back at Svlad. "Maybe he'll have more information."

"Pl-please, Mr. Priest... I don't want you to kill anyone else today." He held a begging tone in his voice, was looking up at him with fear filled eyes. Priest couldn't stop his giggle as he finally climbed out of the SUV.

"Don't go anywhere now." He mused while shutting and locking the doors, he could see the SUV shift as the boy obviously went back to fighting, could hear muffled yelling from inside of the vehicle. He ignored it as he walked up to the door, knocking on it and waiting patiently for someone to answer. He gave a pleased noise when it was the person he was looking for, seeing the teen open the door he just smiled. "You know, I'm not a fan of being lied to." He mused, hand moving to the door to shove it open as he invited himself inside.

"Whoa! Dude! I don't know what you're talking about." He shut the door behind him, doubting Svlad would be able to do anything, and even if he did. Well that would mean they were right on track with where they needed to go.

"That's why you let her jump behind the counter before I came in, right?" He was giggling when the boy shifted backwards, pulling his cell phone out of his pocket with obvious intent to call someone. "I wouldn't bother kid, I'm CIA, they're not goin' to do anything to save you."

"CIA? I thought you were a Priest." Squinting at him while stepping back. Priest couldn't stop from laughing at that, chuckling as he continued to walk after him when the boy stumbled back further in the house. "A-are you not? She called you Priest..."

"Where did she go?" He grabbed for the boy when he tried to run, catching him by the back of his shirt and pulling him back over to him. Shoving him into the wall and eyeing the family photo he shoved him next to. Looked like he lived with just his dad and little sister. He glanced back to the boy who obviously looked nervous about the situation he was in.

"Sh-she told me not to tell you. Wh-when you asked about her she grabbed me, like... begged me." He narrowed his eyes on him before leaning back to give the kid some space for answering honestly. Wondered why she didn't want him to know...

"So where is she now?"

"I walked her to the bus station, and that was it I promise...” He had his hands half raised as he tilted his head with an uncertain expression on his face. Priest hummed before stepping away and heading back for the front door. Pausing as he stood there with it open, standing in the doorway as he looked to the SUV which was still moving like Svlad was fighting his bindings. He turned to look back at the kid who was shifting in his spot and straightening out his shirt.

"You don't want me to have to come back here. So, you better not be hiding anything else, boy." Adjusting his jacket enough for the kid to see his gun. He could see him turning pale as he shook his head and backed up more.

"Is that a gun? What the fuck does a Priest need a gun for?" Priest just sighed heavily while resting his hand on the gun, already unclipping the holster- "Th-that's it I swear! She just wanted a bus outta town." He stepped outside and shut the door, heading down the walkway to the SUV, unlocking it and climbing in he glanced back at Svlad who was panting heavily and sweating a bit from how much he was fighting his restraints, he just smiled while starting up the vehicle.

"Mr. Pr-Priest, pl-please tell me h-he's okay."

"Did you hear any gunshots?" He was laughing as he started to drive, checking his GPS to see where exactly the Bus Station was as he continued to drive.

"That doesn't mean anything." He grumbled the words, and Priest just grinned while glancing back at him and continuing to drive. "Please... just tell me." He sounded so tired, he just kept smiling while drumming his fingers on the steering wheel.

"He's still alive."

"Oh, thank God." He couldn't stop his giggle from Svlad's rather loud relief about the fact he didn't kill the kid. Could hear Svlad shifting and glanced back at him when he rested his cheek on the passenger's seat. "What did he say?"

"He helped her get to the bus station so she could leave town." Which meant she was a day ahead of them going God knows where. Really should have left last night instead of this morning, next time Svlad had a case he would make sure to ignore Ken and just go. He turned on the radio, switching it from his phone to the AM stations, flipping through to see if there was any news.  

"Seems she might have a hard time getting a bus with the fact she's covered in bugs..." Priest couldn't stop the giggle from that while glancing back at him.

"You know, universe is funny about making people like you unnoticeable. Which is how Bart can get through places covered in blood, or how no one says a thing after she just murdered someone in a populated area. I'm sure no one ever really stops you from going into places you shouldn't be unless you bring attention to yourself as well." He could see Svlad shift and frown.

"Are you saying people are so unobservant that they don't notice she's covered in locusts?" He just glanced at him in the mirror before looking back ahead.

"Basically." He mused while continuing to the bus station, pulling in and parking it he shut off the vehicle and turned to look at the boy. "And I have to ask, Svlad, what was your plan for this investigation." He watched as the boy leaned back in his seat and bit his bottom lip. Frown on his face as he leaned up to itch the side of his face under his eye.

"Well, my plan before you interrupted was to get in an SUV with Miles, and drive to wherever he was going to take us and go from there." He clicked his tongue while opening the glovebox, pulling out his work pad and turning it on before lifting his hand to the headset he wore to unmute it.  

"Priest to command." He waited patiently while loading up the work pad, setting it down and getting out of the car. He opened the back and climbed in, turning the child lock off on that side before closing the door.

--"This is command."

"Ken~" He hummed the name while leaning back in the seat, pulling out his handcuff key and looking to Svlad who just eyed it and him suspiciously, was even leaning more into the door. As if that would stop Priest from doing anything to him, he just smiled at the boy while grabbing one of his arms. Leaning in and uncuffing him before leaning over and getting the other. "We need to talk to Miles."

--"I'll get everything ready."

Priest lifted his hand and muted the headset, glancing at the bus station, which was surprisingly busy. Though he knew that Mesquite was popular for the golf course... He watched as some people even got off of larger busses with luggage and golf clubs. He grabbed the work pad and loaded up what he needed as he glanced to Svlad who was checking the door. Trying to be so sneaky about it, noticing he was caught he watched the boy pull his hands in his lap before starting to rub his wrists.

"Do you really have to sit here with me?" He asked in obvious annoyance while scooting more to the side. Priest just kept his eyes on the main building before looking back to the work pad. Hand moving to unmute the headset, he couldn't stop the smile from how Svlad actually flinched the second his hand raised.

"Sure is takin' an awful long time, Ken. What if this was an emergency?" He mused the words, grinning when the video feed finally loaded showing them Miles sitting at the table he was chained to with a bored expression on his face. Which had an underlying tone of rage. He adjusted how he was sitting, lifting his leg to rest his foot on the center console and rested the pad on his knee so they could both be seen. "Miles!"

"There's no way you already found her." Priest giggled while shaking his head.

"No, but Svlad here ended up bringing up a good point-"

"I did?" He looked over to the boy who actually had a confused, yet delighted, look on his face. He sighed to himself before looking back to the work pad.

"Where were you fixin' to go after you got out of Blackwing last night?" He watched Miles shift on the other side, pulling slightly on the cuffs he had attached to him.

"It's... Nowhere, I don't know." He watched him lean back in his seat and cross his arms over his chest in defiance. Priest just nodded while reaching in his pocket, pulling out the remote to the device in Svlad's shoulder. He could feel the boy tensing as he held the remote up for Miles to see.

"I don't like being lied to."

"M-Mr. P-Priest... please." He pulled the remote away when Svlad actually tried to grab it.

"So, I'm goin' to electrocute Svlad here until you tell me the truth."

"What-" Miles sounded so enraged by the idea as Priest hit the button, turning the device so he could watch as Svlad cried out and convulsed. “Th-that’s not fair! You can’t just…” Was cute how Svlad was more or less flailing in the seat as he tried to reach for the device, so desperately wanting to pull it out. He watched the boy with heavy eyes before looking to Miles who looked so conflicted. “Dirk!” He was leaning forwards though, arms no longer crossed as he actually stood up. "Stop!"

"Not until you tell me where ya'll were headed."

“I don’t know! I was just going to keep driving!” Priest shifted to show the remote to the camera, smiling as he showed the buttons on the side.

“You know what I really love about this new tool? I can increase the intensity of the shock on it.” He could see Miles pulling on his restraints. Like he wanted to jump through the screen and attack him.

"Ilmoure! W-we were headed for Ilmoure." Priest turned off the device, looking from Svlad to Miles who looked concerned as Svlad slunk down off the seat. Pressing his face into the back of the seat as he convulsed and cried from the lingering pain. Priest clicked his tongue while leaning back more against the seat, turning the work pad to face him.

“See." He cooed the word while looking Miles over. "That wasn’t so hard.”

“Dirk, are you okay?” He was giggling when the boy groaned from his spot, he tilted his head to look at him before reaching over and gently petting his head. Fingers running through his hair so gently and sweetly that the boy seemed to actually be leaning into it.

“What’s in Ilmoure?”

“I don’t know. Okay. I don't know. Sh-she just stated she had to go there it was hard enough to find the place on the map. Let alone figure out what the hell was going on there.” He gave a small hum while pulling Svlad back up into the seat. Listening to him cry as the boy shoved himself into the door to try and keep distance between them.

“I take it you found it on the map.” He could see the boy taking in a deep breath while sitting back down in his chair.

“It’s north of Mesquite.” Said it through gritted teeth. Priest just grinned while sitting up, glancing back towards the bus station before looking back to Miles.

“We’ll keep in touch, bye Miles.” He mused the words while closing out of the video chat. Muting his headset again before leaning forwards to put the work pad back in the glove box. He gave an amused noise when Svlad actually moved, scrambling behind him in the space he made to crawl over the seats. Slamming himself into the door as he forced it open. More or less falling out onto the hot asphalt below him.

“Ow.” Priest slid over to the open doorway watching the boy rather clumsily get up. Giving a small laugh when he went to try to run only for him to wince and grab his leg, the attempted run turning into him trying to limp away instead. Stepping out he slowly started to stalk after the boy, taking his time with it as Svlad tried to walk faster.

“And where are you off too in such a hurry, Darlin’?”

“As far away from you as possible.” Priest giggled at his response taking longer strides now to catch up to the boy. Wrapping an arm around his waist and easily hoisting him up as he turned and started to head back towards the car. “L-let go of me! G-get your hands off-”

“Svlad. If you draw attention to us I will put my machine gun to use and shoot everyone inside of that place.” He dropped the boy on his feet and shoved him against the SUV. Watching him wince and lift his foot slightly, putting most of his weight on his left leg. “Twist your ankle during that gracious escape attempt, Darlin’?” He smiled when Svlad just glared at him. “North, by the way, is over there.” He pointed to the right of the distance he had been walking. Turning to look in that direction he motioned at the vast nothingness that was the Nevada desert. “You wanna run? You’ll die of heat exhaustion before you even figure out where Ilmoure is.”

"I don't care, at least I would be away from you."

"Not for long." He mused while moving his hand to grab Dirk by the back of his neck. He grinned when the boy moved to try and shove his hand off him while shoving himself to the side. Trying to escape him by almost climbing back into the car.

"So, what's the problem then of letting me go by myself? Besides, I'm sure someone would pick me up along the way and get me exactly where I need to be going." He couldn't help but be amused by how much Svlad was blatantly getting himself in trouble like he had no care in the world. He rested his hand on the doorway of the SUV while looking the boy over, hand moving to child lock to turn it back on.

"And who's going to protect you, Svlad?" He was grinning as the boy looked at him with a small glare.

"I don't know if what you're doing is what I would call protecting, Mr. Priest." He stood up straight with an amused laugh, leaning in as he looked the boy's face over before looking into his eyes.

"Really? Then who would have saved you from those robbers?" He arched a brow, watching how the boy was fidgeting now, getting anxious from thinking about it. Like the memory was coming back to him about being held at gun point. He even raised his hand to rub at his face, almost like he was still thinking about the blood and brain matter that was on him not too long ago.

"W-without you shooting the one that wouldn't-"

"Have happened? Oh, Svlad. While the one at the counter distracted you the other one was in the middle of sneaking around the aisles. I'm sure they would have killed each other or themselves trying to kill you, or they could have shot you." He smiled when the boy looked away from him, shifting a bit in his spot as Priest leaned back. "Now get in the car." He stood up straight, watching the boy and sighing when Svlad took that opportunity to try and dodge to the side and run again. He barely missed catching him by the back of the shirt and pulled out the remote from his pocket. Just watching as the boy went running to try and get away from him, actually heading in the right direction this time. Priest counted to ten in his head before pressing the button. Watching how quickly the boy fell and screamed, grabbing his shoulder as he curled up in middle of the parking lot. Crying out in agony as Priest began walking after him, taking his time with it to increase the length of the boy's suffering and pain. He came to a stop by the boy's side, watching him writhe and convulse on the ground, dirtying up those pretty clothes of his.

"Tsk, tsk, tsk." He crouched down next to him, resting his forearms on his knees as he enjoyed the view of him writhing around. "Surprised you didn't see that one coming." He was giggling as he finally stopped the shock, watching as Svlad just laid there, limbs randomly twitching as he panted heavily into the concrete below him.

"Pl-please-" Priest slowly looked up towards the people who seemed to almost be ignoring them as they continued on with their business. Some getting in their cars and driving away while others entered the station to wait for their busses.

"Were you hoping they would save you?" He rested his cheek in his hand as he looked back down at the boy who was crying while moving to touch the device through his shirt. "I thought you didn't want me to kill any more people today."

"I-I d-don't."

"Really? Because it looks like you want me to commit mass murder, which I don't have a problem doing-"

"N-no." He watched as the boy sat up rather quickly, Priest bit his bottom lip watching as the boy attempted to dust himself off before standing up. Brushing more sand off himself as he glanced towards the people who weren't even looking their way. Priest followed his gaze before standing up straight, putting the remote back into his pocket and eyeing Svlad carefully.

"Get back in the SUV." He watched how the boy looked to him then back to the vehicle which was just waiting for them. Door still open and going completely unnoticed by the people in the area. There was a bit of a pause before the boy started walking back, Priest turning on his heel and walking after him, watching him climb back in he grabbed the cuffs again and looked to Svlad who lifted his hands so they were in the position Priest needed. He was amused that the boy didn't want him to kill people that badly that he was so willing to do what Priest wanted him to. Cuffing him into place he shut the door and climbed into the driver's seat. Starting the vehicle, he pulled up the map on his phone to see where exactly Ilmoure was, to see if it was even a real place. He'd honestly never actually heard of it before and he thought he knew the area pretty well at this point. Finally finding something he turned in his seat and began driving. Loading up his music again as he pulled out of the parking lot and got back on the interstate to head North.  

"Is that what people don't notice about you?" He slowly glanced back at Svlad, small smile tugging at the corner of his mouth.

"They don't notice you walking around with guns or hurting other people?" He giggled from that while looking back at the road with an amused smile on his face. He shifted in his seat before slowly shrugging his shoulders. "I mean... I can't recall a time anyone said anything after you murdered people in neighborhoods." He grinned as he glanced at the mirror and back.

"I'm sure the markings on my vehicle helped them look the other way."

"They're always pure black, even the windows are that tinted. It's not very equitable for me to have to tell the truth when you get to lie about everything." A rather harsh tone in Svlad's voice, Priest couldn't contain the giggling anymore.

"It's almost like you're begging me to pull over and beat you with that attitude. After I've been so nice to you for our first case together." He looked back to see the boy's glare his smile slowly falling off his face as he looked back to the road. Continuing to check for signs of the exit they needed to take, he could hear Svlad grumbling a bit in the back and slowly could hear the clinking of Svlad fiddling with the cuff chains.

"What is your 'ability'?" He could even see him using his fingers as quotations over the word making Priest giggle a bit to himself, amused he wanted to continue this line of conversation. Priest leaned back into his seat, relaxing as he moved his hand to turn down the music. Focusing more on the road than he was Svlad, he could hear the boy shift as Priest read the mile marker for where they were. "Well, since, you're not going to answer..." He cleared his throat, could feel Svlad shifting in his seat. "Your ability has to do with how you can find us projects all the time. Like some kind of Holistic Stalker." He couldn't help but glance at him in the rearview. "Oh! No not stalker. A Holistic Nanny! Which is how you're able to not get killed by Bart or Skylar or whatever other Blackwing victim is declared 'Dangerous'…" Once more with the finger quotes. "That's why they feel it's okay to send you out with other 'projects' right? Cause that's what the universe wants from you for some reason? Could you imagine how great you could be at that if you weren't an insufferable arsehole." Priest narrowed his eyes on the boy as he started to reach into his pocket. He could see how much his facial expression was changing, going from angry and pouty to suddenly nervous and panicked. Even started to fight the cuffs he had stuck around his wrists.

"N-no! No, M-Mr. Pr-Priest, I-I am so sorry. I did not anticipate you were actually listening-" Priest rolled his eyes before turning on the device, even turning it up as he continued down the road, noticing how it was slowly getting darker as he turned off and down the dirt road that was their exit. Wasn't quite what he was expecting, he stopped focusing on that and listened as Svlad just cried out through gritted teeth. Vehicle shaking from how badly he was convulsing in the back, he slowly stopped the shock as he slowed down when the dirt road started to get rather sharp turns. He listened as the boy started to pant, trying so hard to catch his breath, still whimpering from the pain coursing through his body.

"You think when I'm not listening you can just say whatever you want, huh?" He was smiling as he watched Svlad shift uncomfortably in the backseat. "What an obtuse thought." He glanced back to what he was doing while turning the lights of the SUV on. Honestly couldn't wait to get to this Ilmoure place, he was getting more excited about it the closer they got. Couldn't help but wonder if Svlad had a good feeling about this place too... He could hear the boy whining from the pain in the back, he started to slow down as one of the turns got a little sharper, seeing the road narrow he put both hands on the wheel and made sure to be cautious in case someone was coming from the other direction.

"M-Mr. P-Priest."

"What, Svlad?" Sounded a little annoyed as he continued to focus on the road.

"C-can you please just tell me?"

"Why do you want to know so badly?" He was amused with this little game in all honesty, could tease the boy about not being able to figure it out. He gave a pleased noise in the back of his throat when the dirt road suddenly became an actual road.

"Maybe it will help with the case." Priest glanced back at him in the mirror, slowly smiling as he looked back ahead at the road. Debating if he really wanted to tell him before, slowly rubbing his thumbs along the steering wheel as he looked to the lone bus stop in the middle of basically nowhere. Slowly coming to a stop to stare at it, wondering if maybe this is where Skylar was at some point.

"I am the flow of the stream of creation." He hummed the words, eyes flashing from the bus stop sign over to Svlad through the rearview, could see the boy staring at him with a look of confusion on his face. "I help the leaves get to where they need to go. Kind of a push and shove type of scenario..." He giggled a bit while turning in his seat, arm wrapping around the head rest as he watched the boy lean back with a grin on his face. "Which is how I know you belong in Blackwing with what I was able to do to capture you this time. Because nothing stopped me or pushed you into doing anything to get away." He could see the boy shaking his head, like he didn't want to believe that, Priest couldn't stop his giggle as he put the SUV in park.

"N-no, that can't be-"

"Never notice how things can pick up with you when I'm around? Like how you managed to escape me at the Cardenas house a second before I got to you. Went right were you were supposed to go, didn't you?" He unbuckled his seatbelt as he started to open the door, finally looking away as he climbed out of the car. Walking over to the sign he looked to the boot prints that lingered in the dirt and the sand, he could see his breath from how the temperature seemed to have been dropping as the sky became darker. He knelt down next to the prints, trying to see if they were the size he was looking for, knew Skylar was small, but she was wearing shoes much too big for her. He slowly ran his hand over one with a pleased noise, looking to where they were heading before climbing back into the car.

"I don't believe you." Priest looked back at him with a bored expression on his face, taking the vehicle out of park and back into drive as he started up down the road again. "Th-that can't be what you are. I-I don't belong with Blackwing."

"You sure about that?" He could see the old worn-down sign hanging over an archway to another dirt road, stopping before turning. "Welcome to Ilmoure." He smiled while glancing back to Svlad, grin still on his face. "You have any hunches yet?" He asked with a laugh before turning down the road and heading into the town. Which took a bit before all they could see was a tall sign labeled "waffle house." He glanced at it and looked to the lights that were on and slowly pulled into the place, honestly was kind of hungry, hadn't eaten since this morning. And he was sure Svlad was starving, he turned the car off and stared at the building which looked almost abandoned, despite all the lights being on and the open sign that was flickering at them. The parking lot was empty aside from one car parked a bit in the back by the dumpster. He drummed his fingers on the wheel before glancing back at Svlad. The boy still looked so lost in his thoughts it was like he didn't even notice they were stopped again. He slowly shut the car off and climbed out, grabbing his handcuff key as he opened the back door. "Don't pull anything stupid." He snapped the words while uncuffing him and pulling the boy out of the car. He watched as Svlad stumbled before rubbing at his wrists.

"Something feels wrong... About this place I mean. And not like the waffle house itself, but like... I don't know... Something doesn't feel right." He watched as Dirk looked around, Priest slowly looked towards the road when he could hear coyotes yelling and yipping. He could see the white shine of their eyes from the other side, almost looked like they were fighting over something in the distance. Priest moved his hand, grabbing Svlad by the shoulder as he began leading him towards the entrance after locking the vehicle.

"You know, what I've learned from us working together, is we seem to have opposite feelings about things a lot." He was giggling to himself before pulling open the door, listening to the little bell that went off as they walked in. The interior was a fifties style, bright blue walls and red leather furniture decorating the area, even had an old juke box in the corner that sounded a bit like it was dying... Or the song it currently was playing just was a weird obscure cover. The menu was hand written largely and held in picture frames that decorated behind the counter, he could see a few plates lined up in the back between the kitchen and the front. Like people had turned in dishes recently, the food even smelled fresh, yet no one seemed to be around, no one even made a peep from them entering. Wondered if they were taking a break from how slow business must be around here, wouldn't surprise him it looked like a boring place to work. He shoved Svlad down in a booth, looking to the boy to make sure he wouldn't try anything before heading over to the counter. And right before he reached it a girl with long wavy brown hair seemed to have popped from behind the counter with a smile on her face.  Wearing a button-down shirt that looked a little too big on her, which was tucked in to a pair of high wasted shorts. He honestly found himself surprised by how quickly she seemed to have appeared in front of him and already looked to ready to greet him.

"Hello! Welcome to Dimples Waffle House, what can I get for you today, Sir?" She had one of those bubbly, higher pitched, voices that could almost make Priest cringe. He blinked a bit glancing down from where she came from before looking back to the woman's face. Noticing she was still smiling in an almost doll like fashion that was almost a little creepy, like even though there was a smile on her face her eyes almost seemed to be screaming for help.... this definitely was starting to seem like the type of bullshit Dirk would get himself in to.

"Coffee, a glass of water, and two orders of your house special."

"Coming right up!" She was quick to turn and leave to head into the back, Priest watched her for a second before shifting, and peaking down over the counter in case this would be like with the gas station. Would be too easy though if Skylar was once more hiding behind the counter. With a low 'huh' he turned to walk over to Svlad who was shifting a bit in his seat. He motioned him to move over while sitting down next to Svlad so he wouldn't be able to leave.

"Wh- do you have to-"  

"Don't want you to try and run again." He turned his head and smiled when their bubbly waitress appeared with a coffee mug, and a cup of water. She was whistling to the obscure cover playing over the jukebox in the corner as she poured Priest his cup of coffee.

"Would you like me to leave the pot?"

"Yes, please." She smiled more while setting it down out of the way of them before looking the two over.

"Now, I hope you don't mind my asking, but what brings you fellas into town?" Priest leaned back in his seat to look up at her. Rather amused that she wanted to talk to them honestly, given their appearance of Svlad looking like he just stepped out of a boxing ring and himself with his own facial scar which definitely wasn't healing well. "We don't get much outsiders here and all, so sorry if that's rude of me."

"Not at all. We're actually on a case looking for a girl who might have passed through here."

"Oh, we ain't seen no one like that." She was giggling, like Priest had given her something to go off of, Priest's eyes narrowed on her as he leaned back more in his seat. Svlad was leaning forwards enough he might as well have been laying on the table. Kind of wondered if this was his way of being sneaky and trying to climb over it...

"I never said what she looked like." She laughed, it was forced and awkward as she shifted in her spot. Honestly it just made him suspicious, wondered if Skylar told her not to tell anyone she saw her either. She could just be a little off though...

"An out of towner, I mean. We don't get you guys often, all the same people all the time here." She crossed her hands behind her back before looking to his coffee. "Let me go get you some sugar and creamer for that." She mused while turning and walking away, once more disappearing through the door to the kitchen.

"She seems nice." He glanced back to the boy who seemed to have moved an arm over the table, almost like he really was about to pull himself across it.

"… Okay?” He said in a questioning tone, nice really wasn't the word he would go for. Seemed a little nuts in his opinion.

"Well, she is, and also very polite... I hope you give her a good tip." He stated while stretching, like he was being sneaky as he shifted up more in the seat. Moving to put one foot on the booth next to him, making Priest glare over at him. Svlad seemed too focused on his little plan to even notice.

"Boy," saying it in a surprisingly pleasant tone as he looked to him, watching how much his form went rigid from just one word. "If you climb across this table I will drag you outside by your hair and beat you behind the dumpster. And you can eat the scraps you find out there, got it?" He said the threat with a smile, watching how Svlad rather quickly sat up and leaned back in the booth.

"Yes, Mr. Priest..." Sounded so defeated as he shifted in his spot.

"Here you go, sorry that took so long." Even though it didn't, she was pretty fast and on top of everything so far. Guessed that could be due to boredom... He glanced over to the woman who set the sugar and creamer down in front of him.

"Thank you, Darlin'." He was already adding a few spoonfuls of sugar to the coffee, glancing over at Svlad who leaned back on the table, crossing his arms as he looked up at her from around Priest. Looking like he wanted to speak with her from how he seemed to be thinking on how to start. So easy to read with all his animated facial expressions before he finally opened his mouth to speak.

"Excuse me, Miss." She seemed to have gasped at that, making Priest glance at her as she covered her mouth in slight horror. Like something had happened that neither of them were witness to. Her eyes were wide and mouth agape as she covered it with her hand. Staring passed them and out the window to the point Priest found himself looking as if she had witnessed a murder happening outside.

"I never introduced myself." Whispering it to herself, Priest just arched a brow as he slowly looked away from the window. Guessed she was just a bit dramatic about manners... he slowly started to stir his coffee. "You can call me Kelly." Svlad actually held out his hand causing Priest to lean back more so that his arm wasn't in his face. He found himself wanting to catch the boy's wrist and pull it out of his face, but he would save that for later.

"Nice to meet you Kelly, I'm Dirk." Would really have to beat that name out of him. Get him to introduce himself by his birthname instead of his chosen one. "Dirk Gently, Holistic Detective." She shook his hand before inviting herself to sit across from them. He watched her as she looked at Dirk with an expression of intense interest.

"Holistic Detective? What's that?" Priest just sighed to himself while starting to drink his coffee, he could practically feel Svlad's excitement about being able to talk to someone. Almost like how he was back at the gas station before all the commotion happened. So starved for pleasant conversation, he smiled over the lip of his mug while taking a drink.

"I am so glad you asked that, Kelly." He was getting more comfortable as he pushed the water glass a bit out of the way to lean forwards even more so he could explain it to the waitress. "The term Holistic refers to my convictions about the fundamental interconnectedness of all things." She was squinting a bit at him while mimicking the way the boy was sitting.

"So, like... you try and investigate these connections?" Like she was really, genuinely, trying to understand what he was talking about. She squinted while pursing her lips together before sitting back up. "What's that have to do with this girl?"

"Well you see that's the fun part." He actually moved his hands to emphasize his next sentence. "I have no idea." Sounded so giddy about it as he leaned back in his seat. "But I'm assuming she must be connected to something." Kelly nodded like she fully understood what he was talking about, before slowly looking over to him.

"And are you a holistic detective too, Sir?" Svlad actually laughed while leaning over more in his seat, pressing himself more against the wall as if to put more distance between them. Almost had an expression on his face like he forgot he was there. How the happiness seemed to have faltered and he was just staring at him before looking back to Kelly.

"This is my uh... temporary... assistant?" Even tilted his head like he was trying to think of how to explain him for this scenario. "Mr. Priest." He couldn't stop the giggle at that while setting the coffee mug down.

"Assistant, huh?" Dirk was nodding while picking up the glass and drinking the water.

"Kelly! Will you leave that nice couple alone and come get their food." Priest couldn't help the giggle as Dirk actually choked on his water, sputtering a bit while covering his mouth.

"Oh, gosh! Are you alright?" He was coughing while nodding his head, Priest couldn't contain his grin as she glanced from him towards the kitchen. Like she was conflicted between seeing if he needed help and running off to get the food. "I'm so sorry please excuse me." She quickly got up and headed over to the kitchen where the mystery man's voice called for her.

"We're not a cou- and she's gone..." He was rubbing his face clearly embarrassed and horrified by the suggestion, Priest just leaned back on his seat, shifting and lifting his arm to put it over the back of the booth making the boy flinch.  

"I'm your assistant now, huh?" He grinned at the boy, running his tongue over his bottom teeth.

"Well, that is bloody well better than what the cook thinks you are." He huffed, Priest couldn't control his giggling as the waitress reappeared with their food. Setting the plates that had a stack of four large Belgium waffles the size of the plates, topped with whipped cream, and sliced strawberries. She also set down a small platter that had a selection of syrups and a side plate of hash browns and bacon.

"Do ya'll need anything else?" Kelly asked with a grin on her face, her expression still looking as doll like as when he first walked in.

"No tha-"

"Wait!" Priest couldn't stop himself from glaring at the boy who shifted a bit in his seat, looking at him with uncertainty before dragging his eyes back over to Kelly. "Wh-where are your restrooms?" Smiling and doing his best not to look at Priest. He slowly moved his hand off the back of the booth. Keeping his eyes locked on the side of the boy's face, watching his growing anxiety.

"Oh! Right down that hall," she pointed to the opposite side of where the Kitchen entrance was, "It'll be the first door to your," she looked at her hands, "left." Smiling as she looked back to them before stepping aside. Priest gave a small sigh, while getting up and watching him as he walked passed.

"Thank you, Kelly." She nodded while watching him head over that way. She rocked on her toes and he could feel her watching him.

"You're welcome, Sweetheart." She smiled, sounding a little rehearsed that time. "Would you like anything else... Mr. Priest was it?"

"I'm fine, and it's been a long drive so if you'll excuse me a moment." He stepped around her, walking after towards where Svlad went. He glanced back at Kelly who was slowly walking away from the table before he looked back ahead of him. Rather quick to follow after the boy to make sure he wasn't actually up to something in there. Given the fact he had been getting a good feeling since they drove passed the sign, he didn't want that to mean he was already going to lose Svlad to some odd scenario. He couldn't help but smile when the boy flinched from him walking into the bathroom after him. Svlad  looking at him before rather quickly ducking into a stall, locking it behind him quickly.

"I'm back on the theory of you just being a stalker."

Chapter Text

“You’re done.” Priest moved shoving Svlad’s plate away and giving him a look when the boy reached for it.  

“But-” He had already pulled his gun out of his holster, resting it against Svlad’s thigh, he could feel him shudder under his hand. He smiled from how quickly Svlad sat back, staring at the table with wide eyes. Doing everything in his power to not look at the handgun on his leg.  

“Kelly.” He could feel the boy tense up as she walked over to the table. “We have some questions for you.” Pressing down more on the gun and using Svlad’s leg to help him cock it. He could feel the way the boy was squirming in discomfort.

“Of course, anything to help you out.” She sat down across from them, Priest shifted the gun so it would be aiming at her from under the table. “What do you guys need to know?” She smiled while resting her arms on the table. Priest glanced over to Svlad, watching the way the boy looked to him an expression of disbelief. Priest responded by sliding his finger to rest on the trigger.

“W-we were wondering if there’s been an acceleration of strangeness going on in Ilmoure recently.” Kelly tilted her head a bit before shrugging. “Maybe something that doesn’t seem weird at the time slowly starting to build up until you can’t help but notice more and more things.”

“I mean,” She looked towards the kitchen before looking back to them. Lowering her voice before starting her little detail. “I heard from a friend of my uncle, that her daughter’s best friend’s boyfriend’s mom’s cattle were found dead. Sheriff thought it was just coyotes, they’ve been in a weird mood lately. But apparently the body of the cattle is just weird and ain’t right. Don’t quote me on that now.” Priest leaned back slightly as he finished his second cup of coffee.

“And where does the owner of the dead cattle live?” She laughed at his question and shook her head.

“Oh no, you guys don’t want to go there, she’s a little,” she moved to make a circular motion with her finger next to her head.

“Really?” Priest couldn’t help but chime in, wondering what the deal was with the owner of the cattle if Kelly thought she was crazy.

“Oh yeah, there’s lot of stories about her. I heard from my Uncle that the Deputy thinks she killed the cattle herself.” Priest rested the elbow of his free hand on the table as he leaned forwards, interested now. That sounded like a dangerous game, knew cattle could mean life to people in towns like this. Only good source of income, and losing them like that… well, nothing good ever came from that.

“Do you know why she would think that?” Kelly sat up a bit and glanced towards the kitchen again before leaning forwards, the action causing Svlad to as well. Priest shifted his finger so he wouldn’t accidentally pull the trigger from the movement. Although that would be fun to blame Svlad for… but he actually found himself invested in Kelly’s information even if it was just hearsay.

“Well, you see. My Uncle don’t like this talk round his Waffle House, but people say she’s into some really dark stuff.”

“Kelly!” Priest glanced towards the kitchen, finally seeing an older man standing near the window of the kitchen. Priest sat up more while slipping the gun away while everyone seemed distracted. “What did I tell you about disturbing these poor fellas.”

“But, Uncle, they’re detectives, they just wanted to know some stuff.” Priest slid out of the booth and stood up, looking to Svlad who hesitated but followed after. Even though he was staring longingly at the food Priest was making him leave behind. “Oh! Don’t worry, I can box that for ya.”

“No need, we won’t really have anywhere to store it.” Priest easily interjected while walking towards the counter where the cash register was. Keeping an eye on Svlad as Kelly walked around to bring up their total. “Speakin’ of, ya’ll got a motel anywhere nearby?” He asked while already reaching for his wallet. Looking to Svlad who was looking at the paintings on the walls, slowly moving towards the door causing Priest to just pull a fifty-dollar bill from his wallet and handing it over. “Keep the change.”

“Oh, wow thank you—And yeah there’s a motel opposite side of town. You’ll know it when ya see it.” Priest nodded while walking over, catching Svlad by the arm when he tried to duck out the door. He walked him towards the car and around the side that Kelly and her Uncle wouldn’t see them.

“You are really tryin’ my patience, Darlin’. Where do you think you’re headed now.”

“Well, you seem like the type that doesn’t like to tip so I figured if I headed out you would do… well something like what you did.” Priest clicked his tongue, leaning back and narrowing his eyes on the boy. Glancing towards the Waffle House to make sure they couldn’t see them. He quickly punched the boy hard in the stomach. Listening to him as he coughed and caught himself on the side of the vehicle. Priest stepped to the side when the action actually caused the boy to throw up that food he was so nice enough to give him. He finally looked away from the window and towards the boy who was whining while holding his stomach. One hand shakily covering his mouth after he finished emptying the contents of his stomach on to the parking lot floor.

“If you pull any more bullshit like that I’m going to just leave you in the car next time I go to eat.” Svlad looked up at him with a look of annoyance. “Do you understand me?” He grabbed the boy by the tie and shoved him hard into the side of the SUV. “Svlad.”

“Y-yes. Yes. I understand. ” Begging tone in his voice as Priest let go of him, the boy was rubbing his stomach with a pained expression on his face.

“Get in.” He watched as the boy hesitated before opening the door and getting in, whining when Priest grabbed his wrists and cuffed him into the car.

“I really don’t think that’s necessary-”

“With how much you tried to escape today, I’m starting to think I should pull the leash out again.” He watched how the boy’s eyes lit up in horror. He couldn’t stop the grin from that as he leaned against the doorway of the SUV. “Oh, imagine the rumors about us then.”

“I-I will not try to escape, okay? I’m sorry.” He could tell the boy wasn’t sorry. He clicked his tongue and slammed the door shut before walking around to the driver’s side and getting in. Starting up the car he began driving more into town, looking at all the street signs and some sort of clue to where Skylar might be. He couldn’t help but think of home with how the central area of the town had been set up. Had the town hall, police and fire departments on the same block. A few signs for the hospital and clinic that appeared to be the same place. A few shops in town that mostly seemed abandoned aside from the convenience store outside of the gas station. Even had a little restaurant and coffee shop pretty close to one another. There were signs hanging off of poles, almost like they were wannabe tourist attraction displays. He hummed a bit from the oddity of it given how hard it was to even get to this place. And it definitely didn’t give off a tourist vibe, more like a vibe one would get when staring in a horror movie honestly. He eventually stopped in front of a small convenience store, looking from it to Svlad as he unbuckled his seatbelt.

“I’ll be right back, don’t go anywhere.” He moved his hand for the key and heard Svlad move in the back seat.

“W-wait, Mr. Priest, can you please leave the heat on, it’s cold.” Priest turned to look at him while turning the SUV off, keeping a bored look on his face as he pushed open the door and climbed out. Shutting and locking it behind him as he headed up to the door of the store. He looked around and picked up some snacks, and drinks just to have for around the motel and also the car which he was assuming they would be in a lot. The place was pretty big for being a small town and all. He walked up to the counter and set everything down, staring at the empty area the cashier should have been. He looked around before sighing to himself when he didn’t even see a bell to ring. Guessed this was also a slow time…

He blinked when his eyes fell on the town newspaper. Staring at the headline he grabbed it and dropped it on the counter with the rest of what he picked out. Glancing up when he heard a back door open and an older lady walked over to the counter, reeking of cigarette smoke she looked to the items and then up to him. Smile suddenly appearing on her face as she began scanning all of his items.

“You must be one of the Detectives Kelly was mentioning.” He found his eyes narrowing on her given the fact they had only seen the girl about fifteen minutes ago. “Oh, don’t worry, Dear. News travels fast here, not much to talk about.”

“I have a question for you then, if that’s the case.” He rested his hands on the counter as she bagged the snack food and drinks into two different bags. “You hear anything about an outsider who walks around in a hood? She’s about your height, tan.” She shook her head while holding the bags out to him.

“No, you’re the only outsider I’ve seen. If I see anyone like that I’ll be sure to let you know, Dear. And that’ll be fifteen dollars.” He pulled out his wallet and gave her the money before taking the bags, grabbing the paper as he headed outside. Glancing back at it to read the article over with slight amusement. It honestly sounded more like a smear campaign against the woman it was about rather than actual news. Granted it had some interesting features, and even a photo. Priest slowly walked back to the SUV holding the bag of supplies he bought along with the newspaper that caught his attention. He opened the SUV and climbed in before glancing back at Svlad and holding the newspaper up for him to read. “Ilmoure Witch Killed Cattle for Dark Ritual.” He watched the boy stare at the words before glancing at him. Shifting to look from the paper to him, Priest leaned back in his seat, getting comfortable as he pulled the paper back in front of him. Resting it on the steering wheel as he started to read it.

“Deputy Reynolds says all that is needed to know about the mystery of the cattle that were found dead outside of Evie Mills ranch. His description of the dark deed performed to these livestock still give me chills. ‘The bodies were completely drained of blood and horribly dehydrated.’ Deputy says. ‘The eyes have been removed and the internal organs have become mush to the point they were seeping out of the livestock from every open orifice.’ When asked for a confirmation statement Sheriff Headly announced they were still investigating and that Mill’s is unlikely to be able to perform such a feat.” He tossed the newspaper to the side into the passenger’s seat. “Then it goes on about a conspiracy theory regarding Evie being a witch. Also don’t know if it was a typo but there’s one point the journalist calls her Evil Mills.”

“Okay… that is… odd.” Priest slowly looked over to the boy through the rearview mirror.

“I know Miles says Skylar’s not using her abilities to kill at random… more or less. But that sounds just like what she does to people.” Svlad seemed to have been clutching at his cuffs from that. “We’re going to check it out.” He was buckling his seatbelt before starting to drive off to where the cattle were reported.  

“We could check it out in the morning when we can actually see.” Svlad muttered, Priest just smiled while looking back to him in the mirror then back to the road. Eyeing the open area around as they exited the main central district. Could see a few houses along in the distance, all rather large and in a ranch house style. He could see a sign for a Bar that surprisingly had more cars in the parking lot than he excepted to see, a little beyond that he noticed the Motel sign shining in the distance, opposite way of which they were headed.

“Don’t feel like checking it out now?” Amused tone in his voice as he kept driving.

“I mean… It will be there tomorrow, right.” It wasn’t a no, meaning he wanted to see the crime scene as much as he did. He gripped the wheel with building excitement, smile on his face as he shifted in his seat.

“Svlad, don’t try to lie to me, you’re horrible at it.” It felt like a pretty long drive, which seemed like it would be the theme of this place. Small town that was spread out for miles hidden in the crevice of the rock formations. He saw the sign that said “Mills” with graffiti, mainly the word ‘Witch,’ all over it and he took off down the driveway, passing the large ranch house and heading down to where there was police tape blocking off the ‘crime scene’. He pulled off to the side, eyeing it where they could see the bodies of the cattle just lying there.  

Honestly, Priest was surprised they hadn’t been removed from the area, though what was even more impressive was the fact there didn’t appear to be any injuries to the cattle from stray animals eating any. Thought for sure the coyotes would be all over all that fresh meat just laying around, he leaned back in his seat before opening the door and climbing out. Opening Svlad’s door he uncuffed the boy and dragged him outside with him before shoving him towards the crime scene. Eyeing him to see if he would run as he grabbed the flashlight he had under the driver’s seat and turned it on to walk towards the area. He could see Svlad shivering heavily. The boy hugging himself as he rubbed his arms, looking to the tape than back at him.

“Can I please have my jacket back?” He asked in a begging tone, Priest looked at him as he passed grabbing the boy by his bicep and walking over to the tape. He lifted it for Svlad to go first, watching how the boy just glared at him, he could see the fog of his breath coming out of his nose making him grin.

“No. You haven’t earned it back yet.” Hand moving to the top of the boy’s head to shove him down under the tape. Waiting patiently as the boy walked towards the first cow, hand moving to cover his nose and mouth so he didn’t have to smell it.

“That is foul.” Priest walked over and stood next to him, shining the light on the animal, he could see even the grass under the cattle was dead. He eyed it before looking to the body, kneeling down next to it as Svlad shivered beside him. “How does that smell not even bother you?”

“Oh, I guess you’re used to being around freshly dead corpses not ones that have been dead a while, huh?” Sounded slightly amused as he stood up keeping the light shining on the cow. “Notice anything?” Svlad shifted and was slowly walking towards another body.

“No. I don’t think,” almost like he was drawn to one in particular. “We’re supposed to be here. Trespassing on someone’s property, I mean. Shouldn’t we have stopped and talked to this Evie Mills person before we… you know.” Priest was following the boy who came to a stop at one cow in particular. “I mean, we are strangers at someone’s home uninvited, mind you, that’s kind of rude don’t you think?” Priest shined his light on the cow, smiling from how he could see the fleas all over it. Hand moving to Svlad he pulled him back so none of them would want to jump off and onto the boy. He enjoyed the little gasp he gave from looking at how badly infested the cow was, you could barely see the husk that was under it. He slowly shined the light to the cattle next to them which was completely undisturbed and showed no signs of a flea infestation.

“Look at that, Svlad, you found patient zero.” He giggled while aiming the light back to the flea infested cattle.

“What?”

“It’s the only one with bugs on it. That newspaper said the cattle has been dead for a day. There’s no signs of flies anywhere, coyotes aren’t coming for the free buffet just laying here for them. Tell me, you remember how plagues we’re spread back in the day?”

“Fleas on rats- OH!” He seemed excited to the point he reached out a hand and smacked Priest on the arm, grabbing the sleeve of the jacket. Actually smiling even as his free hand moved to scratch at himself. “It’s not Skylar!” He sounded so excited and pleased by this news as he moved his hands to motion to the flea infested cow. “She uses locusts not fleas.” He just smiled while looking over to the boy. “So she’s not the one that-“ They both glanced over at the sound of a car, looking to the Sheriff vehicle that pulled up next to the SUV as the Sheriff stepped out shining his flashlight on them.

“This is an active crime scene, I’m going to have to ask you to leave!” Priest lowered his flashlight while slowly walking towards the tape. Hands half up to show he didn’t mean any harm… well so the Sheriff wouldn’t think he meant any harm. Honestly this was the type of day he wouldn’t mind putting a bullet in someone just to relax before the day came to an end.

“Evening, Officer,” Smiling at him, wondered if Evie called when they passed the house. “Sorry for encroaching on your crime scene, we’re investigating it as well.” The sheriff lowered the light so it wasn’t in his eyes, could see the man walking closer to them. A look of interest on his face as he stopped on the other side of the tape.

“You those Detectives Kelly was talking about?” News really did travel fast, he looked over as Svlad walked to the police line holding out a hand to greet the officer. Smile on his face as he actually moved to stand between the Sheriff and him. He found himself amused by that, like the boy knew what thoughts were going on in his head.

“Yes, Hi, I’m Dirk Gently, and this is Mr. Priest. I’m so sorry we didn’t talk to you first before coming here, Sheriff..?”

“Sheriff Headly.” Introducing himself while shaking Svlad’s hand. He must have been the smart one between him and the Deputy from what all they read in the paper.

“Sheriff Headly, we saw the paper on the incident and felt it was very important to check it out. Which honestly I am so glad we did because it helped me tremendously.” He couldn’t stop the smile from the boy’s words, would have to tease him about that later given the boy wanted so hard to protest coming here. He watched the Sheriff as the man scratched the back of his head while looking towards the cattle quizzically.

“How you figure?”

“I will show you.” It amazed Priest how easily Svlad could talk people into doing things. He thought that he would have to talk the Sheriff out of leaving them alone, yet here Svlad was… talking in that excited tone like he was on to something and luring the Sheriff into his little soon to be ramble of a theory. That skill could potentially be useful in the future, wondered if he could do that with other projects… make getting them so much easier if Svlad lured them into it. He stepped to the side and watched as Svlad led the Sheriff to the infected cattle and motioned at it. “This was the first! Somehow one of the fleas got infected, which I’m not sure how yet still working on that theory. Anyway, the flea managed to travel here, maybe on a vulture, or some other type of bird. Or a coyote, I heard from Kelly she said they’re acting weird?”

“Oh yeah, very weird…” Priest would have to ask more about that later seeing as Svlad just continued after nodding his head.

“So flea gets to this cow, bites it which causes the infection to start, and then all the other fleas get infected as well and they bit the rest of the cattle and now here we are. A lot of dead livestock and fleas acting weird by continuing to swarm the first one they bit while leaving the rest alone.” Priest couldn’t stop his grin as the Sheriff looked from the cows then back to Svlad. Wondering if the man was even following along with this explanation.

“How come they stayed on the one instead of moving on?” Now that really was the question, wasn’t it? He glanced to Svlad curious if he even had any idea.

“Excellent question Sheriff Headly!” Bright smile on his face that already told Priest that the boy had no idea why they were staying on the one cow instead of spreading. “I have no idea.” He shook his head at that and ran his tongue along his bottom teeth before deciding to take this time to step in.

“The coyotes,” He looked back to the Sheriff who went from squinting at Svlad to looking over to him, “what’s odd about their behavior?” Priest finally asked while walking over to them. Smiling when Svlad went back to rubbing his arms now that he was no longer distracted about how cold he was.

“They’re not running from people for one thing, usually easy to scare them off. But recently they just… I don’t know how to describe it. They’re not being aggressive or nothin’ like that. So we figure it ain’t rabies.” He shrugged, while stepping closer to him. “They’re in much bigger groups now too. Almost like all the little packs in the area grouped up. Show up at the weirdest places as well.” Priest rubbed his chin in thought.

“What places?”

“Here for instance. When Miss Mills called in about her cattle she said that the coyotes were standing not too far away from them. But they weren’t moving either.” That is weird. Svlad seemed to be vibrating in excitement while looking to the cattle.

“Maybe the fleas are from the coyotes then.” The Sheriff flicked his hat up while looking from the cattle to Svlad.

“Wouldn’t they end up like this then?”

“Immune… maybe?” Svlad sounded more like he was asking himself that question. Priest just sighed given it was a start to something just wanted to know how the fleas managed to pick up Abaddon’s plague, that seemed… impossible honestly. He looked back to the Sheriff reaching in his back pocket and pulling out his wallet and then a card he had.

“We’re also looking for someone who might be connected to this, her names Skylar Day she’s five foot five, tan, black hair, golden eyes. She’s last seen wearing baggy clothes and a hooded sweatshirt with her hood pulled up. Last known location was the bus stop outside of town. If you see or hear anything give me a call.”

“You got it, Detective.” He was putting the card away in his own pocket. Priest still couldn’t help but be overtly amused by the assumption he was also a detective. He glanced over to Svlad and shined the flashlight back towards the SUV.

“I’m sure we’ll see you around while we do more investigating tomorrow.” Svlad hesitated before walking towards where he was pointing the light.

“Thank you for your assistance Sheriff Headly! It was nice meeting you!” Svlad called over with a wave as Priest lead him back to the car. Opening the backdoor for him, watching as the boy stared at the Sheriff’s car before climbing in. He cuffed the boy to the door this time before shutting it. Climbing in the driver’s seat he turned on the car and the heat while watching the Sheriff get in his own car. He moved his hand and unmuted his headset while starting to back up, turning around and going back down the long dirt road back towards the Main Street.

“Pries to command.”

—“This is command.”

“Ken, you might want to send some scientists to the crime scene here. I’ll take pictures in the morning, but there seems to be fleas spreading Skylar’s plague-”

“How do you know it’s Skylar’s plague?” Wanted so badly for this to have nothing to do with Skylar. “What if it’s just some random plague that looks similar.”

“Dehydrated husks, body temperature rising to the point it boiled their internal organs and causes them to leak out. Trust me, Svlad. It’s Skylar’s plague.” Priest mused while focusing on where he was going, heading towards where he had seen the Motel sign before they drove on Evie’s property.

—“That’s not good. Thank you for the heads up, Mr. Priest.” Muting the headset he glanced back at Svlad who seemed to have been trying to open the back door to try and escape.

“What now?”

