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Ze "Good" Doctor Shneeplestein

Chapter Text

It was an OBSESSION.

There was no question about that. Anti wanted to know How. He. Worked. Why he ticked. He wanted to know everything the doctor had just to take it all away. He wanted to beat the doctor down, further and further into madness.

Until he begged for death

Yes, that would be very rewarding after everything Schneeplestein had tried to mess up. Anti could practically feel the doctor's throat in his claws, his blood pounding against his palm. He could practically see the doctor's fear filled eye as he gouged out the doctor's other. And it felt practically delicious!

The problem was, however, that Anti could never seem to get the doctor on his own. Unlike Chase, Marvin, or even Jackieboyman, the doctor seemed to suspect that anti was still in Jack, even though Jack was currently in a coma. Schneep was always with someone whenever around Jack, wether it be a nurse, another patient, or even just one of the other egos. He was never in the room for more than one minute alone. Why must the doctor make this so difficult?

Anti couldn't get to him in his dreams either. The man barely slept, and when he did, he made sure to be out of Anti's reach before drifting off.

But everything was about to change.

A few weeks ago, a nurse has mixed up room, and had brought a seditive into Jack's room. She was about to administer it, when the Doctor intervened and yelled at her. He was so preoccupied in his task, he didn't notice what anti had done.

After that, Anti spent weeks preparing, waiting, all with bated breath. He could hardly help a grin that came to his lips.

It was his Obsession.

It was one tired night is when the doctor finally slipped up. It was midnight, most of the hospital's lights were off, and those that weren't were dimmed. The doctor sat at his computer, typing away.

"You coming doc?" Asked a very familiar voice.

Schneeplestein turned and looked towards Chase, who was just finishing visiting with Jack and was ready to go.

"Ah, yes," the doctor replied with a stiff nod, "I have to finish real quick, zen I vill join you,"

"Alright," Chase looked down at jack and patted him on the arm, "see you around Jack, try to wake up..."

Anti felt Jack's conscious rise, but he pushed it down easily. He had gotten quite good at that. Chase's somehow seemed to reach Jack, more so than some of the others.

Chase left, closing the doors behind him with a dull thud. But the doctor continued typing away. How....convenient.

Schneep seemed to finally finish and log out of the computer. He stood up, and started walking out.

"Sh......Schneep,"

Schneeplestein stopped in his tracks and turned slowly to Jack, whom had just spoken.

It took a lot of concentration to make Jack do anything, even speak, but Anti had been practicing.

"...Jack?" The doctor approached them carefully, "Jack is zat you friend?"

"Shneeeep," Jack moaned again, "help....pleasssssseeee"

"Jack? Vat is going on? Iz it him? Anti?" The doctor looked worried as he came closer. Just a little closer doctor, just a little closer!

"Can't.....can't win....."

"Jack, hold on! Ve can help you!" The doctor grabbed Jack's shoulder, "just...hang in zere buddy!"

Anti opened Jack's eye's and stared right at the doctor, who was to stunned to answer back.

"You can't help him, doctor, he was too w̸̛͢ę͘a̴͞k̸̕̕͟͝," "

The doctor backed up a step, but anti was faster. He grabbed the needle from under the bed and dug it into the doctor's shoulder. Schneep yelled in pain and pushed Anti back so he fell on the bed again. But it was too late. The doctor pulled the empty needle out, stumbling backwards.

"Vat....vat did you do to me?!" He demanded, the effects seemed to be fast acting.

Anti giggled through Jack's mouth.

"Sweet dreams, d̶o͞c̡̛͠͠t̴̨͜o͟͡r̷͘."

Schneep fell to his knees, cursing, his vision blacking out. Everything felt weak and warm. A tingling sensation started in the back of his head. No! He had to stay awake! He had to...

"Do-SCHNEEP!" He heard a far away voice, Chase's, mixed with high pitched giggles, Anti's. He wished he could call out to them...but the tingling sensation had moved through his entire head, and down his neck.

There wasn't much else he could do but sink into the blackness.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Schneep was slammed against an upright metal table by some force he couldn't see. It pressed on him, making it impossible to rise from the cold surface. He looked around for his attacker, gritting his teeth from the pounding in his head.