“I just… I don’t like how you automatically assume that this has anything to do with Skylar at all-”

“Svlad… You literally deal with the interconnectedness of ’things’. Skylar being connected to this in some way, shape, or form, not only makes complete sense, but she is here because of some sort of illness she wants to wipe out according to Miles.” He could practically hear the boy pouting and gave a heavy sigh while leaning back in his seat. Getting slightly annoyed now that the boy wanted to fight his own case this hard, “Stop getting in your head, that doesn’t help your abilities.”

“I do not have abilities! How many times do I have to tell you that! I am not psychic, okay. I’m just a guy who gets shoved around to go places and causes nothing good, but I don’t have an ability, my hunches don’t help me. Like, ever.”

“Helped you not die when I threw knives at you.” He was giggling from the expression he got from the boy through the mirror. He slowly pulled into the parking lot of the Motel, eyeing the layout of it and seeing if it looked like any of the rooms were currently taken. Which honestly it looked completely abandoned, even the front office area from where he could see he didn’t see a single person. He shut off the car and slowly climbed out.

“Leaving me in the car again?”

“Yep.” He stated bluntly while shutting the door, locking it and heading over to the front. He opened the door and listened to the little bell chime as he walked over to the counter. Before he even reached the counter, a man came out of the backroom and dropped a book on the table.

“You must be the Detective!” Did everyone know? "I set up a few choices after Kelly called to let me know you were coming my way. How many beds would you like.“ Could see the man looking over his shoulder as if trying to see where Svlad was. He found himself looking as well, half expecting to see the boy somehow out of the car. He looked back to the kid behind the counter while smiling at him.

"One bed is fine.”

“We have a room with a King bed, and the rest are Queens.” He rubbed his cheek trying to think of the length of the chain he had for Svlad’s sleeping situation.

“What floor is the King bed on?”

“Second.”

“We’ll take one of the Queens on the first floor.” He watched as the man nodded while kneeling down to get the key he needed for the room.

“Alright, I’ll just need to see your ID for a second- how would you like to pay for your stay?”

“Cash.”

“Okay, it will be fifty dollars a night and you can check out whenever. If you want there is also a pool in the back, completely fenced off so you don’t have to worry about any Coyotes at night.” Priest was already handing him his ID watching as the boy wrote his name in the book he slowly leaned forwards resting his elbows on the counter.

“You have anyone else check in today?”

“Nope, not a soul in three years.” He handed the ID back and Priest tilted his head while slipping his ID back in his wallet before slipping it back in his pocket. Surprised that the place could still even be running if that was the case. “Have a good night, and if you need anything my number is by the phone in your room. Names Ricky.” He nodded while heading out the door.

“Talk to you later, Ricky.” He headed over to the SUV climbing in to move it closer to the room they would be staying in. Backing up in his spot he got out and grabbed the bags, leaving some of the snacks in the car as he brought the others with him to the back of the SUV. Grabbing the bags of clothes, he had packed for their little case and walking into the motel room. Leaving Svlad in the car for now as he set it up to how he wanted. Opening one of the bags and pulling out a chain he dragged it over to the bed and hooked it up on the side furthest from the door. He set out their toiletries in the bathroom and put the rest of the bags in the closet while adding the drinks to the mini fridge. Looking everything around he found himself pretty surprised by how modern the place actually looked. He gave a soft hum to himself as he headed back outside of the room, opening the back door and watching as Svlad was forced to step out with a surprised squeak from his hands being cuffed to the door.

“A little warning would have been nice.” Svlad stated in slight annoyance, Priest uncuffed him and dragged him to the motel. Opening the door and pushing the boy in before locking it behind them, he looked the boy over when he caught himself on the bed. Watching how he seemed to have been staring at it before quickly standing up straight. “Do you plan on sleeping on the floor?” Priest couldn’t stop the laugh from that as he walked over, grabbing the boy by the back of the neck and dragging him into the bathroom. Already starting the water for the tub and standing up straight as he took off the jacket he was wearing.

“Take off your clothes and get in the tub.” He tossed the jacket out of the room before looking to Svlad who was shifting in his spot and hugging himself while staring at the water that was filling up.

“Wh-why?”

“You still have some of that kid in your hair.” He watched as the boy shuddered, hand moving to his hair touching where the dried blood had been. He watched as his hand flinched away, how he actually covered his mouth almost like he was going to get sick. The action making Priest roll his eyes as he pulled off his shirt so he wouldn’t get it wet and tossed it out of the bathroom along with his gloves.

“I can wash my own hair.” Priest rolled his eyes, stepping over and grabbing the boy roughly by the shirt, already ripping it open and listening to the buttons fly. He could see the look of panic on the boy’s face as he tried to get away. “W-wait-” He tugged the shirt all the way off, ended up backing the boy into the sink as he pulled off the singlet the boy wore roughly. Hands moving to the tie as he grabbed it and pulled him closer by it. Looking at his hair which was a mess before looking down into his eyes.

“Do I have to keep going? You’re lucky we’re out on a case otherwise I wouldn’t let you have clothes at all. Now finish taking them off and get in the tub.” Hand moved to tug the tie loose and pull it off, Svlad was already crying as he shifted his shaky hands and began to undress the lower part of him, slowly walking over to the tub and climbing in. Priest watched him while walking over. Shutting the water off when it looked high enough he knelt down next to the boy, amused how his hands had moved immediately to cover himself. Hugging his legs close to him to try and prevent Priest from seeing anything.

Like he hasn’t already seen it all before.

“You know I’m not some type of pet you can-” Priest cut him off by shoving him down, enjoying the squeak he gave as he slipped on the bottom of the tub, hands moving to try and grab the ledge as Priest dunked his head under the water. Giving a light hum from the boy flailing and pulling at the ledge to pull himself up enough to take in a gasp for air. “A warning would have been very highly appreciated!” Priest giggled while running a hand through the boy’s wet hair, looking to the blood that was now running down his back. He could see how much the boy was tensing up from the simple action.

“Uh-huh, figured you would know what I was going to do.” He mused the words, Svlad gave a heavy sigh while moving a hand to wipe some of the water off his face and out of his eyes. Priest grabbed the shampoo and already worked on working it through the boy’s hair. Pulling on it when he tried to get away from him, he paid more attention to where the boy had blood on him from the robber than the rest of his hair. Just giving it a quick wash before that, even going as far as to massage his fingers along the boy’s scalp. He couldn’t help but be amused by how the boy was actually leaning into it. Eyes eventually closing as he hugged his knees to his chest.

“Mr. Priest…” He gave a small 'hmm’ in the back of his throat, amused by how the boy turned his head to look at him, he slid his hand down the boy’s back, fingers running along his spine making the boy shiver and pull away as Priest washed his hands off in the water. “Why call Blackwing? Wont their presence scare Skylar off?” Priest rested his elbow on the lip of the tub, chin resting in his hand as he looked the boy over.

“They can keep this incident contained.” He watched Svlad sigh as the boy sat up. “They will set up a quarantine in the area, collect specimens, torch the rest, hopefully prevent it from spreading further. You don’t want that to hit humans.”  

“How fast does her plague work through the body?” Priest moved grabbing his hair and pulling his head back, forcing the boy to follow as he got him to almost lay down so his hair was in the water enough for him to wash the shampoo out of it.

“It starts small, gives flu like symptoms. You start throwing up everything, you lose your ability to keep water in your body. Your temperature starts rising helping you sweat out what you can get out other ways. Water retention after a day is impossible. Most people fall into a coma by the end of the first day. Temperature so high it begins melting your brain, only in that state it just keeps going. You lose your eyes first,” he let him up watching how Svlad sat up and moved his hands to run them through his hair and try to squeeze the water out of it. “They basically melt out of your skull, by then your organs start shutting down, and then you die a horribly excruciating death. One of the scientists have managed to keep a victim alive, in the medical sense, for about a week. You usually die in two days though.”

“What do you mean in the medical sense?”

“Hooked up to machines that do your organ functions for you.” He grinned while grabbing the conditioner, working that through the boy’s hair. He watched how Svlad looked away from him, staring at the wall as he shifted in the tub, making the water slosh around a bit.

“How did you manage to catch her?” Priest looked from what he was doing back to Svlad as he rested his hands on the edge of the tub. Smile on his face as he leaned back on his ankles.

“I talked to her and convinced her to come with me.”  

“Is that what you did for Bart too?” He grabbed the boy’s hair again and pulled him back down, shoving him a little under the water this time as he worked on getting all of the soap out of his hair. Purposefully letting him struggle by holding him under a little longer than necessary. The boy kicking his legs as he struggled and grabbed at his wrist trying to pry it off his hair. He finally let go and watched the boy sit up and cough and gasp now that he was able to breathe again. “Completely-” taking in another gasp, “unnecessary!” Priest just giggled while pulling the plug on the tub, grabbing Svlad by the arm as he stood up and pulled the boy with him. Getting him to step on the mat as he pulled out a towel and wrapped it around the boy, watching how he actually snatched it out of his hands and started to dry himself off.

“I think it was pretty necessary. I mean, let’s see all the shit you pulled today.” Svlad looked up at him with suddenly fearful eyes. “You were going to ask for help at the gas station.” He watched how Svlad moved to try and sneak out of the bathroom only for him to block the door way as he stared into the boy’s face. “Tried to escape the bus station twice. Mouthed off in the car. Tried to escape the waffle house, twice. Lied to me about going to the crime scene being something you felt we needed to do. Keep using that stupid name you gave yourself-”

“My name is Dirk Gently.”

“And talking back. Anything else you would like to add to your list?” He could see the boy pulling away from him, trying to keep distance to the point he backed himself against the toilet.

“Mr. Priest… Please. It’s been a long day, I-I just want to sleep-”

“Not until you have learned a lesson as to why you shouldn’t do all those things.” He grabbed him by the arm, pulling him out of the bathroom, ignoring how the boy tried to grab the doorway to stop him.

“N-no, please-” He threw him to the floor, watching how he landed and continued to try to keep the towel around himself. Twisting and trying to crawl away, he walked over and stomped on his back. Right over his ribs watching the boy drop to the floor with a winded gasp. He kicked him again in the side causing the boy to roll over on his side. He took that time to kick him in the stomach a few times, making the boy curl in on himself to try and stop the pain. He could hear him sobbing at his feet and he slowly knelt down next to him. Looking him over.

“If you want it to stop, you have to tell me what you did wrong, and what you can do better.” He grabbed him by the hair, yanking him out of his pathetic little ball. Punching him in the collarbone right above his heart. Listening to him cry out as he tried to pull away. Hands moving to try and block his as he punched him again, shoving him down onto the floor and climbing on top of him to keep him pinned. He could feel the boy struggle, he grabbed the boy by the arms and pinned them down above his head. Holding them there in one hand so he could continue to punch the boy without them getting in the way. He punched him in the ribs, pressed his hands against wounds, even started to press and dig his fingers into pressure points. Getting cute little whines and begging noises of Svlad wanting him to stop. He just grinned down at him, giggling from how much pain the boy was obviously in. Made him just want to hurt him more-

“Pl-please st-stop-”

“The rules to make me stop were pretty simple, Darlin’. Though I’m guessing since you never take responsibility for anything in your life this is something I’m going to have to coach you through, huh?” He giggled from how the boy cried harder, he rewarded it by punching him in the diaphragm. Listening to him choke as he leaned down, hand resting on the floor by his head. “What did you do wrong Svlad? Tell me.”

“I-I- kept trying t-to r-run a-a-away.” He moved his hand to his cheek, watching him flinch as he just pet him, brushing tears off his face with the motion.

“What lesson has this made you learn regarding that?”

“N-not to?” He giggled a bit while grabbing the boy’s jaw, forcing his head back, looking into his eyes.

“I’m going to help you, once, and then you better have it down. Repeat after me; 'I’m sorry I tried to run away Mr. Priest, it won’t happen again.’” He watched how the boy cried a little harder.

“I-I’m s-sorry I tried t-to run away M-Mr. Pr-Priest, it w-won’t happen again.” He ran his hand down his throat to his chest, gently rubbing where he had punched him with an amused smile from how the boy squirmed under him.

“Continue.” He watched the boy lean his head back with a shaky breath, like he was trying to think back to everything he had listed in the bathroom that he’d done wrong. “See, this is why I think you don’t actually know what you did wrong,” He pressed the knuckles of his middle and index finger into the pressure point along his collarbone, digging them in and twisting them this way and that. Watching how the boy cried out and squirmed under him. “I get the feeling we’re going to be here all night.”

“I-I’m sorry I wrote that note M-Mr. P-Priest. I-I swear it won’t h-happen again. I-I won’t lie to you ab-about my hunches anymore. I-I’ll tell you n-next time I h-have one. Pl-please. I’m sorry.” The thing that amused him the most was he knew he didn’t mean it, he knew the boy was still going to try to escape. He was still going to try to get people to help him. He was still going to lie to him. “A-and I w-won’t talk back anymore.” Just the fun thing of torture eventually leading to the victim saying everything you want them to to make the pain stop. But he still left the main thing undiscussed.

“And your name.” He leaned in, whispering it a bit in the boy’s ear causing the boy to cry harder again as he shook his head.

“Pl-please, m-my name is Dirk.” He gave a heavy disappointed sigh while sitting up, pulling the remote out of his pocket. “My name is Dirk.” Getting off of him so he wouldn’t shock himself as the boy curled up and turned his back to him. Crying to the point his shoulders were shaking as he hugged himself and seemed to be bracing for the pain he was about to be in. He screamed from the pain as Priest pushed the button, convulsing and writhing in his spot as he moved his hand to his shoulder trying to pick at the device. Just causing his fingers to cramp up along the edge as he curled tightly in on himself. Screaming through clenched teeth as Priest dropped the remote on the bed, carelessly leaving him a writhing mass as he pulled off his boots and his pants, setting his gun next to the bed. He climbed on it and grabbed the chain, pulling on it to see if Svlad would be able to reach the gun or not. He glanced over when the boy went quiet. Looking to him as he was on his back, arched up and heels digging into the floor as his body continued to twitch from the pain. He finally grabbed the remote and turned it off. Watching the boy hold the position for a while like he didn’t know the shock stopped before finally collapsing into the floor.

“I’m going to ask you again.” He stepped over to him, kicking the boy in the arm. Watching how he pulled away and curled up with a pained cry as he grabbed his arm and began writhing around on the ground giving pained cries and repeated words in Romanian from the pain and stress he was going through. “What’s your name.”

“Dirk. Gently.” He hissed it through gritted teeth. Priest clicked his tongue, watching him with a grin as he ran his tongue over his bottom teeth. Unable to suppress his giggle as he once more got on top of the boy, wrapping his hands around his throat and squeezing till Svlad started to try and fight. Desperately trying to pry his hands off, Priest leaned his face back when the boy went for it with his hands. Holding him back at arm’s length as he continued to strangle the boy, watching his face with sick fascination as he choked and sputtered and did everything he could to try and breathe. He found himself not wanting to let go, a bit on the boarder of actually wanting to kill him, he was useless. A pain in the ass, didn’t even do anything really worth investigating, he wanted to strangle the life out of him. He could see the tears building in his eyes, see the way they looked so fearful while staring up at him. Swore he could see his own reflection in them, just smiling down at the boy as he giggled and choked him.

He looked up at the sound of a knock on the door, pulling Svlad up he finally let go just to listen to him fall as he coughed and sputtered, rolling on his side and holding his throat as he desperately tried to breath. “Look at that Svlad, I guess the universe doesn’t want you to die today.” Whispered the words down to him so sweetly while brushing his fingers through his hair, finally standing up and walking over to the door. Not caring that he was in just his boxers as he opened the door enough to peak out, but so whoever it was couldn’t see inside. Which of course he found himself staring at Ricky’s smiling face.

“Hey! Sorry to bother you, I just realized I never said but the ice box we have outside, it don’t actually work? It more or less is just there for decoration now a day. But if you guys need ice I am more than happily willing to provide it for you.”

“Great, thanks Ricky.” He stepped back while shutting the door in the boy’s face, turning to look over to Svlad who had managed to finally get up on his knees. Still coughing and rubbing his throat with an obvious wince.

“Y-you… w-were” he couldn’t stop coughing, leaning to rest his forehead on the ground as Priest opened the bag of Svlad’s clothes and grabbed the boy a pair of boxers. Throwing them at him he watched how Svlad almost desperately pulled them on. “Y-you…” His voice sounded rough and hoarse, he was wincing from just trying to speak. Hand moving to rub his throat some more. “…kill me.” He finally choked those words out and Priest just smiled while watching him.

“Yes.” Stated it flatly while stepping away from the bag. Grabbing the boy by his hair and dragging him over to the side of the bed furthest from the door. “And you’re really going to hate this.” He grabbed the collar that was attached to the chain, watching how the boy’s eyes widened as he tried to pull away. His protest turning into a coughing fit which Priest used to his advantage as he slapped the collar around his throat, locking it into place as he grabbed the remote for the device to put it next to the gun. Already turning off the lights and climbing in the bed. Which he guessed wasn’t that bad, he got himself situated before glancing over to Svlad who was pulling at the chain attached to the bed. Trying rather hard to pull it off. “Get in the bed.”

“I am not sharing a bed with-”

“I mean if you want to sleep on the floor like a dog.” He smiled when he felt the boy glaring at him. “Didn’t give you that much room though, you might choke yourself in the middle of the night.” There was a long pause, the boy tugging on the chain for a bit.

“Can I have more clothes?”

“No.” Priest rolled over on his side, hand reaching up to make sure he could grab the gun as he got himself comfortably situated to face the door. Part of training wired into his bed to have full view of entry points someone might use to break in. He smiled to himself when he felt the bed shift as Svlad finally stopped having a hissy fit and climbed in. Very obviously doing everything in his power to stay as far away from him as possible. He couldn’t stop the giggle from that as he reached over to grab his pants to pull his phone out and set an alarm. Setting the phone on the opposite side of the gun as he rested his head on his pillow.

Chapter Text

Dirk curled up on a ball on the bed, one hand wrapped around the chain of the bulky collar he wore, it was uncomfortable, and poking into the bruises on his throat in painful ways. Making him cough anytime he tried to move, honestly, it made him wonder how badly damaged his throat was. He couldn't stop the cold chill that continued to creep up his spine each time he thought about it. About Priest with his hands wrapped tightly around his throat, with that look in his eyes that surpassed usual sadism and read murder. The same look he had in his eyes when he killed all those people when he was a kid. When Priest killed the robbers in the gas station. Cold and piercing, despite the smile on his face that made him seem almost manic. He could feel more tears slipping out of his eyes as he curled tighter up on himself. He felt so unsafe, scared, terrified. He wanted to get away, he wanted to run but the chain wasn't giving, it was secured so tight, and he couldn't figure out any way to get out of the collar that was locked around his throat. He gripped the chain tighter, pressing his cheek more into his pillow. Just staring out at nothing as he tried to not think about the fact Priest almost killed him... again.  

This wasn't the first time and he doubted this was going to be the last time.  

He wondered if it would ever happen, if Priest finally would be able to kill him like it was nothing and probably not even get in trouble for it. The thought horrified him. And he couldn't believe it; but for once he found himself really missing Scott, he knew Riggins would never let the man get away with this... well. He hoped anyway. There were other problems that fell into that. He wasn't sure how long he had been staring at the wall, or how long it took for Priest's breathing to fall into light snoring. He narrowed his eyes at the wall with pure and utter hatred, hand slowly moving off the chain, listening to it move and holding his breath when there was pause in the snoring.  

Fearful he had woken the man up, but then it finally continued causing Dirk to let out a sigh of relief. His hand moved to the collar, pulling at it to try and get it off the more painful bruises. Shifting slightly on the bed wishing he could get more comfortable... maybe if he put a pillow between them... He could accidentally wake Priest up though, and he wasn't entirely sure how well the man would do when one interrupted his sleep. It was like sleeping next to a dangerous animal, didn't know if it would ignore your existence or eat your face off. He gave a small sigh at the thought, arms moving to hug the pillow that was under his head. 

He just wanted to sleep, but he felt too anxious to do so with his current situation. Not to mention he was so bloody hungry from not being able to keep his food down thanks to Priest. He frowned as he felt his stomach twist up and growl. It sounded so loud it made him whine softly as he buried his face into the pillow. He could still remember the smell of the food from the waffle house. How excited he was that Priest actually let him eat real food. He could feel the saliva building in his mouth from the thought he finally pushed out of his head. Thinking about food wasn't going to help his situation with the whole starving thing. 

He couldn't remember falling asleep, one moment he was incredibly hungry to the point he felt like his stomach was eating itself. The next he found himself feeling relaxed, comfortable, with a soothing feeling rubbing along his back. And slowly up into his hair causing him to nuzzle his cheek more into what he was using as a pillow. Which felt a mix of soft and solid all at the same time, taking in a deep breath he found himself going rigid when he recognized what the smell of his pillow actually was. A familiar scent of coffee heavily intertwined with something akin to cedar wood, touched with a faint smell of leather, and gun powder. A familiar scent that was screaming Danger. Dirk was rather quick to open his eyes, staring at Priest's chest which he was currently nuzzling. He moved his hand from across the man's stomach to push at his ribs while pulling away from the man.  

Completely horrified to wake up to doing something so... so stupid 

He gasped when he pulled back too far and rather ungracefully fell off the bed. Being bent almost in half from the way the collar pulled at his throat. He flailed a bit in his position on the floor, rotating to get his legs under him and pushing his body closer to the bed to stop the collar from pulling. He glared at the man who was just giggling from where he was currently laying. Hand on his side of the bed before slowly reaching up, and he did it in a way that almost seemed alluring. How his hand slid up the bed, across the pillow and up along the headboard. He couldn't look away as he watched how he grabbed the chain and tugged on it. Sitting up and forcing Dirk to climb back onto the bed again to stop the collar from digging in to the back of his neck.  

"W-wait" 

"Shhh." Said it so carefully as he reached over, petting his hair and tugging on it, pulling him closer. Dirk's heart was pounding as he rested his hands on the man's wrists, staring up at him fearfully. "Why don't you stay here Darlin." Dirk's hands moved to the collar tugging on it and trying to stay away from the man who was getting off the bed. He took in a deep breath while watching him stretch and check his phone before setting it down and heading into the bathroom. Dirk took in a deep breath, glad the man left him alone. Although highly annoyed he could still smell the man so clearly as if he was still laying on him, and he hated it, how it was all he could smell.  

He moved his hand to rub at his cheek in disgust. Shuddering from the way he could still feel the man's hand rubbing his back and petting his hair. He couldn't help but wonder who initiated... did... did he do it in his sleep? He squirmed in embarrassment, feeling his cheeks heat up he glanced up when Priest came back out and started what must have been a daily routine of working out. With how the man fell into the motions so easily of stretching his muscles out before dropping down to do some pushups. He looked away from the man, frowning a bit as he pulled on the chain. 

"And what if I also have to use the bathroom?" 

"You can hold it." Of. Bloody. Course. He scowled while staring at the gun by the bed. He wondered... he inched over while the man was distracted, doing his best to be quiet till the chain pulled tight, hand reaching out to see if he could touch it. His fingers barely even brushed against the night stand- "Going to try and kill me?" He quickly pulled his hand away, shooting the man a fear filled look. Honestly, he hadn't thought that far ahead. Get the gun and then what? Demand Priest let him go? He would have to get close to unlock his collar, being close meant he would easily be able to wrestle the gun away. What if it went off in the struggle? What if the stray bullet killed someone, and it would actually be his fault that time? He shook his head vigorously. 

"N-no. I just... doesn't seem like a safe place to keep a weapon." 

"Usually I have one under my pillow, but, you can assume why I can't do that right now." Giggling a bit as he still continued his reps of pushups, Dirk frowned while looking back to the gun. 

"Still don't think you need it..." Dirk was against Priest having a gun so much, meant he wouldn't have to do much on his part to kill people. He wished he could make it so the man couldn't have any, the case would feel so much less stressful if he didn't have a gun to aim at people to get him to do things. "Mr. Priest," 

"You're going to have to wait if you want me to cuddle you again." Was giggling some more, obviously very highly amused by this situation. Which meant... Oh... He really did snuggle up to Priest. Willingly. In his sleep. He actually went out of his way to cuddle the man that not only has been torturing him for almost a week, but almost killed him last night. Not to mention, tortured and killed his best friends. And kidnapped him. 

He felt like he was going to be sick. 

"No. No that is most definitely not what I want." He wasn't sure when he switched from pushups to sit ups. He looked away from him again with a heavy sigh, sitting cross legged and cross armed on the bed, staring out at nothing. "What I was going to say is, we should go to Annie's restaurant this morning." He watched as the man sat up, elbows resting on his knees as he stared at him, slow smile pulling across his face. 

"Really?" 

"Y-yeah. I just... have a craving I guess?" Priest was slowly getting up, looking so pleased as he headed back into the bathroom. Dirk gave a sigh of relief when he heard the shower start, glad the man wasn't going to drag him in with him. He moved himself closer to the headboard, grabbing at the chain and yanking on it trying to see if he could get it off. Hand even moved to the headboard itself to shake it and try to wiggle it lose. Something, anything, a little give would have been lovely. But honestly, he was feeling so tired, and a little light headed as he sat on his knees by the head of the bed and rested his forehead on the lip of the headboard. Feeling a little woozy now, how long had it been since he ate and drank properly? Sure, he had a glass of water last night, but he felt so parched... His mouth was dry, and his lips were chapped to the point of being painful. And then food wise...? think last time he kept food down was after Bosco brought him lunch. What day was that? Two days ago? He lightly hit his head on the headboard in annoyance. 

"Don't tell me you're already having another breakdown." He glanced over his shoulder at Priest, quickly looking away when he realized the man was only in a towel, eyes on the wall as he listened to him move over to where the bags were. 

"No. I just... really like headboards?" He could hear the man laugh making him sigh as he slowly let go and sat back down, fiddling with the chain in annoyance. "And I still really have to use the restroom." Glancing over to see the man getting dressed, he gave a surprised noise when the man stepped over and grabbed the collar. Yanking on it to pull him closer as he unlocked it and let him out. His hand quickly moved to his throat as he pulled away and moved to get off the bed. Could feel Priest watching him as he gave a heavy sigh and stood up, slowly walking into the bathroom as Priest continued to get dressed. 

He was thankful when the man didn't follow him, he closed the door before looking right in the mirror, wincing just from seeing how badly bruised his chest and throat were. He could even see the bruising had started behind his ears. He leaned in more and could see the little blood vessels visible under his skin from when they actually ruptured due to how hard the man had been strangling him. Leaving very obvious Petechia marks on his eyelids. He slowly lowered his gaze to the other bruises on his torso, hands briefly running over them before he finally moved over to use the restroom like he had wanted. 

He washed his hands when he was done and avoided looking at the mirror, flinching when he heard Priest open the door. The man leaning in the doorway wearing a pair of black jeans with a random tear on the thigh, along with a black shirt that had a rather mean looking yellow outline of a smiley face on it. He eyed the shirt before looking back up to the man's face. "Which tooth brush is mine." Priest looked at the brushes before grabbing one and putting toothpaste on it before brushing his teeth. Dirk looked to the lone pink tooth brush and gave a small heavy sigh. Guess that was a stupid question. He picked it up and started to brush his teeth, scooting away from the man when he walked further into the bathroom. 

"Is it hard to swallow?" The question surprised him, he looked to the man before doing a few test swallows, wincing from the pain of it but it wasn't hard. He rested his hand on his throat while shaking his head, gasping when the man grabbed him by his jaw and forced his head up. He looked the man in the eyes watching how Priest seemed to be looking for something. "Tongue feel swollen?" 

"N-no." 

"Good, let me know if either of those change." Dirk wasn't sure how he felt about that statement when the man let him go, playfully smacked him on the cheek, and then proceeded to drag him out of the bathroom. 

"Can I inquire as to why you need to know these things?" 

"Delayed Fatality." That didn't sound good, he must have made an obvious expression he didn't understand what he meant as the man continued to explain. "Happens with simulated drowning, and asphyxiation. You can think you're fine but really, you're not." Dirk closed his eyes from that information as he kept rubbing at his throat. Honestly, he could have gone his whole life without knowing that. 

"I... will be sure to let you know if anything changes." Can't imagine the man would do much, probably taunt him while he started to choke to death about the universe really wanting him dead. He clenched his hands into fists before looking to the clothes that were set out on the bed for him. Eyeing them before looking back to Priest. "Are you going to dress me this whole time." He groaned when Priest ran his hand through his hair before stepping away for him to get dressed. He changed out of his underwear into the new pair, pulling on the singlet and the white dress shirt. He worked on buttoning it up, couldn't help but notice how baggy it felt on him as he pulled on the burgundy pants, honestly a little glad Priest was willing to let him wear his more colorful clothes. Seeing as the man seemed to have a more... well boringly monotone choices of clothes. Slipping on his socks and his shoes he stood up and smiled while working on tying his tie. Witch was black with little jelly fishes on it swimming down towards the bottom of the tie. "You know, this tie goes really well with my yellow jacket." He stated, glancing up just in time to see Priest putting said jacket on. 

"My yellow jacket now, Svlad." Dirk. He wanted to yell that name at him, but the thought just made him remember the fact Priest was going to kill him over his name. So, maybe he would wait and not ruin the morning by trying to correct him. 

"Will I at least get to wear the one that's in the car now?" He watched as Priest moved to the door of the motel, staring over at him with a rather bored expression that said everything Dirk needed to know. "No. Of course not." It was worth a shot though, he sighed when the man grabbed him by the bicep and lead him out towards the SUV, locking the motel door behind them before opening the SUV for him. He looked from Priest to the SUV with a sigh of disdain as he climbed in and winced when the man slapped a cuff around his wrist and then slapped the other side of the cuffs to the handle on the roof of the SUV. He was actually surprised he only cuffed his one hand, watching the man walk around to the driver's side he shifted a bit in his seat. Free hand moving to play with his tie when Priest climbed in and started the vehicle before driving off back into town. 

Priest seemed to be in a good mood, he couldn't help but notice how the man seemed to be smiling for the whole drive to the restaurant. Which pulling into the parking lot it looked rather crowded, he guessed this is where most people went. Surprised more people seemed to be here for breakfast than the Waffle House, he shifted a bit in excitement when Priest opened the back door and uncuffed him allowing him out, he took in a deep breath of the fresh air and looked around. Enjoying how the sun actually felt so warm here, it actually felt really nice, the air was so clear- "Come on, Svlad." He turned to look to Priest who was leading the way to the restaurant. 

Dirk kept playing with his tie as they entered the restaurant, Priest getting them a table he couldn't help but notice how crowded the place actually seemed. Guessed it was one of those situations where it was a good location given everyone in town would come to it one day or another. Annie's had a rather nice layout to it, a good mix of booths and tables, it kind of reminded him of a small diner honestly, he was pleased when they were sat at an actual two-person table rather than at a booth. He would just die if he was stuck with Priest sitting next to him again with all of these people here. He took the menu with a thank you from the waitress already ordering some tea as Priest once more ordered some coffee. 

"I think we should speak with Evie before you let Blackwing take over the crime scene on her yard." He stated as the waitress brought them their drinks, he thanked her and looked back to Priest who at first looked like he wasn't listening to him. "I mean are they really even that necessary?" 

"Still not over that?" He looked to Priest who was scanning over the menu, slowly looking back to it himself with a bit of a pout. Reading over the names and ingredients for the food before finally settling on one that sounded pretty good at the moment. He clicked his tongue and bounced his leg before looking back up at Priest. Hoping the man would look at him this time. That he would humor him for a conversation instead of ignoring what he had to say about this situation. About his own case. 

"I just don't think Blackwing should interfere." Priest hummed, obviously not wanting to take his feelings into consideration about this. 

"Want the plague to spread that badly, huh?" Those words felt like a slap in the face. Like Priest was using this to once more mock him about the fact he tended to bring death everywhere he went. He felt small from it, almost felt like his heart was crushed. He couldn't stop himself from clutching the menu tightly. Feeling frustrated and hurt as the man casually started to continue his thought as though it wasn't obvious what he meant. "Might as well have just taken those fleas with you and thrown them in the restaurant." 

"N-no! That is not what I want and you know it." He could see Priest smiling at him with such amusement, it was making Dirk squirm as he set the menu down and took a drink of his tea, slowly adding more sugar to it before looking back at him. "But, isn't it Skylar's job to stop things like this? I feel like you're trying to take her job away." Priest just sighed, making him wonder what the man was thinking... Actually, he was okay with not knowing, so there was that. He glanced up when their waitress came back over to them, kind smile on her face as she looked ready to take their order. 

"Are you gentlemen ready? Or would you like more time?"  

"Oh, I would love to try your Annie's Special, it sounds really good." Quickly getting that out before Priest had time to give his own order for the both of them. He noticed how the man almost did that with ordering the drinks and he really didn't want to miss out on the meal he was looking at. She smiled while writing that down. 

"With soup or salad?" They both sounded good, but he should probably stick with something a little healthy. 

"Salad." 

"Garlic Bread Knots or Fries?" 

"The bread knots sound fantastic, thank you." 

"Sure thing, Sweetheart, and for you sir?" She took his menu before Priest handed her his as well. 

"The same is fine." 

"Coming right up." Dirk watched her leave before looking back to Priest, leaning forwards a bit on the table. 

"Do you typically order two of each meal? Because last night you did the same thing." He leaned back when Priest mimicked how he was sitting. Honestly feeling a little threatened by it despite not knowing why, it wasn't like the man had actually done anything to hurt him that morning... Then again maybe that’s why he was so anxious because he was waiting for when this nice act would end and the man would go back to hurting him for his own amusement. 

"I'm not a picky eater, and usually going with specials is the best bet." Dirk frowned a bit while leaning back in his chair. Wincing from the pain that surged through his back from the injuries he had from last night. He winced while leaning forwards and rubbing his back before looking back to Priest who seemed to be eyeing something on his face. 

"What? Do I have something in my teeth?" 

"Nah, just admiring your petechia marks, they look very nice around your eyes." Dirk moved his hand back to his throat, even though it was hidden under the collar of his shirt, eyes downcast as Priest carelessly went back to drinking his coffee. He winced while swallowing saliva, his throat still hurt so much, and felt so sore, he slowly reached out for his tea and took a drink. Glancing around the restaurant he couldn't help but notice a few of the locals staring at them before quickly going back to their meal. "Just noticed the audience?" Dirk slowly looked back up to Priest, biting his tongue as he leaned forwards again. 

"We're going to talk to Miss Mills after breakfast." 

"Really?" Priest was setting his coffee down and leaning back in his seat. There was a look in his eyes Dirk couldn't place, and he hated that he couldn't figure out what it was. That the man could be so hard to read unless he was hurting or killing people. He slowly dropped his gaze, not wanting to stare at him anymore as he slowly started to play with the tea bag in his mug. 

"Yes, Mr. Priest. I know you're here to help me with the case but it is still in fact my case. And given this happened on Evie's property she might have more to go off of. Don't you agree?" He looked back to the man noticing the smile on his lips, could see him cross his ankle over his knee as he got comfortable. 

"And here I thought you didn't do any investigating." He was about to argue before it happened, he heard the door slam open. Watching how Priest's hand automatically fell to his holstered gun as they turned to look towards the door. Everyone stopping what they were doing to watch as a woman walked in, brunette hair pulled back in a ponytail. Wearing a blue flannel shirt with her sleeves rolled up to her elbows. Jeans that were a little ripped and tattered from obvious manual labor rather than just buying them that way. And a pair of work boots that were torn up and even tracking mud through the restaurant. 

"Where is she?" Dirk watched as the waitress went pale from the question. 

"M-Miss Mills, she ain't here." 

"Don't you bullshit me, Kathy. Look at this." Dirk's eyes narrowed when he saw her holding up a newspaper, that had a picture of himself and Priest on it, which looked like it was taken at the crime scene while they were talking to Sheriff Headly. Which was odd, he didn't remember seeing anyone else around there. "She is stalking me now." Dirk watched as she threw the newspaper at the waitress who used the menu to block it with a surprised gasp. 

"I promise you, she ain't here. I think she went ta the waffle house to ask Kelly about our guests." Dirk watched as the Waitress even pointed at them. Of course, she would... why wouldn't she? Not like they didn't already stand out. He watched how the woman looked from her over to them, how her eyes were hardened until they actually landed on him. Like she was actually looking at the bruises on his face unlike everyone else they ran into here. She then replaced that softened expression with annoyance and walked over to them, Priest thankfully no longer having his hand on his gun. 

"You two trespassed on my property last night." 

"I am so sorry about that. I told my assistant here that we should talk to you before we went to the crime scene. But you know how assistants can be. So eager to jump into the action... Or well. I guess... I don't know if you would. Do you have an assistant? And Hi." He tilted his head with a large smile while standing up and offering his hand to her. "I'm Dirk Gently." She looked hesitant but eventually shook his hand. 

"Evie Mills." 

"Evie, it is great to meet you, we were planning on actually paying you a visit after we ate, would you care to join us." Motioning to the table as he sat back down, she seemed to have been debating it. 

"What did you find at my place." Already stepping over to grab a chair from a neighboring table and dragged it over to their table. 

"It's really rather interesting-" 

"Interesting is one way to put it." Dirk looked to Priest who finally held a hand out to Evie with a rather charming smile. "I'm Osmund Priest." Dirk could see her looking at his face before she shook his hand. Eyeing the wound which was slowly healing, mainly letting her eyes linger on his nose which was still bandaged together. 

"Nice to meet you, and what's so interesting about it?" Dirk smiled as the waitress came over with a cup of coffee for Evie and was refilling Priest's cup before walking away. 

"Your cattle seem to have been targeted by a rather nasty plague, but we found what it is that caused it." 

"Really?" She sounded a mix of interested and annoyed. 

"Fleas. I don't know if you noticed but you have one cow in particular that is just covered in them." 

"So, you can figure out their origin and fix it?" 

"Not us personally." Dirk looked to Priest when he spoke, knowing exactly where he was going to take this. "We actually know people who can look further into that, of course they will have to take over that crime scene on your property and will set up an area to get rid of the disease and keep it controlled, also pick up samples to figure out the strain and how to fix it." Dirk couldn't stop his frown as he went back to drinking his tea, which was actually feeling really good on his throat. 

"Like... The CDC?" 

"In a way." Priest mused out while leaning back in his seat, Dirk looked back to her as she seemed to be nodding. 

"Whatever gets it off my property... I don't like the idea of having a plague on my land. I already have enough trouble with the things Lemon says about me in that paper of hers." Dirk rubbed his face from that, remembering what all Priest read out loud along with the other information the man breezed over. 

"Yes, she sounds like a difficult person." Dirk found himself perking up when the Waitress finally brought them their salad and bread knots. 

"Gosh this is just my luck too. Of course, all this shit would happen, first we get a swarm of locusts, which practically destroyed all the vegetation in Pop's field, and now this." She was rubbing her face, as Dirk sat up more, already having taken a rather large bite out of his bread. Priest seemed to have noticed and rather quickly got the question out that Dirk wanted to know. 

"You guys get locusts often?" 

"Not like that. I mean the ones we have here are brown, pests, sure. But we know how to get rid of them. These ones were huge, and again they took out Pop's vegetation, like... Almost all of it. We get them sprayed with pesticides often to avoid that. In fact, they were just recently sprayed and it didn't even affect these things. It's weird." Dirk swallowed the food in his mouth, leaning forwards more on the table. 

"Where does Pop's live?" She leaned back and pointed the side opposite where she lived.  

"There's a dirt road next to the bar. You go down that way and keep goin you'll see Pop's sign." Dirk nodded while glancing towards the window then back at her. Wondering if maybe she had seen Skylar than if she knew about the locusts. 

"Miss Mills," Dirk leaned forwards as he spoke to her, watching how she went from rubbing her face to looking over to him. "You wouldn't happen to have seen anyone new around here besides us, have you?" She shook her head while slowly standing up. 

"No, something I should be worried about?" 

"Oh, nothing like that!" He even shook his hands in a no motion. "It's just we're also investigating a missing person's case." Explaining further as she looked at him and squinted a bit. "We're trying to find a woman named Skylar Day, who wears a hooded jacket with the hood pulled up. Like... all the time pulled up."  

"I'll keep an eye out for something like that. Mind if I ask why detectives on a missing persons case is also investigating the death of my cattle?" Dirk for once found himself not wanting to say it was connected in some way. He didn't want people to think ill of Skylar when he didn't even know.  

"We take a very wide range of cases," Dirk was actually surprised when Priest lied for him. He never expected that, he just figured the man would blatantly state that they were after a dangerous run away from the CIA, "it just sounded like something to do while we were in the area." Priest shifted and pulled his wallet out, handing Evie one of his cards before putting the wallet away. "You see her or anything else interesting give me a call. And don't worry when the team shows up at your place to take care of that, they won't bug or disturb you and they'll be gone before you know it." Dirk found himself curious what was on that card Priest kept giving out given the woman's surprised look when she actually read it. She looked at him and just nodded before heading out of the restaurant. 

"What is on those?" Priest looked amused as he went back to eating his food. "Don't tell me they have CIA on them." Said it in a hushed whisper while looking around to make sure no one was paying them any mind. 

"And here I thought you said you didn't want me to lie to you." Dirk moved his hands and rubbed his face, not liking this at all. He slowly went back to eating, just wanting to get out of here now, not actually feeling hungry anymore. But he knew he had to eat. He wouldn't be able to escape Priest if he was too weak from not eating... maybe he could start working out again as well, talk Priest into letting him when the man was doing his own workout routine. It was a nice way to kill time back when Blackwing had him before his case to find Francis... It was a lot harder to do that now given how Priest basically worked on 'training' him all day and he didn't get very many breaks. Like the man was trying to whittle him down into nothing. He glanced up at the waitress when she brought them their full meal. Thanking her before going back to drinking his tea instead. "Not going to eat?" 

"My throat hurts." Which wasn't a total lie, drinking the tea was fine, but eating made him feel like his throat was on fire. "I-it's not hard to swallow, it's just painful to do it." Priest looked so amused making Dirk sigh as he slowly picked up one half of the sandwich which was Annie's special. Telling himself to just eat it, he had to, he needed to, it was something that would help him in the long run. 

--- 

He actually felt a lot better after eating, he was practically bouncing when they left the restaurant. Looking around the area as he headed towards the SUV on his own accord, he didn't feel like fighting with Priest, he was going to ride out the man being nice for as long as he possibly could. "Okay, so off to Pop's we go, and hopefully we will find Skylar there-" He paused when the man pulled him away from the passenger's door and opened the back door for him. He looked from it over to Priest before sighing and climbing in the back, watching as the man slapped the cuff around his wrist again before closing the door and going back to the driver's side. "Is there any possible way for me to use the front seat?" He leaned forwards and rested his chin on the passenger's seat while looking over to Priest. The man already starting the car and heading towards the Bar so they could go find Pop's place. 

"Eventually. You're making good progress today." He squinted at him, not sure if he liked the sound of that. 

"What do you mean?" He asked in curiosity, noticing Priest glancing at him before he turned down the dirt road that headed further out of town, actually turning into an incline that was getting them up higher in the rock formations around the area. 

"You're finally being honest with me about your hunches." 

"What, cause I wanted to go to Annie's?" He could see Priest glance back at him before looking ahead. Dirk watched him, felt like his brain was buffering before he sat up straight. Remembering what they had talked about on day one, that he never really had feelings how he just felt like going into places to eat and things happened. Bloody hell... He was never going to let this go, ever, he was going to continue to try and tell him about his abilities. He took in a deep breath while leaning back in his seat. "What about yours then? I mean if you're supposed to help other projects or whatever than how does that work?" He could see the man grin in a way that made him shudder. Giving him flashbacks of the way the man was on top of him and strangling him. 

"Funny enough," He watched how the man slowed down as they got closer to a worn hand painted sign. "I got a good feeling the second you mentioned going to Annie's." He pulled down the dirt road, watching as the fields slowly came into view, completely empty and obviously in the middle of being reseeded. Dirk found himself just staring out the window, hands clenching a bit in fists wondering if that's why he was smiling so much and so eager to go when he mentioned it. If that's why he didn't try to argue and take over the case with his own little idea. He found himself starting to hate this more than he already did, he blinked when his hand was already being uncuffed. Wasn't expecting the man to already be there, he slowly climbed out of the SUV and looked around. Eyes locking on the dog which was barking rather viciously, at Priest in particular, before it seemed to start whining and backing off. Hiding behind the porch as the man approached, honestly it was a little eerie to see that type of reaction to what he was assuming was normally a type of guard dog. 

"You know, I think that says something about your character when a dog not only doesn't like you but fears you that badly." Dirk stated as they walked up to the door, the man just looked over at him with a smile on his face. Shrugging like the statement meant nothing to him. 

"Has it's perks, never had to worry about the neighborhood dogs shitting on my lawn or animals fucking with my garden." 

"You garden-" He looked over as the door opened, a man standing there and staring at them through rather thick glasses that took up a good portion of his face. "Hi! I'm so sorry to bother you sir, my name's Dirk Gently, and this is Mr. Priest, we're in the middle of a-" 

"I know who you are. I read the paper." The man felt a little hostile, didn't seem to want to really talk to them, wasn't even looking at them either. Was just staring at the SUV before finally looking back to him, "what do you want?" 

"We actually wanted to ask you about your crops." Dirk stated watching as the older man squinted at them before finally opening the door for them, stepping to the side and inviting them in. Dirk smiled at that as he walked in with Priest a step behind him, he noticed that Priest was looking around as a cat hissed at him and ran up the stairs. Thought, he almost saw a grin on Priest's face... 

"What do you want to know?" Pop's asked while walking over to a chair and sitting down, going back to drinking a beer and almost ignoring them. 

"When did it happen?" 

"Middle of the day yesterday. It was odd." 

"How so?" 

"They were screamin', left a weeks worth of crops though." He stood up and lead Dirk and Priest deeper into the house, heading towards the back which he opened the door and motioned to the crops that were completely untouched in the middle of a seeded field. Priest seemed to have looked from them towards the roof of the house. 

"Screaming?" Dirk finally asked letting Priest continue, whatever it was he was doing as he moved to look back at the crops and step back further off the back of the porch to look towards the house. 

"Oh yeah, usually swarms make noises, like buzzing, but theses ones?" He was lighting up a cigarette as he spoke. "Screamed bloody murder, it was the weirdest thing." Dirk frowned from the news while looking back towards the lone crops. "Just glad they left enough crops for the rest of the week, we do use what we grow here, bad enough we lost all those cattle-" 

"There any way to see those crops from up higher?" Dirk finally looked over to Priest when the man spoke, looking to the crops with a squint wondering why he would want to see them from up higher. "Like your attic there seems to have a nice view of the field." Even motioning to the window at the very top of the farm house. 

"Sure, don't think you'll see much though." Pop's stated while moving back towards the door, not even bothering to put out his cigarette, just walked inside with it still lit. 

"You didn't happen to see a woman around here after the locusts, did you? Or did you see which way the locusts headed?" Dirk asked as they walked back into the man's home and up the stairs, Pop's was shaking his head as he walked over to the latch that lead to the attic, reaching up he pulled it down to get the ladder down for them. 

"Nope, didn't see no woman around. The locusts went over towards Evie's. Made sure to give the poor girl a heads up, bad enough she lost her cattle, didn't want her to lose the rest of the livestock's food." So, he guessed they would be heading back to Evie's place soon. He watched as Priest lead the way into the attic and followed after the man after thanking Pop's for the information, walking over to the window he understood why Priest wanted to see the crops.  

"I'm Sorry, Not Me." Dirk read what the crops spelled out loud, just stared at them for a long time. Did she know they would look? If she was sorry why did she take everything but one week's worth of food away from these people? "We need Miles." Priest was already reaching for his headset as Dirk spoke, he looked over to the man as he unmuted it and leaned against the window. 

"Priest to command, we need Miles again." Dirk looked from him out at the crops, slowly smiling as he looked at the 'Not Me' that was written out. 

"She didn't do the plague." He looked over to Priest who was pulling out his phone, watching as he loaded up the video chat and aimed it so it would show the crops. Miles eventually appearing on the screen squinting at the video on his end and leaning in. 

"She gave them a week's worth of food, what does it mean?" Dirk was shifting as Priest finally turned the video so it was aimed back at them. Miles looked uncertain, but not that he didn't know what it meant, more like he didn't want to say what it meant. 

"How bad is the sickness there?" That question did nothing to curve Dirk's nerves, it actually increased them a lot. 

"Well, it hasn't hit people yet, but from what Mr. Priest says, it does mimic Skylar's plague..." Dirk hated having to admit that, watching as Miles started to rub at his face. How he seemed to be taking this news hard. Dirk wished her was there, that he could try and comfort the man about whatever it was he was feeling. Even if he wasn't good at it, he felt Miles really needed a hug about now. 

"It's a defense mechanism, if this town is self-sustaining, then she will give them this as a timeline." A week? He looked back out at the crops, staring at them before he looked back to Miles. "If this plague hits... and if she doesn't get rid of it in a week then..." He seemed like he really didn't want to say, like he was trying to avoid saying what she would do to stop it. 

"Miles." He said the name patiently, soft, with a kindness that made the man finally look at the camera. "A week is plenty of time for us to find her and help her with this. We won't let her do whatever it is she's willing to do to keep this contained." 

"I hope you do find her. To prevent that." Dirk looked over to Priest when he started giggling, curious what the man found so damn funny about all of this. 

"She's going to wipe out the whole town so it doesn't get the chance to leave?" Dirk felt his blood run cold as he looked from the camera to Priest, who was just grinning like this was the funniest shit he ever encountered. 

"What, I'm sure that's not what she-" he trailed off when he saw Miles' face, the look of regret and uncertainty back and he felt so small. He wanted to find her, he needed to find her. It didn't have to be like this, they would find out what was wrong, and they would fix it and they would leave. They would somehow give Miles back to Skylar and let them part ways. Hoping that she wouldn't get pulled into Blackwing when all of this was said and done. "We're going to find her. We have a lead." Promising him, because he didn't want this to end in an entire towns massacre. "Thank you, Miles." He was quick to turn around and head out of the attic. Looking to Pop's who was trying to get his cat out from under the decorative dresser that leaned against the wall. "Thank you for all of your help, Pop's." 

"Oh, sure, hope you found what you needed." Dirk flinched when Priest shut the attic door, glancing over to the man who walked over and grabbed him by arm before leading him out of the house. Dirk shifted when the man let go of him and he headed to the car, glancing back at Priest. 

"Off to Evie's, and hopefully we'll find Skylar." Hearing the door unlock he opened the passenger's door and moved his jacket to the side while climbing in and shutting it. Already pulling on his seatbelt when he felt the door open, he turned to look at Priest who actually looked incredibly amused leaning on the door and staring at him. Dirk sat there with the seatbelt half pulled over his lap before realizing what he'd done. Mouth opening slightly as he looked to where he sat then back to Priest. "Well, this is most certainly awkward." 

"Want to sit up front that bad?" Dirk looked from him back out the windshield before sliding the seatbelt back up to where it belongs. 

"Not particularly, it's just a natural habit to go for the front seat. I think that has been a thing since one is a child, wouldn't you agree?" He smiled, trying to make a joke out of it, but Priest just continued to stare at him and wait for him to move. "What if I were to promise that I will not jump out?" He asked while moving, stepping out of the passenger's seat as Priest just watched him. He fiddled with his tie as he moved to the back. 

"Can't trust you won't just do it anyway, just like how you keep using that stupid fake name of yours to introduce yourself." He quickly climbed into the backseat, even cuffed himself causing Priest to just close the door. His free hand moved to his throat, gently touching and rubbing it, feeling the way the bruises almost burned from the touch. He took in a deep breath through his nose, trying not to cry as he listened to the man climb into the front seat. Starting the SUV and already heading out of Pop's driveway, he slowly turned in his seat to see the dog come out from under the porch. Barking after them before he turned to look ahead, eyeing Priest as he kept driving before gently tugging on the cuffs. 

"So, you garden?" He could hear Priest sigh, and he leaned forwards, resting his chin on the passenger's seat as he pressed his cheek against the head rest. "I have a really hard time picturing that... did you wear one of those silly hats? An apron that held all your seeds and tools?" He leaned back when Priest gave him a look, that worry fading when it was an amused look instead of an annoyed one. The man looked back ahead as they continued driving, continued to go to Evie's place. Which he hated was so far away. He had been getting bored with spending so much time in a car he not only couldn't drive but was also stuck in the backseat of. 

"No, I didn't wear a silly hat, or an apron." 

"Pffft, I feel like you missed out on some serious gardening experiences without the gear, Mr. Priest." He looked out the window before looking back to the man and pulling lightly on the cuff. "Okay so, what did you garden, I have a really hard time picturing you with anything other than weeds and carnivorous plants." 

"Svlad," Dirk "weeds are definitely things you don't want in your garden..." Well he knew that, just felt like it was the only thing Priest could keep alive. "And why are you so curious about my hobbies?" 

"Well it's just shocking to hear that you do things other than torture, hunt, and murder. I figured it was a work is your life type of thing-" That's when it struck him when he would have time for all of that. "Wait!" Realizing he never saw Priest till after he escaped Blackwing, of course Scott would try to keep him out of it. It seemed like Scott and Priest hated each other from interactions he'd witnessed growing up there. "Oh my god. Was that what you were doing when Blackwing shut down?" He could see the way the man glared at him over his shoulder. "You went home to garden? Like, nice Stepford Wives type situation where you drank tea, hosted barbecues, maybe were a serial killer but no one would ever suspect you because you're just that friendly neighbor?" From Priest's giggling Svlad couldn't help from sitting up straight, there was something about the giggle that rubbed him the wrong way. That sent a spike of fear up his spine as Priest continued to drive, finally heading down Evie's street. "I'm right, aren't I?" He didn't know if he wanted to be right. 

"Serial Killer is a bit of a stretch... But hey, maybe you're not so bad at this detective thing." Dirk felt sick as he leaned harder into his seat, watching the man park the vehicle before turning it off and glancing back at him. Dirk couldn't help but just stare at the man who leaned more on the center console to look him over. "Maybe don't ask questions if you don't want to know the answer." He watched Priest open the door and step out, watching him walk around and pull the key out of his pocket before the man opened the backdoor and unlocked his cuff, leading him out and towards the front door. Dirk stepped forwards and knocked on the door, waiting patiently he could hear a dog barking in the distance and slowly glanced up to Priest before looking to the door. Watching as it slowly opened and a teenaged boy poked his head out. 

"Hello?" 

"Hi! I'm Dirk Gently, and this is Mr. Priest, we were just wondering if your mother was home?" He watched as the boy shook his head but slowly seemed to be relaxing. 

"Nah, she went out." Of course she did. "She didn't say when she would be back, can I take a message for her?" 

"Do you know where she went?" The boy just shrugged, Dirk sighed and glanced towards where the crime scene was, noticing something shining in the distance... Guessed Blackwing's team was already here to take care of everything- 

“You wouldn’t have happened to see a woman in a hoodie obviously not from here, would you have? We heard she was last headed towards your place.” Dirk looked from Priest back to the boy, noticing he suddenly got tense from the question. Like he knew something and didn't want to say, it honestly made him wonder what Skylar was like. Miles was protective of her, the man at the gas station didn't want to give her away, and now this boy... Was she just that sweet and honest? Or did she just intimidate them to keep their mouths shut... Miles obviously liked her, but these strangers... How was she with them? 

“You guys are Detectives, right?” He was leaning against the door before looking back towards where the dog's barking was coming from. Seemed like the barking is what was making him the most nervous, like he was almost concerned about his dog's behavior at the moment. Dirk shifted and stood up straight, knowing deep down that he was a lead to finding Skylar. 

“Holistic Detective!” Dirk announced. “Much better than your boring regular Detective. We’re hoping to find Skylar and help her with her current situation.” The boy’s demeanor seemed to have changed from that, from him actually saying her name and that they wanted to help her. He wasn’t leaning on the door and looking nervous anymore. 

“I may have seen her.” Dirk looked to Priest with a smile on his face, bouncing a bit on his toes before looking back to the boy. 

“That’s the closest we’ve had in a while. Do you know where she is now?” The boy went back to looking uncertain and Dirk shifted and stuffed his hands in his pockets as he rocked on his toes. “I promise she’s in no danger from me.” He couldn’t speak for Priest, but he definitely meant Skylar no harm. The boy slowly sighed while opening his door more, inviting them in, Dirk leading the way once more as the boy lead them into the living room area and glanced towards the Australian Cattle Dog that went from barking in the corner to tucking its tail between its legs and scurrying out of the room. 

"Saddie?" He watched how the boy looked to the dog with concern and confusion. "Sorry, usually she's really friendly, I don't think she likes the other people on the property." He motioned towards where the crime scene would have been while sitting down on a chair, prompting Dirk to sit on the couch across from him. 

"That's quite alright." Now that he knew animals were afraid of Priest, he honestly didn't find the behavior that surprising. Still unnerving, but not surprising. "So, you know where Skylar is?" He glanced over to see Priest snooping around, looking at the photos that littered the wall, and other decorations. 

"I didn't say that exactly. I mean, I've seen her." He stated, Dirk noticed how Priest looked at the boy from that question, the way his eyes narrowed like he thought he was withholding something from them. "She was here the other night before you guys showed up." 

"You spoke to her?" Priest interrupted, Dirk watched as the man walked around and finally sat on the couch next to him. Leaning back and putting one arm on the back of the couch and crossing his ankle over his knee. "What all did she say?" 

"I... Well... She asked me for help, she seemed like she really needed it. She was really upset about something. She kept saying 'not me' before Saddie and I approached her." Dirk rubbed his legs with a bit of a frown, honestly felt bad for her to be going through this alone. 

"What did she need for help?" He watched how the boy shifted in his seat, sinking down in it as he shrugged his shoulders. Clearly not wanting to answer, Dirk could feel himself get tense when Priest sat up and leaned forwards, clearly not enjoying the way this was going. "We can't help her if you withhold information from us." Yet he spoke so kindly, he even glanced over to see him with a smile on his face, watching the way the man actually seemed patient with the kid despite Dirk knowing he just wanted the answer. Knowing that if the man wanted he could change tactics in a split second, he could stop being nice and start threatening or hurting the kid without even batting an eye. 

"She needed a place to stay, so while Mom was on the phone with the Sheriff I hid her in the attic." 

"Is she still here?" He shook his head and Priest finally stood up. "Mind if we go check?" The boy slowly stood up again and lead them up the stairs to where the attic was, standing next to the door Priest was the first one to open it. Which Dirk hated himself for being glad for that, he felt like he shouldn't want Priest to go first, but at the same time the man actually had what sounded like good history with her. So maybe seeing a familiar face would be good. He ran his hands along his tie, straightening it out as they headed up the stairs into the room that was the attic. Boxes had been pushed to the side and there were blankets and pillows in a nest which must have been where Skylar was sleeping. And then plastered all over the wall was newspaper clippings from old stories in the town. Even the newer stories, the one with them had Priest's face circled with the word 'Friend' and a few question marks next to it. Priest whistled low while stepping over to the papers. 

"Someone's been doing their homework." Dirk walked over to the papers, looking at ones that seemed to be connected. A few about Evie that actually had a majority of the articles crossed out. And then over to the side there were some strange things that had happened in the town. Old pamphlets about the town talking about this place as a tourist attraction. Which seemed odd, not like this place was easy to get to and it didn't seem to have anything too interesting going on with it. His eyes lingered on a polaroid of the bar with the word 'bartender' on it. "Guess we're going to the bar." 

"What's she looking for?" Dirk asked, squinting at the papers, trying to figure out what it could be. Why things about this place being talked about as a tourist attraction was important. How Evie seemed to have played into it. Or even what the Bartender had to do with all of it. 

"Think about it," Dirk looked up to Priest when the man motioned to the things regarding the tourist attraction, eyes lingering on all the information before glancing back over to him. "What better way to put this place on the map than to have their very own Witch who caused a biblical plague." Dirk stared at the papers, heart racing a bit before turning and following after Priest as the man started to walk down the stairs. 

"But how did they get Skylar's, plague?" He asked in a hushed voice as Priest closed the door behind them, Dirk found himself going rigid when the second the door closed the barrel of a shotgun was shoved flush against Priest's cheek, how his head even tilted a bit to accommodate the new pressure. The man looked more annoyed than anything as he held his hands half up in mock surrender. 

"What are you doin' in my house?" 

"Evie!" Dirk held his hands up looking from Priest to the woman, unsure how he felt about this situation. Part of him was overly excited that Priest got bested by someone. He also was terrified that Priest knew how to get out of this situation and would kill her. "W-we were here to ask you some questions, and your son was able to fill us in on what we needed." 

"You need a legal guardian to talk to someone under the age of Eighteen." He could see Priest roll his eyes from that and Dirk hesitantly took a step forward. Or was going to take a step forward, the second he moved his foot he could see her gripping the shotgun tighter. Causing him to quickly pull back and shake his hands to try and make her not blow Priest's brains out all over him. 

"Pl-please put the gun down." He didn't want anyone to get hurt, he could feel the anxiety worming its way through his chest. Tears even filling his eyes from the stress of everything making this situation really get to him. "I am so sorry for intruding on your home, and for talking to your son without you present, everything just kind of happened." 

"Bullshit." She snapped the words but refused to let her eyes leave Priest. 

"W-we were going to wait but your son admitted to knowing where Skylar was and we-" 

"That is illegal, I thought you guys were CIA you should-" Priest was fast, he smacked the shotgun up causing it to go off into the ceiling. Causing some of the debris to fall almost like snow on Priest's shoulders and a bit in his hair. The man easily twisting it out of the woman's hands, aiming the shotgun at her, his eyes were dark and unforgiving as he took a step forward causing her to step back. 

"Mr. Priest!" Dirk grabbed onto his arm, clinging to it, begging him even though the man didn't take his eyes off Evie. But then he moved and popped the double barrel shotgun open, dumping the loaded shell into his hand and resting the now empty gun on his shoulder. Wrist lightly hanging over the barrel as he gave her the shell back. 

"Now, I don't much appreciate gettin' a gun shoved in my face, sugar." The way the pet name rolled off his tongue felt like a threat. "Lucky for you, you've caught me in a pretty good fucking mood." He stepped forwards, leaning in nice and close with a large smile on his face that was making Dirk's blood run cold. "We'll be back after we pay the bartender a visit, and I hope you'll be more hospitable next time we swing by." Priest was already walking passed her, Dirk watched him with wide eyes. 

"I'm sorry." She just pointed for him to continue walking, he bit his tongue and followed after the man, rather quickly. Noticing the boy standing and staring with wide eyes towards the upstairs, obviously nervous about what had happened upstairs. Priest took the empty shotgun off his shoulder and set it on the chair before continuing out of the house. He moved to walk in front of the man, hands moving to his chest to stop him from walking. Priest just let out an annoyed sigh, one he could feel filling his lungs before escaping from how he was pushing at his chest. "We need to help them, not threaten them with a gun." 

"Svlad, you and I both know if I wanted to I would have painted her walls with her brains and then killed the boy." He could feel an anger filling him when the man grabbed him by a bruised wrist, twisting it and pulling him up straight. He yelped while grabbing at Priest's hand, trying to shove it off his wrist as the man dragged him closer so their bodies were almost pressing against one another. The man just leaning in and smiling into his face, he looked so pleased with himself. "Besides, did you just expect me to stand there the whole time with a gun in my face? Or were you just enjoying the view." Dirk gasped when Priest shoved him, stumbling and tripping over his feet as he fell hard on his ass. He gave a pained groan as he sat up straight and rubbed his lower back where he could feel the pain pulsating. Taking in a deep breath he finally dragged himself up off the floor, eyes locked on the ground as he shook his head. 

"No. I just... You could have just unloaded it, you didn't have to aim it at her." He winced when the man grabbed him by the tie and started to lead him over to the SUV. Priest was just giggling from that, Dirk was shifting as the door was opened for him and he was shoved into it. They probably hated them now... he felt numb as Priest slapped the cuff around his wrist and shut the door. He curled up a bit and stared out the window when the man started to drive, heading back into the town. "What if she tells the sheriff?" 

"We are CIA Svlad, they can't do shit to us." 

Chapter Text

Priest glanced back at Svlad in the mirror, a little annoyed with how quickly the boy’s mood had changed. He was making the case entertaining this morning, but now he just felt annoyed with how much he shut down. Probably didn’t help he was already irritated from having a shotgun shoved in his face, he pulled into the parking lot of the Bar. Staring at the signs to indicate it was open and looking to the couple of cars that were there. Curious if it was the owners of the bars, or if the vehicles belonged to whatever alcoholics lived in this little town. He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel before looking back towards Svlad. “Are you going to pout this whole time?” Finally breaking the silence that had filled the car since the radio turned off when he shut off the SUV.

“I’m not CIA.” He arched a brow at the statement. “Back when we were leaving. You said we were CIA.” Is that what this was about? “But you’re CIA. I am not a CIA Agent, I’m a Holistic Detective that just so happens to be the CIA’s prisoner. Which I cannot understand for the life of me by the way? Why keep me locked up at Blackwing if when I get a case I just get to go out and do it. Sure, with a chaperone, but it seems counterproductive. I feel like I will get more cases and be able to do more that the universe wants outside of Blackwing than I ever will inside of Blackwing.” Priest clicked his tongue as he looked the boy over, sighing heavily as he unbuckled his seatbelt to lean better on the center console. Looking him over as he kept his cheek pressed against the seat, legs curled up and pressed against the seat. Cuffed hand holding onto the chain and playing with it between his index finger and his thumb. Other hand crossed over his stomach where his fingers were lightly picking at the seat. He looked so… well a mix of annoyed and sad.

“Svlad, clearly you were needed in Blackwing for Friedkin to show up and give you your mission.”

“Seeing as Mr. Friedkin can apparently teleport now. I don’t think me being outside of Blackwing would have mattered. And what if someone entirely different was supposed to give me that case, but because you people were so insistent on having me back at your dumb facility Mr. Friedkin had to come and tell me all about the case. He didn’t seem particularly thrilled about having to show up and give me this case after all.” Priest couldn’t stop his smile from how in arguing the boy was sitting up more in his seat, facing him and staring him down like he wasn’t going to back off of this little thought. It was actually amusing to him, he couldn’t help but wonder what triggered this type of attitude from him. Amused how he wasn’t trying to cower or dance around what he really wanted to say but was actually willing to stand up for himself.

“Regardless of your argument-”

“Which I am correct in my statements, it’s not an argument it’s facts-”

“It is most definitely not a fact, Svlad. If you didn’t belong in Blackwing you would have escaped by now, or I wouldn’t have even been able to capture you in the first place. We can argue all you want, but by the end of the day you’re still here with me.” Priest watched how Svlad leaned back in his seat from that, going back to fiddling with his tie in obvious annoyance. “Like it or not, you’re CIA now.” He could see the way the boy was glaring at him, causing him to giggle as he moved his hand to reach for the door’s handle. “Eventually you’ll get your very own badge and everything.” Head leaning back against the seat as he moved his free hand, looking at Svlad in the rearview mirror as he continued. “Agent Svlad Cjelli,” hand sliding across the air as he pictured the badge clearly in his mind. “CIA’s own Holistic Detective.” Priest was giggling from the words, amused by how quickly offended the boy looked from the simple statement.

“I will never be an Agent, I refuse to be the CIA’s lapdog. So, why don’t you just keep your agent fantasy to yourself, thank you, very much.” Priest ran his tongue along his bottom teeth, biting it when it reached the corner of his mouth before he shoved open the door and climbed out. Going to the back door as he pulled out the handcuff key he opened it and unlocked handcuffs to let Svlad out. Leaning against the door as he watched the boy straighten out his shirt. “You still have the insulation from the ceiling all over you by the way.” Priest grunted at that, pulling off the jacket and casually shaking it off with one hand as he used his other hand to shake it loose from his hair. Pulling the jacket back on he rested his hand on Svlad’s shoulder and lead him to the entrance of the bar.

Inside of the bar it looked like an old styled saloon, there were decorations and what looked like fake old newspapers everywhere throughout the place. Priest gave a low hum in his throat as he eyes the shotgun mounted above the bar, eyes lingering on the tallies etched into the mount under the handle. He let his eyes fall to the Bartender who had been staring at them since the entered. The man slowly leaning against the counter and looking between the two of them.

“Detectives, anything I can help you with?”

“Yes, actually.” He watched as Svlad walked up to the bar to smile politely at the Bartender. “We’re looking for a woman, Skylar Day, who we feel may have passed through here. We have reason to believe she wanted to talk to you.”

“Short, tan skin, black hair, gold eyes, right?” Svlad was perking up more and nodding his head. “Yeah, I saw her.” Priest watched how the man stood up and went back to cleaning along the counter. “She left a few minutes ago.” Priest smiled now as he stepped closer and leaned against the bar. Looking the man over before his eyes fell towards where the back door of this place would have been.

“Where’d she go on runnin’ off to now?” Sounding amused as Svlad stepped up closer to the bar and even got on one of the stools.

“It’s really important, we just want to help her.” The Bartender seemed to have just been nodding while reaching behind the bar.

“You’re Dirk? And you’re Priest, correct.” Svlad nodded when the bartender pointed to each of them for their names, he then leaned back on the bar while pulling a jar out and setting it on the counter, his eyes locked on Priest. He couldn’t help but look at the jar which had about six locusts in it along with a piece of paper at the very bottom which the bartender pushed towards him. Priest watched how the light shined off the green and all the other colors that filled the side and under belly of them. Each one the length of Priest’s hand and jumping around, fluttering their iridescent wings which were shining the bars back at him. “She wanted me to give this to you before I tell you where she is.” Of course. A little test. She wanted to make sure she could still trust him before they saw one another again.  

“Can never do anything simple can she?” He mused out loud, he could see Svlad tensing as he reached over and grabbed the jar. Looking the locusts over, trying to decide if they were angry or not before he sighed and grabbed the lid. Twisting the top open and watching how the Locusts curiously moved towards the opening, the action had both the Bartender and Svlad leaning back.  

“Mr. Priest?” Svlad actually sounded concerned as Priest pulled his glove off with his teeth and was already reaching his hand in the jar. Svlad was standing up now, watching how they climbed along his hand and his jacket sleeve, one even going inside of it as he slowly reached to the bottom of the jar in order to not irritate or scare them. He grabbed the piece of paper at the bottom with his finger tips and slowly pulled it out. Leaving the lid open and noticing how Svlad actually stepped back when the locusts climbed out and jumped out onto Priest as he unfolded the note.

“Clever.” He couldn’t stop the grin as he looked at the note which had ‘I’m upstairs’ written on it. He showed it to Svlad as he pushed away from the counter. “Thanks for your help…” He trailed off as he looked to the man, giving a small sigh when one of the locusts decided to crawl up his neck and onto his cheek.

“Killian.”

“Come on, Svlad.” The boy walked after him as they headed towards the stairs, two of the locusts jumping off of him and flying down the hall to crawl under a door. He noticed Svlad staring at them, at the two that continued to crawl around on the jacket.

“So… not to sound paranoid,” Priest glanced over at the boy, closing his eye when the one on his cheek decided to crawl over it and onto his forehead. He gave a soft sigh in annoyance from that, hating the way the legs felt against his face. “B-but those are what spreads the plague, correct?”

“Aw, don’t want to hold one?” He moved his hand next to the one on his face feeling it crawl on him as he held it out towards Svlad, the boy staring at it nervously before holding a hand out hesitantly to take it. “The locusts are harmless until they bite you, or until Skylar tells them otherwise. Just… don’t startle it you’ll be fine.”

“Oh, good to know.” He could see how Svlad moved his fingers away from the creature’s mouth as Priest walked to the door that the other ones had snuck under. “You… looked like you’ve done the thing with the jar before.” Priest hesitated from opening the door, looking to Svlad who was in the middle of examining the locust crawling around on his fingers.

“It was a game she used to play, she wanted to make sure I trusted her.” Mainly because she was tired of people being afraid of her, so it was a way to help her calm down when he would face the locusts that swarmed her to interact with her. He could hear the buzzing from the other side of the door and looked over to Svlad again. “Just try to stay calm, she’s an empath and I don’t want her to freak out because you freak out.”

“I’m not going to freak out.” Priest rolled his eyes while opening the door to the scene of what the bedroom was turned into. Locusts were covering the room, crawling and flying all over the walls that you couldn’t see any of the décor that was there under them. Just the green shine of the writhing swarming bugs that filled the room. He could see a form in the middle that must have been Skylar, the locusts randomly jumping and flying around as the ones on the floor made a path for them to walk in. Priest slowly shut the door behind them to keep them from wanting to leave, to keep Skylar from wanting to leave.  

“Hey, Sky. Long time no see.”

“I can’t go back to Blackwing, not now, I’m in the middle of something really important here, Mr. Priest.” Priest looked to the form that was made to look like it was moving even though Skylar was being still, watching as when she did finally move the locusts continued to crawl and edge around her almost like she was made of them. The locusts that were on Priest and Svlad abandoning them and getting closer to Skylar as her form finally stood up, a majority of the locusts now crawling on her to cover her legs that became revealed to them, some burying themselves under her hoody so her face became more visible from under the hood that was still pulled over her head.

“I know, Sky, we’re here to help you.” Priest stated calmly, not wanting her to change her attitude towards willingly meeting with them. They could talk about Blackwing later, Svlad was shifting in his spot he glanced over to see the boy actually staring at her in amazement. Looking at his feet to see where he was stepping as he headed over closer to her.

“You are amazing.” Priest glanced over to Skylar who looked at him, he could see a look of confusion on her face as Svlad held his hand out to her. “Hi, I’m Dirk Gently, Holistic Detective, it is such a pleasure to meet you Skylar.”

“You… really think I’m amazing?” Great. Now they were probably going to bond of this. He watched as she slowly took his hand, causing the locusts on her arm to rush over onto Svlad and move around him. They almost looked excited, if that was possible.

“Are you kidding? Look at you, at what you have here, this is the coolest thing I have ever seen, and they’re so friendly.” As if on cue of him saying that a larger amount of the locusts jumped from Skylar to him. “But please don’t worry about Blackwing, we’re just here because I was hired to find you and help you with the current case you’re working on.” She seemed to have started shifting in her spot, looking from Svlad back over to him.

“And what about Miles?” Priest figured this conversation would come up sooner or later. Should just rip the band-aid off and get it out of the way.

“He’s fine,” Priest said with a charming tone, earning a small look from Svlad, “he’s safe at Blackwing.” Skylar was shifting a bit in her spot, hands moving to start playing with the strings on her hoody in an anxious manner. The Locusts in the room giving off a different vibe, like she didn’t buy that, like she didn’t trust that.

“I want to speak to him.” Wondered if Miles was going to tell her that he shot him, honestly wouldn’t be surprised. Hopefully she was as easy to manipulate now as she was when she was younger, would hate for her to turn on him over him doing his job and stopping Svlad and Miles from escaping. “I need to know he’s really okay.” Priest moved his hand to his headset, unmuting it as he looked between her and Svlad who was absolutely fascinated with the locusts that were crawling around on him.

“Priest to command, we need to speak to Miles again.” He stated while pulling out his phone.

–“Are you ever going to update me on this case of yours?”

“I told you about the fleas.” He mused the words back to Ken, listening to him sigh on the other line as Priest set up his phone to take the video call.

–“Give me a second.”  

“What was it you learned from the Bartender?” Priest looked to Svlad when the boy finally asked the question, probably to kill time as Ken got Miles set up with what they needed.

“Enough? I think?” She didn’t even sound too sure about all of it as she shifted in her spot, which was still standing on the bed in the room. “The bar… It used to be a place people came to visit a lot thinking it was something cool. Like there were stories about this old cowboy thing, I can’t even remember the story honestly I stopped listening…” Good to know she still had a short attention span over things that didn’t interest her. “Anyway, stories came out to debunk the ones decorating the front of the bar which made people no longer interested in it. Because it’s not something historical or fun to come to. I really don’t see how any of this has to do with a plague, but whatever I guess?” She was crossing her arms over her chest shifting her weight from side to side as she stared off into the corner of the room. Pursing her lips together before just shrugging like this was a normal thing that happened. “This is one of the most bizarre things I’ve been involved with.”

“Really, not everything is weird, and strange and connected to other things?”

“I mean, like in some ways I suppose? I don’t know don’t pay attention to that stuff I just look for the source and get rid of it.” She finally jumped down off the bed, looking between them and inching a bit closer towards him. He watched her with a small smile when she held her hands behind her back and took a large step towards him. “Usually in fighting the diseases I go after, it’s is a product of bioweapons gone wrong… But this one…” She trailed off, hands moving to stuff them in her hoody as she rocked side to side in a nervous fashion. The locusts getting jumpier from the sudden mood shift. “I don’t even know how they managed to harvest my plague like they have…” Priest listened to her as he looked at the phone watching the video load of Miles and making sure he actually looked presentable as he turned the camera to face Skylar. He watched how her more distant and reserved demeanor changed the second she saw him. How she was quick to abandon Svlad and run over to grab the phone. One hand reaching out to touch his cheek as a thank you as she smiled at Miles on the camera.

“Skylar! It is so good to see you. Are you okay? Priest hasn’t hurt you has he?”

“N-no, everything’s… Mr. Priest has been fine, but Miles this job is so draining.” She stepped away as the locusts began to start swarming around the room, as if feeding on her emotions. The action causing Svlad to step back and away from them as they looked more hostile. “I miss you. I’m so sorry I left you.” She sat on the bed, staring longingly at Miles through the phone.

“Don’t worry about it, I know you didn’t want to-”

“Wait you guys found Abaddon?” Doctor Bhar. Priest closed his eyes from the voice, a sense of annoyance fueling him from that. Knowing exactly what would happen from that project name.

“We can talk later, Doctor.” Priest chimed in as he watched the swarm, noticing how it seemed to have gotten more hostile from the project name. “And she prefers Skylar.” He watched how Skylar slowly started to stand up, looking at the phone mainly before her eyes flashed up back to him.

“Miles… why do you have a doctor with you?” And here it comes.

“Oh, I guess he wouldn’t want to tell you for multiple reasons.” He watched how she pulled the phone further away and even stepped back. “Priest over there shot me.”

“You were trying to escape.” He watched how the swarm seemed to have gotten even angrier, knew this could either go really bad, or Skylar would realize she actually needed them… And right now, he really hoped she would realize she needed them.

“You want to help, right?” She finally asked, gripping the phone tighter in her hands, he could feel the air in the room change as the locusts opened the window.

“Skylar, you don’t have to do this alone.” Priest took a step forwards as she pushed the phone back into his hands.

“Talk to Evie. She’s important, we need to know what changed to make her be seen as this awful person.”

“She does seem to like to shove guns in people’s faces, that might have something to do with it.” Priest muttered while rubbing his cheek. Watching Skylar head towards the open window he took a step forwards, hand reaching for her only for the locusts to swarm his hand and push it back and away from her.

“Skylar… We can work with you. It might make this case go by faster.” Svlad tried that time, sounding a bit desperate.

“Talk to Evie.” There was an anger in her voice that time. “And Mr. Priest.” She started to climb out the window, looking back at him as all her locusts swarmed outside, going under her as she sat there straddling the windowsill. “I want Miles back when this is over.”

“Skylar, wait!” Svlad ran to the window, trying to catch her as she jumped out, only to watch her gracefully descend from the locusts under her before they all went under her clothes and hid themselves from view. He could see Skylar stuffing her hands in her hoodie pockets as she walked down the street in a rather casual manner. “Should we follow her?” Priest gave a heavy sigh while looking to the screen.

“You just had to tell her I shot you.” Priest looked to the phone. That whole phone call was a disaster, should have waited till later…

“I’m not going to lie-” Priest hung up the phone and muted his headset as he shoved it back in his pocket, looking from Svlad towards the door.

“What does your hunch say?” He looked back to the boy who leaned back, watching how he started to pace while running his hands through his hair. Clearly lost in thought, trying really hard to think about the case before looking back to him.

“Okay so, things we know so far. Fleas are somehow carrying Skylar’s plague, they may eventually go from the livestock to actual people. Maybe the livestock was a trial type thing which didn’t go as planned, and definitely isn’t doing any better now that Blackwing has completely decimated the crime scene. So, the next stop would be going right for people, wouldn’t it? We should check the hospital? Or clinic? Whatever it is they have here to see if people are showing signs. I know you said it starts with flu like symptoms, but then it progresses pretty fast.”

“So, you want to potentially walk head first into a zone that should be quarantined?” Sounding amused as he watched the boy. Noticing him stop mid pace to look over to him with wide eyes.

“Does… does it reach airborne capacity?”  

“No.” He watched the way Svlad gave a sigh of relief as he stepped closer to the boy, grabbing him by the tie and pulling him closer. “But,” He watched how he tensed up from that. “It could also be a waste of time, we could check every flu addled person in there and not find anything. We’re on a short time frame as is. Especially because out here dogs and cats seem pretty big. And if fleas are this disease’s means of transportation than it can spread from them to the people very quickly.” He watched how Svlad rubbed his face.

“So, go to Evie, and what? Ask her why the town is so against her? What’s Skylar up to while we do that?” Priest slowly smoothed out the boy’s tie, honestly amused he seemed so wrapped up in thought he wasn’t even bothered by him grabbing it in the first place. “Wait. Wait. What about you,” he watched how the boy pointed at him, “enough about my hunches for a few seconds, where do you feel we should go?”

“You’re going to start this now?” He sounded so amused as Svlad crossed his arms over his chest with a heavy sigh.

“I have nothing, and if you’re supposed to help me then help me. I mean, if that’s what the universe really wants from you and all. Actually, doing that would be highly appreciated at this point in time.” Priest ran his tongue over his bottom lip, hands moving to slide in his jacket pockets as he tilted his head to the side. Thumbing at Svlad’s old business card in the pocket.

“Lemon might be a good place to start.” Wasn’t actually a feeling, but from everything they had seen she appeared to have it out for Evie. Svlad seemed to have been hit with an idea from that, the way his eyes lit up and he opened his mouth almost as if a visible light bulb appeared above his head.

“Lemon is connected to everything!” He sounded so excited as he clearly began brainstorming. “She’s writing stories about how this place is a great place, she’s the one writing awful things about Evie.” Hands motioning off to the side before he turned to him in more excitement. “Oh! Those pamphlets! They came from the same company that her newspaper is printed from.” He watched the way the boy almost bounced in his spot, hand slapping him on the chest. “Mr. Priest, I cannot believe I’m about to say this, but you’re not that bad of an assistant. Kind of Brilliant actually.” He couldn’t stop his giggle as the boy seemed to have been rushing out of room. Priest moved after him, catching the boy by his shoulder.

“Hold your horses now,” pulling the boy back and watching how he stared up at him from over his shoulder. “We might have to work hard at finding the girl. Seems like she wanders around a lot and all.” Priest lead him back down the stairs, and over to the bartender who was cleaning a glass. “Killian, do you happen to know where the lovely journalist of this town happens to be?” The man looked from them and glanced towards the stairs while obviously deep in thought.

“Lemon? Probably bugging the Sheriff and Deputy about this time of day.”

“Thank you, Killian!” Svlad announced while already heading for the door, Priest turned and followed after the boy watching him head for the SUV as he unlocked it.

“You can sit up front.” He watched the way the boy was eager to climb into the front seat as he climbed back into the SUV with him, watching how Svlad bounced his legs and looked around as Priest started the car and began to drive away from the bar.

“Can we stop to get coffee?” Priest glanced over at him from the question, watching how he slunk back against the door from the look on his face.

“What have I said about negotiating your rewards.”

“N-not for a reward, I just feel like we should get coffee.” Like with Annie’s? Priest narrowed his eyes on him before looking back out the windshield, seeing the little coffee shop not that far from where they were.

“I tell you what, Svlad, if we enter that coffee shop, and Lemon is in there, not only will I buy you coffee, but you can have a pastry of your choosin’.” Amused by how much that seemed to have interested the boy. Practically leaning out of the seat as he stared longingly at the coffee shop before glancing back at him with a more suspicious look on his face.

“And if she’s not there?”

“Then you’ll get to watch me drink coffee.” He giggled from the groan the boy gave, looking over at him as he pulled into the parking lot of the coffee shop. Putting the SUV in park as they both climbed out and walked to the entrance, Priest opening the door for Svlad as they both looked around. They didn’t even fully get through the door before a woman with long blonde hair began waving a bit frantically at them.

“Detectives!” She was already standing up, brushing off her flowery sun dress as she ran over to them with a large smile on her face. Holding out a hand to Svlad first given the boy was in front of her. “Hello, I’m Lemon Conners and I have been looking forwards to meeting you guys. Y'all have seemed so busy running around I was worried I would never run into you. Dirk Gently, and Mr. Priest.” They both shook her hand when she offered it, and he could feel the way the boy was beaming up at him completely pleased with the current situation they found themselves in. “I was wonderin’, if it wasn’t much trouble, if you two would be willing to have an interview with me for the paper tomorrow.”

“Why don’t you let us order somethin’ and then we’ll join you.” Priest offered watching as she nodded her head and clapped her hands together.

“Of course! I’ll go set up at a bigger, and more private, table.” She announced while hurrying off to where she was sitting to grab her laptop and purse and white sweater she wore with the dress. He looked over to Svlad who just continued to have that smile on his face, Priest rolled his eyes as he put his hand on his shoulder and shoved him towards the counter, following him as the barista stepped over from the machines behind the counter.

“Hello, gentleman, what can I get for you two today?”

“Sixteen-ounce White Chocolate Latte, and I’ll try one of your Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes.” Priest watched as Svlad squinted at him before looking to the menu.

“Salted Carmel Latte, twenty-ounce,” Brat, “with one of your Raspberry Danishes.”

“Sure thing. That’ll be fourteen dollars and forty-five cents.” He pulled his wallet out of his pocket and handed her a twenty. Taking the change, he dropped the coins in her tip jar along with a dollar as she handed the pastries over and went back to work on their lattes.

“You know, I’m actually surprised you have that much of a sweet tooth. I mean, I shouldn’t be from the snacks I saw you come back with… and how much sugar you actually put in your coffee. But still, always figured you as the type to always order black coffee… you know,” He glanced at the boy who was already biting into his Danish, giving a pleased noise as he did so. Hand moving to cover his mouth as he continued, “so no one would question your fragile masculinity.” He was amused how quickly the boy walked over to the table to avoid possible punishment for that. Priest watched him pull out a chair and sit down as he sat next to him, both looking at Lemon who was in the middle of typing something up.

“Hello! Okay, so I heard from Kelly y'all were in the middle of looking for someone, that correct?”

“Yes! We have successfully found her today.” Priest looked to the boy, annoyed he would give that much information so willingly.

“You did! That’s great!” Typing something up before her smile faltered and she looked back at them. “Wait… does that mean you’ll be leaving now?”

“No! Not at all.” He decided to let the boy talk as he ate the cupcake, which wasn’t that bad. Frosting was a little too tangy for his taste, but the cake part of it was nice. “Finding her was only the beginning of the case, now we’re working with her to help solve the rest of it.”

“What is your case exactly? I mean, I know you’ve been investigating the death of Evie’s cattle as well, you have any more information on that? Or those people in biohazard suits that were set up there earlier today?”

“Well you see-” Priest put his hand out to stop the boy from talking anymore. His hand moving to Lemon’s computer as he pushed on it and closed the laptop. Watching as she stared at it then up at him, he wiped his mouth off with the back of his hand as he leaned forwards.

“There’s a lot we’re not at liberty to discuss at the moment, Lemon. There were actually some questions we would like to ask you as well.” He drummed his gloved fingers along her laptop before leaning back, watching as the barista walked over with their drinks and set them down before walking away.

“Oh? Like what?”

“For starters, what do you have against Evie Mills?” He could see her eye twitch from the question as he pulled his hand back to pick up the coffee mug and take a drink of his latte, enjoying the sweetness of it as Lemon crossed her arms over her chest and leaned back in her chair.

“I don’t have anything against her.” Priest gave her an unimpressed look as Svlad set down his own latte.

“Miss… Mrs?”

“Mrs.” Even wiggled her ring finger to show off the large diamond that sat on the white gold wedding band she wore.

“Mrs. Conners, you called her Evil Mills in your paper.” Lemon was shifting now and looking between them, taking in a deep breath while crossing her leg over her knee. Her stance coming off as hostile and defensive all at once as she finally decided to talk.

“She ain’t done nothin’ good for this town,” it honestly sounded personal in Priest’s opinion. Both from the way she wrote and the way she spoke about this subject. “Her father was a great man till he passed away, people said that’s when it all started.”

“When what all started?” Svlad asked while sitting up a bit, actually sounded interested in the bullshit she was about to say.

“She’s into some dark stuff up in that farm house of hers. I hear she worships a devil.” Priest rolled his eyes while running his thumb over the handle of his mug.

“Been to her house, didn’t see anything to indicate she worships the Devil or is into 'dark stuff.’” Priest mused out smile crossing his face from the way she glared at him.

“Well she wouldn’t leave it out in the open, obviously.” She stated while giving a sigh motioning around the shop. “But can you blame the rumors. Look at the state of our poor little town, we lose all of our tourists, the same day things start goin’ well for her. And now we’re all doomed, clearly the devil comes to wreak havoc on the town, which makes sense.”

“How you figure?” Priest asked watching how Svlad drank more of his late, actually already getting pretty far on it, made him wonder how much he would be bouncing off the walls later.

“It’s been sixteen years since her deal with one to have a child, and that’s when everything weird started to happen, tourists stopped coming. She got control of her dad’s farm, and magically is pregnant at the same time, also came into a lot of inheritance money.” Priest leaned back and rested his arm on the back of the chair as he turned his body so he could see the door better. Taking another drink of his coffee before setting it back down.

“Ever think that maybe the tourists stopped coming because they found out your town has been making profit off lies.” He mused the words getting a glare from Lemon.

“Laugh all you want, but we all know her boy ain’t from no one in this town, and she never been nowhere else. And how else would you explain the locust swarm that took out all of Pop’s field, and the plague that killed Evie’s cattle.”

“Bad luck?” Priest asked with an arched brow. Svlad leaned forwards in his seat and rested an elbow on the table.

“Mrs. Conners, we don’t mean to upset you, or try to blame you for anything, we’re just trying to understand what’s going on. But we definitely feel like this doesn’t have anything to do with Evie making deals with demons. To be honest, the only reason Evie seems involved in this at all is because of the things you say about her in the papers.” Priest couldn’t stop the smile from Svlad’s words, watching the boy as Lemon huffed and stood up. Hastily grabbing some of her notes and dropping some causing her to duck down under the table.

“You’ll see, she’s going to have this entire town killed, and I know it. Thank you, Detectives. This interview has been very insightful.” She stated while standing back up and packing up her laptop, grabbing her sweater, and storming out of the coffee shop, slamming the door behind her.

“Ain’t she a peach.” Priest mused as he picked up his coffee to continue drinking it. Svlad just leaned back in his seat while rubbing his hands along his face, seeming frustrated now rather than excited about how things had been going.

“That gave us absolutely nothing.” Priest watched him and couldn’t help but smile, deciding to lighten the mood with his own little theory on the behavior from Lemon towards Evie.

“I bet you,” He leaned forwards, watching how Svlad looked at him with piqued interest, “Evie slept with Mr. Conners, and the kid is his.” Svlad looked a bit perplexed by that theory, looking from him towards where Lemon ran off.

“What? No, Mr. Priest, I’m sure it’s not like that.” Always trying to look at the bright side of everything. He leaned back in his seat while crossing his ankle over his knee, shrugging as he looked the boy over. Watching how he seemed to be thinking on it now.

“Usual, catty, small town bullshit. Someone sleeps with someone else’s husband, happens all the time, wife hears about it. Suddenly it’s her job to excommunicate the woman involved rather than the man that was doing the cheating.” He could see Svlad rubbing his face now from that, he had seen it all the time back home.

“It sounds like a soap opera. Don’t tell me you watch those too.” Priest couldn’t stop the laugh from that.

“No. I just grew up in a small town, heard about things like that all the time.”

“Can you stop that?” Priest arched a brow as he looked over to Svlad who was taking another drink before setting his cup down to explain whatever it was that was annoying him.  

“Stop what, Darlin’?” Amused, wondered if it was what he thought it was. That Svlad didn’t like hearing about personal things because it made him more human rather than someone he could see as only a monster… Would have to play more on that if that was the case.

“It’s nothing.” Maybe he didn’t want to explain, should make him later… “Okay so, I don’t feel like Lemon really gave us anything…” Priest looked at the table and slowly leaned forwards while grabbing a piece of paper that was there. Holding it up and reading what Lemon had wrote on it; 'Mayor’s keeping tabs on me’ smiling as he handed it to Svlad. “Or I guess she did…”

“Looks like we got our new lead.” He picked up his coffee and took the last drink before setting the mug down, standing up and watching the way Svlad quickly finished his own before following him out the door.

“So, Mayor wants this place to be a tourist attraction that badly that he would kill his own people and force the journalist into it?” Svlad asked as they walked back to the SUV, Priest glanced around the area before climbing back in the car. Pulling out of the parking lot he headed towards the town hall building that he’d seen when they were going to the motel. “That seems… counterproductive? Who would want to come to a place where a witch started a plague, like recently.”

“Clearly, he has a way to stop it, or thinks he does, so it’s easy money. I don’t think what Lemon realizes is it would make sense for Evie to 'get revenge’ by killing her with this plague for everything she’s said about her though.”

“Wait! S-so, she’s in danger!? We should do something!” Priest glanced over at him and raised an eyebrow. “L-like, with it being Skylar’s plague, maybe she can protect Lemon and her husband from it?” He couldn’t stop his smile from how eager the boy was to try and save them. Priest doubted Lemon would be willing to stop her own investigation to be babysat by Skylar.

“I say we just kill the mayor and be done with it.” Priest mused the words, noticing how quickly the boy’s demeanor changed. How he went from worried for Lemon to fearful and angered over the idea of killing someone.

“M-Mr. Priest, we are not killing anyone.”

“Pull out the gun, rich asshole type, he’ll tell us his darkest secrets before I even cock it.” He could feel the stress coming from the boy at the thought. He glanced over to see Svlad moving his hands along his thighs rubbing them while shaking his head.

“We are not killing anyone.” So insistent, so boring, so weak.

“You’re too soft, Cjelli.”

“And you are a monster.” Priest slowed the car down, pulling off to the side as he put the vehicle in park and reached over. Grabbing Svlad by the tie and pulling him closer as he leaned over the center console and invaded his space. Watching how Svlad grabbed at his tie and tried to pull it out of his hand, the action just causing Priest to smile as he looked him over.

“Svlad, we can find where he’s keeping the fleas, kill him, and everyone else involved, and leave without this town having anyone fall victim to this plague.” Svlad looked like he was trying to come up with an argument, the boy looking between his eyes while shaking his head. Even had tears filling his eyes from the thought.

“We are not killing anyone, Mr. Priest, we are just here to help Skylar-” He watched the boy flinch as he grabbed him by the throat and shoved him hard into the door. Knowing he shoved him hard enough for the boy to hit his head. He gave a small giggle from the panic fueling the boy from the hand around his throat, watching how he seemed to be fearing that this would end how it did back in the motel.

“Now, Svlad, I could have killed a lot of people today, but I didn’t. In fact, I still can’t stop picturing blowing Evie’s head off with that shotgun, would have been a wonderful sight. Painting the walls with her brains before taking care of the boy downstairs. But.” He moved his hand from the boy’s throat to his jaw forcing his head up as the boy coughed from his bruised throat being abused again. “I didn’t, I left them alive. And you didn’t even thank me for that, in fact you just yelled at me.” He was grinning as he pulled the boy closer by his jaw. His eyes scanning Svlad’s, eye lids getting heavy as he watched the panic building in them. Enjoying the terror. “I’m going to kill the mayor. And there’s nothing you can do to stop me, and if you try, so help me, boy, I will take us back to Evie’s house, and I will empty my machine gun into her and that boy as she holds him and tells him everything will be okay. Do you understand me?” He enjoyed the shaky sob the boy gave as he nodded his head. Tears pouring from his eyes as Priest released him and shoved him back against the door, “Good.” He added calmly while taking the SUV out of park and continuing towards the town hall.

“I just-” Priest took in a sharp breath, glaring over at the boy and watching him flinch as he leaned against the door, shaking his head. “Th-this is the town’s Mayor we’re talking about. I-isn’t that like an assassination type thing.” Priest narrowed his eyes on him before looking back to the road. “Th-that’s a big deal-”

“Svlad, this is not my first time killing people in the middle of the day.” He could feel the way the boy was glaring at him.

“Okay, but… killing a Government figure?” Priest couldn’t stop the smile from that, running his tongue along his bottom lip and glancing over at him as they waited at a red light. “Please, Mr. Priest. J-just take into account something different about this…” Priest arched a brow while looking at him, the boy took in a deep breath while shifting in his spot. “You’re working with me, and as you like to try and rub in my face all the time, not everything goes according to plan with me. Wh-what if killing the Mayor puts a delay on the case because something decides to go horribly, horribly wrong.”  

“Like what?”

“Getting arrested for starters. Just because the CIA can bail you out doesn’t mean the Sheriff and Deputy are just going to be like; ’Oh, CIA agent killing the mayor happens all the time.’ And let us go.” He couldn’t stop his laugh from the way that Svlad made up a voice for the Sheriff. He bit his tongue as he looked to the building that was getting closer to them. “I mean, Mr. Priest, really, killing the Mayor seems like a pretty serious offense.”

“So. You would rather I just kill some random person instead?”

“That’s not what I’m saying! I just think, you should really think about the consequences that will come about assassinating the head figure of this town. O-or just people in general while you don’t have an army of drones following you around to show that you’re some big ’important’ CIA guy.” Using his fingers for quotations. “C-can we just, like… not kill anyone?”

“Svlad-” he gave a surprised noise when him turning to look back at him had the boy pulling his headset off his ear. There was a moment of him letting off the gas, that felt like it was longer than it was when Svlad pulled on the lock of the car and opened the door. He slammed on the breaks, reaching for the boy who was already out of the car before he came to a full stop. He could see him hitting the ground as he slammed the vehicle into park and got out just in time to see the boy running the opposite way they were heading holding the headset to his ear.

“Ken! Priest wants t-” He pressed the button for the device in Svlad’s shoulder, watching with heavy eyes as the boy fell to the ground, writhing as he still continued to try and talk, not able to hear all he managed to say as he walked over to his writhing body.

“You were doing so well, Svlad.” He stated, disappointment heavy as he watched the boy glare at him through the pain. If looks could kill. He kicked the headset away from him, watching it roll in the empty streets as he pulled his foot back and kicked him hard in the stomach. Watching him fold in on himself as the electrical current continued to course through his body, and he kicked him again, and again till his cries became muffled screams. He finally stopped when he felt his phone buzzing in his pocket, hand reaching for it as he turned off the device. Watching the boy roll over onto his stomach, panting and coughing. Body twitching as he tried to crawl away making Priest stomp down on his back. Listening to the way his face smacked into the cement as he leaned over him, eyes locked on Ken’s name which was going across his screen as he let it ring a few more times before finally answering it. “Hi, Ken.”

“Absolutely not.” He pressed his foot harder into Svlad’s ribs, watching him cry out in pain as he dug the heel of his foot against them. Wanting them to crack. God, did he hope they would.

“Now I like ya, Ken, but you know how I work.” He stated flatly, no cheer in his voice as his eyes stayed heavily locked on Svlad. Eye lids remaining heavy and expression was stoic as he rocked the boy under his foot. Listening to the silence that was happening on the other end of the line before he heard Ken sigh. Like he understood, like he was disappointed. He could feel his lip curl up into a sneer from that as he stood up straight. “Could end the case right now by putting a bullet between his eyes.”

“He could be useful to Blackwing for being able to reproduce Skylar’s Plague.”

“Oh, that’s what it is, right. Miss Wilson will just love that now won’t she.” Rolling his eyes as he stepped off Svlad’s back, pulling his foot back and kicking the boy hard in the side. Watching how he clutched at it while sobbing into the ground. “Gotta appease that hen and all.”