"We̴͞l͢ļ̸ ͘͡we̵̡l̷̡l͜͞ ͟w̛ę̵̨ll̶͏̛,̛ ̛̕͠lo͝ǫ͡k̡͜͟ ̨͡w̵ho̵̧'̶͘s̢̕ ̡̢ba҉̢c̵̡k̛!̢͡, " an uneven, gleeful voice called from the black surrounding him, "M̡is̶̢̕s̷ ͜m͡͠e̷͠,̵̶̛ ̨͟D̸oct̶͏͜o̶̢r̶͏̧?҉̷̧ ̸I ͘ķ҉n̷̛o͠w̡ I̧'v̨͡҉e̵ m͏̷į̛s͜ş̕̕e҉̢͜d̸̸̨ ͏҉y̶̧ǫ͘͠u̴̢ b̷̷̨e̶͞i͝n̶̸̢g̶͘͝ ̡i̴͡n̕ ̵̧m̛͝y ̡c̶͡a҉r͘e҉,"

"Show yourselv," Schneep growled, "coward!"

"Ḑ̨̨͢͡O̡͢N̵҉̨͘'͡҉͜T̵ ͢͏Y̸̷̢Ǫ̧͟͠͝Ư̡͠͡ ͘C͏͜A̸̸̷͡Ļ̴̵͢Ļ̸͝ ̨͠M̵҉͢E̶̵̛ ̸̡A̛͟ ̡͘C̢̕Ǫ͘͟W̨҉A҉̷͠R̢̡D̡̕!̛͢͢!" This time a claw like hand clamped down on Henrik's mouth, and from it was Anti, the glitch himself.

The doctor narrowed his eyes. He had delt with anti before, he could do it again. He just had to wait it out.

Anti took a few deep breaths, before smiling and releasing Henrik, "Ḩeh̨ehe, Y̢o̷҉u͟ al͜w̕͢a͜ys͡͠ ̢k͡nǫw͠ ̸͡h̴o͞w͢҉ ̡̧t̸̶͝o͝ ̶͠g͏e͡͠͠t͘ ̷un̷͞d͝͠e̶̷r͘͞ m̶͢͞y s̵̴k̢i̴͢͟n̵̵,̶̵̢ ͏̧d̨̧̢octo̶̷r̡, ̵v̧͞ę͡r̷y ̡҉cl͞ev̸e͘r̵."

"I pride myselv on zat, yes," he replied coldly, "but let us cut ze bullshit shall ve? Vat do you vant Anti, vhy did you ambush me? How did you ambush me, and vhy-"

But he was cut off by Anti's giggling.

"Oh̴̡, ̛ḑ̶o͝͏ct̴͟͢o͏̶r̡̧, ͞so̡ ͡ma̕ny̸̸ ҉̕qu̷̡e͜st̴͢io̷n̨̛͜s̕͢ ͢a̸̴n̸d̨ ̢̕s̡o̸̷̢ ̛l̴͠į͘͠tt̵l҉҉̵e ͘ti̵͘m͟͏e ̨͞lę̕f̷͞͠t͜͝ ̸f̸̧o͟͞r͡ ̛͘fu͏n͜, ͢b̴ưt҉ ̵l҉͝e͡͡t̡ ͏m͏̢͝e ͝҉an͟͢s͜͠w͏̵̡e̴͢͡ŗ ̵a̡͞t̴̴̕ ̷l͏͜e͜as̡t̴̷ one͘͜ ͝҉͞ơf͟ ̴̕t͘͠h͢o͠s̵̸̛e̷ q҉ue͏̴s̶̨t̴̷̢i҉o̵͝n̶̢s.̵ ̡͝What̶͜ ̢͠I͠͡ ҉wa͝n͠t̕͘҉.̕͟..̢͜," Anti's eyes glittered maniacally, "i̢̨s̴ ̢͜͡y̨͟o̷̧͞͠u̡͡,"

Schneep's eyes widened at this, and if he could, he would've recoiled, "vat?!"

"Y̸̕o͟ư̴̸'̴͜͝l̵l̷ ͡͏s̨̧͝ȩ̶͞e̷ ͟d̸̶̷o̵ct҉o͏̵͘r," anti giggled, before leaning in close to Henrik's neck. At first the doctor thought Anti was sniffing his it for some reason, but then he felt sharp, almost shark like teeth pierce his skin. Blood, hot rushing blood spilled around his neck as the doctor yelped in pain. When Anti retracted with a blood stained face, Henrik was a bit surprised. That felt as real as if Anti had actually bitten him.