“Mr. Priest,” He weighed the option in his head, licking his teeth while watching the boy trying to get up on all fours. “Please, I’m begging you, do not kill him. Just detain him and we’ll have a team come pick him up.” He pulled the phone away from his ear. Glancing towards the building which was so close to them, he just wanted to do it, he just wanted to empty the clip of his gun into the asshole, honestly… Right now he wanted to gun down every person inside of there while Svlad watched. Oh, that could work, would make him feel better at least. He slowly brought the phone back to his ear.

“Compromise.” He finally smiled at the thought that wormed its way into his head, he ran his tongue over his teeth while staring at the building, feeling the adrenaline rising in his chest from the cruel idea. “I won’t kill the Mayor, but his assistant, she’s not important.” He was going to kill more than the assistant, but Ken didn’t need to know that.

“Sure!” Ken honestly sounded relieved. “Yeah, that works.” So glad the man was willing to keep him happy by catering to his own needs. “Thank you, Mr. Priest, the team is on the way.” Knew it was just like the manipulation tactics he pulled on people.

“Pl-please, M-Mr. Pr-Priest.” He hung up the phone and put it back in his pocket before walking over to pick up the headset. Looking down at Svlad who was holding his face. He could see blood oozing between his fingers making him wonder how bad he hit his face on the concrete. Kind of hoped he broke his nose again, that would be fun to pop back into place. He stayed silent as he grabbed him by the hair and pulled him up to his feet, half dragging, half guiding the boy back to the SUV. Feeling the way he was trying to fight him as he shoved him into the back of the SUV, lifting him up to get him in there as he climbed in after him. Not even caring about the stupid child lock being on as he slammed the door shut behind him. Hands moving to the boy’s chest as he shoved him into the seat hard. Watching the panic in his eyes as he tried desperately to shove him off him. Fighting and struggling as hard as he could, causing Priest to lean his head back to avoid getting hit in the nose.

“I am going to make you regret that.”

“Y-you can’t just kill people!”

“That’s exactly what I’m goin’ to do, and you’re goin’ to watch. And after that I am goin’ to cut a tally into your skin so the reality of this situation will sink into that dense head of yours.” He watched how the boy shook his head and cried, hands moving to pull on the handle of the door as if It would open for him.

“Pl-please-”

“Was just going to kill one, now I’m going to kill everyone but the Mayor, and that blood will be on your hands.” He grabbed him tightly by the tie, yanking him up so he was sitting up more before punching him in the stomach. Listening to him cough from the hit he shoved him back into the seat. “Don’t die on me while I drive us to the town hall.” He pulled out the remote, turning the shock up before rather ungracefully crawling over the center console, leaning over to slam the passenger’s side shut. And pausing briefly to kick the boy in the face when he tried to get him to stop. Watching how the boy practically collapsed in the seat as he sat in the driver’s seat. Pressing the button on the device and listening to the scream and the way he flailed and twitched in the back as he leaned over to grab his door and yank it shut. Putting the car back in drive he turned down the music to listen to the boy’s pain as he drove to the town hall and pulled into one of the parking spots. Climbing out he took off the yellow jacket and walked around to the back. Opening up the hatch he grabbed his machine gun and started to load it.

When the sounds of pain seemed to have been dying down he turned off the device, looking towards the seat to see if Svlad would sit up or not as he made sure he was locked and loaded. He moved to tug off his shirt before grabbing one of the black CIA shirts in there and pulled it on. Figured it would be good to at least look like he was working before he committed mass murder, he whistled to himself as he loaded his belt up with a smoke grenade and a few extra clips. Closing the hatch, he hung the gun over himself with the strap, opening the back seat he looked to Svlad who was twitching and shuddering. Hugging himself as he cried into the seat, he reached in and grabbed him, pulling the boy out and shoving him against the side of the car to put him in cuffs.

“Pl-please, Mr. Priest, d-don’t do this-” He turned him around and shoved his back into the car, eyes scanning enjoying the blood that was running down his face from his nose and how his lips split again. He had a nice indentation on his cheek from where he had kicked him, split open the wound that was already there too.

“There is nothing you can say to change my mind.” He dragged the boy with him, ignoring how he tried to fight being pulled along. Listening to the cuffs in the boy’s struggle as they jingled together. The boy continued begging, getting more and more hysterical as Priest pulled open the door and shoved him in. Watching how he feel to his knees the second he was through the door as Priest adjusted his machine gun so he was holding it. Walking in behind the boy as he looked to the woman who stood up with a concerned look on her face staring at Svlad rather than at him. “We’re looking for the Mayor.” He walked forwards and kicked the boy in the back, making sure his boot made contact with the device, watching how he fell forwards and the woman instantly raised her hands. Surrendering as she stared at the large CIA written over his t-shirt.

“H-he’s upstairs.” Perfect. He didn’t give her time to react just lifted the gun and started shooting. A giggle escaping as he watched her stumble backwards with the rain of bullets, hitting the wall that was behind her desk before sliding down it. His attention turned towards the sound of a scream, stepping over Svlad he headed in that direction. Ignoring the boy as he began his hunt of finding everyone who just so happened to be there, which sadly was only two other citizens. He watched as they tried to run from him, keeping his gun trained as he shot them down with more of a laugh rather than a giggle. Watching as they fell from the reign of bullets, smile slowly falling off his face as he stared at the blood that was pooling from the bodies. Hearing one of them giving ragged breathing he slowly walked over to them. Looking to see which one was still alive, gun aiming at the woman who was trying to crawl away.

“Pl-please.” He watched her with a smile aiming the gun at the woman’s head before pulling the trigger. He could feel the spray back from it hitting his jeans, kind of disappointed he was wearing black so he couldn’t fully enjoy the spray of it on him. He glanced around and walked in deeper, looking to see if anyone was hiding in the area. He walked back over to Svlad, grabbing the boy by the cuffs and dragging him up as he headed towards the stairs. Pausing to pick the boy up and throw him over his shoulder when the boy more or less appeared catatonic from the events taking place. Heading up the stairs he walked over to the door, dropping the boy unceremoniously on the floor before trying the door handle.  

Which of course the door was locked, he just grinned while raising the gun and shooting the lock as he heard police sirens sounding in the distance. Kicking the double doors open he walked in and raised the gun to aim it into the office. Pausing when he noticed a hand on the floor by the desk, eyes locked on the open window as he walked in. Keeping his aim at the body as he stepped around and came to a stop at the side of the desk. Eyes locked on the Mayor who was breathing heavily. Sweating badly and appeared to have thrown up all over himself. He couldn’t stop the laugh that started to escape, lowering the gun. Giving a low whistle when he noticed the blood coming from the man’s closed eyes, how concaved his eyelids looked. He didn’t look like there were fleas anywhere, but from the open window.

He slowly raised his hand and unmuted the headset, not able to stop the giggle from the rather amusing situation they were in. “Hey, Ken. You might want to send doctors with that team, Skylar beat us to the Mayor.” He slowly glanced up at the sound of footsteps heading up the stairs, watching as Sheriff Headly seemed to have appeared in the doorway aiming a gun at him while Deputy Reynolds seemed to be looking to Svlad.

“Freeze!”

Relax Sheriff,” He stated it calmly, watching how the man’s hands were shaking, wondered if he’s ever seen something as messy as this in such a little town. “This is a CIA operation; the rest of the crew will be here shortly.” He stated calmly while muting the headset, waiting to see if the man would do anything as he took a step away. “Sorry to inform you, looks like the plague has taken your Mayor.” He watched as the Sheriff kept his gun on him while slowly walking around to see the Mayor, gun even lowering as he went to run to his side, only for Priest to catch the man by his arm and pull him away. “You ain’t gonna wanna touch him unless you wanna get it too.” He could hear the sound of cars pulling up outside, the sound of boots as the Scientists that were at the crime scene filed in. Ignoring them and heading right for the Mayor in biohazard suits. One of the scientists carrying a gurney as they loaded the Mayor onto it before they rushed by, talking to one another about vitals. “We’re taking over everything now.” Priest informed while crossing his hands behind his back and taking a more military stance while looking to the Sheriff.

“Y-you can’t just-”

“We already did, now, you can either accept it and work with my men. Or this town can be out a Sheriff, which I’m assumin’ your deputy there will follow after you.”

“Mr. Priest.” He said the name in a stressed tone, watching how the man finally put his gun away, staring at him with a mix of outrage and sorrow. “Why did they have to die?” He could hear the waiver in the man’s voice, a small crack that just fueled how good he felt after killing those people, he smiled at him while stepping forwards.

“You can thank Detective Cjelli for that.” He turned on his heel and walked over to where Deputy Reynolds was sitting with Svlad, the boy looking like a mess. He held his hand out to the deputy when he noticed the boy was no longer in cuffs. Just sitting there, hugging his knees to his chest with a lost expression on his face. “I’ll take my cuffs back.” He watched how the Deputy looked from him to the Sheriff, as if asking the man for permission before handing the cuffs over to him. He reached down and grabbed Svlad by the arm, pulling him up and heading back over to the stairs. “Do I have to carry you again.” He watched how the boy shook his head, almost looked like he had gone back to a childlike state. How he would be back in the days just following orders after high pain days and tests that went on forever. He helped the boy down the stairs before grabbing his arm by the bicep and dragging him over to his SUV, he could hear a Helicopter coming in and he pressed Svlad against the door. Watching as the boy opened it and climbed in, laying down on the seat and curling up as he held his tie in his hands. Blank stare on his face as he waited for whatever would inevitably happen.

Chapter Text

It didn't take long for Blackwing to take over the Town Hall. The place was blocked off with police tape, and Agents roamed the grounds along with the inside of it. He could see them carting out the three bodies and letting the morgue of Ilmoure take them. The Mayor had been helicoptered off to Blackwing and Priest currently stood by the SUV watching Svlad with hate in his eyes before he was interrupted by the presence of someone standing next to him. He slowly looked over and found that hate subsiding as he looked to Ken who had actually come out to talk to the Sheriff and explain the situation in a more 'reasonable' manner. He watched as Ken stood with his hands crossed in front of him, couldn't quite place the look in his eyes, but he knew he didn't particularly like it. Priest slowly leaned back and turned his full attention to the man who took in a deep breath. 

"Okay, please just give me the details, so I know exactly what's happening." Priest sighed while standing up straight crossing his hands in front of him. 

"Ken, I hardly understand what's going on other than someone wants to turn this hellhole into a tourist attraction by creating a plague and blaming it on this woman Evie Mills." Ken seemed to have frowned. "And before you ask, I also have no idea why that would make people want to come here and check it out, but that's all was have." He glanced over to Svlad wondering when, or even if, he would try to jump in on the conversation. His attention jumped back to Ken when the man moved, watching how he finally seemed to have glanced in the car at the boy who was just lying there in a blank state. 

"What happened to Icarus?” Priest's eye twitched as he looked the man over. 

"Didn't take the fact he got three people killed too well.” He moved his hand and slammed the vehicle shut, cutting off Ken's view of the boy. With how wrong everything felt like it was going the last thing he needed was for Ken to decide Svlad wasn't fit to continue this case. He wasn't done with the boy yet, he wanted to make him suffer, he wanted to make it so the very idea of him talking to Ken made him physically hurt for the rest of his miserable life- 

"I know you guys found Abaddon, why isn't she with you?" Priest stood there with his hand on the door before turning to look at Ken, stepping closer to the man and grabbing him by his tie. Pulling on it as he smiled in his face, giving a small giggle from all the frustration building. 

"Thanks to Doctor Bahr not being able to shut her mouth, Skylar just left to do this by herself. Next time I tell you we need Miles, a little warning that he's with other people would be nice." He turned his head when he noticed some agents stepping over to them from how he had managed to pull Ken a little closer while in conversation. Voice a little raised he slowly let go of his tie, staring down the agents as he straightened it out before looking back to Ken who seemed to have been calculating something rather than reacting to what he had been doing. 

"Svlad's punishment-" 

"I swear to God, if you done try an' tell me how to punish what's mine, Ken, you're not going to like what I'm going to do." Ken raised his hands in mock surrender while taking a step back. 

"Nothing like that, I was just going to remind you, that we do still need him." 

"Yeah, he's lucky about that. That he ain't gonna be any help to anyone as a corpse." He stated while grabbing the door to the driver's side, taking in a deep breath before smiling back at Ken. "See you later, Ken." Waving as he climbed into the SUV, starting it up and turning up the music as he drove out of the parking lot. Skipping a few songs on the playlist and smiling to himself when "Counting Bodies like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums" by A Perfect Circle started. Seemed pretty appropriate given his current mood. He looked around the roads as he drove down them, pulling off and heading to a place that appeared to be out of sight and out of mind. Speeding up more than he probably should have as he went down the road, looking at the clearing on top of one of the rock formations in the area.  

He slammed on his breaks, skidding around in the dirt before coming to a stop. Laughing to himself when he realized the feeling of something hitting the back of his seat was Svlad given the boy didn't put on a seatbelt. He couldn't stop the giggling as he shifted and put the car in park. Laughing to himself still as he turned off the car and climbed out, looking around at the view of where they were. Could see a nice view of Ilmoure from up here, the surrounding desert looking rather beautiful as the sun set making the different colors of the mound formations stand out even brighter. Perfectly alone up here so no one would interrupt them, honestly seemed like they were off-roading it not that long ago. Slowly opening the back and looking to Svlad who had finally sat up, holding his head with a confused and dazed expression on his face. 

"Oh, my bad, Sugar, forgot you weren't wearin' your seatbelt." He grabbed him and yanked him out of the car by his arm. Watching him stumble as he slammed the door shut with Svlad's body, he pressed against him hand resting by his head as his eyes scanned the boy's obviously unfocused ones. He took in a deep breath from that while letting go of him and watching him slide all the way down the side of the van and onto the floor. Hands resting on his knees as he stared out at nothing. That wasn't fun. He couldn't punish him like this, he wouldn't retain anything... He took in a deep breath, slowly letting it out through his nose as he knelt down in front of him. Watching the boy and snapping his fingers in his face trying to get his attention. He didn't even flinch. "Svlad." He said the name softly, not getting a response he gave a heavier annoyed sigh as sat down next to him. Getting himself situated as he moved a hand and ran it through his hair, hand moving to gently grip him by the back of his neck and guide him to lean against him. The boy just sat there leaning against his side and staring out at nothing. Priest ran his fingers through his hair, watching with amusement when Svlad leaned over more so he was resting his head in his lap. 

"Svlad." He said the name softly, continuing to pet his hair, brushing his fingers through it, hands moving to wipe tears off his face when he noticed he was starting to cry now. He shifted and moved, arm sliding under the boy's shoulders, turning him slightly so the boy was facing him. His other arm wrapping around his waist as he heaved the boy up and over into his lap. Bending one knee to keep it situated behind his back, forearm resting on it as he more or less cradled the boy in his arms. Could feel how the boy bent his own legs, pressing them against his side as he rested his bloodied face on his shoulder. Priest moved his hand, sliding it up his side, fingers gently rubbing along his throat before resting on his jaw. Slowly brushing along it before his hand slid up to his hair, gently petting and touching him as he tilted his head to rest his cheek on his forehead. Telling himself it was worth it. That doing this to bring the boy back would be worth it in the long run. That he wouldn't have fun hurting him while he was like this. That Svlad wouldn't retain anything he was trying to teach him while he was like this. 

"Hey," said the word soft and gentle, smile on his face as he looked down at him. Could feel the way the boy's hands were playing with his tie. "You with me, Darlin'?" He got a small noise back, that had to mean something at least. He could feel a smile pulling across his face at that. Hand along his shoulder moving to rub it, squeezing slightly as he leaned back more into the SUV to look at Svlad's face. "Everythin's goin' to be okay." Lying so easily, everything was going to be far from okay for the boy. He was going to make him regret running to Ken if it was the last thing he did. He gently caressed the boy's face, watching how he slowly started to blink his eyes into focus. How he took a second of lying there, staring at him before that beautiful look of panic filled his eyes. From how the fear showed itself so easily as he just smiled at him. Feeling the way the boy shoved at his chest, trying to stretch his arms out, body rotating in an almost flailing motion as he tried to get out of his lap. Priest just wrapped his arms around him. Holding him close and almost crushing him as the boy flailed and cried and tried to get out of his hold. Legs kicking and eventually ending up with his back to his chest and sitting between his legs. Priest refused to let go though, even turned his head to the side and leaned it back when the little shit tried to headbutt him in the face. 

"Svlad, the last thing you wanna do right now is attack me." He stated in a calm calculating tone, watching how much his struggle picked up as he tried to beg, plead with him. 

"Pl-please, please, M-Mr. P-Priest, y-you can't-" 

"I can do whatever I want, thought you learned that after the town hall." He rotated them, pinning the boy face down as he straddled his waist. Holding him down by the back of his head as he leaned forwards, smile crossing his face as he rested his other hand on the ground by his head. He could feel how still the boy went, wondering if he was going catatonic again until he heard him crying. Sobbing hysterically as he leaned down, smile on his face while he slid his hand down the back of his head. Grabbing the back of his neck, squeezing it before massaging along it. Listening to the boy as he worked on catching his breath. 

"I-I won't do it again, I-I didn't want anyone t-to die-" 

"Funny, because you got three people killed who would have lived originally. Oh and," he started to giggle to himself as he watched the boy move his arms to try and shove himself up off the ground. "finding the Mayor like that? Wasn't even goin to kill him. So, three people died because of you, for no reason." He informed him watching how the boy shook his head trying to deny it. "You wanna tell me again how y'ain't a casualty psychic?" 

"Pl-please." 

"You know what we're goin' to do now, Svlad?" He pulled his knife out of its sheath, hand moving off the back of his neck, pulling the boy's shirt as he started to cut at it. Ripping it off as the boy cried under him, he watched how he tried so hard to get up. He moved his hands to the singlet he wore and worked on cutting that away as well, leaving his back bare and exposed to him. "I'm going to give you wings." He announced, hand moving to the middle of his back and pressing on it to shove him back into the dirty as he brought the knife up to his shoulder blade. "It's going to be your tally. We're going to start with the three who died because of you." He announced, pressing the tip into the skin, digging it in as the boy cried out. Pleading him not to as he dragged a line into his back. "Count for me." He stated while looking to the line that was drawn into his skin. Etched so deep he knew every movement of his arms was going to pull at the wound. 

"M-Mr. P-Priest!" 

"Count!" He snapped the words down at him. Hand moving from his back to his hair, yanking on it and forcing his head back, craning his neck painfully backwards as he leaned in so his mouth was at the boy's ear. "Or I swear to God I will cut that tongue out of your mouth, boy." He shoved his face back into the dirty, shoving his cheek into it watching how the boy closed his eyes as he cried and squirmed under him. 

"O-one." He moved his hand to the middle of his back again, feeling the way the boy trembled as he worked on cutting another line into his back. "T-two-" Sobbing a bit harder, he watched the boy's hands as they moved to clutch at the dirt by his face. He dragged the knife in a longer line, following the way his back curved to make the first arch of the wing. "Th-th-three." He adjusted how he held the knife, running his dirt covered hands over the wounds, smearing the dirt and blood along his back as the boy writhed in discomfort underneath him. 

"Now the robbers." 

"Th-that wasn't m-my f-fault-" 

"Yes, it was Svlad." He stated harshly as he started to drag the knife against his skin. "Oh, and you're still counting." 

"F-four." He smiled when the boy obeyed, not sure if he was happy or not about that as he created another cut. "F-five- Pl-please, st-stop, I'm s-sorry-" 

"No. You're not sorry." He stated flatly, hand moving to press on the carving he was putting into his back. Pressing the ball of his hand into the beginning of the wing, watching the way the blood was flowing so nicely from the cuts. "You're only saying that because you don't like to take responsibility for your own actions. You messed up, Svlad. You were doing so good, we were getting so far on this case, and then you just..." He trailed off with a disappointed sigh, listening as the boy began crying even harder from under him. "Arnold Cardenas." He could feel the boy trembling as he cut into him again, dragging the knife down with sick fascination as he watched the skin split around the knife. 

"S-six-" He rubbed along the cuts again, small smile on his face as he tilted his head, thinking of the file, about the Spring Case. 

"And so many from the Spring Case." 

"N-no, pl-please." He shoved the ball of his hand against the cuts, earning a pretty muffled scream as the boy squirmed under him. He could hear his legs kicking as he finally pulled his hand away, bringing the knife to his skin again. 

"We'll start with Dorrian." He cut the knife into him, listening to the boy cry out as he squirmed. Free hand pressing more against his back to stop him from moving so he wouldn't ruin the carving. 

"S-seven-" He was sobbing even harder, and that wasn't even the worst part as he thought of the file, even stopping to pull his phone out and load up the data. He had the preemptive strike to already tally it all, wanted to make sure he did this perfectly given he had the idea to do this to the boy since he was fourteen. He set the phone down giggling as he looked at the total. 

"Wow, Svlad, I think we're going to finish the first wing before we even get half way down this list, and that's just one case." 

"Pl-please-" 

"Those two FBI agents that followed you." He started cutting into him again, watching the way the blood was flowing from all the wounds. 

"E-eight—pl-please th-that wasn't m-my fault-" 

"They died because they followed you Svlad." He cut in another line, looking the wings over and rubbing his hand along the outline he had created in his back, looked so sad and broken at the moment. Oh, but were they about to fill up with some nice details. He couldn't stop himself from giggling, leaning forwards and resting his forehead on the back of his neck. "Svlad." Warning tone in his voice. 

"N-nine-" 

"Detective ZImmerfield. He also would have lived if it wasn't for you burning down Gordon Rimmer's house." He purred the words out, giving him the explanations as to why he was linked to them as he cut into his back. Wanting it to really sink in how he gets people killed by doing things and not thinking about it. 

"T-ten—M-Mr. P-Priest- pl-please stop-" 

"Detective Estevez who could have lived if you didn't drag him into your case." He watched how the boy started to cry harder from that, wondered if he even knew about that death. Or if he was unaware given how he was taken back to Blackwing shortly after it happened. He ran his tongue over his bottom teeth when he saw the way the boy moved, turning his head to look at him. Tears streaming down his face and that confusion clear as day. That heartbreak, it was beautiful. "Oh." He said the word with a laugh, starting as a giggle which slowly kept building when Svlad clutched at the dirt and buried his face into the crook of his arm. "You didn't know. Never heard that Friedkin himself took care of that loose end, knew too much, had to take out the trash. I'll have to find the files, show you pictures of his bullet riddled body." He mused the words down to him as he cut into him again, starting to think about working on the other side, get the outline done and then fill it in as they reached that point... Maybe start with fifteen on each side. 

"Wh-why h-he didn't d-do an-anything wr-wrong he-" 

"You're not counting, I don't mind dragging the knife over the wound repeatedly until you give me that number." He informed with a smile while already working on dragging the knife back over the wound. 

"El-eleven-" He sobbed out the number making Priest smile as he rubbed him along the back. Smearing the blood across his skin. 

"Good boy." He teased while moving the knife to his skin again. "Gordon Rimmer." He added while slicing the blade through his skin, wondering if he would have to take a break. If he would have to stop to sew him up before continuing further from all the blood that was running down his back. Maybe should grab a water from inside of the car wash it off so he could make sure he wasn't ruining some of his tally. 

"A-ah, t-tw-twelve-- pl-please, it really hurts-" 

"Oh Svlad. This is nothing yet. Want to know how many 'Body Swappers' died in your presence?" He could feel the boy clutching at the ground, see the way he was slowly getting more and more fearful just thinking about it. He leaned over him, cheek nuzzling against the boy's head, taking in a deep breath and slowly letting it out with a giggle. "Thirty-seven."  

"N-no—pl-please... M-Mr. P-Priest p-please. I-I learned my lesson-" 

"No... you really haven't." He informed while cutting into his skin again. 

"Th-thirteen-" He cut more, eyes getting heavy as he looked to the blood running down his back. Watching the boy trembling as he continued to mark up his body. "F-fourteen—Fifteen—A-ah! M-Mr. P-Priest-" 

"I'm going to start the other wing." He informed while pressing his hand against his back and starting the other side. Mirroring the cuts as he carved the knife into his skin. 

"S-sixteen-" He watched as the boy squirmed as he continued to carve him up. Making the process long and torturous as the boy continued to count. "S-seventeen." Eyeing how the wounds were doing to make sure he didn't have to stop to start stitching some of the deeper ones back together. "Ei-eighteen—Nineteen." Getting more and more into it as he shifted on the boy's back. "T-twenty—Pl-please- st-stop-" He grinned as he ignored the boy and continued working on the jagged and rough outline of the wings. Cutting along the tattoo in his shoulder blade. "T-twenty-one-" he sounded like he was in so much pain, he shifted on him more in excitement. Free hand rubbing along the blood as he glanced over to make sure he was mirroring the wing properly as he made another cut. "Twenty-two-" 

"Eight more and then the outline will be done." Teasing him while dragging the knife deep into Svlad's skin, watching how he squirmed, hand moving to reach back and grab at Priest's leg. Giving a beautiful pained whine as he squirmed under him. 

"T-twe-twenty-three. Twenty-four." He gave a small grunt while smearing his hand over the marks, smearing more blood against the boy's back to see where he was cutting better before harshly dragging the knife down his skin. "A-ah- T-twenty-F-five!" Practically screaming in pain with that. 

"Remember that number." He snapped the words down at him as he got up, walking over to the back of the SUV and opening the hatch, grabbing the first aid kit and a couple of water bottles as he walked back over to Svlad who actually looked like he was in the middle of trying to crawl under the SUV. "Really? You're really going to try and hide from me right now? Are you that stupid?" He dropped the kit and the water, walking over to him and grabbing the boy by his leg. Roughly dragging him back out from under the SUV kicking him hard in the ribs and watching as he rolled on his side and clutched them while shaking his head. Crying hard into the dirt as he looked up at him with begging eyes. 

"N-no- I-I-" 

"Was just trying to hide under the SUV, do you think I'm stupid?" Kicking him in the stomach for trying to lie, watching as he curled up more before kneeling town next to him. Grabbing him roughly by the hair and yanking him closer so his face was in Svlad's. 

"Pl-please, Mr. P-Priest!" He was begging, hands moving to rest on his arm as he stared up at him with those tear-filled eyes. "I-I'm so-sorry I w-went to Ken. I-I won't do it again I w-won't-" Priest tightened his grip while dragging the boy up into a seated position. Eyes catching the blood that had pulled its way around the front of him and started to run down his body. 

"You won't what?" He growled the words, eyes narrowing on him as Svlad cried harder, eyes closing as he dropped his hands from his arm, resting them on his own thighs. Grabbing at the fabric of them as he looked back up to him. Looking so heartbroken and torn about what he was going to promise. 

"I-I just want to help people-" 

"Well, you got twenty-five cuts in your body sayin that ain't what ya do at all. And ohhhh, boy, we ain't even covered the agents and that army that infiltrated Blackwing 'cause of you." He watched how the boy cried harder, shaking his head while looking back up at him. 

"Th-that wasn't my f-fault-" 

"They were after you, and Moloch, boy. It's your fault, you brought them there." His hands moved to cup his already bloodied face, only smearing more of it along his jaw and cheeks as he looked him over. "All you do is bring death." He slid his hand to the back of the boy's neck, squeezing as he shoved him down face first into the dirt again, once more climbing on top of him and looking to the streams of blood that was trailing down his back. Reaching over he grabbed one of the water bottles, glad he had the ones with the sports tops as he squeezed the water along his back. Getting some of the caked-on blood off as he grabbed the ripped shirt and pressed it against the wounds, to dry it off and soak up some of the blood. He moved to slide the knife in that hand, other one grabbing him by the tie he left around his throat, turning it as he grabbed at the fabric and twisted his blood-soaked hands around it as he pulled up. Getting the tie to dig into his neck under his jawline tightening it as he choked the boy while pushing on his back. Dragging his face up off the floor and watching as he grabbed for the tie. Trying so desperately hard to free himself as he choked on cut off sobs, he leaned in again while rubbing his hand along the fabric he was pressing into his back. 

"Everything was going so well today before that stunt you pulled. I don't know why you would even think Ken cares about what you have to say. Why you would think he would take your side over mine." He finally let him go, moving the shirt as he brought the knife back to his skin. "I'm finishing the outline." He informed while already digging the knife into his skin as the boy coughed and choked, working on tugging the tie off and crying more into the ground. Cries getting louder and a scream actually weaseling its way out of his mouth when he dragged the knife back over the cut when he didn't count. 

"T-twenty-six!" He rubbed his thumb along the tally before working on another one. "Twenty-s-seven-" Just three more to finish the outline. "T-twenty-e-eight-" He smiled from the view of the blood building up in the cuts again. "T-tw-twenty-n-nine-" He cruelly dragged the knife along his skin for the last cut on the outline, enjoying Svlad's cry in pain as he sat up straight. "Th-thirty-" watching his shoulders shake as he cried into the ground, back to clutching at the dirt and sand as he sobbed. 

"Now, I'm going to stitch these up." He grabbed the water bottle again, washing the wounds off and sliding his knife back into his sheathe while pressing the shirt into the wounds again. Reaching over for the kit and dragging it over to get the hooked needle he wanted along with the thread for the stitches. Leaning back, he put one end of the thread into his mouth, wetting it before threading it through the needle eye and tying it into place. Hand sliding the cloth down enough to begin stitching the deep marks, watching as the boy squirmed each time he pulled the needle and thread through. Doing a bit of a hack job on purpose given he wanted this to scar, badly. He wanted him to cry every time he was reminded of it, the thought made him giggle as he worked rather hastily to sewing the boy's skin together. Eyes admiring his work as he listened to the little whines and whimpers the boy would give. It was starting to get dark by the time he finished stitching the thirty wounds. He hummed low in his throat while glancing around, feeling the way the boy was shivering under him as he got up, grabbing Svlad by his bicep and dragging him over to the front of the SUV before dropping him. Stepping over to the car as he opened the door and turned the SUV on along with the lights so he would be able to see better. 

Walking around he let his eyes fall heavily on the boy's bloodied carved up back. Looking to the sloppy stitch job that actually made the wings stand out more. He wasn't sure he even wanted to carve any more detail into them yet. Kind of wanted to work on another way to torment the boy, which he had an idea which was making him excited to get back to it. He watched how he sat there on his knees, hands moving sliding around slightly to touch at the wounds. Amused how he visibly winced and pulled his fingers away from the cuts. Priest moved his hand, pulling his phone out as he loaded up the camera. Taking a picture of the wounds as he came up behind him, sitting on his knees behind the boy and leaning his chest against his back. Enjoying the way he cried out from a mix of pain and fear, he wrapped one arm around his shoulders, sliding it up to press his forearm against his throat as the other one showed him the picture. 

"Broken wings works as burnt wings, right?" He was giggling as he moved his hand to grab him by the jaw, tilting his head back and looking him in the face. "Poor little Icarus, flying too close to the sun." He mused the words before shoving him forwards again, looking at the boy who was on his hands and knees, clutching at the dirt as he cried. "Take off your pants." He watched how the boy went tense from that, how he turned to look at him with a mix of confusion and horror. 

"Wh-what?" He couldn't help but notice his eyes fall towards his groin, as the boy turned to face him, going back to crying and sobbing to the point he crawled over and was practically kneeling in front of him. "Pl-please—don't M-Mr. P-Priest, I-I'm sorry. I-I'm s-so s-sorry." He hummed a bit before reaching down to grab his tie again, dragging him back up by his throat as the boy flailed a bit before resting his hands on his knees. One moving to grab at his throat, to try and pry the tie off, Priest couldn't help but be curious why he panicked over that command before looking at his-  

Oh.  

He glanced down himself when he realized what it was, that the boy was actually aware he was still worked up from killing people. He couldn't stop himself from laughing given the boy actually noticed he was hard this time and that the boy actually thought he would do something like that with him, and now of all times. 

"Wow, Svlad, that really what you think I would do?" Figured he knew better than that, especially given how many times he had the opportunity to rape and never took it. "With you?" He smirked, amused now that the boy would even think that's what he had in mind. "Don't make me laugh, Darlin." He dropped him, watching how the boy dropped in front of him again. Listening to the boy's coughing as he managed to successfully pull his tie off this time, sitting up on his knees and rubbing at his throat. Priest slid over, grabbing him by the jaw and yanking him closer. "Boy, you ain't done nothinto make me want to fuck you." Wanting to make sure Svlad understood that, he was amused by the expressions on the boy's face. How he went from relieved, to a bit hurt, then back to relieved. 

"Th-then why-" He trailed off when Priest grabbed him tighter by the jaw, yanking him close to him. 

"Because I told you to. You want me to break your arm again to make this lesson stick?" 

"N-no, n-no, I-I'm sorry." 

"Then," He let go of him while kneeling in front of him, "Take. Off. Your. Pants." Svlad sniffled a bit before his hands hesitantly moved to his belt, unbuckling it and working on undoing his pants and sliding them down till they were bunched at his knees. Too embarrassed to look at him as Priest grabbed the boy by the back of his thigh and dragged him closer. Hand on his jaw moving to his chest as he shoved him down on his back. Inching forwards and grabbing his knife and slowly pulling it back out of his sheathe as he brought it to the top of his thigh, watching how the boy tensed up. How his other leg bent and he clutched at the dirt again. "We have nineteen more for the Spring Case. And I have a wonderful idea for them before we move on." He mused out to him, already digging the knife into his skin and dragging it down. Watching how the boy threw his head back as his thigh trembled under him from the pain. 

"Th-thirty-o-one-" He made a cross at the top of the wound, watching the blood flow as the boy squirmed. "Th-thirty-t-two-" He moved his hand to his thigh pushing down on it to stop him from messing up the wound. Starting another line next to it in a jagged diagonal line that went about half the size of the T he made. "Th-thirty-th-three." The boy was crying harder realizing what he was doing, "Th-thirty-f-four-" hands moving to cover his face as he made another line to get half of the O done. "T-thirty-f-five-" His heartbreak was beautifully to listen to through the sobs, he let his eyes flicker up to his face as he started the other half of the O "Th-thirty-s-six--" He gave a small hum while gently rubbing the boy's thigh. 

"Stop covering your face." He wanted to watch, he was amused when the boy moved his hands and tried to wipe the tears off his face, smearing more sand, and dirt, and blood on his skin in the process. Priest just grinned as he finished the fourth line for the O. 

"Th-thirty-s-seven." He was shaking now as Priest cut in for the first line for the D. "Th-th-thirty-e-eight--" He glanced back down at what he was doing, working on a line to start the D off as a sideways triangle. "Th-thirty-n-nine-" He was crying harder now, hands moving, one arm laying across his face covering his eyes. Allowing Priest to watch his quivering lips as he continued to sob about what he was carving into his thigh. "F-forty-" He moved the knife over to start the second D. Pressing the knife in and dragging it down slowly so it would sink in more to the boy that he would be stuck with his boyfriend's name on his thigh for the rest of his life. "F-forty-o-one." He dragged the knife along his skin again tilting his head while watching the blood flow down his trembling thigh. "F-forty-t-two-" He smiled as he dragged the last cut for the letter along his leg. "F-forty-th-three--" He slowly pulled the knife away to look over the rather large carving in his thigh, hand running over it before he glanced at his other one. 

"P-please-" He moved shoving his other leg down into the dirt as he straddled it and brought the knife up to his leg. Already cutting a line down near the inside of his thigh. "F-forty-fo-four." He made half a cross at the top of the wound. "F-forty-f-five-" Making a smaller cut in the middle of the first line making Dirk sob harder. "F-forty-s-six." He slid the knife over beginning the first cut of the A "F-forty-s-seven." Dragging the knife down harshly when he reached the top, getting a cute pained squeak from the boy. "F-forty-e-eight--" He watched him lean his head back as he cut across the upside-down V to connect it into an A. "F-forty-nine-" 

"Guess we should count them too, right?" He was giggling while cutting back into his thigh to start the R. "One for Todd." Glancing up at him watching the boy sob harder. 

"F-fifty-" He ran his tongue over his bottom lip while working on another cut. 

"Farah." He was giggling as the boy cried more. 

"F-fifty-o-one-" He watched as Svlad moved his hands, placing it over the hand resting on his thigh to get his attention causing him to look up at the man. "Pl-please-" 

"We gotta finish the name baby, or is it just killing you that we already are at fifty-one, and we ain't even talked about those families I killed to bring you back home." He pulled his hand out from underneath Svlad's, watching the boy lean his head back as he took in a deep breath through his nose, slowly starting to giggle as he leaned forwards more. "Oh, I still remember the look on your face when you saw that boy's body in the tub." He dragged the knife down. "How it made you so sick you threw up all over that bathroom. 

"F-fifty-t-two- Y-you're a monster, h-he was o-only-" He stabbed the knife into his thigh earning a pained scream as the boy threw his head back and squirmed under him, Priest just dragged the knife down to finish the R. Staring down at him with cold eyes as the boy shook and trembled under him. 

"If you never ran away in the first place they would have still been alive. That one is for the girl I shot who was hiding under her bed." 

"F-fifty-th-three-" He was choking on the words as Priest pulled the knife out, working on the A now, not going as deep this time. "F-fifty-f-four." 

"The wife who probably made you feel so at home. You looked so happy in that kitchen helpin' her out. Such a shame she just had to go an call us, ain't it? Bet you thought you could live the rest of your life with them." He ran his thumb over the wound, watching the blood smearing under his finger before he started to cut the other side of the A. "Or was it the Husband's idea to call us? Two kids one too many, why should they bother lettin' a little lab rat like you live with 'em too?" He was crying harder, hands moving to cover his face. 

"F-fifty-f-five-" He hummed from that while pressing the knife against his leg to cut across the A. 

"There was another couple I found you with..." He pressed the knife into his leg, grinning as he started the H. "Just had a baby." He watched Dirk cover his mouth as he rubbed the knife back and forth on his leg. 

"F-fifty-s-six." He dragged the knife down for the other side of his leg. "F-fifty-s-seven-" 

"Yeah, nice couple... freshly married, so excited about their life together and their little baby girl." Svlad was sobbing harder as he pressed the knife into his leg and dragged it across. Eyes getting heavy as he watched the blood flowing from the wound. 

"F-fifty-e-eight-" 

"It was so relieving to shut that thing up." He watched as Svlad rolled over on his side, hiding his face as he cried into his hands. "Going back to you as a kid, we still have two more people to count. But where should I put them?" He looked Svlad over, grabbing him by the arm and yanking on it to shove him onto his back. "Already carved your back up, thighs are taken care of. We have two left overs not to mention all those bodies from Blackwing." 

"Pl-please, pl-please M-Mr. P-Priest I-I'm be-begging you." 

"I bet your tally is in the hundreds." He couldn't stop himself from giggling while sitting up straight, eyes lingering on the names he cut into his thighs. Watching how the boy moved to start tugging his pants up, causing Priest to catch him by the wrist. "Since they're dead and all..." Dragging the boy up higher on his knees from how tightly he was grasping them. "Maybe I should just cut through their names... would be very fitting for Farah at least seein' as I gutted her." Svlad was in hysterics again, crying so hard he couldn't breathe, choking on his gasping breaths and sobs as Priest just dropped him. Watching him pathetically curl up into a ball and cry into his hands. "Such a waste too." He said with a small huff, looking to the knife and then the blood on his hands. "I kind of hoped something fun would have happened so she could have lived. Had some respect for her you know?" Didn't see the shame in admitting that, kind of why he didn't feel like killing her when he was chasing after Svlad and Todd. "Anyone who can hurt Bart like that?" He started to giggle as he stood up. "Definitely deserves some respect in my books, but then she had to go and make friends with you. Get herself caught up with all your crazy bullshit, and now she's dead and got thrown in a furnace, not even a proper burial." He watched how the boy went still from that news. Eyes lingering on his back which looked so pretty in the light like this. He watched how the boy started to push himself up on shaking hands, how he worked on pulling his pants back up with a wince before turning to face him. 

"Wh-what?" Looked so broken as Priest stood there, watching him, watching the way the blood soaked into his pants and stained them so quickly and vividly. He walked over and lifted his foot, resting it over the name Todd as he pushed down on it, earning a cry in pain as Svlad rested his forehead on his knee and clutched at his leg, trying so very hard to shove it off of him. 

"That's what we do to traitors... get rid of the bodies, all the evidence, so much easier to pack it all up and burn it." He stated while feeling the boy clutching at his pant leg, watching him sob into his knee. He slowly stepped back, watching with sick fascination as the boy followed after his leg, still clinging to the back of it and resting his head down so it was on his boot. Unintentionally holding on to his leg where blood had splattered all over him from that woman he shot in the head. He couldn't stop the smile at that as he watched the boy sob at his feet. Eyeing his back which had dirt clumped up along the bloody wounds. Knew he needed to take the boy back to the motel and get him washed up. "Hold still for me, darlin." He mused out the words, seeing the perfect spot to add the two marks from this angle. He leaned down, hand resting on the middle of his back as he brought his knife to his skin. Cutting a shorter line coming out of the start of the wing, so close to his spine. Enjoying the pained whine as he paused with the knife against his back. "You still remember what number you're on, Darlin?" 

"F-fifty-n-nine." He rubbed along his spine from that answer while moving and mirroring the cut on the other side, grin on his face as he listened to the boy sob. "S-sixty—" He giggled from the total while standing up straight, admiring his back before sheathing the knife, letting the boy cry at his feet for now. Honestly feeling a lot better already... the murder probably helped that... 

"Sixty people, all dead because of you... wow, Svlad, guess I'm not the only monster here." He shook the boy off his leg, looking him over as he walked to his side, kicking him hard enough to watch him fall over. Listening to him gasp as he grabbed at the bruise that was already forming, eyes locked on the sight before he glanced up at the sounds of yipping and screaming. Eyes locked on the pack of coyotes that ran through the desert, heading away from the town in a hurry that was a bit worrisome. He watched them scurry away kicking up a cloud of dust and sand before glancing out at Ilmoure. Hands resting on his hips as he looked the city over, wondering what it was they were running from as a cool breeze rolled. He slowly looked back over to Svlad who was starting to pull himself up, seemed to be looking towards where the coyotes were running before glancing back at him. 

"M-Mr. Priest..." He watched as the boy tried to wipe the tears from his eyes, as he stared off to the side rather than looking at him. Like he couldn't bear the thought of facing him, he watched him take in a deep, trembling breath. "I... I'm sorry, I went to Ken, I won't d-do I-it a-again... I pr-promise," his voice was cracking so much it was almost hard to understand him. But he was trying so hard to get the words out. Almost hyperventilating to catch his breath. "I-I-I pr-promise," Priest started to walk over to him, watching how he finally started to look up at him, eyes locking on his face. "I promise, I l-learned my lesson." He grinned while walking over to him, grabbing him by the jaw and dragging him up higher on his knees. 

"So, next time I make the executive decision to kill someone, what are you going to do?" He smiled as Svlad just started to cry again, watching how he just clutched on to his pant legs and even pressed his face into his bloodied hand. Actually, nuzzling it as he cried and sobbed and inched close enough he slipped his cheek passed his hand and started to press his face into his thigh. Priest moved his hand and ran it through the boy's hair while waiting patiently for the boy to answer. "Svlad." 

"I w-won't g-go to K-Ken." 

"Svlad." He said the name harshly watching the boy flinch, couldn't stop his smiled though when the boy pressed his cheek into his thigh. Arms more or less wrapping around his leg, gripping him as if he was looking for comfort. His lip twitched from that, wondered if the boy was even aware he was doing it, he pulled on his hair forcing the boy to look up at him. "You won't go to Ken about anything, not just me wanting to kill people." He pet his hair, shifting his leg as the boy started fidgeting with his pants on the back of his calve. "What I'm looking for is that next time I want to kill someone, you're not going to try to stop me." He watched the way the tears swelled in his eyes before starting to pour down his face, he started to lean forwards only for Priest to tug his head back. Wanting the boy to continue to staring up at him. "What are you going to do next time I make the executive decision to kill someone?" 

"N-nothing." He started to pet his hair, hands sliding down to pet his face, rewarding him for that answer. He watched as he closed his eyes, how he cried harder as his hands gripped at the back of his legs. "I-I won't d-do anything M-Mr. P-Priest." 

"Good boy." He started to pull his leg away from him, watching as he almost reluctantly let him go. "We're going to continue this later, boy." He announced while starting to drag him to the SUV by his hair, feeling the way he crawled after him before grabbing his wrist and forcing himself up on his feet to stumble after him. He opened the back door, letting go and watching as Svlad climbed into it. Sitting up a bit further from the back of the seat as Priest grabbed his wrists and cuffed him to the railing on the ceiling. Stepping back, he slammed the door and walked over to pick up all of the supplies he had out. Putting everything in the back of the SUV before closing the hatch. He couldn't help but glance off in the distance where the coyotes had taken off towards. Wasn't really sure what to make of them or what them leaving could even mean... 

He took in a deep breath before letting it out, figuring he could worry about that later as he walked towards the front of the SUV. Climbing in the driver's seat and taking the vehicle out of park he began the long drive back into the city, pulling up to a gas station and shutting the car off as he pulled the jacket back on and got out. Ignoring the fact his hands were still covered in blood as he pulled his wallet out and paid for the gas. Opening the fuel door, he selected the gas he wanted and put the pump into place, leaning against the back door and looking towards the gas station watching as Sheriff Headly walked out of it. The man standing there holding a brown paper bag and staring at him before walking over. He tilted his head as he could see the obvious rage on his face, which slowly started to sink into confusion as he looked more closely at him. 

"Wh-who's blood is on your face?" Priest slid his hand up, gently touching where the man motioned only smearing more blood on himself as he giggled. He watched the man look to the pump which now also had blood all over the handle. 

"Don't worry, Sheriff, haven't had to kill anyone else. This is from uh... recreation." He smiled while taking a step forward. Tongue running over his bottom lip as he rested his forearm against the pump. Leaning on it as he let his eyes take in the Sheriff who was now looking a little uncertain from that. "Partner's huge into blood play." He winked at him before looking at the mess. "Don't worry, I'll clean all this up before I go." He mused the words when he noticed a slight look of concern and disgust in his eyes. Couldn't help but wonder what the disgust was for, the blood, or him playing along with the whole partner thing. 

"Just... just finish your case and get out of my town. And clean that up, it's very unsanitary." He watched as he stormed off towards the car that was parked. Guess it was about the blood play comment than. Amused look on his face as he stepped over the pump and opened the hatch. Going for the first aid kit as he pulled a rag out and wetted it with the water bottle before using it to clean off his hands to the best of his ability. Grabbing a thing of Clorox wipes he had in the back he stepped back over to the pump and used it to clean off the handle, then the machine itself. Before cleaning up the door handles on the SUV, throwing the wipes and the rag away he pulled the pump out of the SUV and put it back on the machine. Grabbing the receipt and tossing it in the trash as he climbed back in the SUV and started it up again. Readjusting the mirror to see Svlad turned on his side, pressing his side into the back of the seat and burying his face in his arms. Fingers twitching from the strain he was putting on his wrists from the action. But he very obviously did not want to rest his back on anything... Should make him clean the inside of the car when they got back to the motel... 

Actually, that was a great idea, get him all cleaned up and taken care of, then drag him out in the parking lot and force him to clean his blood out of the SUV. He giggled to himself from the idea as he perked up at the sight of the motel. Pulling into a parking spot just outside of their room and climbing out. He opened the back door and grinned as he was greeted with the sight of the boy's back, looking over his work as he moved his hand and ran it up along the boy's spine. Smile locked on his face as he felt the boy shiver and flinch from the touch, listening to him as he started to cry. He leaned forwards, looking at the way the blood was still seeping out of the wounds, watching it run down his back in a beautiful mess. He could practically taste the blood just looking at it, he finally forced himself to uncuff him. Pulling the boy out of the car and dragging him into the motel room. Shutting and locking the door behind him he dragged him into the bathroom before letting him go. Already taking off the jacket, and his shirt as he watched Svlad try so hard not to look at himself in the mirror. He grabbed him by the jaw, pulling him close and forcing him to turn his head and look back in the mirror. Watching how much he started to cry as he pet the boy's blood covered face, leaning in to rest his forehead against Svlad's. 

"Sugar, you look so beautiful like this, could carve you up from head to toe." He slowly let him go, watching as he fell at his feet, making Priest giggle as he worked on taking off his boots, and then his socks and pants. Eyeing the boy as he turned on the shower. "Get undressed." He was pulling off his boxers with the demand, watching how the boy turned away from him, probably not wanting to see if he was still hard or not. He watched as the boy forced himself to stand up, already taking off his shoes and working and pulling his pants and underwear off. Giving a hiss and wince of pain from his thighs as he did so, Priest grabbed him by the arm when he got his clothing off and forced him into the shower. Climbing in after him and pulling the curtain closed. He watched as Svlad almost immediately went to the water, already trying so hard to scrub the blood off his skin with his bare hands. Priest grabbed him by the biceps, squeezing them as the boy tensed up from the touch, turning him, he pressed his back into the wall of the shower. Watching him wince and give a pained groan as Priest grabbed the soap. Getting it on the loofah he had thrown in there when he set everything up. Already bringing it to the boy's skin and working on cleaning his stomach and sides up of the blood that had been trailing down his body. Amused as he watched the bubbles go from white, to pink, to red so quickly. 

"Not going to complain about how you can do it yourself?" Amused tone in his voice as he glanced up to the boy's face. Watching as more tears streamed down them as he turned his head away, which made Priest tilt his had before grabbing him and forcing the boy to look back at him. "Or do you not want to look at their names as you clean your thighs?" He grinned when the boy started to cry harder at that, Priest moved his hands to grab Svlad's putting the loofah in his hands as he moved more under the water. Using soap on his hands to start cleaning the sweat and blood off his own body. So amused as he watched the boy slide down the shower wall. Sitting at the foot of the tub and crying harder before willing himself to finally clean at the cuts on his thighs. He was amused how he went from cleaning the injuries to scrubbing at them, like he was going to manage to get them off his skin with some soap and water. He watched for a moment before grabbing the boy by the arm and pulling him over, watching him gasp from being pulled out of his head. He dragged him up off the floor before pushing him back into the shower wall. "Darlin', as much as I enjoy watchin' you hurt yourself for me. I don't want you to ruin those little tallies of yours." He dragged him under the spray of the water. Rinsing him off and watching the soap and blood and water pool at their feet before circling the drain. He slowly turned the boy around, pressing his chest into the shower as he began cleaning his back. Being careful about the stitches as he admired his work. 

Hand sliding along the cuts, feeling the way the skin raised from where he stitched him up. He leaned in pressing his chin against the boy's shoulder as he felt him cry harder against the wall. "Can you imagine how nice your evening would have been if you didn't pull your little stunt? I was going to give you your jacket back, take you out where you wanted to eat. Even given you a different restraint on the bed rather than that mean neck collar." He purred the words into his ear, which he wasn't really going to do all that after one good day. But Svlad didn't know that, he smiled as he felt the boy shivering against the wall, noticed how pale he was getting he sighed to himself as he helped the boy sit back down. Continuing to wash himself off before he switched the water over to fill up the tub. "Blood loss is getting to you, sugar, stay there." He warned as he stepped out of the shower. Grabbing a towel and drying himself off as he entered the main area, grabbing the supplies he would need before heading back into the bathroom and setting up. He knelt down next to the boy and worked on cleaning the blood, dirt, and grime off his face. Getting him nice and clean while turning the boy so his back was to him. He whistled to the tune of 'Pretender' by Run River North, given that was the song that had started when he was parking. Drying his back off to the best of his ability he worked on bandaging the large wound on his back. Finishing that he wrapped his arms around the boy and heaved him up out of the tub. Setting him on the ground, on his old towel, as he reached over to shut off the water. 

Sitting in front of him he pulled out the needle he needed and worked on stitching up his thighs where he needed it. Which was mainly where he had stabbed the knife in too deep. Knew the rest would have been fine without stitches. He couldn't help the way the boy was looking at them though, eyeing the tool in his hand as he glanced up at his face. "You wanna watch, Darlin'?" Wouldn't do a pretty job given he wanted the scars to be bad, but that was besides the point. He watched as Svlad just looked at him, right in his face with such a lost and tired expression that he just started to cry again. "Darlin, there's no need to cry right now." 

"I-I d-don't kn-know h-how t-to answer you." He sounded so genuinely upset making a spark of interest rise in his gut from that. That he was actually wanting to know what he wanted him to say to this. He couldn't stop the smile as he worked on making sure the injuries were still nice and cleaned. 

"Ideally, when I give you an open question like that. You're supposed to ask me what I want you to do." He watched how the boy shifted from that. Still crying and sniffling while looking like he was actually thinking about it, very interested in watching as Priest started to bandage up his thighs.  

"S-so... it's a trick." Yes. He wanted to blatantly state it but instead he just smiled and leaned forwards. Pressing on his thighs to put pressure on the wounds as the boy squirmed in agony under his hands.  

"There we go, good as new." He was giggling while getting up, not bothering to force the boy to stand, just wrapped a new towel around him and carefully scooped him up in his arms before taking him over to the bed and making him sit down. He grabbed a water bottle and opened it before holding it out to him. Watching as he hesitantly took it and drank it, Priest walked over to the fridge pulling out some of the snack foods in there which was some meat and cheese, knowing the boy needed protein he set the tray of it next to him. "Eat. You can either do that and help yourself feel better, or you'll be cleaning your mess out of my car lightheaded and woozy." He watched how the boy stared at the food and looked at him before sniffling and starting to eat. Priest grabbed himself a donut that he had gotten at the convenience store and started to eat that while pulling on a new pair of boxers. Digging through the bag of clothes for Svlad to see what he wanted him to clean in. Honestly just glad that the boy wasn't trying to argue with him, just sat there miserably eating the food provided for him. 

"Mr. Priest?" 

"What." He snapped the word back harshly, watching as the boy actually flinched from his tone of voice. Slowly shifting in his spot on the bed and pulling the towel tighter. 

"W-what were you going to switch my restraint to?" Priest leaned back slowly, watching the boy while smiling and going back to looking through clothes and eating. 

"Ankle." He glanced back up to Svlad watching as he looked down at his feet with a slow nod while going back to eating. Priest eventually stood up and walked over to the bed, dropping a regular t-shirt down on the bed along with a pair of underwear and sweats before going over and putting on a new pair of pants. Watching Svlad out of the corner of his eye as the boy slowly shifted and started to pull the clothes on. Sniffling a bit and wincing in pain as he slowly stood up and looked at him. Priest clicked his tongue while walking over to the bathroom, fetching his phone out of his other pants along with the keys before walking back into the room right for Svlad who was doing his best to be on his best behavior for him. He grabbed him by the arm and dragging him outside to the SUV, opening the hatch he pulled out the supplies he needed to clean the blood off of all the leather. Setting it down he leaned against the side of the vehicle and pulled his phone out of his pocket, loading up a game as the boy slowly set to work. 

"Don't fuck up the interior." He mused the words out with a large grin, could see the boy starting to cry again as he set to work cleaning the SUV out for him. 

Chapter Text

Priest would randomly scroll through the phone games he had, right now just collecting his daily rewards on each silly little game. Glancing up to watch as Svlad shifted about, half way hanging out the SUV, toes barely touching the floor as he cleaned the blood off the seat... or tried to clean it. He very obviously was struggling, pushing himself back out and falling on his ass the second his feet touched the floor. He sat there and cried a bit, dropping the rag he was using on the ground to cover his face as he sobbed in frustration and exhaustion.

"You really are useless, ain't ya? Can't even clean up after yourself."  

"Pl-please, M-Mr. Priest, I'm tired, and everything hurts and-" He lowered his phone, closing out of his app as he slid it into his pocket. Slowly walking over to him and grabbing the boy by the arm, pulling him off the floor so he was sitting up on his knees as he crouched down in front of him. Forearms resting on his knees as he looked the boy's tired eyes over, small smile crossing his face.

"Funny, I don't recall asking you if you were tired. I told you to clean the inside of my SUV." He couldn't stop the smile from the boy leaning forwards and resting his face against his arm. "You going to try and negotiate your punishment again?" He pulled away and stood up watching the boy fall forwards on his hands and knees slowly forcing himself to stand up with a wince from getting to his feet. His hands moved to his thighs almost like he was going to rub them before pulling his hands back with a hiss of pain. He just looked over at the SUV as Priest pulled his phone out again. He watched briefly over his phone when the boy looked to the rag in his hands and then over to him. "What are you doing?"

"I-I'm s-sorry- I-I'm re-really tired. Pl-please Mr. Pr-Priest, c-can I cl-clean it in the morning?" He drummed his fingers on his phone before he moved his hand to the boy's jaw. Grabbing it and tilting his head up as he leaned in, noses almost brushing as he looked the boy over. "Please, I-I'm so tired. I-I can't cl-clean l-like this. I-I can barely st-stay awake."  

"You're going to be hurting more in the morning." He couldn't stop himself from giggling with the words.  

"I-I won't b-be falling as-asleep in th-the morning." He watched how wobbly he was on his feet, how he was clearly struggling to stay standing. He grit his teeth in frustration. Would have loved to force him to keep going, to make the boy clean the entire SUV. But he knew logically he couldn't, he couldn't push him anymore he already did way more to the boy than he should have. He couldn't risk making this worse. With a heavy sigh he guided the boy over to the SUV as he slammed the door shut letting the boy use the side of the car to keep himself standing. He watched as he gave slow blinks that made Priest wonder if he would fall over as he put the supplies away. "Th-thank you, M-Mr. Priest." He walked back over to the boy who was crying with relief. He licked his bottom teeth while leaning in, looking him over as the boy sniffled and tried to rub the tears out of his eyes.

"Can you walk?"

"I think so." Priest already caught the boy when he fell the second he tried to step away from the car. Sighing he put the boy's arm over his shoulder as he scooped him up. Amused how Svlad actually wrapped his arms around his shoulders and buried his face into the crook of his neck. Just holding on to him as he carried the boy back inside, shutting and locking the door behind him. The boy already falling asleep in is arms before Priest even got through the door, he couldn't contain his giggle as he gently laid him on the bed. Grabbing the collar and locking it around the boy's throat, amused how the boy tried to follow his warmth already as he stepped away.  

“Hey," said the words soft as he crouched down next to the bed, looking the boy over as he slowly blinked his eyes open. "I need you to wake up again.”

“Please can I sleep?” Voice slurred as he walked over to a bag and dig through it. Grabbing the meds he wanted along with a soda from the fridge as he walked over and held them out for him.

“You need sugar and to take these.” He watched as the boy squinted at the pills after taking them.

“What are they?” Sounded so untrusting as he looked the pills over, eyes slowly closing as he started to lean forwards causing Priest to catch him so he didn't fall off the bed. He gripped the boy's shoulders and slowly shook him awake again. Listening to him whine as he forced his eyes open to look at him.

“Antibiotics and a pain med.” He shifted and grabbed the soda bottle opening it for him as the boy reluctantly took the meds. Grabbing the bottle and drinking from it before trying to hand it back. “Svlad, you’re going to want to drink all of that, it's going to help you feel better.” The boy frowned at him as he walked away, heading to the bathroom to clean up the mess that was in there.

He climbed back into the shower, deciding to actually finish taking one while rinsing the blood down the drain. Getting out and drying off before slipping his boxers on and separating the ruined clothes and towels. Walking back into the main room he tossed what he needed to destroy off to the side before looking back to the bed where Svlad was sound asleep. He walked over to his side of the bed setting his gun and the controller to the device in Svlad’s shoulder on the night stand he made sure it was out of reach of the boy. Setting his phone on the charger and setting an alarm, both to wake up, and for when Svlad would need another dose of pills.  

He climbed under the covers and gave a surprised noise when the boy already managed to inch over to him. Pressing his face into his shoulder and hugging himself rather than just clinging to him. Priest shifted trying to get comfortable and not engage with the boy's cuddling given he wasn't really in the mood. Arm sliding under the boy, trying to get him to move only for him to nestle himself into his side. Priest gave a heavy sigh while glancing to Svlad’s night stand to see the soda half drank just resting there. Guessed half was better than none, he glanced down then the boy rested his head on his chest as he slowly stopped hugging himself long enough to rest his arm on him. Hand splayed in the middle of his chest close to his face.  

He rolled his eyes before moving his hand and pressing it against the boy's back, rubbing along where he could feel the bandages under his shirt as the boy gave a small whine and actually pressed more into him, trying to avoid the pain. That could be fun to play with, just continue to poke and prod along the boy's back as he's too tired to wake up and do anything about it. Only to press himself more into him to try and get away from the pain, he couldn't stop his giggle from the boy's thought process as he grabbed the hand on his chest. Pulling on it and dragging it off of him as he sat up.

Not really in the mood for the cuddling to actually happen given he was still too annoyed with Svlad. He dragged the boy over by his arm to his side of the bed, amused by the confused whine as Priest let go of him and laid back down. Rolling over on his side and giving the boy his back. Closing his eyes to try and go to sleep himself, only for them to slowly open when he felt Svlad move, listening to the chain rattle, and gave a little grunt from the boy's forehead being pressed into his back. Feeling his hands as they rested against his spine, the way he nuzzled his face against him while pressing his body closer to him. He couldn't help but wonder what it was that made the boy want to cuddle him. If it was because of the pain he was in beforehand and he's subconsciously seeking out something nice... or if Svlad actually just enjoyed cuddling. Could really be either, and the only way to know for sure was if the boy stopped doing stupid shit to get himself in trouble before bed. He rolled his eyes before rolling over to face the boy.  

Giving a soft sigh from him pressing his face against his chest as his hands ran along his stomach. He waited before guiding the boy to turn around, pulling on the chain so the collar would be in a different position. Giving an amused smile how he seemed satisfied with his back pressed against his chest. Boy even grabbed his pillow and pulled it closer and nuzzled into it. Making him wonder if it really was just Svlad liking to snuggle. He giggled at the idea while finally putting on arm around him, other one sliding under the boy's head as he pressed his face into the back of Svlad's neck. Holding him against him as he finally tried to go to sleep.

Which thankfully didn't take long.

Priest found himself standing in an empty room, the walls, floor, and ceiling were a stark white to the point it was almost blinding to look at. Despite being able to see all four corners of the room the place seemed to have gone on forever. Which he only really noticed because he was currently walking, just going North, no particular reason other than he felt like he should go that way. He wasn't sure why it actually seemed to matter, logic told him he could go whichever direction he wanted and it probably wouldn't make a difference. The universe, however, was telling him to go North... So that's what he did despite logic telling him he probably didn't have to listen to the Universe in a dream. Which was probably true...  

He glanced around randomly hoping to see something other than the white space he seemed to be stuck in. He finally came to a stop when his eyes locked on a table and two chairs that were sitting there. Staring at them before looking around again curious what the hell was going on, especially given the table looked strangely familiar. It was made of oak and was rather long, it took up a large majority of the "room" that seemed to expand more than the walls wanted you to think. The chairs were heavily ornate and had the most hideous looking floral design on the cushions yet looked so inviting for some reason. As he got closer more details slowly started to appear around the room. Including the detail of what he thought was a chandelier only to get closer and see it was wings made out of severed hands which were dripping blood down onto the table.

One of the walls suddenly had a mirror along it, with a large white frame that was just as ornate in design as the table and chairs. Yet when he looked at the mirror he couldn't help but notice there was no reflection coming from it. That even though the room had a table and chairs there was nothing but a white room and himself in the mirror. He looked back to the table and couldn't help but notice a bright red door also coming into view. The rest of the room seemed to have started to bleed the closer he got to the chair, which he wasn't sure was a good sign. The crimson color standing out so lovely against the white wall as it continued to drip and seep through the cracks that started to appear with each step he took closer to the table. The logical side of him was suggesting he not continue to break the dream by approaching the chair, while that stupid feeling he always had in his gut was telling him to sit down.  

Like he needed to sit it almost felt like an urgency issue making him itch to reach that chair. He glanced around noticing empty picture frames starting to fill up the bloody walls, how the white walls started to gain horribly decorated wall paper that had the color scheme akin to vomit. A smell of old flowers and cigar smoke started to stain the area as he finally reached the table. Taking in a deep breath he grabbed the chair, pulling it out from the table as he sat down. Staring at the empty one across from him as flowers slowly started to grow out of the wood of the table. It was an odd thing to witness; how lilies, chrysanthemum, white roses and hydrangeas started to grow out of the table. Slowly covering it in a way you couldn't even see the wood showing from underneath.

He wasn't sure how long he was sitting at the table, swore he could hear a clock ticking off in the distance somewhere but he couldn't figure out which direction it was coming from, just that it was getting closer. He drummed his fingers on the table, slowly looking behind him and narrowing his eyes in the distance when he swore he heard his name being called. The voice sounded inviting and was making both his logic and that gut feeling he had usher him to stay there and not go looking for the voice. He finally decided to look back ahead. Practically jumping out of his seat when he found Hugo now sitting across from him.  

"Holy, fuck, you about gave me a heart attack, boy." He took in a deep breath, watching how Hugo was just staring at him, before slowly standing up. Didn't even realize he entered the room, really wasn't expecting to see him of all people. He found his eyes locked on the boy, staring into his red eyes as he tilted his head with that familiar look of confusion on his face. Fixing his tie as he looked around the room then back at him with a forced smile.

"Hello, Mr. Priest. You've, like, been here for a while now," He just stated the words so calmly causing Priest's eyes to narrow on him. "You might, uh...." He was rubbing his face, other hand moving as if he was trying to think of what he wanted to say. "You might want to like wake up? You know..." He watched as a red door seemed to have appeared behind Hugo, how it was slowly starting to open as the boy tried to figure out how to explain why he wanted him to wake up. He watched how Hugo slowly looked towards the opening door with a slight expression of worry. It was slow in opening, almost like the door was too heavy for whatever was on the other side, it was creaking in a way that was sending a shiver up Priest's spine.

"What is this place?" Hugo finally looked back at him, victory smile on his face when he seemed to realize what he was looking for.  

"You need to leave before you, like, get stuck here...?" He couldn't stop watching the door behind the boy as it got half open. He couldn't force himself to look away as the darkness from the door began to seep and stretch out of the doorway, invading the room with a chill that was slowly causing the flowers on the other side of the table to die. He suddenly found himself not sure if he wanted to know where this place was as he noticed Hugo moving away from the encroaching darkness and fridgid breeze that began to fill the never-ending room. The walls on the other side slowly starting to narrow by the door like it was converting the room into a hallway. He could see the walls closing in and couldn't stop himself from staring into the pitch-black darkness that was through the door.

"You need to wake up."

Priest opened his eyes, squinting out at the darkness of the motel room. Hand starting to raise to rub his face before he noticed something just grabbed it tighter. He furrowed his brows and glanced down to see Svlad still snuggled up to him. More or less hugging his arm close to his chest as he gave deep relaxed breaths. He couldn't feel the arm that was under Svlad; just had tingling pins and needles sensation causing him to groan as he tried to roll over on his back. Unintentionally rolling Svlad over on his back, he watched when the boy arched his back with a pained cry. Quickly rolling back over on his side and whimpering as he shifted on the bed. Slowly pushing himself up to try and roll on his side again, hand feeling around to try and seek out where Priest's arm was. He rolled his eyes at that while rubbing his face, couldn't help but wonder what the hell that dream was about. Or what it meant... was it even a dream? He stared at the ceiling with a confused expression before reaching over for his phone, unplugging it as he looked to the time to see it was a few seconds before his alarm went off. He groaned while waiting for it to go off and hit snooze before rolling back over on his side. Arm sliding back around Svlad who he pulled close to his chest, amused how the boy went back to hugging his arm to his body.

He found himself curious more on that dream though, couldn't stop thinking about it. Wondering why the room seemed so familiar, why Hugo actually told him to get out of the dream. Thought he might want to make him stay to free Svlad from him. Unless... they really were supposed to be working together? He couldn't stop the small giggle which seemed to have been getting Svlad's attention, watching as the boy started to stir in his sleep. Making a small noise as Priest started to rub his hand along the boy's chest. Just rubbing and touching him as the boy squirmed in his spot, the boy's arms wrapped around his moving slightly. Hands feeling along the top of his hand before sliding down his forearm. He could feel the way the boy's heart was pounding against his chest as he moved to try and sit up, causing Priest to wrap both arms around him and stop him from going anywhere, couldn't risk him pulling stitches in his mini panic.

"W-wait—M-Mr. P-Priest- Pl-please let go?"

"Starting to feel so used Svlad. Only wanna snuggle up to me when you're hurt or sleepin'." He was giggling when he felt the boy's heart beat picking up heavily in his chest. Like a mix of panic was fueling him as he started to actually flail trying to get out of his arms.

"Th-that's not what—I didn't—You're spooning me! You cl-clearly started it!" Priest was giggling more as he moved his face to nuzzle it into the crook of the boy's neck, getting a squeak which caused the boy to go still.

"You were so insistent." He purred the words against his throat, feeling the way the boy shuddered. "Kept snuggling up to me trying to lay on me. Didn't want you to mess up your bandages so I chose this position for us." He was grinning when he felt the boy grip his forearm tighter with a shaky breath. Like he was having a hard time breathing correctly from this information. "It's kind of cute."

"You are a creep." Priest couldn't stop himself from laughing as he rolled them over, laying on top of Svlad who he could feel go ridged under him as he pressed a leg between the boy's and forced him to spread them. Slowly sitting up as grabbed the boy's shirt. "Wh-what are you doing-"

"Again? Svlad, really? Just because you've snuggled me doesn't mean I changed my mind and decided to fuck you." He kept pulling up his shirt as he spoke, could feel the way the boy forced himself to relax under him. "You bled through your shirt, I need to check on your wounds." He stated calmly while raising the shirt and looking at the spots the blood was seeping through on the bandages. "I will also need to change these."

"W-wait... Can I go to the bathroom first, please? Especially if you're going to be sitting on me while you do this." Priest looked at him before sighing and getting up, grabbing the key for the collar around his throat he walked back over to the boy and forced his head up. Unlocking the collar and slowly taking it off him, he watched the boy stand up and try to run off towards the bathroom only for Priest to quickly wrap his arm around him, pulling him close. "M-Mr. Priest-"

"Open the door when you're done and get in the tub. Don't start the water, just climb in." He was amused how much the boy was squirming trying to get away from him. "Got it?"

"Y-yes, Mr. Priest, I-I'll get in the tub." He let go of him, watching the boy hurry into the bathroom and listening to the door close, he slowly stepped away before glancing around the room. Still couldn't shake that feeling of dread from the dream, couldn't stop letting his mind linger on it. On how much death seemed to have been involved in it, with the flowers, and the blood, and the hands. Usually nothing like that bugged him... but thinking about how Svlad usually dealt with connections... it just made him wonder if this was going to lead to what was happening in the town. Like if it has any connection to the Mayor as the first human infected. How he was clearly in on it in the first place, wondered what Skylar discovered to do that to him.  

He shook the thoughts away and walked over to the bag that had the medical supplies he needed, grabbing another pain pill as well just to get the boy started on those before the day actually started. Knew he needed to gauge his pain level to keep him functional but not overdo it to the point of the boy pushing himself too hard because he couldn't tell how bad the damage was. Just a fun game of watching the boy to make sure he didn't do anything stupid, he sighed heavily to himself, a little annoyed he got carried away and did everything in one night. Should have really waited for the tally to start back at Blackwing when they were in a safe and clean environment and they had all the supplies needed to make sure the boy didn't get an infection. Reasons he tried really hard not to let his anger get the best of him, why he usually tried to stay calm and calculating, but last night... He glanced up as he heard the door open, he walked over to the bathroom looking to Svlad who was sitting in the tub with his clothes still on. Head tilted some as he noticed the distressed look on the boy’s face. Almost like he didn’t even want to look at his thighs despite how he was rubbing his hands along them.

"Without the clothes." He couldn't help but noticed the way the boy finally stared down at his thighs, how he was clutching at the bloodied fabric of his sweats. Tears already streaming down his face, Priest couldn't stop his smile from that as he walked over and looked the boy over. How devastated he appeared to be just from the fact the words had bleed through on his thighs.

"C-can I keep them on, please?"

"Darlin'," he practically cooed the name down at him so sweetly as he knelt down next to the tub. Hands moving to grab at his shirt, pulling on it hand forcing him to let go of his sweats so he could pull his shirt off. Enjoying how he whimpered from the pain of his arms raising like that, how the second it was off he pulled his legs to his chest. Hugging his knees and refusing to look at him. "I can't clean your wounds if I can't get to them. We really don’t want them to get infected and they’re already at risk given the unclean environment I cut you up in.” He watched how Svlad shifted before closing his eyes and finally started to move to take his clothes off. "I need you to take another pill as well." He held it out before grabbing one of the cups he had in the bathroom he did plan to put more supplies in but never actually did. Filling it with water he handed the cup and pill over to the boy while moving his hands to pull his clothes outside of the tub. He moved his hand to the boy’s shoulder as he took the pill and drank the water, taking the cup back he gently rubbed his hand along the top of his back just above the cuts. “Lay on your stomach.” He watched the boy hesitate before he did as asked, laying on his stomach in the tub and adjusting his legs to do so comfortably.

Priest moved and pulled the bandages off his back gently. Grabbing the bottle of peroxide, he poured it along the wounds, listening to the boy hiss in pain as it began to bubble along the injuries. He waited and watched until the bubbling started to die down b. Guiding the boy to sit up he pulled the bandages off his thighs and repeated the process there. Being careful as he started the shower to rinse them off, guiding him where he wanted the boy as he washed his hair. Being gentle and careful not to get anything on the wounds on his back. Turning off the shower when he was done while helping him out of the tub and drying him off. Taking special care drying his back and legs off. Taking his time to press the cloth against him in gentle dabbing motions before getting the antibiotic gel he needed. Taking a moment to wash his hands before moving to get the gel along the injuries. Washing his hands again he knelt down in front of Svlad and worked on bandaging his thighs. Making sure they were nice and flush against the injuries before getting up and turning him around to bandage his back. Enjoying the fact, the boy had been crying the entire time, trying so hard not to actually look at the injuries.

“We’re going to change these anytime I say, and you will be getting antibiotics every twelve hours. You have any hunches on where you would like to eat?” Watching Svlad shake his head he guided him out of the bathroom and made him sit down on the bed. “Good, we’re going to go to the Waffle House then and we’re getting you food high in protein.” He walked over to the bags and knelt down while digging through them, grabbing clothes he knew the boy would hate he walked over and dropped them on the bed next to the boy. Watching how he stared at the black outfit that was set down, boy’s hands moving to grabbing the shirt and unfolding it before looking up at him.

“You’re not serious…”

“No one will see you bleed through that, you also need to clean the SUV still.” He mused while digging through his own clothes. Changing into the jeans he stole from Martin while looking through his shirts for what he wanted to wear. He glanced up when Svlad reluctantly put on the clothes he gave him, couldn't help but notice how nice he looked in the pure black outfit, even if he was pouting about the CIA shirt he gave him. "Look at that, those actually fit you." He hummed the words, eyes scanning over the boy who shifted uncomfortably under his gaze while looking down at the black uniform pants and then the shirt that labled him as part of the CIA.

"My other clothes would also fit if you didn't starve me." Already so sassy this morning. This was going to be a fun day he could already feel it.

"Well, lucky for you, I can't do that anymore." He mused while pulling out a black t-shirt with a coyote skull and crossbones design on it. "Now drink the rest of that soda from last night, you still need the sugar." He instructed, watching as the boy reluctantly stood up and walked over to grab the half drank soda and started to drink the last of it. Priest stood up and rubbed the side of his face, still feeling exhausted, like he didn't actually sleep. Like he really was wandering around for hours in that white room... Part of him wondered if he might have actually went to hell in his dream. He couldn't stop the amused smile from the thought as he sat down on the bed as he pulled his boots on, leaning over to grab his gun before looking back over to Svlad who had been staring at him for a while.

"You know, last time I thought I went into actual Judeo-Christian Hell it turned out to be a pocket dimension." Priest could feel himself getting tense from the statement, slowly turning his head to look at the boy who just continued on. "Maybe that's where you went?" He watched the boy tilt his head while screwing his face up in deep thought before shrugging while throwing away the bottle now that he was empty. "How you managed to travel to another dimension in your dreams I don't know. Like, that's pretty talented way to do something like that, but weirder things have happened in my experience."

"Svlad..." He watched how the boy pulled at his shirt while giving a small 'hmm?'. "How the hell do you know about my dream?"

"Because you mentioned you felt like you went to hell?" Priest clicked his tongue as he stared at him watching the way the boy seemed to have been staring at him so confused as Priest just turned more to face him.

"I actually didn't say anything about it." He watched how the boy's face suddenly was filled with slight horror.

"No. No! I am not psychic, we're not doing this again." Priest leaned forwards resting his elbows on his knees as he rubbed his face, wincing from the searing pain that started to shoot up his nose and into his eyes. He grunted while getting up, grabbing the controller with one hand and heading to the bathroom so the boy wouldn't get it while he was busy dealing with this. His other hand pressed against his nose which was bleeding rather heavily. "See, if I was psychic I would have told you not to do that!" He called after him causing Priest to roll his eyes as he got to the sink. Pulling the band-aids off his nose and doing his best to get the bleeding under control. "You should really get that properly taken care of." He could hear the boy moving in the room, making Priest's eyes narrow as he cleaned the blood off his face and hands. Grabbing the kit that was still in there and putting new bandages on it to keep his nose from separating. "Are you taking antibiotics for that? Is that the pills you now have me taking? Yours?" Svlad sounded like he was up to something with how much he was talking right now. He glanced towards the door before sighing and turning on the sink to wash the blood off his hands and his face. Holding a towel to his nose when it just kept bleeding, he looked back in the room to see Svlad kneeling by the bag of clothes, obviously looking through it for something else to wear.

"Boy." He watched how he got tense and looked up to him. "What do you think you're doin’?"

"Nothing." He even stood up and held his hands up in mock surrender, wincing as his hands moved to his thigh where he had stabbed the knife in rather deep. Watching him hold it for a bit before stepping away from the bag. "So, what all happened in your Hell dream? Was it a nice eye-opening experience that is now going to cause you to start your redemption ark so you won't go back there?" Priest couldn't stop himself from laughing at the question. Giggling a bit to himself as he walked over to the boy, arm moving to wrap around his shoulders as he lead him back into the bathroom with him and forced him to sit on the edge of the tub as he went back to taking care of his nose.

"No, Svlad, I made peace years ago if there really is a hell I'm going there." He glanced at the boy in the mirror watching him take a deep inhale while shifting in his spot yet seeming genuinely interested. "The dream was just weird and exhaustin'. Now, when I'm done with this, you need to clean out the SUV since you couldn't do it last night."  

"Okay, fine... I'll clean the SUV, would you like me to start while you take care of this."

"Oh! Yeah! Sure, here let me get you the keys and everythin', Darlin', great idea."

"No need to get snappy." He giggled from the boy's comment as he slowly removed the towel, grimacing a bit as he moved to gently realign his nose back together. "How did you get that by the way? I've been meaning to ask." He looked back at Svlad while dropping the bloodied towel in the sink, standing up straight as he leaned against the sink and crossed his arms over his chest.

"Panto. Come along now, we don't have all day." He mused while helping the boy up and guiding the boy outside, he unlocked the car, leaving him by the back door as he went to the hatch and grabbed the supplies again before dropping them at the boy's feet.

"Panto Trost? Pink haired, devilishly handsome, swordsman from Wendimoor?.. Oh my gosh. Did you get into a sword fight with Panto?"

"No. Svlad. Was just trying to get Bart to listen to me, some of my men decided to be idiots and ignore my command, and Panto did this so they could go." He could see a look in the boys eyes as he worked on getting what he needed to start cleaning the blood. He knew what the look was, that Svlad was actually wondering why Panto didn't just kill him, or Bart. "Go on, Svlad, just say it."

"Is it because you're a project? Is that why Bart won't kill you? Because she has tried to kill me, twice, might I add. And yet all that happens with you is you get your face cut in half. And it oddly suits you. Like walking nightmare fuel just seems so perfect for everything you are." Priest couldn't stop his giggle as the boy moved closer to the SUV to start cleaning it out.

"You seem rather brave this morning. Or stupid I really can't make my mind up on that."

"Yeah, well, here I am, stuck with you, in more pain than I have been in for a long time. Trying to work things out with myself and not linger on how much everything just hurts, being snarky with you sounds like the best way to try to ignore it. Maybe then, it will lead to you hitting me so I could focus on another pain rather than." He motioned with the rag while stepping back from the vehicle, just gesturing vaguely around the area but he could see tears building up in the boy's eyes. He could see the massive amounts of mental pain and control it was taking him to not just start crying his eyes out. Priest bit his lip to stop the smile, the grin that was working its way across his face. How he was already so close to having a break down and the day just started. He watched him slowly set back to work, fuming a bit before clearing his throat and talking again. "Clearly your dream has to be connected to something if I know about it." Wondered if he was just trying to fill the silence to not focus on what was going on in that pretty head of his.

"You know, I was wondering the same thing." Would make sense if it was important, didn't know if he really wanted to know what it meant though.  

"What happened, in the dream?" Priest sighed and leaned against the door, briefly touching under his nose when he thought it might be bleeding again. Probably got too comfortable with Svlad and moved his nose out of alignment as he slept which caused just rubbing his face to be the catalyst of it bursting open again. He ignored the thought while looking back to the boy who was cleaning the door of the SUV so he didn't have to climb in yet. Wincing in his obvious pain and discomfort from all the movement and how hard he had to scrub at the dried blood to get it to come off.

"I was just in a white room that went on for miles, eventually found a long dining room table with a couple chairs and sat down." He could feel that feeling of dread coming back as he thought of the voice that had called out to him, as he thought of the door that was opening letting in that cold breeze and a darkness the was tainting the area. "Then I saw Hugo who told me to wake up." He looked back to Svlad who was staring at him with a quizzical expression.

"I feel like there's more to the dream you're not telling me."

"Yeah? Don't just already know about it like how you knew I had a dream in the first place." He watched the boy pout his lips before he turned to start cleaning off his seat. "The table, it started to grow flowers, lilies, chrysanthemums, white roses, hydrangeas..." He wasn't sure if Svlad actually knew anything about what those flowers stood for but he continued anyway. "Blood started to drip from the walls as they cracked, there was a rather beautiful decoration hanging above the middle of the table, severed hands sewn and molded together with fingers splayed out to imitate wings." He could feel the way the boy was staring at him from that comment, from the fact he thought it was actually beautiful. He dropped his hands as he looked back to the boy, watching him shift as he shrugged and crossed his arms, leaning back against the SUV. "And then there was a bright red door on the other side of the room. It started opening while Hugo was telling me to wake up, letting in a darkness and chill that started to kill the flowers on the table." He clicked his tongue as the boy went back t trying to clean. "Happy now?" He watched as the boy leaned back to look at him and pursed his lips.

"Maybe the universe isn't happy about you killing people, Mr. Priest." He rolled his eyes at that while shaking his head.  

"I don't think it has anything to do with that." Svlad just leaned back to look at him with a soft sigh. "What?"

"Well, what else could it mean? You have yourself in an endless space, which then becomes full of omens of death. The one thing I don't get is Mr. Friedkin telling you to wake up? Like... did he say anything else." Priest shifted in his spot thinking about it, about the sentence that still gave him chills just thinking about it. He watched how Svlad climbed into the SUV to get at a better spot to clean it.

"He said that I had been there a while and needed to wake up before I got stuck." He watched as Svlad poked his head back out to look at him.

"That's.... disconcerting..."  

"To say the least." He shifted more in his spot before looking around the parking lot when Svlad went back to cleaning the inside of the SUV. He could feel it gently rocking from the motions of him scrubbing the blood off the leather.  

"Was there anything else in the dream?" He took in a deep breath before giving a heavy sigh.

"Someone called out to me but I felt like the safe thing to do was stay at the table." He watched the boy poke his head out again to look at him. Eyes narrowed some on him as the little shit actually grinned.

"Mr. Priest. Something scared you enough to stay seated at a table with all that gore around you?" Priest grunted from the comment, glaring at him and watching the boy duck back into the SUV as if that would save him.

"Look, Svlad, say you were in that dream and some disembodied voice called you by full name, would you go looking for it." He watched him peek out of the car again, pursing his lips together in deep thought.

"That depends, what did it sound like?" Priest narrowed his eyes on the boy.

"That's the weird thing. It didn't sound like anythin'? But I heard someone call me? I know that don't make no sense but it was a weird dream."

"Okay... it's done." He watched as the boy climbed out of the SUV and motioned to it, Priest slowly walked over to the open doorway peaking inside to see it was actually pretty well done.

"You still have the driver's seat. Your blood is all over the door, the steering-wheel, and the gear shift." He stepped back, smiling when Svlad took in a deep breath before stepping over to the driver's side.

"I feel like that is technically your fault for not cleaning your hands." Priest just arched a brow at him, amused by the sigh he gave as he opened the door to the driver's seat. Looking inside before starting with the door, he could see the pain on the boy's face now as he checked his phone for the time. "Mr. Priest, I know you already gave me a pain pill... but can I have another one?"

"No. I don't want you to take them to the point you can't feel when you're pushing yourself too hard. This would be a lot easier to clean if you actually did it last night."

"Well sorry for suffering from blood loss." Stating it in a sarcastic tone as he worked on cleaning up the vehicle. Taking little moments to pause, Priest slowly walked up to him, standing behind him as he moved his hands on either side of his body and leaned forwards. Feeling the way Svlad went rigid from him being so close.

"How does your back feel." He moved a hand off the door to his back, gently touching along his shoulder blades and feeling the boy shiver under his touch.

"I-it hurts."

"You're scrubbing pretty hard, it's not giving too much tension is it?" Sounded so sweet and nice as he leaned in enough to rest his chin on his shoulder. He smiled from how much the boy went tense before forcing himself to take a deep breath.

"Yes, it feels really tight sometimes, and I can feel the stitches pulling." Priest moved his hand, grabbing the rag while turning his body to let the boy step away.

"Get in and cuff yourself." He watched how the boy looked up at him with surprise before stepping away from him and opening the backseat.

"Th-thank you, Mr. Priest." He watched momentarily before finishing the job of cleaning the rest of the driver's side up. Putting the supplies away he climbed in and started up the vehicle, already driving out of the parking lot and heading towards the entrance of the town towards the Waffle House. "Do you think Kelly is still working?"  

"I don't know, Svlad, I haven't studied everyone's work schedules."

"That is surprising, you seem like the type who would stalk and study everyone everywhere you went to know all the ins and outs of places. And what's the plan after eating by the way, like, we have nothing to go off of now that our only lead has been helicoptered off to Blackwing." Maybe giving the boy sugar so early in the morning was a bad idea...

"We find Skylar, figure out why she felt the need to infect the Mayor-"

"What if!" He glanced at the boy through the rearview, "It wasn't Skylar but instead someone the Mayor was working with. Like maybe they saw us with Lemon and feared what would happen so they quickly rushed over to the mayor's office, threw a flea at him, and then jumped out the window when they heard the shots going off." Priest just giggled from the wonderfully painted mental image that played in his head for that story.

"Or, an already pissed off Skylar found the man that is usin' the very thing she hates about herself for some delusion of grandeur and she decided to take the trash out herself." He pulled into the parking lot for the waffle house and parked as he looked at the few cars that were parked outside. Not really seeing any he recognized from previous places they had been to.

"You are very pessimistic Mr. Priest, maybe that dream you had is telling you to lighten up." He couldn't stop himself from laughing at that as he put the car in park and climbed out. Opening the backdoor he uncuffed Svlad before helping him get out of the car. Leading him inside he couldn't stop the smile on his face when none other than Kelly stood behind the counter with that creepy doll like smile on her face.

"Heyyyyy, detectives! Why don't ya'll take a seat and I'll be with you in a moment." Priest lead Svlad over to a booth, waiting for him to sit down before sitting next to him getting an annoyed groan from the boy.

"I promise I most definitely am not going to run." Priest arched a brow at him before glancing over to Kelly who walked over to them and handed them menus before already pouring Priest a cup of coffee.

"Thank you, Kelly, can you get a glass of Orange Juice for Svlad, and two orders of your classic breakfast meal, with both the bacon and the sausage." He watched as she quickly picked the menus back up while looking at them momentarily before turning on her heel.

"Be right out with that."

"Thank you, Kelly!" Svlad called out before looking over at him, Priest glanced back at the boy before pouring creamer and sugar into his coffee and stirring it up. "You called me Svlad, she knows me as Dirk-"

"Boy, if you try to start that with me."

"What's in the classic?" He was glad the boy just decided to switch topics.

"Scrambled eggs, English Muffin, bowl of fruit, and your choice of bacon and sausage. You need the calories so we're getting both." He leaned back when he felt his phone going off, pulling it out of his pocket he turned the alarm off and reached in his other pocket to pull out the bag of pills he got. Getting the antibiotics, he needed he set them on the table for Svlad right as Kelly came back with his juice.

"Thank you." Svlad made sure to look between both of them before watching Kelly walk away with a smile on her face. Priest watched him take the pills and chase it down with the juice, slowly setting the cup down as he rested his elbow on the table. "And you're sure that hell dream has nothing to do with the sudden niceness that is happening right now?" Priest rolled his eyes while leaning back against the booth, moving his arm to rest it along the back behind the boy's head as he slouched down a bit and lifted his foot to rest it on the seat on the other side.

"You know, I would just love to let you suffer more. But you're goin' to get an infection if I don't take care of ya which will lead to you needin' medical attention I cannot provide, which means you'll have to go back to Blackwing. We're still solvin' this stupid case, so until that's done I'm goin' to make sure you're healthy enough to finish it. Which means takin' care of you."

"Of course, should just assume there's always an ulterior motive with you." Sounded slightly bitter.

"Just let me know if you notice your veins startin' to turn black and you start feelin' sick." He looked back ahead while grabbing his coffee with his free hand and taking a drink of it.

"I'm sorry?" He glanced at the boy from the alarmed way he asked the question, leaning forwards with a look of horror. "If my veins do what, now?"

"Blood infection, would just hate for that to happen." He explained while drinking more of the coffee, he watched out of the corner of his eye as the boy practically laid on the table.

"You know what... I really hope you did go to Hell." Priest couldn't stop his giggle as he moved his other foot to stomp on Svlad's for that little comment, smiling to himself when the boy covered his mouth to muffle his cry of pain. The boy shooting him a glare as Kelly came back and put their food on the table in front of them.

"Here you go, Detectives." She smiled at them before walking away, he was pleased when Svlad already began eating the food. Watching to make sure he wasn't eating too fast as he started on his own, enjoying the silence for once as the boy worked on stuffing his face rather than talk his ear off. It was a nice break he knew wouldn't last long once the boy started to delve into his own mind.

"Maybe we should go back to Evie's." Not long enough of a break... "Skylar told us to go there originally, so maybe we should listen this time."

"You were the one who wanted coffee." Priest mused out while drinking his own cup of coffee, glancing over to the boy who frowned at him while looking back to his food.

"Yes, coffee, not the rest of it." Priest just sighed as he continued eating, ignoring Svlad more or less as he thought about it. Didn't see the harm in going back to Evie's just knew if the woman pulled a gun on him again he was going to kill her this time...

"The rest of it was also you're fault." He glared at the boy when he looked at him and opened his mouth about to argue. He could feel his eye twitch, just waiting for him to say something stupid only for the boy to quickly look away from him. Rubbing at his cheek before going back to eating his food.

The rest of breakfast felt strained, though Priest was glad to have some peace and quiet as the boy didn’t risk trying to talk about anything. Could tell from random looks he got from the boy he was thinking about starting conversation again before stopping himself. Priest made sure to get Svlad water when he was done with his juice as he got more coffee.

“Command to Priest.” Priest slowly raised his hand to unmute his headset.

“Hey, Ken, what can I help you with?” He took another drink of his coffee while glancing around the restaurant.

“I just want to know what your plan for the day is.”

“We’re going to Evie Mills after breakfast and going to attempt to regroup with Skylar… don’t tell me you’re going to be checking in on me now.”

“Nothing like that.”

“Don’t insult me with lies, boy.” He was already getting up, watching Svlad follow him as he paid at the counter and they headed out back to the car. He could hear Ken give a small sigh on the other side of the line as he cuffed Svlad in the back of the SUV, climbing up front he got back in the driver's seat, drumming his fingers along the steering-wheel. "I'll let you know if we meet up with Skylar."

"Thank you, Mr. Priest."

He muted the headset again as he pulled out of the waffle house and made his way towards where Evie lived, making sure to glance back at the boy every now and then to see if he had any hunches on where they should go. When nothing seemed to have caught the boy's interest he drove up the drive way to Evie's place and pulled in in front of her house. Putting the car in park he shut it off and got out, opening the door to look at Svlad who was shifting a bit in his seat looking genuinely nervous about being here.

"You seem nervous."

"I know, I know I shouldn't in case Skylar is there but I just... what if she did kill the mayor? What if she's willing to kill the others who are involved?" Priest leaned against the doorway of the SUV seeing the way the boy's eyes were filling with tears. "Just for once I would like to meet another project who isn't dangerous. I would like to know we aren't all like that but it's hard to not lose faith when we have people like you, Bart, and the Rowdy Three... and now Skylar who kills people because she feels like she has to. It's not-" Priest couldn't stop his amused smile as he leaned in. "I don't know... right? I guess? Is the universe really so broken that it had to make people like us dangerous?"  

"You forgot Mona, just because she's your friend doesn't mean that girl ain't dangerous." He was amused how the boy frowned while looking ahead tears building in the boy's eyes as Priest unlocked his cuffs.

"Am I really dangerous, Mr. Priest?" Priest moved his hand to touch the boy's back, watching him hiss with pain as he arched away from his touch.

"What do those tell you?" He was amused when the boy rubbed at his wrists before slowly wiping the tears from his face as he took in a shaky breath.

"I just want to help people." He moved his hand away from his back and rested them on the seat as the boy just started to cry, he gave a small sigh while nudging him. Forcing the boy to move over as he climbed into the back of the SUV and sat next to him.

"Then you have to stop fighting what you are." Priest stated bluntly watching how the boy looked up at him with a frown. "And if that leads to people dying then so what, people die all the time."

"How can you be so cold about people's lives?" Priest turned to face the boy, arm resting on the back of the seat as he faced the boy. Smile growing on his face as he shrugged his shoulders carelessly.

"Well, the term people usually use for me is that I 'ain't put together right.' You know, Sociopath, and all. Moral compass doesn't point north, never did never will." He smirked when the boy just rubbed his face in obvious frustration. "You ready to do this, or you want to cry some more?"

"Just because you don't have emotions, doesn't mean I don't! I'm trying to process some things, which would be really nice if you actually let me instead of constantly dragging me around and not giving me any privacy. It's great that you just don't care and like to wave your guns around and shoot innocent people, but I can't do that! I can't handle that! I am not a machine I am a person with actual feelings!" Priest couldn't stop his giggle when the boy just cried harder and scooted further away from him.

"Well, you have two choices right now, boy." He leaned in watching the way Svlad looked at him. "Give me your wrist, and I will cuff you to this car, or you can get out and do your job." He even held his hand out waiting patiently for the boy to give him a decision. He watched how he took in a deep breath, wiping more tears from his eyes before finally looking back at him.

"Let’s solve this so we can leave." Priest climbed out of the car watching the boy wipe more tears away before getting out after him. Priest shut the door and the two of them headed to the door, Svlad being the one to knock on it as they waited patiently for someone to answer. Svlad looked tense when it was Evie who opened the door, her smile falling from her face the second she saw them standing there.

"What do you want." Wasn't really a question, more of a demand to try and figure out what they wanted.

"We're here to check on your house guest, you can either let us in or I'll force our way in." Priest mused, waiting patiently as the woman grumbled and finally opened the door all the way for them.

"I thought you guys needed a warrant for shit like this."

"You can complain to my boss later, now she in the attic."

"Look, Osmund, I have no idea why you even think she's here in the first place, it's just me and my son." Priest just walked in, already heading towards the upstairs as Svlad followed after him.

"Your boy still hasn't told you that he's been harbingering our missing person here this whole time, then?" He sounded amused when he noticed her staring at him with narrowed eyes and a frown she looked from him over to Svlad, noticing how the boy was nodding to confirm the statement as they continued to the attic door. Priest pulling it open and watching as Locusts spilled out and engulfed him and Svlad as Evie gave a surprised gasp. He continued through the door and waited for Svlad to follow before closing it behind them when he was certain all the locusts had follow. He could hear them buzzing and chirping as they walked up the stairs into the main area. Skylar was pacing about the room, holding a book in her hand and looking over the pages growing increasingly frustrated. She finally came to a stop to look at them, frown on her face as she lowered the book in her hands.

"I told you guys to come here."

"Svlad had a hunch we had to follow." She squinted at them before looking back to the book in her hands.

"O'Neal has terrible hand writing I can't read this..."

"O'Neal was the Mayor, correct?" She was nodding her head before holding the book out to both of them, waiting for one of them to take it. Svlad was quick to pick up on the opportunity and took the book from her as he moved more towards the light source. Which the Locusts moves away from so he could see better.

"Thank you." Priest watched as the boy worked on reading through the book before looking over to Skylar who was chewing on her fingernails as she waited. The Locusts calming down a bit making him wonder if that was really all she was stressing out about.

"The Mayor... is he dead?"

"I'm only assuming." He watched as she took in a deep breath before looking away from them, he watched how she finally sat down on the bundle of blankets and pillows, the locusts happily swarming her and covering her form. Hanging out around her Priest swore he could hear her crying as he slowly gave a small sigh, sitting next to her as Svlad continued to read. Eventually she reached out of the swarm and grabbed his hand. Just holding it as they waited for Svlad to find something interesting in the book he was going through rather quickly.

"O'Neal, was working with Lemon and a Doctor Perish. They all came up with this idea together however it sounds like Perish is the one who suggested the Plague." Priest could see the locusts moving and uncovering the girls face as she looked from Priest over to Svlad and stood up again, letting her hand linger in his before walking over to the book.

"Does it say how he got my plague?"

"No... unfortunately the Mayor just seems to have been supplying money to both of them and didn't play too much of a role in it." He handed the book back to her watching as Skylar gave an annoyed groan while heading to the window, Priest was already getting up and catching her by the arm. Watching as the girl stopped to look over to him.

"Wait, Skylar, let us help you this time."

"If you want to help me, then why don't you guys take care of Lemon while I take care of the doctor."

"Wait, whoa, hold on a second. You don't mean kill them do you?" Svlad asked while walking over to them, Priest couldn't stop the smile on his face, amused by this as Skylar looked over to him. He watched as the Locusts went back to swarming around the room.

"Yes. Kill a few to save a thousand, that is what I do." She stated in such a flat tone he could see the way Svlad reeled back from that.

"We don't have to kill them..."

"I will not let my plague spread here!" She shouted Priest stepped back as the locusts swarmed more, as they wrapped around her protectively as she looked to the window. "I will not allow myself to be used again for other people. So, go kill Lemon, I kill Perish.  You bring me Miles, and then we are done and part ways." He could see how much this was tearing Svlad up causing his smile to grow as he watched Skylar continue her walk. He sighed in annoyance when the boy stood in front of her, watching as she looked from the window to him with obvious displeasure.

"I get it, okay I understand what It's like to be used for my abilities. But you can't just go around killing people! It's not right, how would Miles feel about this?" Priest watched as the locusts started to swarm over to Svlad actually pushing the boy out of her way. "You can't do this! Please, there has to be another way!"

"No. Just my way." She was already opening the window and climbing through it, the locusts following after her as she vanished from view. Svlad leaned against the window sill looking out desperately for her with a look of pain on his face.

"We can't-" Priest just grabbed the boy by the arm, watching how he turned his head to look at him. Tears building in his eyes as he motioned for something. "We need to talk to Miles and have her talk sense into her. Please?"

"Or, we could just do as she said." He watched the way the boy started to cry and was already sliding down onto the floor. Crying at his feet over the idea of killing someone because of this, Priest just watched him before taking in a deep breath and kneeling down in front of him. "You goin’ to pull another dumb move, boy?"

"I don't want any part in this, I don't want to be responsible for killing these people. What if... what if the plague gets out anyway from her killing the doctor? What then? This whole town is doomed and then Blackwing just wipes it off the face of the earth? I can't... I can't let that happen, I won't help doom this town because she won't listen to reason. Please, Mr. Priest, we have to stop her."

"You really want to take that risk, of going after her, stopping her from killing the doctor. What if that's what the doctor needs, an opening to release the plague which he will get as you try to argue with Sky."

"Or he releases it anyway before the plague reaches the time he will fall into a coma." He said the words through gritted teeth causing Priest to just laugh as he grabbed the boy by the arm and pulled him up to his feet. "What does your gut instinct say to do in this situation? Because mine says to stop her." He was dragging the boy out of the room. Heading down the stairs with him, leading him into the front room while thinking about it, wondering if Svlad was lying about the feeling he had. Or if he actually had one, if it was worth the risk to ignore it. He gave an annoyed groan as they walked out of Evie's house, Priest's hand resting over his headset as they came to a stop with the Sheriff and Deputy standing outside with Evie.

"Hello, boy's." He dropped his hand to his side looking between the two then back over to Evie who was shifting in her spot.

"We would like you both to come with us." The Sheriff stated while stepping closer to them.

"Now, Sheriff, I know ya ain't tryin' to arrest us right now." Priest stated with an amused smile as he shoved Svlad towards the SUV.

"Trespassin’ will get you some jail time." The deputy just muttered in annoyance causing Priest to grin. Svlad was moving looking from the SUV to them and back to Priest. He just gave them a charming smile as he walked closer to them.

"Will it now?"

"You don't have a warrant to be here." Headly finally stated, Priest rolled his eyes before looking to Svlad.

"Get in the car."

"Do not take another step." Priest glanced over when both men drew their weapons and aimed them at them. Priest let his eyes narrow on them while turning to face them, Svlad just stood here looking like a deer caught in the headlights.

"Get. In. The. Car."

"Mr. Priest... I really don't want to get shot." Priest just laughed at the words, looking to the sheriff and deputy as they moved closer to them.

"This is a waste of everyone's time. We have a job to do." Priest snapped the words while walking over to Svlad, grabbing the boy and dragging him towards the SUV as both men kept their guns on him.

"I said don't move." Priest pulled open the back door and shoved Svlad at it before turning to look at both of them.

"You're not going to shoot-" Priest wasn't sure if he should have been upset or impressed when the Deputy actually pulled the trigger.

Chapter Text

Priest glanced back at the bullet that was now sticking in the window of the back door, which was right by his head, mind you. The bullet was buried at a weird angle in the first layer of bullet proof glass which was spider webbing in broken shards around it. He clicked his tongue while looking back to the Deputy ignoring the fact Svlad was on the ground covering his head. Hadn’t even noticed the boy collapsed from the sudden adrenaline rush of being shot at. Deputy Reynolds was either a shit aim or he didn’t take the first rule of ‘draw your gun to kill’ seriously. He could tell from the tension in the air that no one actually expected him to shoot, even Evie gave a sigh of relief over the fact she didn’t just witness his brains being blown out. Which was just hilarious to him given the fact she threatened to blow his head off with a shotgun the other day.

“Deputy Reynolds!” Headly sounded less than pleased causing Priest to just giggle, watching how the Sheriff was staring at the man rather than them. Gun still raised and locked on them in a threatening way as Reynolds had his finger back on that trigger. Looking a little more comfortable now with the situation they were in, like all he needed was the warning shot to get comfortable with the idea of killing him. He was starting to like Deputy Reynolds…

“He was going to leave! I’m not goin’ to let him get away with any of this!” Priest tilted his head, staring at the gun which was still aimed at him. He shifted his weight and watched how the gun stayed trained on him, how it followed every little movement he made. He ran his tongue over his bottom teeth, grin on his face as he admired the look in the man’s eyes. How the Deputy now had a look that Priest easily recognized given it was a look he usually had before killing someone.

“Priest, please, just come with us, peacefully.” Headly was pleading making Priest take in a deep breath, keeping his eyes more trained on Reynold’s rather than the Sheriff. Headly seemed to fucking soft to actually do anything about it, especially now that he was reduced to begging and pleading so fucking easily.

“Let’s do what they say.” He could hear Svlad whisper from his feet, feeling as the boy sat up on his knees, grabbing at his leg while staring up at him. “Please, Mr. Priest, we can just go and explain-”

“Sheriff, you seem like a smart man,” Priest started, smile on his face as he slowly moved his hands making sure they could see he wasn’t trying anything as he held them half up to 'surrender’ to them. He kept that charming smile on his face, eyes staying locked on the deputy seeing as he was the only one who wanted to shoot… or had the guts to shoot, anyway. “We are chasin’ after that girl we’re lookin’ for. See, she’s off on this little mission where she thinks she needs to go an’ kill more people. So, you can either let us go an’ stop her, or, you can continue to go an’ arrest us. Which means this little town of yours is gonna get even smaller.” He finally looked away from Reynolds over to Headly when the man seemed to have been thinking this information over. “Times tickin’, Sheriff, Sky ain’t one who likes to wait.”

“I say we arrest this asshole and take care of the girl ourselves.” He could hear the Deputy despite him trying to whisper over to the Sheriff.

“I mean, you could try, sure…” He shrugged his shoulders while tilting his head to the side, having a confident and condescending tone to his voice. “She might just kill you too.” Priest mused the words out, he glanced down at Svlad when the boy grabbed him by the pant leg, like he wanted his attention about something. “Yain’t afraid of bugs, are ya?” He was giggling from the look he received from both of them.

“Shut up!” Headly finally shouted while taking a step closer, motioning at him with his gun.  

“Please, Mr. Priest.” Svlad was trying so hard to get his attention.

“Get on your knees and put your hands behind your head!” Priest narrowed his eyes on the man, patience wearing thin now.

“Need I remind you I am a CIA Agent, on a case here-”

“I doubt they would give you permission to kill innocent people and trespass whenever you damn well please.” Headly finally shouted at him, and Priest couldn’t stop himself from giggling, his giggle slowly becoming a laugh as he slowly took a step forward. Head down, arms staying raised so they wouldn’t think he was up to something. Little giggle still falling from him do to the hilarity in that statement.

“Boy, that’s exactly what I am paid to do.” He was grinning now, watching them as the Deputy started to take a step forwards only for Headly to hold a hand out to him to stop him from advancing. “Now, if y'all are done tryin’ to be holier-than-thou, we really have to go.”

“We take our jobs seriously.”

“If you took them seriously you would let us go, I mean right now all you’re really doin’ is riskin’ my target walkin’ head first into that hospital o’ yours and killin’ everyone in there. All because you wanna have a pissin’ contest over who’s jurisdiction this is.” He could see Headly was thinking this over logically, that he was really starting to process what he was saying.

“Put your hands on your head and get on your knees,” Reynolds on the other hand… “I’m not goin’ to ask you again!”

“Please, Mr. Priest, just listen to them!” He could tell from his voice that the boy was crying again. Priest grit his teeth while looking back over to Headly, watching how the man seemed a little more conflicted now.

“Sheriff, I know you want to do the right thing here,” most people did, unfortunately.

“And what, that would be lettin’ you go?” Reynolds snapped back as he moved closer, Priest watched him out of the corner of his eye. Knowing he could take the man down and hopefully in a way that the Sheriff wouldn’t do anything to them so they could leave. They wasted enough time already.

“Yeah, actually.” Priest mused the words with a smile while waiting patiently for the Deputy to get close enough. He was almost there, so close. His fingers were twitching with need to take him down-

“Headly, you are not seriously thinkin’ about letting this man go?” Evie sounded pissed, he glanced over to her when she moved closer to the Sheriff, watching the man lower his gun as his eyes locked on the Deputy annoyed when the man stopped getting closer. “He threatened to kill my son!”

“Which wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t go and put a gun to my head, Sugar.” Smiling when that comment had the deputy moving closer to him. Perfect. He easily jabbed his gun away, listening to it go off as he grabbed and twisted his arm, forcing him to drop it and bringing him down to his knees. He used his other hand to punch him across the face watching as he went down and let go of his hand before he pulled out his glock and turned to aim it right at Headly who was back to aiming his gun at him over the commotion. The air felt tense as he kept his finger over the trigger, watching the man as he almost took a step forwards, until they heard it. A very soft;

“Mom?” He could see Evie looking towards the house, how her expression turned to one of horror. Could hear Svlad getting up and he watched Headly take his eyes off him, watched him look to the scene. Priest’s finger resting over the trigger about to pull the trigger-

“Mr. Priest!” He grunted when the Sheriff lowered his gun, he slowly looked over to see what happened, why everyone was freaking out till he saw Evie and Svlad holding their hands against Evie’s son’s stomach. He could see the blood on their hands, watching as the Sheriff ran by him he couldn’t stop his laugh as he slipped his gun away.

“Well, we are heading to the hospital anyway.” He mused while pulling the bullet out of the window, tossing it to the side before walking over to them. “Might as well give y'all a ride. Sheriff, why don’t you drive.” He mused while handing him the keys, easily walking over to them as he helped pick the boy up. Evie continued to put pressure on the wound, Svlad leading them to the SUV and opening the door for them as they carefully climbed inside of the vehicle. Making sure to keep pressure on the boy’s wounds. Although, Priest didn’t much care what happened to the kid this was a decent excuse to get to where they needed to go. He started making sure his vitals were fine, having him half in his lap as Evie continued to cry hysterically and try and tell him he was going to be alright, still putting pressure on his wounds. Reynolds came too fast enough for Headly to shout as him to take the car to the hospital as the man climbed in the driver’s seat, Svlad in the front, and they took off to the hospital. The sound of sirens going off from ahead of them as Reynolds hastily lead the way.

“He better be okay, or I swear to God-”

“Reynold’s gun is the one that went off, not mine, Darlin’.” Priest mused while looking to the kid, feeling his pulse which was still going strong. From the look on his face he could tell he was in shock.  

“You were the one who attacked him!”

“Look, Evie, I can debate with you till you’re blue in the face. But what you should really be focusin’ on is the fact your son is in shock. Now, why don’t you try talkin’ to him?” So, he didn’t have to do it, not like they would really probably want him to, compassion wasn’t really his thing. He could feel her glaring at him before she turned her attention to her son, Priest just kept bracing for every abrupt turn they hit during the car ride.

“Sean, sweety, everything’s going to be okay, we’re almost at the hospital.” She was leaning closer as Priest brushed some of the boy’s hair out of his face watching him try to blink into focus.

“Everyone’s so loud.”

“I know, I know sweety, I’m sorry we’re fine now. Just focus on me okay.”

“It really hurts.” Priest honestly kind of wished he could ignore all of this, eyes on the road to know when they were turning as he could feel Headly speed up.

“We’re almost there Sean.” And just like that the boy started to scream, Priest couldn’t stop his smile as Evie cried harder from the obvious pain he was in. Continuing to tell him everything was going to be okay, Priest honestly was done with all of the emotional bullshit happening around him. Half tempted to just shoot the kid so he would shut up. He gave a pleased noise when they came to a stop at the hospital, Headly and Svlad both opening each side of the door as Priest carried the boy out, Evie quickly attached to them again. The Sean just continued to cry about how much it hurt as they headed inside of the emergency area. Being greeted by someone with a gurney Priest happily set Sean down and watched them get carted off with Evie still holding her hands over the wound. He could feel Svlad shifting next to him, the boy staring off where they went before looking up to him. Having a hopeful look in his eyes.

“Thank you, Mr. Priest-”

“Didn’t do it for you.” He kind of loved how much that expression fell, like the boy realized he only did it so they could get here. That he used the emotional and what they consider a horrifying situation to get what he wanted and avoid getting arrested. “Come along now.” He grabbed the boy by the arm and started to drag him further in, heading for the receptionist desk as Headly explained to someone that the gun discharged and unfortunately hit Sean. “Hey, Darlin’, we’re looking for a Doctor Perish.” She was staring at the blood on them and looking towards where Reynolds and Headly were before looking back at them.

“Uhm… Do you have an appointment?”

“Where do you think you’re off to!” Headly was over to them quickly, leaving Reynolds with the doctor. The Sheriff looked pissed as he grabbed for him, Priest easily stepped back watching him miss and stumble a bit from relying on actually grabbing him to stop himself.

“I wasn’t jokin’ about chasin’ after someone, Headly. We better hope her target ain’t dead by now.” Headly stood up straight, taking a wider stance like he was trying to intimidate him as he got closer.

“You-”

“Stop it!” They both looked to Svlad who screamed at them, actually screamed loud enough that people stopped what they were doing to look at them. Svlad was breathing heavily, hands moving to wipe tears off his face and just smearing Sean’s blood on himself as he took in a deep breath. “Look, Sheriff, I get it, I understand the resentment and anger towards Mr. Priest. You really don’t understand the degree to which I understand how you feel towards this man. But we are on a case! We are trying to do our best to solve this thing! And I refuse to let anyone else die so you need to stop trying to arrest my abhorrent assistant for a few measly seconds and let us do our jobs! Which currently includes finding Doctor Perish, before a woman with tragically beautiful abilities storms in here and kills him. Do you understand?”

“Abilities?” Almost like that was the only thing the man focused on. He watched as Svlad waved his arms around in frustration.

“Yes!” Hands dropping to his side with the statement. “Now please let us do our jobs!” He turned sharply towards the receptionist. “Dr. Perish, where is he?”

“D-down that hall last door on your left.”

“Thank you!” He turned to start walking before stopping with a guilty look on his face as he looked back to her. Meek expression as he rubbed the back of his neck unintentionally smearing blood on himself. “And I am terribly sorry for shouting at you, that wasn’t fair at all.” He added in while heading for the hall, walking passed Priest and Headly. Priest couldn’t stop his amused giggle as he stepped away from Headly and followed after Svlad, could hear the man following after them as they headed down the hall and Svlad shoved open the door that said Dr. Perish. Priest was easily stepping in behind him looking at the older man who was sitting behind his desk, holding a file in one hand and writing something on his computer. A confused and alarmed expression on his face, he was slowly setting the file down and standing up as Headly stepped in as well.

“Can I help—who’s blood is that?” He was easily distracted as he looked to the blood on their hands, knowing Svlad even had some smeared on his face from when he was wiping his tears away.

“I’m sorry for this intrusion, Doctor Perish, our guests here are insistent that someone’s on their way to kill you.” Priest just grinned while seeing the surprised look on Perish’s face as he looked at him and Svlad. The boy was already looking out the window to see if he could spot Skylar anywhere.

“And who-”

“Skylar Day, you’ve been using something of hers.” Priest hummed out the words watching the way the man went tense, looking between them then back at him. Priest couldn’t help but feel like the man was familiar, like he’d seen him somewhere before. His voice was so familiar to the point it was grating in his mind. Like he had heard it before, but he couldn’t place where he knew the man from.

“I think you have me confused with someone else.” It was nagging at him. Like when you couldn’t find the right word for something despite the fact you could almost taste it on the tip of your tongue.

“Doctor Perish,” Priest glanced towards Svlad as the man shifted where he was and turned to fully face him. Fully satisfied that he didn’t see Skylar anywhere. “We have O'Neal’s journal. It told us everything, and now we have a very angry powerful woman heading this way to kill you, so you need to just tell us the truth. We just need you to show us where you are keeping the plague so we can get rid of it.” The man just frowned at them, hands moving to the point of Priest pulling out his gun and aiming it at the man. Not liking the fact he seemed to be slowly reaching for a drawer in his desk.

“Keep your hands where I can see them, Doc.” He narrowed his eyes on the man who slowly held his hands up, ignoring the fact Headly was aiming his gun at him again. “Where are you keeping the plague?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He could see the man getting nervous as Svlad started to head towards a painting in the room, just staring at it as the Doctor moved like he was going to step out behind the desk. Stopping long to look back at Priest, Priest could see Headly staring at the painting from the corner of his eye. “I think you guys should leave.” He took a shot when the man stepped closer to Svlad, shooting right at the man’s feet to stop him from moving when Svlad removed the painting from the wall.

“Mr. Priest!” Headly had a warning tone, but Priest refused to let his eyes leave Perish as the man looked to the bullet hole in the floor before looking to Svlad who was staring at a rather large wall safe that the painting was hiding.

“It in there, Svlad?” He watched how the doctor looked from him back to the boy in surprise. Like he recognized that name, he gripped the gun tighter as his brain tried to frantically place him.

“I think so… I would ask him to open it but I don’t want it to get out.” Svlad stated Priest just grinned while stepping forwards, no longer feeling like Headly was going to shoot him when he actually lowered his gun and stared at the safe.

“Get on your knees and put your hands behind your head.” He watched as the man hesitated looking at him before looking to his drawer and back again.

“You don’t understand what I’m doing here.”

“I think we understand perfectly, now do as your told.”

“Do you realize what I have done, Osmund!?” Now he was remembering him, could recognize the yelling, the fractiousness of it and why he remembered him. How the man knew his name despite him never mentioning it, he could see even Svlad was looking at the doctor in surprise. Doctor Perish was one of the Scientists from Blackwing when he was still a project. He couldn’t stop himself from giggling as the man continued his rant. “My years of hard work, finally paid off!” He could see Svlad looking to him now, a confused look on his face that turned into one of anger. “I finally did something Blackwing thought was impossible!”

“If you resist arrest, I ain’t got no problem shooting you Doc.” He was still giggling in amusement as the man almost growled while slowly getting on his knees. Hands moving slowly to the back of his head as Priest reached one hand back to go for the cuffs, getting closer only for the man who kept his hands behind his head. Priest walked around him and grabbed one of his wrists, slipping his gun back in his holster as he twisted his arm behind his back as he pulled him up to his feet. Shoving him against the desk as he slapped the cuff around his wrist. “Looks like you’re goin’ back to Blackwing, Doc,” he grabbed the man’s other wrist twisting it to join his other hand as he cuffed his wrists together. “Unfortunately for you, it won’t be under good terms.” He informed him while dragging the man with him towards the door, hand raising to unmute his headset.  

“Why would I want to go back when it’s continuing to let people like you and Icarus running around.” Priest just grinned while continuing with getting in contact with Ken.

“Priest to command.”

–“This is command.”

“Hey Ken~” He hummed the words, feeling in a better mood as he dragged Perish with him. “Just wanted to let you know we have the man responsible for the plague. We’re at the hospital and heading outside now.” He added as they continued down the hall. The receptionist standing up as she looked over to the scene of him dragging Perish with him and Svlad and Headly close behind.

–“The team at the town-hall will meet you shortly.” Priest muted the headset as he continued to drag the man outside, kicking him in the back of the knee so he would fall to his knees when they go outside of the hospital.

“Doctor Perish… Why? Why do something like this?” Headly asked like they actually knew, he listened as Svlad took in a deep breath before starting.

“Doctor Perish was originally a scientist from Blackwing back in the day. Honestly, he was bored with a lot of the other subjects until one day Skylar Day came into the facility.” Priest looked over to the boy as he began his explanation.

“Skylar is who you two have been looking for this entire time?” Headly asked as Priest kept his eyes on Perish to make sure he wasn’t up to something as they spoke.

“Correct. So, here he was with this girl who has a symbiotic relationship with a swarm of locusts that can create a plague deadlier than anything anyone had ever seen before.” He stressed the information while shifting a bit in his spot before continuing on. “He became obsessed with it. Like super obsessed,”

“I was not obsessed-”

“Doc, do yourself a favor and shut up.” Priest mused the words out as Svlad continued on.

“He was trying to understand the plague and even Skylar herself to the point of even when Blackwing shut down he took his research with him.”

“I am already feeling lost… What exactly is Blackwing?” Headly asked while rubbing his face.

“That is the place Mr. Priest works for, it’s terrible, if you couldn’t tell from the employees.” Priest couldn’t stop himself from laughing at that comment. “Anyway, Doctor Perish decided to move to this small town where he doesn’t have too many people to interrupt him from his darker experiments he has been running in private. Meanwhile, the town here has been lacking in the money department ever since this place was no longer been seen as a tourist attraction to people. Ever since the facts that debunked the fake history shut this place down, leaving it once more off the map and impossibly hard and pointless to get to. Your Mayor is swarming with debt, he has no way to pay any of this off, all your businesses are dying, everything feels helpless. And then he notices the drama happening between Lemon and Evie, he seems to be focusing on the things that he’s seeing in the paper. One day he goes to the bar, gets drunk, rants about his problems to Perish, who decides to offer something. Musing how he could make Evie this feared witch Lemon is trying to make her out to be.”

“That seems like a large gap…” Headly stated while looking from Svlad to Perish.

“Well if the Doctor feels like it, I’m sure he could explain way better than I can.”

“I offered a solution to his problem.” Svlad just sighed heavily while rubbing his face, smearing more blood on himself.

“So, the Mayor thinks about it and they go into more detail, especially as Lemon starts getting more vicious and relentless with her grudge against Evie. They talk about creating a biblical plague and they set into motion a chain of events. They drag Lemon into it and she’s skeptical at first, but obviously feels guilty. Maybe, she wasn’t really expecting things to get as out of control as they did? Not actually thinking that Doctor Perish could do what he said he could do? Which was harvest the plague from his old research and find something to carry it for him. So, Doctor Perish goes over to Evie’s one night and infects her cattle with the fleas, and it’s perfect because it spreads. What they weren’t expecting, however, was for Skylar to show up on the same day and wipe out all of your vegetation as a time line to how long she would allow everyone to live for a week before she just wiped out the entire town. She easily was able to follow clues, searching for those responsible who was of course the Mayor. And from his book we discovered Lemon and Doctor Perish also played a huge part in it. And now, here we are…” He motioned around them, Priest closed his eyes when he felt something land on him.  

“Wow, Icarus, you can finally do more than tell us when Lightbulbs are about to burn out.” Feeling the way the locusts legs moved around his shoulder, he slowly opened his eyes and turned his head to see Skylar.  

“I thought Mr. Priest told you to shut up.” Obvious anger in his voice from that statement, a look of pain etched on the boy’s face as he crossed his arms over his chest and stepped away from him. Priest wondered if any of them could see the woman just standing there, hands in her pockets hood pulled over her head as her clothes began moving from all the locusts under it. She finally pulled her hands out of her pockets. Hands clenched into fists as the locusts swarmed out from under her clothes and began to fly around them. Causing the three men he was with to finally look over to her.

“Hey, Sky.” Priest stated in a light-hearted tone, could tell she was pissed before he even saw her face. He watched how Svlad tried to stand between her and Perish.

“Look, we have captured him, no one else is in danger-” Priest watched as she grabbed him by the arm that he was holding out trying to stop her. Moving away from Perish and grabbing the boy when she went to throw him. Actually causing him to stumbled forwards as she hissed that them like a feral animal. Priest just held the boy close, not really wanting her to damage him more than he already was damaged, just slowly pulled him out of her way. “Mr. Priest-”

“Shhh.” He watched as she just eyed them before walking over to Perish who was about to stand up, she caught him by his gray hair and pulled him back down to his knees. Forcing his head back as the locusts began swarming above her. Flying in circles over her.

“We can’t let her kill him-”

“You!” She shouted the word down into Perish’s face.

“Skylar, sweetheart, it is so good to see you again, you’ve grown so much. And so have your locusts, look at them… Has… has your plague grown too?” He sounded so excited, like he didn’t understand the danger he was currently in. He could see Headly stepping back, staring at the scene with his hand resting over his gun.

“Do not talk to me.” She stated bluntly while standing up straight, Priest watched as the locusts started to fly higher in the air. He looked from them to Skylar, pulling Svlad closer to him.

“You can’t kill him! Skylar please, listen to me.”

“No! You listen to me!” She snarled the words as she stood up straight and looked back at them. “This man has tortured me for years! Constantly poking and prodding me and I was finally free of him when Blackwing shut down. And now I come to learn he stole my curse, and he’s planning on killing people with it!” Priest looked to the Locusts that swarmed angrily above her, screaming and chirping so loud it was making his eardrums hurt. “And you’re just going to lock him up! He will end up back as a scientist in Blackwing, why wouldn’t they use him when he did something like this?”

“Skylar, you don’t know that they won’t just lock him up.”

“I do know, I know that place well, why would it loose something that can be used as an asset, isn’t that right Mr. Priest.” Priest took in a deep breath and slowly let it out, knowing that was a quip about him becoming an agent rather than just killing him for everything he did. “So, I’m going to kill him, and we’re going to kill all of those fleas.” Priest watched as she grabbed Perish by the face forcing his mouth open as Svlad tried to fight harder against him. Priest changed how he was holding him, grabbing the boy’s wrists and keeping him in place so he would stop accidentally tearing up his back against his chest.

“Skylar, please!” Priest watched as the locusts dove down, eyes locked on the sight as they forced their way into his mouth, choking the man as they crawled down his throat. He could hear the muffled screaming as Svlad fell at his feet, watching as the locusts tore Perish up from the inside out as Skylar stepped over his body and the locusts followed after her. Some of them rather violently tearing and burrowing their way through his stomach allowing his now smashed and destroyed organs to spill out of him as he laid collapsed on his side. Priest slowly let go of Svlad when the boy just started to cry at his feet, hyperventilating from the gore that was left in the doctor’s place as she stormed inside of the place. People screaming from the sight and running out of the hospital.  

“We have to do something.” He heard Headly state while stepping towards the hospital. In obvious shock and horror over what he just witnessed, Priest couldn’t help but wonder if they would end up wiping this town out anyway due to people seeing too much. Headly definitely knew way too much about Blackwing now.

“Want to end up like the Doctor, Sheriff?” He watched how the man stopped, glancing over to the mess on the floor before looking back to the hospital and gritting his teeth. Priest gave a surprised noise when Svlad actually sprinted towards the door. Starting in a dead run from his kneeling position on the ground. “Svlad!” He tried to catch him but the boy was out of his range before he even could, grunting he took off in a run after the boy. Hoping his longer stride and the fact the boy’s thighs were injured would be enough to catch him before they reached the office Skylar was in. He wrapped his arm around the boy and slid to a stop right outside the open door. He could hear glass breaking and glanced into the room seeing Skylar standing by the open safe and throwing out little jars which her locusts swarmed the second they hit the ground. Eating every flea that was inside of them.

“They already have your plague!” Svlad shouted, he watched as Skylar went rigid from that, how she just stared into the safe, hand holding a jar she threw at her feet, not even watching as her locusts went after the fleas. She turned to look at them, Priest sighed while slowly letting the boy go, watching as he hesitated before walking into the office. “Blackwing took them from the cattle from the first sighting of it.” Svlad explained as she looked between the two of them. “This isn’t going to stop Blackwing if they really want to use it. Doctor Perish was useless to them.” He watched as she looked back to the safe and started to pull out the notes that were in there, retrieving a lighter from her pocket as she began burning them. Watching to make sure the fire was going long enough before dropping it. Priest glanced over when he noticed the computer by the desk was sparking and caught itself on fire as well making him wonder how much of it she destroyed and if they could retrieve any information from it.

“Blackwing still has Miles too, correct.” Priest glanced down the hall when he could hear people running in, seeing the agents who came to a stop when he held a hand up to halt them from coming forwards.

“Yes.” Priest finally stated while looking back to her, watching her grab one more jar and breaking it on the floor, slowly stepping over it as she passed Svlad and stepped out of the room. The Locust swarm following her and moving next to her, shielding herself and Priest from the view of the agents.

“You’re not taking me to Blackwing.” She stated it firmly, eyes narrowed on him in a threatening way making Priest just give her a reassuring smile.

“Sky, it’s not as bad as it used to be, we’re working with the projects now, you would have freedoms you never had before. You and Miles will be able to come and go as you please, you don’t have to do what I think you’re planning on doing.” Priest smiled patiently at her, seeing Svlad moving closer to the doorway though, he knew the boy was going to try something.

“He’s lying, you’ll be locked up and used in a worse way than last time.”

“Don’t listen to Svlad, he’s not like the others, he hasn’t accepted what he is and what he does in thus he’s still undergoin’ trainin’.” Informing her while stepping closer, putting a hand on her shoulder and watching as she looked up at him. A blank expression on her face as he continued. “But you?” His hand moved to her chin gently tilting it up. “Oh, Skylar, you’re goin’ to be able to live freely, be taken wherever you need to go without anyone battin’ an eye.”

“He’s a liar, Skylar.” Priest glanced over to the boy with a glare watching as Svlad took a step backwards under his gaze. “They’re going to use you.” He said it in a whisper as Priest just gave a heavy sigh.

“Look at me.” Skylar hesitated before glancing over to him. “Have I ever led you astray in the past?” He tilted his head, waiting patiently as she looked from him to Svlad and back again.

“No.”

“Why would I start lyin’ to you now?” He watched as the locusts left their side and went back under her clothes, how she stood there and looked from them over to the soldiers that stood there. “The choice is yours, Sky, I don’t want you to feel like I’m tryin’ to make decisions for you.” He added while holding his hands up half way and stepping back

“I want you to bring me Miles.” She finally stated after a moment of silence, Priest could feel the disappointment crawling in his chest from that statement. “You have till tomorrow evening. I will contact you on where to meet me in the morning… and Mr. Priest… I’m sorry, but I cannot go back there to stay.” He bit his tongue watching her as she stepped away from him. He lifted his hand to make sure the soldiers continued to stand down as she walked through them and out the door, he slowly lowered his hand and watched as the soldiers moved forwards. He grabbed Svlad by the arm, annoyed by the smug look on his face as he led him back towards the main door. Letting them take care of the mess that was left as they headed outside, finding Sheriff Headly talking with one of the Agents outside.

“Hey, you see where she went?” Priest called out to the Agent, watching as they pointed off in the distance.

“She headed that way, Sir.” He took note it was towards the Bar as he led Svlad to his SUV, glancing inside at the blood that was on the seats he sighed to himself.

“After we just got her clean too.” He mused the words with an amused giggle from the glare he received, a sudden look appearing on his face of worry as he glanced back to the hospital.

“Do you think Sean’s okay?”

“That depends on how much experience they have with trauma like that.” Priest stated flatly, watching how Svlad looked back towards the hospital. “We’re not checking. I need to get you back to the motel, cleaned up, change your bandages, and make sure you didn’t hurt yourself. How’s your pain level?” He watched the boy pout before slowly running his hands over his legs.

“Hurts.” He muttered in a defeated tone. Priest glanced over to some of the agents who were setting up and whistled one over. Watching as they walked over to him and stood at attention.

“We’re taking one of your SUV’s, get the gear switched over and make sure to get this cleaned up.” Priest stated while pulling Svlad away from the SUV, watching as a team of agents ran over to do as he said.  

“Can we please just check in and make sure he’s okay? I just would like to know he’s going to make it.” He made Svlad lean against the SUV he wanted.

“And what if he doesn’t make it?” He asked, watching that look of sorrow take over the boy’s face as he moved his hand to the headset he wore. “Priest to command.”

–“This is command.”

“Ken, got some bad news for you, Skylar killed Perish, and she wants Miles by tomorrow. Why don’t you send him over with my guys, I think I can talk her into coming with us if I let someone watch Svlad during the deal.” He watched how the boy glared at him and stood up with obvious anger on his face.

“You can’t just-” Priest grabbed him by the throat, squeezing tight and cutting off his protest as he lightly pushed him back against the grill of the SUV.

–“I’ll send the team over… we could also pick Svlad up and take him home while you deal with her.”

"No. I don’t want him to have the chance to go anywhere.” He let go and listened to Svlad cough as he moved his hand to the headset. “Talk to you later Ken.” He hung up before glancing to the agents who gave him a thumb up. “Get in the car.” He stated bluntly, watching as the boy slowly pushed himself off the grill and walked to the back, Priest followed him and cuffed one of his wrists to the ceiling of the SUV before putting the child lock on, shutting the door, and walking over to the other side. Opening the door to put the child lock on there as well before shutting it and climbing in the front seat. Giving a pleased noise from the bag of snacks being on the passenger’s seat instead of on the floor like they ended up in his car. He reached in and grabbed a donut for himself, putting it in his mouth as he pulled out a package of beef jerky, opening it he tossed it in the back at Svlad. Taking a bite out of the donut before glancing back at him. “Eat that.” He ordered while taking off out of the parking lot and heading towards the motel. Would have to see if anything over here had a takeout place so they could have food just delivered. He was amused by how silent the drive was back to the motel. Glancing back at Svlad every once in a while, seeing the boy just pouting as he ate the food he gave him. Staring out the window with a longing expression before looking back at him.

“Mr. Priest.”

“Yeah?”

“I know you said when I was 'trained’ or whatever, I would be able to have more freedoms like Bart. What do you mean by that though? There must be some sort of bigger catch?” Priest clicked his tongue while looking back ahead before shrugging.

“It’s really not rocket science, Svlad. You need to pay attention to your feelings and your hunches and listen to them and then you can have freedom. That’s why I gave you so much of it when you were actually doing what you were supposed to be doing until that fuck up with the Mayor.” He rested his hand on the steering-wheel glancing back at him. “I’m not askin’ you to do more than what the universe is tellin’ you to do.”

“And what you tell me to do.” He could hear a bitterness in the boy’s voice causing Priest to just grin.

“Boy, that’s just protocol. I’m your handler, you’re supposed to listen to me.” He stated while pulling into a parking spot outside of their motel room.

“Torturer.” He giggled at the statement, turning to look back at him after he put the car into park.

“Things were goin’ fine till you went against the universe. Funny how that always happens, now in'nit?” He watched how the boy just dropped his gaze and stared at the floor. “Svlad.” He purred the name, watching how he slowly looked up at him. “I’m only doin’ what’s best for you. Universe clearly wants us together for some reason and I think I know what it is finally.” He watched how the boy looked at him with a pained expression. “I can make the hard calls so you don’t have to.” He opened the door as he turned off the SUV, climbing out as he walked around and opened Svlad’s side. “Come on, let’s get you cleaned up.” Both of them cleaned up actually.

”Can you really call Murder a hard call when you obviously enjoy it?” Priest just smiled while unlocking the cuff and helping him out of the car. Seeing his pained expression when he put his foot on the ground. Hand immediately moving to rub at his thigh. “You can’t gun people down and laugh and tell me it’s a hard call.“ He continued anyway as he stood up straight and looked at him.

"Need I remind you, that I only killed three people, who would have been fine originally till you played tattle tale. And need I also remind you I wouldn’t have even killed the Mayor once I saw him infected layin’ on the floor.” He watched how the boy looked away from him as he got him inside of the motel, Priest paying attention to his limp the whole time. Shutting and locking the door behind them as he lead him into the bathroom. “I also never killed Evie even though I could have, or the Sheriff and Deputy, even though I also could have. Even helped Sean get to the ER.”

“You only did that out of personal motive to not get arrested.” Priest ran his tongue over his bottom lip while leaning in and invading the boy’s space.  

“Now let’s start with your back.” The boy hesitated but finally pulled the shirt off, actually, looking glad to have it off. Priest began looking over the bandages which had blood on them closer to where his back kept rubbing along his stomach and chest when he was holding him back. Priest slowly pulled off his jacket and tossed it to the side, looking at his bloodied hands as he sighed and stepped over to the sink. Washing it off before stepping over to touch the bandages and pull them off. Being gentle as he watched Svlad arch his spine and pull away as scabs pulled loose from growing into the bandages. He looked at the mess and could see where stitches pulled and gave a small sigh as he folded up the bandage and threw it in the trash. “When I’m done I’m going to have you laying on your stomach in the bed for a while so these can breathe, okay?” The boy just slowly nodded his head while looking at his hands. Watching him he rubbed his hands over his shoulders before kneeling down behind him, grabbing the kit he left in the room as he cut the stitches loose where he needed to.  

“What about Sean getting shot?”

“That was an accident.” He mused out the words, glancing up when he saw the boy turn his head to look at him. “Guess the universe didn’t want us to get arrested.” He giggled while slowly leaning back. “Face me.” He watched as the boy hesitated, hands moving to his pants which he slowly pulled down, revealing the leg with the stab wound was bleeding heavily. “Besides, you should know by now if I shoot someone it’s to kill.” He watched how the boy frowned while staring off to the side.

“I don’t understand why the universe would hurt an innocent teenager to help us.” Priest slowly moved his hand. Cupping the boy’s face to make him look at him, eyes scanning the boy’s as he gently wiped his thumb over some of the blood on his face to try and get it off of him.

“That’s simple, Svlad, the universe is cruel. All the shit you’ve been through, all the things you’ve seen.” He watched as the boy slowly pulled away from him, staring off to the side again. Lip quivering as Priest stood up to once more wash the blood off his hands so he wouldn’t contaminate the boy’s wounds. Stepping back over he sat in front of him, could feel the way the boy was staring at him. He slowly pulled the bandage off and looked at the torn stitches on his leg. Sighing as he once more cut the stitches loose gently removing them as he reached into the kit for the needle and the thread again.  

“Mr. Priest… how did you go from a project to an agent if they’re only just now working with us?” Threading the needle, he slowly brought it to his leg. Using his fingers to hold the wound together as he began sewing him up. Glancing up when the boy winced as the needle went into his skin, squirming as the thread pulled through he just smiled while looking back to what he was doing.

“Director Kinsely decided to look more into my file, I wasn’t the most cooperative test subject, costing them too much time, employees, and money. He saw I was recently out of the police academy and offered me a job.” He shrugged his shoulders as he continued to sew up the boy’s leg.

“The idea of you as a police officer is absolutely terrifying.” Priest couldn’t stop his giggle as he looked up at him.

“Good thing for you the Academy realized the same thing.” He mused the words out before looking back down to his leg. He could see Svlad staring at the names on it, already knowing where this was going to go as the boy started to cry again. He could hear him sniffling above him.

“I don’t feel like Todd and Farah had to die.” He whispered the words, watching as tears started to drip down on his thighs, he slowly looked up to the boy watching him cover his face as he sobbed into his hands. Glancing up at him though given the fact the boy was finally letting it sink in that they were gone. That he wasn’t trying to fight the idea that they were dead by talking about them in the present tense. Which was good progress in his opinion, he moved his free hand and slowly rubbed the side of the boy’s thigh.

“I’m sorry to tell you, baby, but clearly they needed to die.”

“That’s not true-”

“Look at me.” He moved to stare the boy in the face, watching as he slowly moved his hands and tried almost desperately to wipe the tears out of his eyes. “If they weren’t supposed to die something would have happened, you know that.” He watched as he shook his head, turning away from him as Priest continued to stitch the wound together. “Sometimes the Universe just does shit that doesn’t make since till it does. Which is how you solved that case today.” He watched the boy sniffle and shake his head while rubbing his face and crying harder.

“It didn’t matter!” Sounding so helpless and frustrated as he continued. “Solving the case didn’t matter, Skylar just did what it was she wanted to do anyway I didn’t make a bit of difference, other than apparently killing innocent people.” Priest listed to him cry watching as the boy finally leaned his head back listening to him sniffling as he went back to trying to wipe the tears off his face. “I didn’t do anything… but get you to kill three people, how was that helpful? How did that do anything-”

“Oh, trust me boy, you set into motion a fucking hell-scape for Blackwing.” He watched as the boy looked at him like that, Priest slowly started to giggle while sitting back on his ankles. “Baby, you told the bringer of death and destruction that Blackwing has access to her plague. If she killed Perish like that and wants Miles out of there so he’s not in danger, what do you think she’s going to do to Blackwing?” He could see a look of hope in the boy’s eyes from that statement. “Think you did just plenty for something bigger than this.” He watched how the boy just watched him how he opened his mouth before closing it again like he needed to be careful about what he wanted to say. “Svlad, you can just say it, need I remind you you already asked me why I wasn’t murdered, or the fact you told me you wished I went to hell. You’re fine.” He started bluntly while focusing more on stitching his leg so he could get it finished and they could finish getting cleaned up.

“You’re going to try to stop her, that’s why you don’t want me there tomorrow, isn’t it?” Priest just smiled while looking up at him briefly.

“Anything to keep the only thing I have ever loved alive and functional.” He mused the words out, smiling while finishing his last stitch putting the supplies away while checking the boy’s other leg.  

“I still don’t get what it is you like about Blackwing so much, or why you agreed to join if they did the same things to you they did to me.” Priest glanced up, watching the boy touch his own vivisection scar while looking to him. Knew he had seen and felt it in the morning when he woke up cuddling him. He gave a small hmm while shrugging his shoulders.

“It’s fun, it’s exciting, nothing can compare to the rush of a hunt in that place. To the way everything is always changing and evolving constantly keeping me on my toes as I not only help you people do what you need to do but the challenge of bringing you back home.” Not seeing that he needed to do anything to it he slowly let go of him and stood up. “Universe also felt like it was a good idea, so there’s that bonus.” He could see Svlad rolling his eyes. “You can be as skeptical as you want, but when they threw me in that SUV, and they dragged me to that place, I had such a good feeling about the whole experience.” He could see Svlad closing his eyes from that.

“How long were you a project.” Priest shrugged from the question.

“Three years.” He stated while watching Svlad think, visibly seeing the way he was in the process of thought by the expressions he was making before he clapped his hands together and went back to what he started this topic for.

“So, the universe wanted you in Blackwing so you could simultaneously help the projects and hunt them down to bring them to Blackwing. That seems like an interesting scenario. I have another one for you to think about.” He stated while clearing his throat.

“Really?” Priest sounded amused while watching him.

“You and I are forced to work together under the will of the universe, so you claim. I get this case and we are forced to work together given you caught me in time to make it so you went with me. We solve the case which leads to me setting up Skylar wanting to destroy Blackwing, which only happened because you insisted on having scientists come in to deal with the crime scene where they were able to harvest the fleas with Skylar’s plague.” Priest suddenly found himself not liking where this was going. “So, you in turn helped set Blackwing up for attack. Now say Skylar is successful and takes down Blackwing, you going to go back to your garden?” Priest clicked his tongue while giving him an amused smile.

“It’s one thing to be forced into retirement, Svlad, it’s something completely different having the fight of my life to keep my job intact.” He motioned to the tub. “Now get in the tub, you can stand this time.” He announced while taking off his own clothes, watching the boy slowly take off his underwear before stepping in the tub and turning the shower on. Priest slowly joining him as they worked on getting the blood off of themselves. Still thinking on what he was saying though, even as he watched the blood run down Svlad’s leg from where it caked on in his wound.

“You’re willing to let Skylar kill you then?” Like that was the only possible outcome of a fight between himself and Skylar. That knock out gas works just as well on her as it does the locusts she has.

“If it comes to that.” He tilted his head slightly before shrugging when the boy looked up at him. Honestly a little amused now that Svlad was willing to do that and not trying his hardest to avoid staring at him while they were in the shower. “I’m also willing to kill Skylar, if it comes to that.”

“What if the Universe wants you to help her instead?” He narrowed his eyes on him from that, watching him carefully as he gently guided the boy over and worked on cleaning his back.

“You know somethin’ I don’t know, Svlad?” He mused the words out before turning him to face him to clean his thighs.

“I mean, if the Universe really wants us to work together, and I just set up your job possibly being demolished, with the help of you in the first place, then yeah… Maybe it doesn’t want you to work for Blackwing anymore.”  Wasn’t really sure how to answer that question, honestly it had never crossed his mind that the universe would want him away from the job he felt like he needed to take in the first place. Which just made his mind linger on Ken, and how Bart wanted to kill him… Well… fuck me… Shutting off the water he grabbed towels and dried himself off before looking to Svlad who just hugged the towel around himself. He slowly guided the boy over to the bed. “You look worried Mr. Priest… sure does suck realizing you’re about to lose something you 'love’ doesn’t it.” Making him sit down as he used his own towel to dab the wounds on his thigh dry.  

“Svlad, I think I changed my mind and you don’t want to continue this conversation with me.” He watched how the boy sat up straight about to continue until his eyes narrowed on him. He could see him struggling before he finally just pouted his lips and turned his head away from him. Priest went to work putting more ointment on them.

“So what’s your plan then when Skylar doesn’t agree to come with you?” Priest gave a heavy sigh from the question.

“Don’t feel like I need to tell you that, Svlad.” He mused as he covered the boy’s thighs with bandages before stepping away to clean his hands off. “Lay on your stomach-”

“Can I get clothes, please?” He sighed while moving to give the boy new underwear and some sweats. He watched the boy carefully put them on, he slowly moved over to grab the pain pills. Checking the time before handing him one and a bottle of water. Few more hours and he could take his antibiotics again…

“Take that.” He watched the boy pop the pill in his mouth before drinking some of the water. Setting it on his side of the nightstand before he laid on the bed on his stomach, he watched as the boy instantly fell asleep the moment his head hit the pillow. Priest clicked his tongue before stepping away to work on reloading his gun. Stepping away momentarily to put on a pair of boxers before sitting back down and setting to work checking and cleaning it. Knew he should probably check his phone, but he really didn’t feel like it at the moment, if anything important happened they would just call. He leaned back in the chair that was there, glancing over to the boy’s sleeping form annoyed now that he couldn’t stop thinking of the possibility he might be forced to choose between the universes will and Blackwing. But he guessed he shouldn’t worry about that now, if anything he could get Skylar to listen to him and come back willingly… though that could set into motion her attack on Blackwing.

He grunted while setting the gun down, rubbing his forehead and being mindful of the cut there. Could just promise to take care of the fleas himself, toss them in the incinerator. Would lose Skylar, but then wouldn’t have to worry about her taking Blackwing down. He leaned back in his chair, finally getting up and walking to his pants he left in the bathroom. He dug through it in search of his phone, slowly walking back into the main room and glancing over at Svlad before looking back to his phone. To the texts he could see he had from Bosco, he slowly sat back down in the chair, setting it down. He really needed to think about this, if Skylar would even take his word for it. Knew she used to trust him but he wasn’t sure if shooting Miles, and then having Svlad trying to talk her out of listening would even help that. He closed his eyes and rubbed them with the ball of his hands before getting up and grabbing himself a water, drinking it as he moved over to climb into the bed. Turning on the tv and rolling his eyes when Svlad seemed to have noticed he was there and inched over to him.

Guess he finally had an answer the boy just liked to cuddle… he slowly moved his hand to pull the towel off him so he wouldn’t hurt his wounds, actually letting them breathe as the boy nestled his head on his thigh, one arm slinging around it. Priest watched him before looking back to the TV, casually flipping through channels till he settled on some documentary about World War II felt like he’d seen it before, but there was really nothing else to watch. His free hand slowly slid down to start running his fingers through Svlad’s hair, getting some of the knots loose as he felt how long it was now. Should really get him a haircut when they got back to Blackwing. He slid his hand down the boy’s face feeling the hair that was starting to grow on his cheek. Should shave him too… could always do that in the morning. He slowly glanced over to his phone when he heard it buzz, staring at it boredly before slowly sighing. Should probably go see what it was but he really didn’t feel like it at the moment…

He glanced towards the door when he heard a knock on it, staring at it boredly before moving to get Svlad’s arm off of him along with his head. Listening to the boy’s little groan as he stood up and grabbed his glock before heading over to the door. Having it ready in case it was someone looking for trouble, like Evie, or Reynolds, hell even Headly. He slowly opened the door and kept his gun at his side as he looked to Bosco who took in the sight of him in his boxers with an amused smile.

“Not interrupting anything am I, Sir?” Priest shoved the door open to invite him in, shutting it behind him as he turned to look at the man who let his eyes fall on Svlad’s back. Giving a low whistle as he walked closer to look it over. “Damn, lot prettier in person.” He hummed the words, voice a bit soft to not disturb the boy who slept soundly on the bed.

“You guys got here fast.”

“Well if you read my texts, you would know I’ve been here since the Town Hall incident, I just figured you were too busy to disturb till I heard from Deshmukh her, Poole, Sullivan, and Fletcher were headed over with Miles.” He watched as the man looked around the motel room, Priest just walked over and sat back down on the bed, getting comfortable again. He couldn’t stop his smile when the boy went back to cuddling his thigh, watching as Bosco looked from the boy to him with an amused smile. “Already got him that well trained? I’m impressed, Boss.” Priest couldn’t stop his giggle.

“Sadly, can’t take credit for this, he’s been cuddling me in bed since our first night out here.” Bosco looked amused as he grabbed Priest’s phone off the desk and handed it over to him. Taking off his boots and more tactical gear as he got on the bed on the other side of Svlad. Still eyeing the wings carved into his back. “There won’t be enough room for you later.”

“Don’t want to put your puppy on the floor?” He just smirked at that while moving his hand to brush his fingers through Svlad’s hair again. Glancing over when Bosco looked at the chain and moved it to see the collar attachment. “I bet he just looks adorable in this.” Sounded so amused as he dropped it carelessly on the floor.

“Mason still out with Bart?”

“Yeah. I think they finished eliminating their main objective, just having fun continuing the murder spree on the way home… Why?”

“Might need her help doin’ somethin’ stupid.” He mused the words out, amused how Bosco actually turned to him that time.

“Stupid how?” Actually sounding concerned.

“If Ken doesn’t listen to an ultimatum I’m going to give him I’m going to have to take things into my own hands, Mason can help get me the information I need on some of it.” Though if Ken knew what was good for him. He would listen to what he was going to say and just give him access to do it.

Chapter Text

Svlad, you need to wake up.” He heard the words and grumbled while pressing his face more against the warmth. Not really wanting to wake up, he was tired, and he hurt, but the person waking him was insistently shaking him. He finally opened his eyes, hands moving off the warmth he was hugging to his chest, slowly rubbing the sleep out of his eyes as he slowly pushed himself up and onto his knees. Eyes still closed as he pouted and rubbing his face some more.

“Okay, I’m awake.” Mumbling the words as he slowly blinked open his tired eyes, looking to Priest who was smiling in amusement while holding out his pills and a bottle of water. He started to reach for them when he noticed someone else was on the bed. Glancing over to see Bosco of all people, he gave a surprised gasp leaning back to scoot away from the man and being caught by Priest before he almost fell off the bed. “What is he doing here!?”

“Awe, come on, Svlad, thought you liked spending time with me.” Bosco purred out the words making Dirk narrow his eyes on him in annoyance before he looked back to Priest who was just giggling from this turn of events.

“I have never once done anything to make you assume that.” He snapped back while glaring at the man who sat on the bed, looking so comfortable where he was laying. Oh god… he wasn’t who he was cuddling was he? “Mr. Priest why is he here?” He asked while looking back to the man and slowly taking the pills from him along with the bottle of water. Popping the pills in his mouth as he unscrewed the cap and took a drink, patiently waiting for the answer.

“He’s helping me kill time while you sleep. Which you can go back to doin’ now, just needed ya to take your pills.” Priest mused the words out, Dirk found himself suddenly feeling uncomfortable when he noticed the man staring at all the bruises on his chest, stomach, and throat.

“I think I would rather stay awake until he leaves.” No longer feeling tired after seeing the man in the room with them. “And I also think that my cuts had enough time to breathe so you can bandage them again.” He added while handing Priest back the water, watching how the man just tilted his head.

“Really?” Dirk started to squirm in his spot not liking the way the man was looking at him. Like he was going to get in trouble for trying to tell him what to do. And he really did not want to get in trouble while Bosco was here and watching, he might want to help. The idea was making him squirm in his spot.

“I mean… can… can you please bandage my cuts so I can have a shirt back?” Hands already grabbing for the blanket and pulling it up enough to block Bosco’s view from the injuries. He never did like how the man would focus on them, how he would admire them. Even got chills from the fact there were times he commented on how pretty he looked when he was crying, humiliated, and in pain. He would just rather not let Bosco see or know how much the wounds on his back was tormenting him, rather him not use it against him later. Especially if Priest was going to have Bosco be the one to watch him while Priest tried to make a deal with Skylar.

“Lay back down.” He hesitated but finally did as asked, feeling his face heat up as the man pet his hair, like he was rewarding him for listening. He turned his head and pressed his cheek into the bed to avoid seeing Bosco’s reaction as he watched Priest get up, eyes locking on the glock that was so close to him. Resting on the night stand and in reach, he could easily grab it if he wanted too. Which made the whole situation feel like a test as he listened to Priest go and retrieve the med kit from the bathroom. Already wanting to get up and follow him so he wouldn’t be stuck alone with Bosco for however long it would take. He felt tense when he felt the bed shift, he held his breath realizing was Bosco was moving closer to him. He could feel the man’s hands touching the top of his shoulder, hand sliding over it, feeling the way he leaned over as Dirk gripped the blanket tighter in his hands. Wringing it obsessively in them as he waited for whatever it was Bosco was going to try to do.

“I don’t see why you want to cover them up, they’re beautiful.” He closed his eyes from the words that were purred down to him, whimpering when he felt gloved fingers touch between the cuts before they finally stopped and the man pulled away. He was trembling in pain, both emotional and physical from the statement and actions. They weren’t beautiful, they were a painful reminder that no matter what he did nothing ever worked. He could feel tears filling his eyes as he saw Priest set supplies down, he pressed his face more into the bed this time. Not wanting to see either of them as Priest set to work putting that antibiotic ointment on him before getting the bandages into place. Honestly, he was thankful for the ointment, it felt so cold on the wounds and didn’t make the bandages feel rough against him. Granted he still didn’t want to lay on his back, or put any pressure there, but the same could be said for his thighs as well. Which were starting to bother him from how long he had been laying on his stomach.

“All done.” He slowly sat up again, casually rubbing the tears off his face as he turned to face Priest, not wanting to acknowledge Bosco at all as he watched Priest grab a singlet for him and hand it over. It wasn’t entirely what he was looking for, but he supposed it was better than nothing as he slowly and carefully pulled it on to not hurt himself.

“Thank you, Mr. Priest.” He slowly started to fuss with the hem of his shirt, trying to do anything but acknowledge the man he could feel staring at him. “What time is it?”

“Have somewhere to be?” He glared over at Bosco from the question before looking back to Priest. Waiting patiently for the man to tell him, if he would… anyway.

Obviously, I have somewhere to be. Let me just go show you my incredibly filled up calendar, Bosco.” He stated in a sarcastic tone. He watched as Priest once more sat back down on the bed, now feeling like the man wasn’t going to tell him. He slowly moved his hand to rub his face, fingers moving to touch the scab along his cheek before he looked between the two men. Feeling slightly annoyed until Priest finally decided to acknowledge him.

“It’s late, Svlad, you should really get some more sleep.” He didn’t want to, he went back to fiddling with his shirt, looking the place Priest was patting on the bed to invite him over. If anything though, he wanted to sit on the other side of him, so he wasn’t trapped between Priest and Bosco.

“Where were we before your pet needed its pills?” Bosco finally asked, breaking the silence.

“You know, it’s actually kind of sad your memory is already turning to shit, you’re only what, forty?” Dirk didn’t necessarily intend to be this snarky right off the bat with the man, but at the same time he couldn’t really help himself. Or the small smile that made its way on his face when Priest actually giggled from the statement. Shouldn’t feel pleased for making the man laugh but for some reason he was, maybe just happy the man wasn’t hurting him for it? That had to be it, there was no other reason– he gave a surprised noise when Bosco grabbed him by the front of the shirt and dragged him over. Dirk’s hands moving, one resting on the bed the other unintentionally on his thigh from the force of the movement. Not really wanting to fall face first in the man’s lap and all. He moved his hand off his thigh to grab the shirt, wincing from the way he could feel it digging into his back from the tension. “O-ow-” Kind of hoping Priest would save him as he stared into Bosco’s smiling face, watching the way the man leaned in as he tried to push himself back and away, just hurting himself more.

“Bosco, I would rather not have to stich his back up again.” He gave a sigh in relief when the man released his shirt, he sat up on his knees and actually scooted himself closer to Priest. Now feeling more confident in the fact that Priest would keep his little attack dog under control.

“Your pet still has a mouth on it, boss.” He glared at Bosco while trying to sit up, about to defend the fact he wasn’t a pet until he felt Priest grab him by the back of the shirt and pull him back. He gave a squeak as he ended up on his arse, legs bent and actually leaning against the man. He could feel his face heating up when he realized he must have been cuddling Priest again when he was sleeping, which was much better than his previous thought of possibly cuddling Bosco. He was, however, mortified by the fact that Bosco of all people got to see that degrading thing he ended up doing because his stupid traitor body just wanted warmth. He couldn’t even find the will to move from the mortification on that as he ended up nestled, rather comfortably mind you, at Priest’s side with the man’s arm around his shoulder. Hated the fact that the man actually was comfortable to lay on, kind of soft even with the obvious muscle mass in his pecs and arms.

“Honestly, I kind of like the snark.” He found his face heating up more as he pulled his knees to his chest and covered his face with his hands. Not really wanting to look at either of them right now, not as he felt frozen to the core with absolutely, one hundred percent, unfiltered embarrassment. And actual joy over the fact the reason Priest never did anything but talk to him and occasionally snark back was because he liked it. That it was something of himself he was actually going to be able to have, unlike so many other things he took joy in.

“Isn’t that just cute, you’ve embarrassed your little pet.” Bosco sounded so amused, and honestly, Dirk actually wanted to kick the man in his stupid face to make him shut up. He finally took in a deep breath, dropping his hands and pushing himself up so he was standing on the bed. Walking off the bed and gently stepping down to the floor as he turned to look at them.

“I have to go to the bathroom.” It felt so ignominious to actually have to inform one of his actions, and it made it even worse from the smug look on Bosco’s face. But when Priest didn’t try to tell him no he continued into the bathroom and shut the door, hand hesitating over the lock. Thinking of just doing it, just locking the door and staying in there until Bosco left. But he didn’t know if Priest would freak out about it or not. He took in a deep breath and slowly stepped away from the door, looking at himself in the mirror before frowning and looking back at the lock. He should just do it anyway. Felt like a situation where he needed to weigh the pros and the cons before he hesitantly moved to sit on the edge of the tub. Rubbing his face as he glanced down at the clothes still on the floor, eyes lingering on his jacket. He looked up at the door before slowly grabbing it, pulling it into his lap as he looked to the blood on it. He got up and grabbed a rag from under the sink, getting it wet as he worked on cleaning the leather to the best of his ability.  

Looking it over to make sure he got all the blood off of it, he slowly pulled it on. Hugging it to himself and giving a soft sob when he realized how much it smelled of Priest. The way it smelled heavily of coffee, cedar, and gun powder along with the new coppery scent of blood. He just hugged it tighter around him, feeling how much bigger it was from the man getting it tailored so he could wear it. He brought is hand up to wipe some the tears from his eyes before he slid his hands in the pockets. Blinking from the feeling of what he assumed was a business card. He slowly worked on pulling it out when the door to the bathroom opened, he glanced up at Priest who just standing there. Staring at him before he reached down and scooped up his pair of pants off the bathroom floor. Watching the way he reached into the pocket and pulled out the controller for the device in his shoulder. There was a moment of them looking at one another before Priest dropped the bloodied pants and held his hand out.

“Take it off.” He stated, Dirk looked to the controller with a bit of annoyance over the fact it was right there and he didn’t even know. He took in a deep breath while squeezing the card that was in the pocket.

“Please, Mr. Priest? Just for a little while longer?” He turned his head to the side when the man stepped in and grabbed him by the arm easily pulling him up to his feet. He closed his eyes when Priest grabbed him by the jaw and turned his head to force him to stare at him.

“You want to wear my clothes now, baby?” He started to cry from that statement feeling the way the man cupped his face with both hands. Thumbs slowly wiping his tears away, he took in a shaky breath while finally opening his eyes to look up at him. Knowing the only way Priest might actually let him keep it on was if he played into this. If he admitted that the man owned the jacket just like the man believed he owned him.

“If you’ll let me.” Saying the words made his throat feel tight, especially from the pleased look the man had in his eyes. He could feel the way he continued to wipe the tears off his face, feeling the way he finally moved them to his shoulders and down his arms. Hand resting at the hand that was holding the card.

“Give me the card.” He was curious what was on it now as he slowly pulled it from his pocket, instantly having it snatched out of his hand before he had the chance to read it as the man stepped back and looked him over. Eyeing him in the jacket in a way that made him honestly want to take it off, like Priest was too pleased with the way he submitted that he viewed the jacket as his. He looked away, just waiting for the man to go back to talking to Bosco. “Stop hiding in here, come back out and join us.”

“Can I stay in here until he’s gone?”

“No.” Dirk grunted when the man grabbed him by the arm and pulled him out of the bathroom, suddenly making him feel humiliated over the fact he was in sweats, an undershirt, and his jacket which was now too big for him and made him feel very small. He could feel Bosco staring at him and gave a surprised noise from the fact the man was off the bed and actually really close to him. He went to take a step back but Bosco was grabbing him by the face and tilting his head up.

“Your pet’s lost weight.”

“Yes, well.” Dirk pulled away from the man and stepped back before crossing his arms over his chest. “Being starved does that to a person.” He stated matter-of-factly while glaring at the man who was just smiling at him. He could see a look in his eyes that reminded him of back in his room when he was making him eat off the floor.

“Aw, poor thing, boss not feeding you enough?” He glanced over towards Priest, looking for help when Bosco stepped closer to him. Making him step back until he bumped into the desk that was in the room. “Maybe he’ll let me feed you again. You get any better about eating off the floor?” He moved his hands and tried to shove him back, wincing from the feeling of the cuts pulling from the action.

“H-he’s feeding me fine.” Right now, anyway. “And you can keep your gross little floor eating-” he closed his eyes when Bosco just grabbed him by the face and tilted his head to look at him.

“I think we should show the boss how cute you look doing it.” Dirk shook his head not wanting that at all. It was bad enough with just Bosco in the room, but Priest seeing that too? “Should bind your hands so you can’t use them either.” Dirk glanced back over to Priest who was setting the controller down on the nightstand next to his gun. Taking a deep breath he turned back to look at the man, using all the courage he could muster to sneer at him.

“And I think you should piss off.” Bosco gave a small laugh at that, Dirk grabbed his wrist when the man put his hand around his throat. Not squeezing or anything, but the threat was real enough.

“Boss… I thought you liked it when your things didn’t talk?” Bosco looked so amused making Dirk narrow his eyes on him.

“Funny, he seems to let you talk.” Dirk countered, he could see the way the man glared at him and he moved trying to shove him off so he didn’t do anything as he could hear Priest giggling off to the side where he was. He could feel the way Bosco’s hand started to tighten, how he was starting to choke him so easily causing a panic to fuel him as he grabbed his wrist tighter and tried to pry his hand off with a concerned noise. Which thankfully was enough to get Priest’s attention, to get the man to look at them as Bosco shoved him hard enough back by his throat he was forced to sit on the desk. Feeling the way the man stepped forwards with a look in his eyes that was just screaming how he wanted to hurt him.

“Bosco.” Warning tone. One that was making Dirk tense he couldn’t imagine what it must be like for Bosco. But, gosh, did he hope it was terrible, and made the man want to do everything in his power to make Priest happy with him again. Dirk gave a relieved sigh when Bosco let go of him, he scooted off the desk and around him and headed over towards where Priest was.

“I think I was being nice.” Dirk glared at him before crossing his arms over his chest. Slowly getting annoyed that every movement he made just made him smell Priest more on the jacket. “Maybe we should chain the boy up so he won’t try to hide anymore.” Dirk glared at him from that comment, wanting to protest he didn’t do anything to warrant that. But, he instead just moved closer to Priest, almost standing behind the man. He moved his hand to rub at his face some more. Annoyed now that he realized when Priest went to talk to Skylar he would be alone with this asshole and Priest wouldn’t be able to say anything to make Bosco stop when he decided to hurt him.

“I’ll stop trying to hide when you go away.” He gasped when Priest grabbed him by the front of the jacket and gently lead him in front of him before pushing him on the bed.

“Svlad, you need to get used to Bosco, he is the one that will be watching you while I talk with Skylar.” Dirk sat up enough to look over at Priest before looking at the man who was just smiling at him. He scooted back and away from Bosco before looking back to Priest who was fixing the gun, controller, and water on the night stand. Placing them in an order of necessity.

“Can I see what else you did to it?” Dirk blinked when he looked to Bosco who was looking him over with an interested look. He suddenly felt uncomfortable with the statement before looking to Priest for reaffirmation he wouldn’t be hurt or anything with what it was Bosco wanted.

“I should change his bandages.” Dirk’s hands immediately went to his thighs where he made a noise in the back of his throat that tried to be a protest. “Why don’t you go ahead and chain him.” He felt cornered now, his breath catching as Bosco grabbed the chain that had the collar on it. He tried to get up only for Priest to catch him, giving him a warning look as he pushed him back down on the bed. “Svlad, you want to start misbehaving so soon?”

“N-no- I j-just.” He closed his eyes, feeling helpless when Bosco dragged him over by his hair. Wincing from the pain in his scalp as he moved his hands to brace himself before Bosco locked that stupid collar around his throat. He could already feel tears in his eyes when the man just pet him, like he did a good job, he moved and shoved his hands away. Pulling himself away from Bosco until the chain pulled tight and he couldn’t move any further.

“Pull down your sweats.” Could see Priest dropping the med bag back on the bed. He felt like he was going to die as he put his hands over his thighs and gave the man a begging look. Seeing his hand reach over he realized he was going for the controller to the device in his shoulder. He closed his eyes as his hands moved to the waistband of the sweats, head turning as far away from Bosco as he could as he slowly pulled them down stopping just under the bandages. Feeling Priest pet him, and even cup his face gently made him feel… well honestly a bit relieved that it was him and not Bosco. He could feel the bandages being peeled off his thigh making his hands slide down to grab at the blankets as Priest pulled the bandages off on the other side. He felt weight on the bed, and still didn’t dare open his eyes even when he felt a hand touch his thigh. Sliding uncomfortably close to his inner thigh making him open his eyes. Hands moving to grab Bosco’s wrist as the man easily and carelessly tugged him closer by it. Continuing to hold on to him despite Dirk trying to shove his hand off.

“Touching seems completely unnecessary!” Snapping the words and freezing when the man looked the cuts over, fingers hovering over it like he was just waiting for him to say something else so he could touch more.

“And what, stupid, thing did you do to get these, Svlad?”  

“That is not my na-” He froze when he felt Priest look at him, heart pounding a bit in his chest as he glanced at him before looking at Bosco. Clearing his throat, needed to play smart, needed to not get in trouble with Bosco here. “What I mean to say is, that is not any of your business what I did.” He grit his teeth while trying to pull away from him, looking from Bosco to Priest who was just working on rebandaging the side with Farah’s name.  

“Todd.” The way he said the name made his heart ache. Dirk whimpered when Bosco ran his thumb over the wounds. “That was like, your old boyfriend or something?” Dirk could feel more tears in his eyes as he tried harder to shove the man away. Only for Priest to stop him by pulling on the chain around his neck, getting him to look at him.

“Stop movin’ so much, Darlin’.” He stilled enough for the man to keep bandaging his leg.

“Can you please stop touching it?” He didn’t want to look at Bosco, just winced when the man squeezed his thigh before letting go. He could feel tears in his eyes when he glanced over to see the smug smile on the man’s face.

“Well, well, guess it does have manners.” Dirk glared at him from that, biting his lip and turning so his legs were facing Priest who worked on cleaning and bandaging his other leg before allowing him to pull his pants up. He felt overwhelmed with emotions from seeing the cuts, from having Bosco ask about Todd he couldn’t stop the stream of tears flowing from his eyes as he quickly just tried to wipe them away. Ignoring the two men who went back to conversing like he wasn’t even there. The only acknowledgement he was receiving about the obvious pain he was in was Priest gently brushing his fingers through his hair, only making him cry harder.

“Svlad.” He could hear his name being spoken and he couldn’t stop himself from pressing his face into the man’s shoulder, from leaning against him wanting some type of comfort as he lost all his composure. Unable to keep the act up anymore, unable to focus on anything other than the fact Priest was right about him, about what he was. How he only ever brought death, and probably always will. He knew Ken and Francis said he could do something different. That he helped people. Francis claimed he brought people to where they needed to be, but it was right to deaths door. That’s the only place he brought people. He covered his face as he continued to cry and sob, hating this even more seeing as he was with the Holistic Catalyst that apparently just brought what he was supposed to do out even more.

“Is this because I asked about its boyfriend.” The harshness of his voice made Dirk flinch as he pressed his face more into Priest’s shoulder, wanting away from the other man… Actually, ideally, he would rather be away from both of them right now. He just wanted… he didn’t know what he wanted anymore… He didn’t know why he bothered trying any more, any time he tried to do anything he just got himself in trouble or hurt. Or worse, other people hurt. He was tired. He was exhausted. He wanted to quit worse than he did back in Wendimoor.

“Svlad, look at me.” He was choking on his sobs while finally opening his eyes to look at Priest, unable to read his expression making him fear he was mad. That he was going to get into trouble just causing him to cry harder as he forced himself to sit up and start to furiously wipe his tears away.

“I-I’m s-sorry. I’m s-sorry I-I’ll st-stop-” He choked on a sob while curling his legs to his chest and burying his face into his knees. He couldn’t though, it was like the flood gates had opened and there was nothing he could do to close them. Just thinking about everything that lead him to this moment, worrying who he was going to get killed next.  

“What’s wrong?”

“I-I…” He slowly leaned back looking the man in the eyes, well as much as he could see through the tears that wouldn’t stop falling. Worry and panic building in his gut as he thought about his talk with the sheriff. “Headly.” He said the name softly.

“What about him?” Dirk knew though, he knew that he doomed the sheriff by telling him all that information about the case, he suddenly felt sick as he pulled away from Priest shaking his head with tears already slipping down his cheeks.  

“We can’t let them die.” He insisted, looking in Priest’s face, hoping the man would just listen to him. But he only started to wiping his tears away, he felt frustrated and useless, that feeling winding itself tight in his chest to the point he didn’t realize he was breathing as hard as he was until he became lightheaded. Everything felt like it was spinning around him as he just cried, giving heavy uneven sobs he couldn’t stop himself from choking on them causing him to cough in between sobs and gasps for air. He couldn’t catch his breath either, feeling like he was suffocating only making him cry harder. Making his lungs and throat burn as he felt gentle touches to his hair, soothing sounds trying to bring him out of his own head. He didn’t want any more people to die, he didn’t want to live with the fact he killed Sheriff Headly by filling him in on the case…  

And what about Sean?

Sean knew about Skylar, even if he did live from the gunshot wound… would Blackwing just come in and kill him? He cried harder, feeling himself easily being picked up, he tried to struggle, tried to get out of the grip he was assuming was Priest. But once more he was too useless to do anything as he was pulled helplessly to wherever Priest wanted him. He could hear Bosco laughing making him just press his tear streaked face into Priest’s chest as he found himself sitting comfortably in the man’s lap. He hugged himself though, fingers scratching at the jacket he wore. Wondering where Priest would carve him up for this, where the next place for his ever-growing death tally was going to go. He couldn’t focus on anything, everything was spinning too much, everything felt dark even when he did manage to open his eyes between gasps for breath. And that annoying feeling of Priest rubbing his arm and hugging him to his chest trying to calm him down was just making him feel exhausted. That’s all he ever felt anymore, exhausted.

And it didn’t help that stupid Priest actually felt cozy to sit on and lean against. He pressed his face more into the man’s shoulder trying to calm his breathing down, trying not to continue his breakdown given Bosco was there but he felt so overwhelmed by everything. Even listening to Priest lie to him about how everything was fine as he held and pet him. He gave an annoyed groan from it while shaking his head, hands finally moving off himself to shove at the man’s chest as he sat up more, glaring at him.

“I a-am not a child.” He snapped the words while trying to wipe the tears from his eyes.

“Could have fooled me.” He glared over at Bosco through the tears before looking back to Priest.

“I know n-nothing I-is going to be okay. I am wildly aware of th-that fact. I-I would appreciate it if y-you didn’t lie to me so blatantly-”

“Only lie to you when I’m being sneaky?” The way he said the words in such a sassy tone had Dirk leaning back to look at him. Mouth opening like he was going to say something before closing as he looked at the man’s smiling face, listening to the way he started to giggle.

“Not at all would be ideal…” He groaned when the man started to wipe his tears away, he sniffled wondering how long he had been crying. His head was starting to hurt making him whine as he tried to pull away from him. Listening to the chain attached to his collar rattle from the movements as he started to push at Priest’s shoulders, grunting when the man just pulled him closer. Hugging him making his tears start building up again. “St-stop. Y-you’re going to make me cry again-”

“Thought it was good to get that out?” Could feel the way the man was looking at Bosco from over his shoulder. “That’s how that works right?”

“You can stop playing tough, I’m s-sure there’s s-something th-that’s made you cry.” Dirk mumbled against his shoulder… actually that was an amusing thought, wondering what would make Priest cry… wondered if he cried when Blackwing shut down since he claims he loves it… If he would cry if they ended up having to bring the place down… Yeah… those were good thoughts… he was so lost in his head he didn’t even notice the two men were talking until he heard his name. Slowly trying to focus in on the conversation.

“I don’t get how you can deal with that shit, Boss, it’s annoying.”

“Kind of cute, actually.” Oh god… were they talking about him having a break down? He glanced down to notice his hands were rubbing along Priest’s chest causing him to quickly sit up and push away.

“What’s cute?” Horrified at the idea they might actually be talking about him having a break down.

“You.” Hearing Priest state that so bluntly while looking at him made his face heat up as he moved to immediately climb off the man’s lap. Feeling strangely flustered from the statement as he sat on the bed, just thankful Bosco seemed to have made himself at home more or less sprawled across the foot of the bed so he didn’t end up sitting next to him. He slowly started to fiddle with the jacket while looking between them noticing Bosco just laughing like this was the funniest thing he’d ever seen.

“You guys are jerks.” Priest just giggled at that while Dirk hugged himself and looked away. Slowly turning his head towards the door when he heard more vehicles outside. Bosco was getting up now, heading over to the door, peeking outside before smiling back at them.

“Teams here, just let me know when you need me to watch it.” He hated the way the man called him that, watching him disappear through the door with a glare before looking to Priest.

“You’re not really going to leave me with him, are you? Like, that’s just a cruel thing you’re saying as a threat so I behave for your deal with Skylar?” He gave a small squeak when the man turned to face him. Unsure why he was so nervous like the man was going to hit him for something. He felt like he did something wrong, and he wasn’t entirely sure why. Mind trying so hard to back track about what it was he did wrong, hating the sudden anxious feeling in his stomach.

“You’re going to wait with him while I bring Miles to Skylar.” Dirk hated that, he hated everything about it. “Why don’t you try and go back to sleep.” He watched as the man stood up pulling on a pair of pants and a random shirt as he headed to the door. “Don’t go anywhere.” Dirk watched the door shut behind him, he could hear the muffled voices from outside, making him hug his legs to his chest as he waited patiently. Wondered if he should tell him something was giving him a bad feeling, but then he might ask what was, and honestly, he had no idea in the slightest what the current issue was. He groaned before looking over to the nightstand, staring at the controller that was just staring at him next to the gun. He slowly moved and pulled on the chain, glancing at the door to make sure Priest didn’t hear him and wouldn’t come in. He turned to look at the headboard tugging tightly on the chain as he moved himself as far over as he could reaching with his hand at first before an idea hit him.  

He smiled while rotating his body and reaching out with his foot. Propping himself up on his elbows so he could see what he was doing, managing to reach the night stand curling his foot as he pulled his foot back and pulled the remote and the gun towards the bed giving a soft noise in the back of his throat when he accidentally knocked the gun down on the floor between the night stand and the bed. He groaned and laid back down guessing he would have to use more force. He glanced back at the door, heart hammering heavily in his chest as he forced himself to sit up and pushed the remote back slightly with his toes before yanking it hard with his foot. Successfully getting it on the bed, making sure no one was walking in he sat and and grabbed the remote. Looking at it, eyes lingering on the lock button with a feeling of victory. He could remove it and break it before Priest even– Dirk stared at the door, eyes wide as he quickly stuffed the remote under his pillow. Heart still hammering eyes wide as he watched the man look from him over to the nightstand. He could see a look of disappointment on the man’s face.

“Where’s the gun, boy?” He bit his lip while pointing over to the side of the bed.

“It was so weird, Mr. Priest, the gun just threw itself on the floor. You know I heard that Blackwing had an invisible man maybe he’s hanging out in our motel room.” He cleared his throat while obsessively rubbing creases out of his sweats, despite the fact they just reappeared every time he shifted in his nervousness.

Boy.” The way he said it making him flinch. “I’m not going to play this game with you. Where’s the remote, and how did you knock the gun down?” He was walking over to the night stand, picking up the gun and checking it. Dirk just watched him and shifted around nervously before slowly sliding his hand under the pillow. Slowly pulling the remote out with tears in his eyes, before looking up to him. “Planning to take it out? Go ahead.” He sounded amused, it made him whine a bit, should pull it out, throw it on the ground, and smash it. But the way he said that, the way he was encouraging it just made him fear what would happen. His thumb hovered over the button, he bit his lip looking at it before glancing back up at Priest.

“Wh-what happens when I push the button?”

“Was wonderin’ the same thing, I mean, here you are. Chained to a bed, with not only myself, but my crew blockin’ you from escapin’. Honestly, I think you would be in too much pain to do anythin’ from removing it. So… what exactly was your plan?” His thumb hesitated over the button looking from the remote up to Priest tears building in his eyes, he could feel his lip trembling as he thought about it. Blinking when the man just reached over and snatched the remote out of his hand. “But if you really want to see what I’m talkin’ about.” He watched as he pressed the button, instantly getting his by a large amount of pain shooting through his shoulder so hard it caused him to collapse on the bed. He didn’t even realize he was screaming from the stabbing, and scratching pain that began inside of his shoulder to the point he felt like he might throw up. Rolling on his side and curling up, choking himself with the collar and not being able to do anything about it given how much his arm felt like it was on fire. His fingers twitching in that arm sporadically and crying so hard he didn’t even notice he ended up falling off the bed until Priest was there pulling up off the floor. He could feel the jacket being pulled off of him making him scream a bit louder from the pain of his arm moving. From his muscles flexing where the device was destroying the inside of his shoulder.

“Didn’t think that one through too well did ya?” He whined softly as he felt Priest pushing on the device making sure it was okay. He was crying harder when the pain slowly began to subside until Priest locked it back into place. Feeling the way the needle like points cut back through already damaged tissue to anchor itself back inside of him. He was trembling and crying feeling the way the man was petting his hair, he couldn’t stop himself from sobbing into the bed from the pain. “Kind of punished yourself for that one, Darlin’.” He could hear the man moving, he just clutched at the blankets while pressing his face more into the bed. He whined when Priest dragged him up by his hair, he could feel the tears rolling off his face as the man leaned in closer. “I give ya any type of kindness and ya just keep goin’ and ruinin’ it. Ya want me to just hurt you all the time, boy?” He shook his head, unintentionally leaning forwards and pressing his face against the man’s chest.

“N-no. N-no M-Mr. P-Pr-Priest. I… I-”

“Really, because that’s what keeps happenin’. Startin’ ta think ya like when I hurt ya.” Dirk cried harder, he didn’t really have a plan, didn’t really think about it. Just kind of hoped through luck being on his side for once he would get out, save Miles, and they could both go find Skylar and get out of this place. “Breathe.” Hearing the man say that made him cry harder as he moved his hand to his shoulder rubbing at the top of it trying to feel something other than the pain. Trying so hard to catch his breath to stop sobbing. Or try to stop anyway, felt so guilty and he hated it. He didn’t do anything wrong, he just… he just wanted to be free.

“I don’t want t-to go back to Blackwing-”

“Is that what this is about?” He sounded annoyed, Dirk leaned back to look up at him with tears in his eyes.

“Something’s wrong… I don’t know wh-what b-but s-something f-feels really wrong-” He gasped when the man cupped his face, forcing him to look him in the eyes.

“You still have that feeling?” The way he asked that made Dirk cry a bit harder as he pulled his face out of the man’s hands. Or tried to anyway, he didn’t seem to want to let him go, he moved his hands to Priest’s wrists and tried harder. Immediately regretting the decision from the pain that shot through his arm causing it to drop uselessly to his side. He cried harder from that, glancing at his arm a bit scared from how much it was hurting him right now. Was it going to be useless now? Did the device cut through something it shouldn’t have?

“Y-yes.” He gave a soft noise when the man let him go. “A-and M-Mr. P-Priest it r-really h-hurts.” Realizing he actually didn’t want him to, that he wanted that again. So much so that he found himself leaning forwards to follow after him.

“Yeah, it hurts, Svlad, baby,” he blinked as more tears fell from his eyes, looking up at the man while clumsily falling onto his side that didn’t hurt. Cheek nuzzling against Priest’s thigh, pleased when the man started to pet his hair again. He could see the smug smile on his face, like one someone would give if they won something. “You just got the inside of your shoulder diced up.” He moved his hand to cradle his arm to his chest, watching how Priest moved to grab his phone, looking through it before working on something. He couldn’t stop himself from crying into the man’s thigh, watching the man out of the corner of his eye. Nervous about every move the man made, causing him to flinch, which eventually started to fade. The pain slowly dying down into twinges as Priest seemed to be very into whatever it was he was working on. Practically ignoring him the whole time, he slowly started to close his eyes. That exhaustion and pain working against him to cause him to pass out next to the man.  

It was weird.

To find himself standing in a crowd of people, pain free, when the last thing he had seen was Priest. He looked to their blurred and distorted faces, to the fact they looked to be in grayscale as if he were in the middle of an old movie. He felt like he was in the middle of a city but everything around them was pure white, he honestly found himself not wanting to move as he looked around him. Not wanting to disturb whatever it was that was going on despite a feeling telling him deep down he should get out of there. He couldn’t see the danger but his stomach was trying to warn him about something. Everyone in the crowd frozen in mid step, and some in mid action, like taking a drink, talking on the phone, one-person tripping, another tying their shoe. And some random lady was leaning against an invisible wall fixing her heel. He blinked a few times, hands moving to touch his chest and stomach as he looked down at himself.  

Head tilting from the outfit he found himself to be wearing, a white shirt, black pants, red shoes, red tie, and his red jacket. He let his fingers fiddle with the tie that seemed new, head tilted to the side as he looked at the decorative golden designs on it that actually looked like they were moving. He narrowed his eyes on the tie before finally looking up and around. Wondering if any of the people he was standing with happened to have moved, but they all seemed to be in the same place doing the same things. He finally dared to move, taking a step forwards and accidentally bumping into someone who just collapsed at his feet. He stood there with wide eyes before looking up at the rest of the crowd, fearing to touch anyone now as the white floor under the person became red and their body actually seemed to melt into a bloody, puss filled, boiling horror that he fearfully stepped back from.

Guilt, and dread, and horror filled him staring at the body of the person he touched. Tears immediately building in his eyes as he took in a deep breath and held it. His back and thighs almost felt like they were burning from it. Even in a dream all he did was kill things, he crouched down, turning away from the body and held his head in his hands, tears pouring from his eyes as he hugged himself. “No, this is wrong… this is wrong… everything feels wrong. I’m not a killer I’m not-” He stared when he thought he saw one of them move, worry clawed violently at his chest as he slowly forced himself to stand up. “Hello?” He asked it softly, gentle, like he didn’t really want to have something moving in the crowd. He squinted in the distance, giving a small whimper when he noticed one of the people twitching.

“Right… okay… this is my punishment.” He muttered to himself while looking around the place with worry, a worry that continued to fill his chest as he glanced around staring at the white landscape he found himself in. A sudden panic filling him as he thought about that dream he and Priest talked about. “Well that makes, no sense, why am I in Hell? Is it because of what happens around me? Well is that it, universe!? Is this what you have for me!? You make me a cursed and dangerous thing that gets people killed and then you send me right to hell!? That is… that is really messed up, you know? I didn’t ask for this! I didn’t want this! I don’t want this! I don’t want to be psychic! And I most definitely do not want to be a casualty psychic! Please!” He took in a deep breath looking around the crowd. Were they looking at him now? He didn’t want to linger on the thought as he looked back to the melted goo like puddle by his feet with a soft whine, he finally took in a deep breath. Eyes closed before he stared up at the ceiling, or sky, or whatever it was. He just needed to very carefully navigate through everyone-

Boys”  

He could hear the word being growled, sounded like it was echoing around him, a familiar gruff voice he placed so easily as Martin… was… was he here too? He whimpered, taking a deep breath before slowly starting to maneuver through the crowd, doing everything in his power not to touch anyone as he headed towards where he swore he heard the man. Not that he particularly liked dealing with the Rowdy 3, but if they were here then he obviously came to hell for a reason… Maybe to help them… Actually, no scratch that, he no longer was going to refer to this place as Hell. It was… depressing, honestly. He sighed in relief when he was no longer surrounded by a crowd of people that would die and melt when he touched them. He glanced back and gave a fearful gasp when they were all just standing there. All of them up right, except for their heads which were tilted in various angles a human head should probably never be tilted in. No longer blurred like a bad security camera, but instead heavily and horribly distorted in the form of a body horror akin to a horror movie. Their skulls cracked open with, what he assumed to be, brains pulsing and leaking out of their very misshapen and deformed heads. He quickly turned his back to them, feeling a bit sick as he pushed himself forwards.

“Just keep walking, we’re okay, we’re fine, everything is going to be fine.” He kept whispering it to himself as he looked around the open white space. Wondering if maybe this place was different, because Priest said he was in a room that went on forever, as in; he could see all four walls. Dirk, however, was stuck in a vast openness looking for a voice he thought he heard, and as he walked he could see grass slowly coming into view. Slowly sprouting out of the white in little grass tufts that seemed so surreal to see. The tufts eventually getting thicker and coning out from a path until it turned into a vast field. Trees growing thicker the closer he got until he saw the van. The black, horribly graffitied van with the name Rowdy 3 spray-painted across in red. He stood there for a moment looking around but not seeing anyone by it. And honestly it was so quiet he wasn’t sure if he would ever see anyone by it. But, he continued to walk closer, waiting for the four… five… no wait. Six. They had six now. People to come spilling out of the van… but they didn’t. It just slowly started to rock like the engine was revving despite no noise coming out of it.

Why can’t we just kill him!?”

“Amanda?” He took a step closer. “Amanda are you there!?” He called out, hopeful to see her, to see a friendly face.

You said you needed all of the other weirdo’s, drummer.” The words almost growled, he could feel something from them; anger, regret, worry. He put his hand on his chest taking a deep breath. Those feelings were strong enough to almost make him want to scream.

This is bull!”

The voices had spilled out from the closed window, he peeked in the van but didn’t see anyone, or anything, in fact it was just white inside, but he swore he could hear Priest’s giggle coming from it. But he didn’t see Amanda or the Rowdy 3 anywhere in sight. He slowly stepped back before staring at the Van. Slowly walking around the van to see if the other side would be different. The second he passed the back he found himself standing in a wet muddy road next to a railroad track a little worse for wear. All crooked and wonky and twisting around he could see a little shack in the distance. Looking back to where the van and field was he slowly stepped back hoping to see it reappear but it unfortunately didn’t. Just making him feel more alone before he glanced back ahead with a shaky sigh.  

“What is this place? What does all of this mean?” He asked, honestly unsure if he wanted someone to answer him. He gave a sigh of relief when he was met with silence, but that meant he was still all alone in this horrifyingly disconcerting place full of death and loneliness… Grunting he continued forwards, glancing around before cupping his hands around his mouth. “Is anyone here!” Could hear the way his voice echoed around as he slowly sighed and started to rub his face. Guessed he was doing good though, seeing as Hugo hasn’t shown up to wake him up? Or maybe that was bad… didn’t Priest say Hugo told him he was there for a while and might get stuck? “Don’t think about it, don’t think about it. Everything is fine I’m totally, one hundred percent, a-okay, and nothing bad is going to happen.” He told himself, looking around as a rock path slowly started to take the place of the train tracks. They were curving and winding and leading him away from the direction he was currently going.  

“Follow the yellow brick road… Only you know… boring yet absolutely horrifying.” He muttered to himself, trying to stop himself from freaking out as he turned and headed down the path laid out for him. It didn’t take long for him to reach a house, or rather, a large cabin looking thing which looked a little worse for wear on the outside. Walking over to it he slowly made his way up the porch which creaked under his feet, pushing open the door he looked around. Seeing hunting trophies along the walls, or what was supposed to be hunting trophies he assumed. The stag heads were horribly rotting and has maggots and flies all over them, dripping gore down onto the table with rotted fruit. The smell alone made him gag as he covered his mouth and nose with his hand. Glancing over at a beautifully intricate fireplace which had a fire going despite it feeling so cold in the house. He tilted his head as he walked in a little further, heading out of the entry way and spotting a small kitchen where he could smell food cooking on the stove.

“Hello?” He could hear the sound of laughter coming from the room, but he didn’t see anyone in there, just smelled the food, he frowned while walking in further before turning on his heel and seeing it. Seeing what Priest described, a dining room table covered in flowers with two chairs on either end. But he didn’t see the gore that Priest described, he just saw the flowers and the furniture, no red door either. He ran his tongue along his teeth before stepping closer to the table, walking around it, he couldn’t help but notice there was a rather massive mound in the middle of it. Almost as if there was a person laying on the table covered in flowers. He glanced around to make sure no one was there as he slowly reached a hand out, quickly pulling away when what was once a lily turned into a thorny vine that actually grabbed for him. He backed up and tripped over his feet falling painfully against the wall as he watched the flower petals shed off the table, the greenery turning black with red thorns and the mound on the table slowly starting to sit up.

“Right, I am sooo sorry for disturbing you, I will just… go?” He said with a small nervous laugh, keeping himself pressed against the wall as he walked around the room heading back to the door as the mound moved with the vines and clumsily fell off the table. Dirk didn’t waste a second and ran as fast as he could out of the cabin, turning around to look back at it while catching his breath and watching as it slowly started to crumble in on itself. “Okay, don’t touch anything, Dirk.” He looked to his hands and back at the cabin which was more or less demolished now. Smoking and smoldering almost like it had burned down, but there were pieces all over the place as well… like… it exploded?  

Dirk’s eyes widened when he noticed that the thorn covered mass was still just standing in the middle of all the smoke and fire. He felt like it was staring at him despite not actually having eyes, he quickly turned to keep running. Just pushing himself in one direction and not wanting to stop even as he ended up running through rooms that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. He dodged through doorways that were at the end of each room, something in his mind telling him to look at these places he was passing through. But he really didn’t want the bad dream monster to catch-

Oi! The fuck are ya doin’ ‘ere?” He stopped, he found himself standing in the middle of a yard, a broken-down bus off to the side and a nice little house in front of him. He squinted at it before looking around again, trying to find the source. There was another feeling with it; amusement, mixed with irritation. But there was something about it that felt important. He looked to the house head tilting when he saw two diamond shapes in white inside of one another and a line going through horizontally on the inside diamond. It kind of looked like a symbol from Blackwing… he slowly started to head towards the house, wondering what all of this was.

“Hello?” But nothing answered back, the voice was gone and he was once again alone. He started to chew on his lip as he walked through the door, wondering what all he would find on the other side. But he just stepped through into a white open space which is where he saw it. The solid red door standing up right completely isolated in the middle of nothingness. There was a feeling coming from the door that made Dirk start to fidget with his tie. Even without what Priest told him his mind was just screaming that the Red door was bad.  

That’s what his mind kept telling him, almost like a broken record as he backed away from it. Casually looking over his shoulder to see if that thing was still there or not. But he didn’t see anything… so that was good… right? He slowly looked back to the red door, almost feeling like it was calling to him. The way it did was making a bad feeling worm its way into his gut worse than what he felt in the motel room. He quickly turned to the right and started to head that way, figuring it would be safe than back the way he came, and definitely a lot safer than towards the door. Which after a few minutes of walking through what eventually turned into a hallway he saw something standing at the end. He watched the way the white space above the figure started to flicker in and out blinking making the mass on the other side move and twitch each time it was left in darkness in an eerie way that was making his skin crawl. It didn’t help that it sounded like it was calling his name, hearing the way the name dripped out of it like a poison that might kill him if he got too close. Wondered if this was what talked to Priest too?  

“I need to move.” He told himself watching as it scurried forwards when the panel above it turned black, how it stood right near the line of the next one, twitching and swaying with a broken laugh as the light above it began to flicker again. “I need to move.” Repeating it as he finally took in a deep breath and started to step backwards when the darkness started to flicker along down the hallway, going right for him. When each time one of the panels of white faded to black the thing got closer to him. “N-no.” He turned and ran the other way, heading back into the space that the door was, seeing the handle on it was jiggling like whatever was behind it was trying to open the door. “This is bad.” He told himself as he went the opposite way, seeing as it was the only way to logically go, unless he was supposed to talk with the creature covered in vines? But then it shouldn’t have been so scary, right?  

He found himself just wanting to cry from the fact everything was just getting creepier, watching how the area around him looked like it was starting to melt, how the whiteness wavered and faded into black before thrumming back into a bright white area. It was making him too scared to want to move forwards, like there was something wrong here. Dirk ran his hands through his hair and crouched down, feeling tears in his eyes as he stared at his feet. He didn’t like this place, he didn’t like anything about it, he felt too over whelmed, there were fragments of voices beginning to echo around him. Like chopped up conversations. Some of them were frantic while others were calm. Some seemed to angry and broken. He just wanted it to stop, he wanted everything to stop, the noises going to fast to even be able to tell what they were saying.  

“Pl-please, I-I’m s-sorry… I’m s-so sorry.” He whispered to himself, running his hands obsessively over his face trying to rub all his tears away. “I d-don’t wa-want this anym-more, please, pl-please j-ju-just make everything st-stop.” He was choking on his sobs, pressing his face into his knees. “Just make it stop.” He blinked a bit when he noticed a shadow looming over him that didn’t look quite human. He screamed as he leaped forwards and turned around to face whatever it was only to see Hugo standing there. He looked at him, then back to the shadow, then back to Hugo while narrowing his eyes on him, uncertain if this was really him or not.

“Hi, Dirk.” He slowly stood up and brushed himself off before looking around them when he noticed the place seemed to have stabilized itself again. “Are you okay?” Feeling slightly anxious when he noticed the room around him actually reminded him of the halls in Blackwing…

“Am I okay? What kind of question is that!? No! No, I am not okay!” He watched how the man turned his head kind of to the side, like the yelling was putting him off. Well too bad. “I just.” He took in a deep breath and rubbed his face before looking back to the man.

“You… you see like a, uh, lot more stuff.” He didn’t know how he felt about that, that sentence just confusing him and making him even more confused about what this place even was.

“Okay, where are we, Mr. Friedkin? What is this place? Why did Icome here? Why did Priest come here? What is going on-” he watched as the man started to wave his hands around with an increasingly growing confused and unsure expression.

“Whoa, can you like… slow down?” He asked in a way that made Dirk annoyed, because he didn’t want to slow down. He wanted to know what this place was and yell at it for making everything he touched died. “That’s a lot of questions.” He looked the man in the face, eyes lingering on his eyes before he looked around them.

“Just… help me understand? Please?” Begging tone as he stepped closer to the man who frowned at him. Almost like he wasn’t allowed to say, or he didn’t know how to explain it. Which honestly it could have been the latter, but he would be patient, he would wait. And try to help him explain if he could. But he just needed something to go off here. “I solved your case.”

“I know.” The way he stated that made him a little nervous. “I was totally watching, duh.”

“Watching- why didn’t you help at all then!? Do you know how miserable I have been!?” He snapped the words before rubbing his eyes with the palms of his hand. “You know what, never mind, I doubt you even care.” He could see the way the man frowned at him from that statement before looking around them.

“Dirk, like, I have been so busy, I can’t like fix everything.”

“Oh? And what exactly is it that you’re fixing, Mr. Friedkin? Is this one of the things because it seems very broken also horrifying.” He added while glancing around them with a frown on his face. “This place is without a doubt, absolutely, the most horrifying thing in existence.”

“I know… you don’t like know? How many times I have to like come here to help wake people up?” He thought to the van, he slowly stood up straight.

“Mr. Friedkin… have the Rowdy 3 been here?”

“The punk rock vampires? No… but like… there’s a lot of you that come here. And a lot of them are kind of… rude…”

“Rude? Right.” He rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Okay can you tell me where here is?” Dirk asked again looking around when he noticed things were slowly changing again, when the white around them slowly started to crack and bleed. He could feel himself giving a small whine from it, looking around before looking back at Hugo, seeing the red door behind him and noticing it was frantically trying to be opened. He could see Hugo staring at something behind him, he could hear the faint buzzing of flickering lights making his heart hammer in his chest as he heard a faint choking and gagging noise followed by pitter pattering of feet that made him too terrified to turn around. “Where. Am. I?”

“It’s like… a… uhhh…” He was motioning a bit still staring behind him. “The place we’re all connected.” He watched as the man interlaced his fingers with the explanation.

“Like how the universe is connecting the other Blackwing subjects together?” That was a scary thought… that this is what was driving all those stupid feelings and abilities they were all being punished for. “Why is it so?” He motioned around it vaguely could tell by Hugo looking around with a solemn expression that he understood what he was talking about.

“Because the universe is like… breaking.” He didn’t understand, he didn’t understand what that had to do with everyone like him coming to this place. He was sure his confusion was clear as day to read. “And you like really need to wake up now.” He could hear the noises from behind him getting closer making his hair stand on end as the door slowly started to open, he could feel wind blowing on the back of his neck as the lights behind him began flickering. “Dirk. Seriously. You like really want to wake up now.”

“What happens if I don’t wake up?”

“Nothing good.” He could see a reflection in Hugo’s eyes a twitching mass behind him that had to be at least seven feet tall, and it was slouched over to the side too.  

“Has anyone never woken up before?” Asking it in a whisper as he tried hard to wake himself up. Hand even moving to pinch himself but it didn’t seem to be doing anything.

“Not yet.” The thing looked like it had something wrapped around its head. He closed his eyes trying to will himself awake as he felt breathing on the back of his neck. “Dirk.” Warning tone in his voice mixed with a large amount of concern.

“I can’t.” He crouched down, resting his forehead on his knees and his hands in his hair as he listened to the creaking of the door, as he felt something leaning over him.

“Dirk, listen to him.”

“I can’t. I can’t wake up.” He was running his hands though his hair, swore he could hear something faintly calling out to him, could see the lights flickering around him.  

“You need to like listen to him.” The faint sound getting louder and starting to block out the horrible noise from whatever was behind him and the sounds of the door.

“Who?”

Svlad!”

He gasped, sucking in a decent amount of air and coughing horribly, hand moving to shove at whatever was holding him as tears started to fall from his eyes, he was shaking his head in panic trying so hard to get away. Begging whatever it was to let go, continuing to chant that he couldn’t wake up, he wanted to but he couldn’t.

“Hey, hey, Svlad.” He was choking on sobs. “Calm down, it’s okay.” He slowly opened his eyes waiting to see whatever it was that had him only to see Priest instead. Which he supposed wasn’t an improvement, but better than whatever almost got him. He just stared at Priest through the tears blurring his vision, could see the sun shining in through the windows making him wonder how long he was asleep, especially because Priest looked dressed and ready to go. “You went there.” It wasn’t a question, it was a statement.

“I c-couldn’t wake u-up.” He felt the bed shift as he shifted wincing from the pain in his shoulder before grabbing for it with a pained whine. He would say he definitely didn’t miss the pain, wished it was nonexistent like in the dream… which was the only good thing about that stupid dream. He blinked when the man held pills out to him, couldn’t help but notice there was more pain pills than he had been giving him. He bit his lip before using the arm that didn’t feel like it was on fire to reach for the pills. He watched how much his hand was trembling, he stopped reaching for them to look at both of his hands. They wouldn’t stop shaking, actually he couldn’t stop trembling from the terror of everything. He took in a deep breath and felt Priest move closer.

“Don’t tell me I have to feed you your pills.” Amused tone in his voice that had Dirk shaking his head. He took in a deep breath and grabbed the pilled, popping them in his mouth before he grabbed the water bottle. Hand still trembling as he forced himself to drink before he handed it back. “Okay.” There was a bit of hesitation in the man’s voice, Dirk just kept wiping his tears away sniffling as he glanced around, hand moving to touch his throat when he realized the collar was off… How long was he asleep? “What happened in your dream?”

“A lot.” He rubbed his face after giving the bottle back, noticing the controller and gun were no longer on the night stand. He tried to think of everything, shuddering from the thought of the thing that almost got him. “Th-there was a crowd of people, all frozen, I accidentally touched one and he melted…” Melted was really the best way to put it, a feeling of dread filling him as he slowly looked down to his thighs. Curling his legs closer to himself with a frown, already feeling like he wanted to cry again, because even in dreams all he did was bring death. He cleared his throat, trying to push himself to continue explaining the dream. “I-I, uh, f-found the Rowdy 3 Van in a field… I heard their voices even though there was no one there… They were talking about killing someone.” Thinking how Priest’s giggle had followed that conversation… was… was it a vision maybe? He squinted and rubbed his face, unsure how he felt now with the other horrors he saw there. Now kind of hoping it wasn’t a vision because he didn’t want those things to be real. “Eventually I stumbled into a cabin that had the table you described from your dream, not the gore though…” He blinked while glancing towards the man and looking away. “Well… in that room anyway, all the gore was in the entry way with rotting decaying hunting trophies. it was all rather macabre and very tacky…” He explained trying not to think about the smell he swore was still lingering in the back of his throat. “And then this thorn monster chased me through rooms and hallways till I found-” No… Wait… he shouldn’t tell him about the symbol he was sure was a Blackwing subject. He bit his tongue eyes wide as he tried to think of what else happened before that that could be important.

“What did you find?” He took in a deep breath, tears starting to fill his eyes as he thought of the monsters. Clearing his throat, he sat up straighter.

“Th-the red door. I went to the right of it first but ended up in this hallway that started to be consumed by darkness and this…. thing standing at the end coming after me.” He could feel his hands starting to shake again.

“Thing?”

“Yes… it was tall, leaned crooked and walked in… well it was creepy, Mr. Priest, I don’t know how to explain it other than that. It like, shuffled, and sounded like it had more limbs than visible with how it’s feet pitter-pattered against the floor. It…” He shuddered just thinking about it. Could feel his throat starting to tighten up as he thought of the one that got so close to him. “I-I ran ba-back to the left where I was in what kind of looked like Blackwing?” He tilted his head thinking of the way it started to crack and bleed. “The thingended up behind me while Hugo talked to me to try and wake me up… But I couldn’t… and it kept getting closer… I could feel it’s breath on the back of my neck and then…” He could feel his eyes wide, knowing how the sound had faded out of the dream when he was in the middle of being woken up. But he could have sworn it was whispering something to him… what did it want? He slowly snapped out of his thoughts glancing up at the man who was watching him, looked like he was trying to read him. Dirk slowly motioned at him. “Well I don’t know how to say this Mr. Priest, but I actually think you saved my life.” Priest looked amused by that.

“Hugo tell you anything different?”

“Uhm… Yes?… no… maybe?” He wasn’t sure he really wanted to tell him… “I don’t know. Apparently we’re not the only ones who have gone there.” Which wasn’t a total lie in the end given that part did happen, so he didn’t have to worry about Priest finding out he was lying. Which wasn’t really lying, he just didn’t feel the need to tell the man everything that had happened given it wasn’t completely important… maybe… But, there was a look in the man’s eye, those cold piercing eyes of his that he swore stared into his soul at times. A smile on his face that read as a threat that was causing his heart to jump into his throat and his stomach to knot in terrible ways that filled him with dread and just told him that the man knew he wasn’t telling him the whole truth.

“Svlad.” He hugged himself while looking away, hands moving to hide his face as he started to cry again.

“I-I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I don’t know, everything happened so fa-fast. I c-couldn’t.” He felt a hand on his good shoulder and slowly looked over to the man who just stood up and pointed to the clothes sitting out for him. He gave a pleased sigh that it wasn’t the outfit from his dream, but it was another outfit that reminded him of the CIA one… actually it kind of looked like another one- “Can I have my clothes, please?”

“Those are yours. Now let’s get your wounds cleaned up, need to shave your face too.” Dirk gasped from how he was grabbed by the arm and pulled off the bed, giving a small whine when the man led him into the bathroom where he had everything set up to take care of his wounds.

“How long was I asleep?” He asked while slowly working on taking his clothes off, didn’t really see the point in trying to fight this. He winced and dropped his shirt when he failed to get his arm to fully cooperate with him. It just hurt so badly he didn’t want to move it.

“Here,” He felt embarrassed when the man helped him take his shirt off, he shifted from how humiliating it was given the fact he was too weak to do it himself. He slowly stepped into the tub, feeling a little like he was on autopilot as the man cleaned and took care of his wounds. Bandaging them and guiding him how and where he wanted him. He was chewing on his lip mind going back to his dream, it all felt so weird, odd really… Was trying to put the events into place to try and figure it out, like a puzzle. Blackwing… they were obviously going there first, maybe it was backwards? Maybe they would start out in Blackwing and get a new case that involved another project? But what about the Rowdy 3 then? And Amanda wanting to kill someone and Priest giggling- Did… or were, they going to try to save him?

He snapped out of his thoughts when Priest began removing the stitches from the stab wound in his shoulder. He looked down at the scar that was there. A little bit of the wound visible but everything clearly was healing together just fine which was good. He glanced at the other stitches he had from the knife throwing test, watching as the man slowly removed those too. His eyes refusing to glance down at his thighs as he stared up at Priest with a blank expression. He honestly felt so numb right now, all the stress and trauma just making him feel… nothing… Almost like he didn’t care, he closed his eyes when the man tilted his head up by the chin. Could feel the way he rubbed his thumb along his jaw. Could feel the weird sandpaper feeling from how his facial hair was trying to grow. He gave a small noise when Priest stepped back to show him the supplies he had to shave him.

“You going to behave for this?” He slowly nodded, hands moving to pull the towel that was on his thighs up higher trying to wrap it around himself. He closed his eyes when the man put shaving cream on him, actually enjoying how cool it felt on his skin. He tensed when he felt the man bringing the razor over, expecting the man to mess with him with this. But he actually wasn’t being mean… okay a little rough, but he wasn’t cutting his face up so that was good and had him relaxing. Eventually opening his eyes to look at him, amused by how concentrated he looked while shaving him. “I think you should sleep while I’m dealing with Skylar.”

“Has she made contact with where you’re meeting her with Miles?” Dirk asked curious if he slept through that watching how the man just smiled while leaning back to look at him.

“Yes, she sent a message a few hours ago. Been getting everything ready for that.” Dirk shifted on the edge of the tub stilling himself when the razor came back to his face. He did his best not to move as the man continued his work eyes lingering on Priest’s face and taking note that he shaved as well. He slowly closed his eyes again, letting the man turn his head how he wanted as he felt the shaving cream run. He blinked his eyes open making a small noise in the back of his throat when the man cleaned his face. He felt a little tense when he moved the towel so he could bandage his thighs and then turned him to work on his back.

“Do I have to stay with Bosco? Why can’t I just come with you? I mean… do you think she’ll be happy if you show up without me.” He gripped the towel tight when the man grabbed him by the hair and tugged his head back.

“You’ll be in the car with Bosco, if she asks to see you I’ll have him send you out.”

“Is that why you’re dressing me like an agent? To play up you’re whole 'Blackwing’s working with projects’ lie?” He asked in a sarcastic tone, he closed his eyes when Priest pulled him out of the tub and up on his feet. Leading him back out into the room he watched the man motion at the clothes on the bed.

“You can’t call it a lie if It’s true, Svlad, or need I remind you how Bart gets to do as she wants, and you were allowed to go on your case.”

“I was allowed to stand by you as you took over my case is more like it.” He hugged the towel closer when the man grabbed him by the jaw, stepping close so they were almost touching as the man just smiled at him.

“I’m just a gun, Svlad,” he found his eyes locked on Priest’s, the words already making his breath catch in his throat as the man gently rubbed his thumbs along his cheeks, leaning in with a look in his eyes Dirk couldn’t place. But it was making him nervous as the man just smiled at him, licking his split lips before that smile turned into a grin. “I don’t do anything unless you pull the trigger.” Those words felt heavier than Priest could have ever imagined. Dirk could feel tears well up in his eyes when the man released him and continued with what he was doing. He sat at the edge of the bed and started to furiously wipe the tears from his eyes, not wanting to look as the man did whatever it was over there.  

“Besides, all I did was drive you everywhere, and then step in when you tried to back out of things you needed to do.” That wasn’t true… was it? His mind was trying to replay the case, to try and recall everything and if the man was lying or not. Only thing they really fought about though was Blackwing coming to the crime scene… and that… well Priest doing it anyway worked in Dirk’s favor… didn’t it? “Or is it just easier to blame me about your own abilities?” He rested his elbows on his knees, rubbing his face just remembering the man who died when he touched him in that crowd, were they all going to die? Was that what that meant? It was a vision of a city that was doomed because he was going to go there? He took in a shaky breath before reaching over and grabbing the black shirt that had CIA AGENT on the back this time, he slowly slid it on and noticed there was more of the lettering on the front over his heart.

CJELLI

Staring back at him in nice thick yellow letters to match the lettering on the back. So, they really were his clothes… wondered if they took his measurements back at Blackwing for all of this. He stood up and let the towel drop before pulling on a new pair of underwear and the black work pants, looking them over before glancing back at Priest who was now staring at him. He shifted under his gaze before looking away, opening his mouth like he was going to say something before closing it again. An anger budding under his chest from this, hating that he was branded as an agent so easily without his consent.

“Can I please wear something else? I promise I’ll behave, I just… I’m not…” He looked down at his shirt, slowly touching it and tugging at the waist of it to look it over better. “I’m not an Agent, I’m a prisoner of Blackwing, this little uniform thing is a cruel joke.”  

“Tell you what, Svlad, you tell me what you actually found after being chased by the monster, and I’ll let you wear something else.” Dirk bit his lip, eyes lingering on the man with a frown as more tears built in his eyes. He cleared his throat before rubbing his face.

“There was a diamond, with a smaller diamond inside of it that had a line going across the smaller diamond.” He looked at Priest when the man shifted, watching him bite his lip before shifting in his spot. “It… it’s a symbol from Blackwing… isn’t it?”

“Project Sluagh.” Priest just stated the name, he watched as he pulled out his work pad and set it on the bed, watching him go back to dig through the clothes he had for him, he shifted closer in curiosity.

“Can I ask who decided to name the projects? Like… Sluagh are some otherworldly Celtic fairies or something weren’t they?” He watched how Priest looked back up at him with an amused smile.

“Couldn’t tell you the answer to either.” Dirk sighed heavily while sitting down on the bed, rubbing his face as Priest set out a new pair of pants and a shirt and tie for him.

“What’s Sluagh’s real name? Do you even remember?” He could see the man giving him a bit of an annoyed look as he stood up and grabbed the workpad to go through things.

“Called him Aid for short… Aodhan was his real name.” Hearing that made him wonder what his abilities were, if Aodhan was someone who Priest had to play nice with if he actually had a nickname for him.  

“And Aodhan’s abilities?” He kept his finger crossed they weren’t going to be bad, that they would be something to make him not feel like the only not dangerous person in Blackwing-

“Human Bomb.” Of. Course. Another project that was extremely dangerous and deadly.

“Let me guess… another friend of yours.” Priest was laughing from that, he watched as the man sat down next to him holding the workpad out to him showing pictures of the cabin from his dream that was all smoldered and smoky, blown all over the place with Blackwing agents all around the area. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest as he grabbed the device and looked at the pictures remembering it so clearly from his dream, only there was no one around.

“Aodhan was a nice challenge, hunted him down for a solid month before I finally managed to drag him to Blackwing. That was the mess from our first 'meeting’ he blew the whole place up. He, uh, likes to play games and told me how long I would have before the particles inside the house reached the maximum velocity needed to actually explode.” That was terrifying, he scrolled more through the pictures before looking back over to Priest.

“So, the table and chairs were familiar to you in your dream, because they were in this house?” Priest just stood up and nodded, Dirk set the work pad down before getting up and changing into the black dress pants laid out for him and the white shirt with a white tie covered in various colorful polka dots that almost made the white under them hard to see. “I wonder why the universe wants us to go to him.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, Mr. Friedkin said that that place we went to is where all of us are connected, so it for some strange reason wants both of us to-”

“What else did he say?” Dirk stared up at the man from the question, realizing that he only told the man that others had gone there and not what that place was. His eyes widened as he stared back at the man with a look of uncertainty on his face. Clearing his throat again as he slowly tried to pull away from him.

“J-just that we’re all connected there, that he has been waking others up, hasn’t said what others. That I saw more than others that go there. And then that I needed to wake up. th-that’s it I promise.” Even held his hands up in mock surrender while looking Priest in the eyes, he found himself terrified now that the man wasn’t going to believe him. But gave a sigh of relief when he slowly released his tie, he squeaked when the man shoved him back down on the bed. He looked up at him with wide eyes as Priest clicked his tongue and looked away.

“You see more than the others there? Is that because you’re psychic?”

“I don’t know, I don’t even know how to place it together, I thought I figured out the order. That it was backwards, that we would go from Blackwing, to Aodhan, to the Rowdy 3, and then that city? But now that I know this place is already gone I don’t understand why it would come up for both of us…” Priest just shrugged, and Dirk watched as he walked over to put on his yellow jacket before heading to the door and standing there.

“I’m sure it will all add up later, come on.” Dirk took in a deep breath before getting up and heading over to the door, watching him hesitantly before he opened it and stepped outside only to find Bosco sitting on the hood of the SUV.

“Hey, Boss, Miles is already in the car. Deshmukh, Sullivan, Poole, and Fletcher headed off to check out those loose ends you mentioned.” Dirk gripped his tie from the information, worry building in his chest that this meant they were going to kill Lemon, Headly, and Sean. He slowly looked over to Priest who grabbed him by the arm and lead him to the SUV that was on and running, opening the back door and letting him inside before cuffing him to the roof of the vehicle. When the door shut he looked over to Miles who was shifting in his spot before going back to fighting with the cuffs.

“How’s Skylar?” Hearing the question made him shift before looking over to the man who was more or less pulling on the cuffs with all his weight after twisting the chain around.

“Angry.” That seemed like the best way to put it, he frowned when Miles gave a defeated sigh and sat back down in his seat, looking from the window over to him.

“Did you solve your case?” He sounded as defeated as he looked, Dirk slowly nodded his head, wondering what Priest and Bosco were up to before looking over to him.

“Y-yeah… turns out the person responsible for everything was an old Blackwing scientist… Skylar killed him before going on with everything else she needed to do. I wish I could have done more. I wish-”

“Hey, I’m sure you did everything you could, and maybe we can get you out of this. I think Skylar will like you.” He looked from Miles towards the front of the SUV when he saw Bosco jumping off the hood.

“I think she still believes Mr. Priest is a good guy. I tried to make her see through that… but I don’t know if she’s ready to see that.” He didn’t even want to look over at Miles, guessing he could understand why she could think that. Looking back at everything before the man’s true colors showed themselves he believed Priest was a good guy too… and what a wakeup call that was.

“It is hard to learn that someone you looked up to is utter trash.” Miles muttered under his breath both of them watching as the front doors opened and the two men climbed into the front.

“-be fine, not my first time watching your pet.” Dirk glared at the man while grabbing at the bar he was cuffed to, ignoring the shooting pain it caused in his arm.

“It is goin’ to be your first time when another project is in range, though.” Dirk glanced over to Priest, watching how Bosco slouched down in his seat in what looked like a rather uncomfortable position.

“Yeah, yeah, don’t worry, I’ll make sure not to get myself killed, still do like living.” Dirk rolled his eyes when the man rolled down his window. “This one isn’t yours, right?” Dirk watched as Bosco was pulling out a pack of cigarettes.  

“I like how you ask, while doing it.” There was a sarcastic tone in the man’s voice while Bosco worked on lighting up a cigarette.

“Just wanna make sure.” Dirk glanced away as Bosco started to smoke and Priest took off out of the parking lot to head to wherever the meeting spot was going to be.

“Hey, Mr. Priest?” Dirk leaned forwards in his seat, looking at the man in the rearview and continuing when he saw the man glance at him through it. “Who all are you sending your team to check up on?” Seeing him smile he slowly leaned his head forwards, chewing on his lip when the man refused to answer him. Seconds felt like hours before he heard the man shift in his seat.

“Lemon is their first stop, figure we should find out if Skylar took care of her too.” Dirk slowly leaned back, chewing on his lip, about to ask who was after that before Miles pipped in.

“Who is Lemon and why would Skylar kill her, I thought she got the one responsible for all of this?” Dirk slowly looked over to Miles, unsure how to answer him, unsure how to let him know that-

“She asked us to kill Lemon while she went after the doctor, fun stuff happened, we never killed her. And since we ignored her last time she told us to do something, I’m assuming she just went ahead and did it before meeting us to take care of the Doc.” Priest chimed in, Dirk watched how Miles frowned, looking between them for a while.

“She wouldn’t-”

“Welcome to Blackwing, where every project is a merciless killer.” Bosco said in a dry tone while flicking some ashes out the window.

“That’s not true.” Dirk found himself and Miles stating at the same time. Dirk leaned back when Bosco turned around in his seat to look at him. That nice friendly smile on his face even though his eyes were screaming everything but friendly.

“How many tallies do you have right now?” He could hear Priest giggling from that. “And how many more aren’t even carved into your skin?” Dirk could feel the tears welling up in his eyes as he turned his head away to let out a shaky breath, flinching when Bosco flicked the ashes from his cigarette at him. “That’s what I thought.” He could feel the car shift when the man turned around in his seat to look back out the window, Dirk shifted to wipe the tears off his face onto his bicep. Hearing Miles move closer he glanced over to the man who shifted to bump his knee against him in the only friendly gesture he could offer at the moment. He looked over to him and leaned closer, wanting to remember what comfort from a friend actually was.

The drive felt incredibly long to reach the meeting point, Dirk found himself getting more and more anxious, Priest and Bosco had been talking about random things. Mainly in what felt like code, just short sentences, probably inside jokes from the random things they would be laughing about. Bosco had smoke at least four cigarettes before Priest finally parked the SUV off to the side in what looked like the middle of nowhere. Dirk started to get nervous as Priest got out of the car, walking to the other side where he uncuffed Miles and got him out of the car. Dirk flinched when the door shut, sitting up straighter as he watched the man walk away and out of sight more or less letting Miles lean on him. He slowly looked back to Bosco when he noticed the man fiddling with something, cigarette still between his lips as he slowly held up the device in his hand.

“So,” the remote to the device in his shoulder, he found a fit of worry building in his chest, “now that Priest isn’t here.” Dirk gave a surprised noise when Bosco turned and climbed into the back seat, he pulled himself as far away as he could. Pressing his back into the door as Bosco grabbed him by the tie and yanked him forwards getting a little whimper. He turned his head to the side and gave a disgusted groan when the man blew his smoke in his face. “I think we need to work on how you talk to me. Or you only going to do that when he’s here to save you?”

“Let go of me-” He grunted when the man grabbed him by the jaw and pulled him closer, fingers digging into his cheeks. He could feel his eyes widen as the man brought the cigarette closer to his mouth. He grabbed at the bar he was cuffed to, legs moving to try and push the man away with them.

“You might want to stick your tongue out. Makes it easier.” He wanted to ask for who, but the man was already flicking the ash in his mouth. He pulled away, well tried to, he could feel the drool building in his mouth from the disgust. He shook his head trying to get the man to let him turn his head from the grainy feeling of the ash against his tongue, which still felt warm from burning not that long ago. He tried to push it out with his tongue, just letting the ash mixed drool slip out of his mouth as he tried to get out of his grip enough to spit off to the side. “See, this is a better use of your mouth.” The man finally released him and smacked him across the face with an amused laugh. Dirk immediately turned to the side to spit the ash out of his mouth, feeling sick as he tried to scoot away from the man.

“You’re disgusting-” He whimpered when the man grabbed him by the jaw again, he watched with fear in his eyes as the man took a deep drag of the cigarette, watching the paper burn down before looking to the man’s face. Seeing that friendly smile, and that dark look in his eyes that screamed trouble.

“You’re nothing but a pet, who needs to be put in its place. You’re nothing Svlad. No one cares about you, and no one is going to save you. This is where you belong, and this is the most important thing you’re going to do with your miserable life.” He closed his eyes, feeling the tears running down his cheeks when Bosco flicked more ash in his mouth. “You can play pretend that you’re important, and that Priest cares about you. But at the end of the day you’re just a pretty little toy who will go back into its box. Too useless to do anything about it either.” He tried to turn his head away when Bosco blew more smoke in his face. Coughing on it and the ash in his mouth, feeling more drool spill passed his lips, but he didn’t want to swallow it. He didn’t want Bosco to win, maybe he could spit the ash back out in his face. “Look at me.” He didn’t want to, he whined and shook his head to the best of his ability. His jaw beginning to ache from how Bosco was holding it open, he just wanted to get out of the car. He wanted to join Priest and Miles and Skylar and be as far away from Bosco as possible. “Not going to listen?” He pulled himself away and spit off to the side again as he curled himself up against the door. “That’s fine. I got something for that.”

He yelped from the sudden shooting pain surging through his body, back arching as he threw his head back hard enough to hit it against the window as he screamed in pain. Flailing and kicking from the shock surging through his body that was so intense he felt like he might pass out before it was over. He collapsed against the door, body twitching and writhing in the lingering aftershocks. Eyes fluttered open as he looked to Bosco who was taking another drag of his cigarette and looking the device in his hand over. A large smile on his face this time as he slipped the controller away and grabbed him by the tie and pulled him closer.

“Open your mouth. And stick your tongue out.” An anger started to clench in his gut as he grit his teeth at the man, still panting in pain. He pulled himself back and moved to kick Bosco as hard as he could in the stomach. Pushing off of him and slamming himself into the door, wanting to break it open as he worked on trying to get out of his cuffs. Ignoring the man who was coughing and laughing from the hit, he could smell the cigarette burning the floor of the SUV and at this point he didn’t even care. He just wanted to get out, only for his fighting to be interrupted by Bosco yanking on his tie again. The cigarette that was on the floor being shoved in his mouth, he could feel it burning the roof of his mouth and his tongue as he yelped and tried desperately to pull away. Drool filling up his mouth to try and stop the burning pain, only making it worse from how hot his saliva felt against it as he shook his head and choked and coughed on the saliva and pain of his mouth.

Bosco.” They both looked towards the handheld radio sitting on the front seat. “Send Svlad out my way.” Dirk couldn’t stop from crying in relief as the man slowly sat up and pulled his hand off of his mouth. Letting him finally spit the cigarette out of his mouth as he went back to crying against his arm. Could feel the man lean over to grab the radio, giving a shaking sigh of relief when he got back into the front seat.

“You got it boss.” Hearing the front door open, he hoped Bosco would do as told and not fool around with this.

Chapter Text

“How’s your leg doin’?” Priest asked while walking with Miles towards the meeting spot, the man obviously still in pain from the way he was limping. Could still hear the SUV running from them not getting very far from it yet, he didn’t bother to glance back and just paid attention to Miles who was obviously being stubborn about his injury.

“It’s just fine, you know, only had to get a bullet cut out of it.” Grumble in his voice that was making Priest laugh, he stepped closer to help brace Miles as they went over the little hill that would cut off the view of the SUV, getting to where Skylar had marked with a nice little circle of locusts. He carefully stepped over them and into the circle, looking around trying to figure out where Skylar was going to meet them. “She’s probably going to kill you.” Miles said the threat low making Priest give an annoyed sigh.

“If she really wanted to, she would have killed all of us at the Motel while she was deliverin’ her message. And then would have taken you away…” He mused the words out while looking over to him then back to the open field. “But she didn’t, now did she?” He arched a brow while looking over to Miles who just grunted while pulling away from him, looking around he could see the man smiling when the locusts gathered around him and started to look him over. Almost as if they were checking him out, to see if he was injured beyond the gunshot wound to his leg.

“Hey guys, where’s Sky?” He asked them softly, Priest watched as he cupped some of them in his hands, watching the way they happily jumped around him. Priest smiled when Skylar came running from her hiding spot and more or less jumped on Miles. Causing him to fall and them to land on the ground as the locusts fluttered away and out of danger of being crushed.

“I missed you so much!” He rubbed his jaw while glancing around as they had their little reunion that would have probably been touching if he wasn’t still worried deep down that she was going to turn on Blackwing. “Are you okay? How bad are you hurt?” He watched how she was looking him over before looking to his leg, the man catching her hands so she didn’t touch it. Only causing a look of concern to cross the woman’s face as she looked from his leg back up to him.

“I missed you too, and I’m fine.” She looked back to his leg with a frown, as Miles just moved his hands to her shoulders to get her to look him in the face again. “It will take a while to heal, but I’m fine. How are you?” She was just smiling at him before hugging him again, Priest shifted in his spot and held his hands behind his back with a small sigh.

“I don’t know how I am. Miles… I really don’t.” He could hear the way she mumbled the words against him, watching as she slowly looked over to him and decided to acknowledge his existence.

“Skylar.” He said her name with a little wave and a charming smile, watching how she slowly pulled away from the hug to look him over.

“Mr. Priest.”

“Have you thought more about what I talked to you about?” He couldn’t stop the giggle from the glare he received from Miles, watching as Skylar stood up and helped Miles to his feet. She was looking around the area which was making him wonder if she was looking for Svlad-

“Where’s Dirk?” Of course she was, why wouldn’t she be looking for him?

“He’s not far from here. I wanted to talk before he came into the picture.” He watched how Skylar shifted and how Miles patiently put a hand on her shoulder. The locusts started to flutter around them, he was trying to read their current state before looking back to Skylar. Watching as she began to fidget with the stings on her hoody. She seemed a bit unsure with what she wanted to say like she wanted to push the issue. “I can get him now.”

“Mr. Priest.” Eyes shifting to look at the floor as he turned more to look at her. “I’m not going back there… Or rather, I don’t want to go back there.” He took a step closer to them watching how she finally brought her eyes up to look at him. “I know you say It’s different this time, but from the wounds and pain on Dirk I don’t think I can believe you.” He watched how Miles leaned closer to her to whisper in her ear. Wondered what he was telling her as he watched the way she clenched her hands into fists before standing up straight, hands moving to pull her hood off as she looked around them again.  

“As I have mentioned he’s in trainin’. You’re skilled enough you won’t need that little portion of it. You use and work with your abilities well, you would just get escorts to and from places and can use Blackwing for lodgin’. I’m not going to force you, I can’t make you do anythin’ you don’t want to do. I know that, you know that.” He could see the way she was glancing at his hip at the weapon he had there making him smile as he moved his hand away from it to show he didn’t plan on using it. “I think it would be in your best interest to join us, however.”

“So, you don’t have to hunt us down later.” Was all Miles said, causing Priest to look at him before looking back to Skylar, he could tell she was really thinking this all over. How she was really trying to weigh her options as Miles stood protectively next to her.

“Sky-”

“You will hunt for us later, won’t you?” He crossed his hands behind his back, watching them knowing there was no point in lying about that as he tilted his head. He was sure they put a tracer in Miles that neither of them would be aware of. That they would keep close tabs on all type of sicknesses now that they knew what she was using her abilities for. It was only a matter of time that their ‘freedom’ would have Blackwing chasing after them and constantly nipping at their heels at every turn.

“Might take a while before I get to that point,” with training Svlad taking priority and all, “but eventually I will come lookin’ for you, yes.” She didn’t say anything to that just took in a deep breath while sliding her hands into her pockets. Like she was really thinking all of this over and trying to come up with a type of decision. He wanted her to be smart and to do what he wanted, he wanted her to come in. They all knew if she wanted to leave she could and there was nothing they could do to fully stop it. Try to detain her, but then it would all be pointless to keep her under lock and key when she was as deadly as she was.

“Blackwing still have my plague?” Priest put his hands half up and cautiously took a step forwards, watching how Skylar looked to him from that.

“Yes. And that’s what I really wanted to talk to you about if you will listen to me about this.” He took another step closer when she didn’t do anything, watching how Miles protectively stood between them. He couldn’t stop his smile from the action, from how Skylar put a hand on the man’s arm and he hesitantly stepped to the side. “I will destroy the plague that Blackwing has if you still refuse to come in.”

“Bullshit.” Miles sneered out the words and Priest continued.

“Skylar, you know my feelin’s towards Blackwing. I don’t particularly like the idea of you comin’ back to destroy it.” Only been working there for a little under a year now, and he really didn’t want to lose it again so soon. Not while he was finally having fun doing what he loved to do, not while everything was getting as interesting as it was. Especially being paired up with Svlad who was clearly going to lead him to the other projects according to that hellscape of a dreamland. “I will take care of your plague, will even make a video of me doin’ it for you so you can see I have gotten rid of every trace of it… if you want.” Then they would have to discuss how to get the video to her, but that could be a problem for later.

“And how will you manage getting rid of it?” He smiled from that, that she was actually thinking about this plan.

“I already have the plan worked out and dependin’ on how smart the new Supervisor actually is I don’t even have to fall back on that plan. He might be smart enough to just let me do it.” He hoped he was anyway, he would make sure to paint it in a light Ken couldn’t refuse. “That don’t work though… well you remember Mason? She can tell me where it is and who’s keepin it, and I won’t let them get in my way. Take down whoever I have to.” She should know by now he meant it when he said things like that. She had been witness to things he could and would do that were seen as 'unethical’ but it all got results. “How does that sound?”

“I don’t know if I can trust you.” She said it in a whisper, and Priest just smiled patiently.

“Sky.” He said the name just as patiently, stepping forwards even more as he looked into her golden eyes. His scanning hers as he smiled at her. “You know I would do anythin’ to keep Blackwing up and runnin’.” He would die for it in all honesty, he watched how she shifted thinking his words over. Glaring at Miles when he touched her on the shoulder and snapped her out of her thoughts.

“Bring Dirk here, and maybe I’ll think about it.” He sighed from her words, seeing he shift under his gaze which held his disappointment. Enjoying how much that still seemed to have affected her as he moved his hand to the radio he had, slowly bringing it up and pressing the button to talk to Bosco.

“Bosco,” Waiting to make sure the man would actually be listening to him before he continued; “Send Svlad out my way.”

You got it, boss.” He clipped the radio back to his belt while looking to Skylar who was peeking around him trying to see where Svlad was going to come from.

“Can we talk while we wait? Parked a bit far from the meeting spot so we wouldn’t have any interruptions.” Priest added, watching how Skylar looked back to him before glancing at Miles.

“I don’t think you should be able to spin any more lies while we wait for Dirk.” Miles called back to him causing a smile to cross his face, he crossed his hands behind his back. Looking to Skylar and waiting for her opinion on the matter, she just took in a deep breath, stepping away from Miles and walking over to him. He watched as she moved a hand and rested it over his heart, not doing anything to move as she looked from her hand up to his face.

“I want the answer for one thing.” He tilted his head, waiting for her to ask the question as he eyes scanned his. “Are you willing to destroy the plague for me or for you.” Priest grinned while running his tongue along his teeth, hand moving to take hers off his chest as he leaned in. Knowing exactly where she was going with this question, one of her little tests to see if he was lying to her or not. And honestly, at this point, he didn’t see any reason to. It would just get in the way of everything he wanted to do and put Blackwing in danger.

“For me.” He watched how she actually gave him a smile from that. From how relieved she actually looked from that simple of a statement.

“Thank you for not lying to me.” Hand moving to squeeze his with her words. He watched as she looked behind him again, watching how the smile turned into a frown as she slowly pulled her hand away. He turned around to follow her gaze standing up straight as Svlad came into view hugging himself and glancing back over his shoulder. Almost as if he was making sure Bosco wasn’t following him, he watched how the boy looked back over to them and picked up his pace. Heading for them while moving his hands, one fidgeting with his tie, the other wiping his mouth off with the back of his hands. Wasn’t hard to see the boy was crying again making Priest wonder what Bosco did while he was gone. He gave a heavy sigh while heading over to Svlad, hands moving to grab him by the shoulders so he could stop him and hopefully get him to stop crying before they talked to Skylar. He gave a small noise in the back of his throat when the boy actually leaned forwards and rested his head on his chest. Quietly saying he was sorry as his hand moved to his mouth, covering it as he spoke.

“Relax.” He rubbed the boy’s arms getting him to look at him, he moved his hands and slowly wiped some of the ash off his chin. “You able to talk if she wants you to?” So, that was what Bosco decided to do to the boy while he was waiting? He tilted Svlad’s head up some more, although very annoyed Bosco would risk Skylar getting pissed off and starting an unnecessary chain of violence. He was actually curious what all he did with using Svlad as an ashtray, if he actually burned him or not. He watched as Svlad slowly nodded his head before he started to guide the boy over to where Skylar was. Curious about where this gathering would lead as they came to a stop near Skylar. The woman looking to Svlad with a frown before stepping forwards, she was looking him over, obvious anger on her face from the state he was in. She just looked back at him with a glare, lip twitching into a sneer before she turned her attention back to Svlad. Hands moving to his shoulders and wincing when he flinched before she leaned in and hugged him, being careful of his back like she knew that’s where most of his pain was. He watched as Svlad just hugged her back, pressing his face into her shoulder and from the way he shook Priest could tell he was crying.

“We should take him with us.” Priest narrowed his eyes on Miles from the statement.

“I would love to.“ She said the words, her voice shaking some knowing there was something in that statement that said she wasn’t going to though. That was making Priest feel relieved that he wouldn’t have to fall back on Plan B. "We can’t.” Skylar said it in a voice that sounded full of regret. “Not now, isn’t that right, Mr. Priest?” Priest couldn’t stop his smile as he once more took a formal stance, watching how Skylar just let Svlad cry on her. Watching the way the boy clutched at the back of her hoody as he cried.

“What do you mean we can’t?” Miles sounded outraged at Skylar’s statement. “Dirk doesn’t deserve to go through whatever it is Priest is doing to him. Besides…” Priest tilted his head when Miles looked at him with a look of anger and hatred. “He’s just one man- “

“No.” Skylar said it slowly causing Priest’s smile to grow, he watched how she gently pet the back of Svlad’s head, obviously feeling the boy’s emotions from how jumpy her locusts got. From the fact he could see and hear she was about to start crying too. “We’re surrounded.” Those words leaving her mouth had Miles looking around them, as if trying to see what she was talking about. But the other agents were far enough away and had a big enough perimeter around them that they wouldn’t be seen unless Miles walked a good distance away from them.

“Saw that, did you?” Priest asked in an amused tone, he watched as Miles stepped over to her. Having a protective stance as he looked between them before looking to Skylar with an almost desperate expression.

“What does that matter? You can take these assholes. I’ve seen what you can do.” He watched as Skylar slowly leaned back, Svlad looking between them in obvious worry.

“If Priest didn’t have the weapon designed for me, yes. I could get rid of all of them.” Priest couldn’t stop his giggle, watching how Miles and Svlad both looked at him. He slowly took the grenade looking object off his hip which had Abaddon’s symbol on it. Looking it over before looking back to them, he was pleased how calmly she was taking this turn of events.

"You two should get out of here.” Svlad said the words in a whisper, Skylar just squeezed his shoulders as Miles looked to the weapon. Eyes locked on it as he shifted in his spot, clearly wanting to know what it was.

“What does that do?” He finally asked, sounding almost as if he didn’t really want to know.

“It’s full of enough knock out gas to hit this entire field.“ Priest explained in a bored tone, looking from it back up to him. "Will knock all of us, and the locusts, out allowing the team to move in… and collect everyone here.” He shrugged boredly, not really ideal for him either as it would knock him out as well, but it was a last resort if things here got a little out of control. “You know, I’m not entirely sure what it does to people not like us, I mean, you guys handle small quantities just fine. But these?” He tossed the grenade up in the air and caught it while looking it over before glancing back at the trio. “These really pack a punch to make sure it don’t miss any of the locusts.” He held it at his side, looking them all over as Miles took a step closer. “Safety precaution.”

“So we don’t take Dirk.” Miles said it through gritted teeth.

“That is one of the scenarios for me usin’ it.” Priest mused the words out, he was pleased with how quickly that had Svlad moving back over to him. So scared of it hurting or killing Miles, so scared of him dragging Skylar back to Blackwing that he was willing to stay by him.

“What are the other scenarios?” Miles asked while taking a step closer, stopping when Skylar grabbed his arm and squeezed it.

“Attacking him and not making a deal with him.” The way Skylar said it had Priest looking back to her. "There another one I’m missing?” Priest looked from the weapon back to her with a shrug.

“Skylar, can’t call it much of a deal if I’m threatenin’ you into it.” Watching how she shifted in her stance. “You could always come with me, I’ll let you destroy the plague yourself, would be so easy to get you into that room.” She looked at him with an expression of uncertainty.

“How do I know you won’t just lock me in a room to live the rest of my life?” Priest gave a small sigh, getting tired of explaining all of this to her. Getting annoyed having to repeat himself that things were different this time, but he forced a smile and decided to go a different route with it. That maybe if he brought up the real reason they were working with projects it would appeal more to Skylar.

“You have to know there’s somethin’ goin’ on with the Universe lately?” He asked it, watching how Skylar looked at he own hands from the question before glancing back at Miles. He wondered if she had been to the same place he and Svlad had gone, honestly with this route he could feel the way Svlad was staring at him. “We can’t afford to just lock everyone up in a room, that’s why we’re workin’ with projects. Somethin’ is coming, and we’re not sure what it is, but it ain’t good, and people like us are the ones that need to put a stop to it.” He could feel Svlad looking at him with a sudden look of rage. “Which is why Svlad is out fixin’ what it is he needed ta fix, and why I’m currently talkin’ with you about possibilities and not just pullin’ the pin on this grenade and throwin’ it at you.”  

“What does Blackwing plan to do with us when the thing we’re in danger from is gone?”  

“Well, fun thing with the universe, there’s always somethin’ that breaks no matter how much you fix it.” He stated.

“Us being allowed to leave and go places… Does that really mean wherever we want and are needed?”

“Yes, Sky. You will be able to go anywhere and will always have someone to call when you need a backup or a hand in somethin’. You will get access to things that you never had before given the fact you will be labeled as Agents where you can go to and from things without anyone questionin’ it.” He stepped closer to her, watching how she looked up at him, clearly thinking this over in a new light now. Like she was tempted to agree, he could feel his heart racing as he smiled and watched her. “You don’t have to do this alone, you can meet other people like you.”  

“You’re not actually considering this… are you, Sky?” Miles asked, obviously not liking this idea as Skylar rubbed her face thinking everything over.

“I don’t know… Miles… everything he’s saying…”

“You know it’s the right choice, Sky, wouldn’t be in this situation if you weren’t supposed to go. You know that. You know how the universe works.” So close, she was looking back to him, mouth open like she wanted to say something but wasn’t sure what. He slowly held out a hand to her, standing up straight as he waited patiently. “Come with us. Come back home.” He glanced at the Svlad watching how he moved from his spot to step between them. Seeing a look of realization crossing the boy’s face as he actually shoved Priest’s hand to the side when Skylar started to actually reach for it.

“Wait,” His eyes narrowed on the boy, watching how he actually reached out to touch Skylar, grabbing her by the hoody to get her to focus on him. “There’s other people looking for projects for the same thing, you don’t have to work with Blackwing, you could be free with them. You could have a home with them, a real home, not just one that’s using you.” He narrowed his eyes on the boy, watching how Skylar and Miles both looked at him. Miles breathing a sigh of relief as Priest grabbed Svlad and pulled him back over to his side, forcing a smile as he looked in the boy’s face.

“And who might that be, Svlad?” Priest asked, narrowing his eyes on the boy, watching how he looked up at him with an almost defiant look before looking back to Skylar and Miles.

“The Rowdy 3,” Priest laughed at that while standing up straight.

Right, Incubus, a van full of people who go around and vandalize people and places for the fun of it. Skylar, you wouldn’t want to go to them, they’re…” He motioned vaguely around them. “They only care about themselves and destroying things, not really the type of people you wanna be around.”

“That’s a lie! I know they’re more than that, Skylar, listen to me… I don’t know where they are right now, but I know they’re looking for other projects to put an end to whatever it is that’s coming. They’re lead by a woman named Amanda, who is fantastic by the way, I think you guys will really like her.” He sounded so happy talking about it, and Priest really found himself wanting to punch his face in right now. “They are actually really good people even if they don’t particularly seem like it, they take in other people who need it, they protect those they take in. They would love you.” Skylar and Miles exchanged a glance and Priest slowly stepped forwards, in front of Svlad to look at them.  

To get Skylar’s attention.

“You would be safer with Blackwing.” Skylar just took in a deep breath, hands running through her hair as she began to pace in her spot. Thinking about it, Priest tugged Svlad back when he tried to step over to her. Miles was even giving her space as the locusts began to buzz above her head. As she seemed to be debating with herself, could hear little whispers coming out of her mouth but couldn’t quite hear what she was saying as she continued to walk back and forth in the same spot.

“Skylar.” Miles finally stepped closer to her.

“I don’t know, I don’t know Miles, I don’t know what to do. One way, working with Blackwing we don’t have to worry about them coming after us anymore because they’ll know where we are. But I don’t want them to do what they did here, I don’t want to be another test subject. But staying out here and like this… I just… Being hunted and not knowing if I’m safe anymore, putting you in unnecessary danger I just… I don’t know.”

“Sky, I can handle it, it will be okay.” He sounded so sure of himself causing Priest to eye his injured leg, seeing Skylar follow his line of sight.

“Miles would be safe with us as well, he could get the proper medical treatment he needs and would be as free as you are at the facility.” He watched Skylar look at him, seeing the tears filling her eyes as she slowly collapsed to her knees and started to rub her face. Priest let go of Svlad, shoving him to the side with a small glare before walking over to her. Feeling the way the locusts swarmed around him to try to keep him back as he just walked through them and knelt down next to her. “Skylar… you could come in, and you could leave if it’s not what you want. Test it out before you decide to stay on the run.”

“We’ll be wanted if we don’t come?”

“That’s up to my Supervisor, look, Skylar… I only want what’s best for you.”

“Just like you only want what’s best for Dirk? I can feel all of his pain, I can see it, Miles said you electrocuted him with collars like he was a dog. And you just expect me to believe Blackwing has my best interest at Heart because I wasn’t supposed to know about all that?”

“I was very open with you, he’s under trainin’, and you won’t be.”

“Because I’m dangerous right? Because I can actually protect myself.” She said it through gritted teeth, Priest ran his tongue over his teeth before biting it and leaning back to watch her.

“If you already made up your mind, what are you strugglin’ so much with?” Priest asked, watching how Skylar just looked up to him, how she stared at him with tear-filled eyes. He moved his hand to cup her face, tilting her head up as he used his thumbs to wipe her tears from her cheeks. “He will be safe with us.” Reassuring watching how she glanced back to where Mile’s was outside of the swarm that surrounded them.

“I don’t know what to do.”

“Come home with me, if you don’t like it, not like anyone will be able to stop you from leavin’.” She watched him before sniffling, hands moving as she pulled away from his and started to wipe the tears from her eyes.

“I need to talk to Miles. And I will give you my answer when I’m ready.” Priest wasn’t liking the idea of her being able to talk to Miles about it, but he hoped she would see reason to come with him. “I will meet you at the motel later today.” She slowly stood up, and he watched as the locusts hid themselves away under her hoody, hiding in her clothes which moved from them settling under them. “Good luck Mr. Priest… I’ll see you later.” He watched as Miles moved over to her to make sure she was okay as Priest slowly stood up again. Looking to Svlad who was moving closer to them, a look of worry on his face from the statement.

“I’ll see you again Sky.” Priest slowly moved his hand towards his headset, watching her as she helped steady Miles. She turned and started to walk with Miles away from them, heading to a car that was parked off to the side that kind of looked like the one that was parked outside of Evie’s place.

“Stand down, we’re comin’ back.” He announced over the headset as he looked to Svlad who was watching them get in the car.

“Did you get Abaddon?” Hearing Ken’s question Priest grabbed Svlad and started to lead him back to where Bosco was. “Mr. Priest?”

“Don’t recall ever sayin’ that was my objective, Ken.” He mused the words although hopefully she would actually come with him after the meeting.

“I sent everything you would need to capture her-”  

“Ken.” He said the name in an amused tone. “We’re going to have a nice chat after I get back home, don’t spoil all this now.”

“Mr. Priest… we need Abaddon.”

“She said she will get back to me with an answer if she’s comin’ back with me or not. But, if we take her against her will she will level Blackwing out, surely you’re aware of that.” That was just common sense, he looked around as he continued to guide Svlad back to where Bosco was. “What was your plan for that by the way?” He sounded amused now as he watched Svlad look over to him. “Have her trapped in Blackwing in a comatose type state so she doesn’t kill everyone until she’s needed?” He could hear a small sigh from the other side. “Seems a little moot in point now don’t it?”

“I’m sure you could make her see reason.”

“I can’t, or rather, don’t want to play babysitter for everyone that wants ta go an kill you.” Was complicated enough to make sure that Bart didn’t go anywhere near him and make sure no one had any weapons of any kind if they were going to be in the same area. Making sure Skylar didn’t spread her plague through the facility sounded… well like more than he wanted to take on in all honesty. “I like ya Ken, but not that much.” He added as he stopped next to the car, looking at Bosco who was just spinning the controller for the device in his hand.

“Mr. Priest-”

“We can talk about this later.” He hung up the headset and threw it through the open window of the SUV into the driver’s seat. Bosco looked around before glancing back to Svlad, grabbing him and shoving him into the SUV, smile on his face.

“And no Skylar to protect you, aren’t I just lucky?”

“Don’t touch me.” He watched as Svlad shoved at him while pulling away trying to get as far away from Bosco as possible.

“Thought we were bonding so well.” Priest stepped over, resting a hand on the SUV by Svlad’s head as the other one rested on Bosco’s shoulder, getting the man to look up at him. “I was looking forward to us having some fun with it before we head back.”

“Wh-what’s that supposed to mean? Mr. Priest!?” He turned his head to look at the boy who went from trying to shove Bosco away to grabbing onto his jacket and leaning more towards him. “W-what does he mean by that?” Priest moved his hand off the SUV and ran it through Svlad’s hair, watching how the boy chewed on his lips trying to calm himself down, but it was so obvious he was on the verge of tears again.

“Don’t worry about it,” He moved his hand out of his hair and grabbed him roughly by the jaw. “We’ll do something later for that little stunt you pulled back there. How long have you known Project Incubus has been gatherin’ projects?” Growling out the words, watching how Svlad grabbed his wrist, listening as Bosco laughed and stepped back to give them space.

“I-”

“Don’t lie to me either, Boy.”

“S-since after Francis’ case.” He pulled him off the door and slammed him back into as Bosco laughed from the display.

“Ohhh, puppy fucked up.” Svlad shot the man a glare.

“And you didn’t say anythin’?” That glare faltering quickly as he stared back up at him. Eyes wide as tears filled them, panic evident on the boy’s face as he squirmed against the SUV. Trying so hard to get his face out of his grip as he stumbled over words. Trying to explain himself, trying to find the right combination of words to get out of trouble.

“I-I didn’t th-think it was important.” Wrong combination. He grabbed him harder, listening to the little whimper Svlad gave as he started to giggle from the words of him not thinking it was important. Like that information could just be so simply looked over.

“Svlad, they are gatherin’ other projects, how is that not important information to have?” Watching as the boy just started to cry, he let go of him and watched as he slid down the side of the vehicle sitting on his knees as he tried to wipe the tears away.

“I’m sorry. I-I th-thought you g-guys knew.” Priest gave a small sigh before lifting his foot off the ground and putting it on the boy’s thigh right on Todd’s name. Watching how Svlad was quick to grab his ankle trying to shove his foot off him. “O-ow, pl-please.”

“I think you were really tryin’ to protect Miss Brotzman since ya failed so miserably at protecting her brother.” Snapping the words down at him, watching how quickly he came undone from that. Watching how he leaned forwards and cried against his shin. Choking on his sobs as Priest slowly pulled his foot back and away from him. Taking away the comfort he was trying to seek from that statement. “Get in.” He stepped back and pulled Bosco with him, listening to the man laugh as he headed towards the other side of the vehicle. Svlad hesitated before working on getting himself off the floor, struggling as he worked on wiping his tears off his face before climbing in. He once more cuffed the boy to the bar on the ceiling before slamming the door shut. Getting into the driver’s side and putting the headset into the glovebox he headed out of the area and back onto the road.

“You know, we could just helicopter you guys back.” Bosco stated while slouching down in his seat, Priest just shrugged before glancing over at him.

“It’s not that long of a drive.” Besides, he knew that Blackwing was paranoid about the little guys, thought just touch could spread the disease. “You hear back from Desh?”

“Headly and Sean are still alive. Another team is dealing with the contract of silence for them, of course we get the feeling we might as well just ice Lemon. Reporter and all, never do well those type of deals.” He glanced back in the mirror when he heard Svlad move.

“You can’t just decide that without trying-”

“Of course, we can, Svlad.” Priest stated harshly, could feel the way he flinched from it. “You know what? Before I drop Bosco off, why don’t we swing by there now and take care of it now?” He leaned back in his seat, glancing at Svlad in the mirror. “Make sure to burn everything she could write about, or already has written about, the incident… been a while since I’ve done cleanup work.”

“Pl-please.” Bosco started to laugh from Svlad’s small little plea.

“Yeah,” Bosco was pitching in now and getting excited. “Maybe your pet can see what all we’re capable of so it will stay out of these types of conversations.”

“Th-that is not-”

“Read my mind there Bosco, I was thinkin’ the same thing.” Priest grinned when Bosco sat up more in his seat. Very obviously getting into the idea as he seemed to have started working on thinking up a plan in his head.

“How we doing it?” They had so many options, could go in clean and cold and take care of everything and get out. They could play with the idea, make their lives miserable for as long as they want… really whatever they wanted. “Gonna have some fun, or just get down to business?” Guessed Bosco was on the same two ideas that were lingering in his mind, which wasn’t surprising, there was a reason Bosco was on his team.

“You guys can’t do this!” Priest ignored Svlad’s protest as he turned down a different street. Heading the opposite way of the town hall where he had found out Lemon had lived that morning while Svlad was sleeping.

“I’m sure she’s not going to willingly tell us where she hid all her research. Why don’t you play with the husband while I get the information out of her?” People did always break so easily when you hurt their loved ones and all. He slowly glanced back at Svlad in the mirror, seeing how badly he was crying as the locust climbed up his chest. Resting on the back of his hands as he cried into them, Priest pulled up in the driveway of the house he was looking for. A nice kept little house one might s