"Vat are you-" Schneep started, but anti cut him off.

"F͟o͏r̡ ̡̕l͏̷a͏t҉̡e͟r͏,̧ s͠o̧̨͟ ͟I͜͝ ͟d̸̡͞ǫn̕͠'͏̷͟t̸͢ ͢҉lo͘͜se̷ ͏y̡ou͏ ͢͡a͢͠g̵͜a̵̴i͟n͘,̛͡"

Schneep opened his mouth to reply, when he felt something move under his skin. It wriggled under his newly acquired bite, and slowly moved up his neck. The doctor tried to twist away, push it back down, but he couldn't use his limbs, and the thing kept climbing. Only when it reached the top of his spine did it stop. Schneep was relieved until a sharp pain pierced the area, like something was being drilled into his skull.

Anti giggles mixed with his shouts as he thrashed around on the table, trying to make whatever it was stop. The constant pain continued, pushing further and further past not only his physical walls, but his mental as well.

At last the pain stopped, and the thing, whatever it was, buried itself deep within Schneeplestein's brain.

"Ę͜҉n҉̸jơy̴į̕ng͞͝ ̶̡m̴̢y̸̶ v̧e͘͝n͝ơ͡͠m͜?̵͡" Anti giggled, he seemed to be enjoying himself a lot.

"...." Schneep caught his breath and glared up at the glitch, "torture me all you like, anti, but remember you vill not have me for very long. Once I vake, I vill be sure to put in precautions that stop zis from ever happening again,"

Anti giggled, "S̴o ͡y̢͜͞o̸u̸ ̸҉s̕͠a̴̛y.̛͡ ͏But̵͘͞ d͘o̶̧n̸̢'̷t̷͞ ̡͘w̷̡orry,̨ ̨͜dǫc̵ţ͘o͝r̸̷͝,͢" anti reached a hand out to touch the back of Henrik's neck, right were the 'venom' had gone in, "I͏̛'l҉ļ̵͡ ͡b̶e̴͢ ̶s̨̛u͝ŗe̢̕͜ t̵͠o͢ ̵h̢a̸v̛e ̵my҉ F̸̶̛͚͔̦̝̜̱͔̣̝͖̪̖͚̙͙͟ͅͅͅ ̸̡̧̛̪̞̼̜̬͕̯͇̣̹̯U̡̙̗̠̙͉̕͘̕ ͎̖̜͎͙̼͖̪͓͔̞̲͇̲͉͉̕͝N̗̥̯̭̲̼̩͓͍̖̹͖͔̻͙̳̙͕̬͠͞."

~~~~~~~

Chase had called the others as fast as he could once the Doc and Jack collapsed and just told them to get over to the hospital ASAP. Then, he moved Shneep to a nearby empty bed. To the best that he could tell, Jack had attacked the doctor with some kind of sedative, and knocked him out. Why Jack would do that....Chase suspected things weren't as they seemed.

The others came quickly enough, all running into the hospital wing, though Chase wondered how they got through the front doors (they should've been locked by now). Marvin, the masked magician, Jackaboyman, the red caped hero, and even Jameson Jackson, the dapper blue one, were here.

"Whats going on?"

"Chase, why did you call us so late?"

Why is Schneep in a bed?

Chase held up his hands to calm them down, somewhat overwhelmed by all the questions, "I-I don't know exactly, I just....we were about to leave when I heard this shout, and when I came back in, Doc was out and Jack was...." Chase shuddered, "his eyes were black,"

Marvin took a step back, looking shook, "what?"

"What do you mean his eyes were black?" Jakieboy demanded.

"Just that, they were pitch black and there was this smile..." Chase shook his head, "but I think...I think Jack attacked the Doc for some reason,"

The other three men glanced at each other surprised, but also doubtful.

"Chase...are you sure?" Marvin asked slowly, "we all know Jack, he wouldn't do something like that,"

"I know, but I don't know how else to explain it!" Chase threw up his arms in frustration, before slumping down in a nearby chair and burrying his head in his hands.

"First Jack, now Doc..." He muttered to no one in particular, "I can't help anyone...."

Jameson patted Chase on the back. It's not your fault, Chase, He comforted, no one blames you.

Chase shook his head, "It's not-" but he was cut off by a yell. Everyone in the room turned to the Doctor's bed to see Schneep tossing and turning his sleep, brow thick with sweat. Jackie and Marvin rushed to the Doc's side.

"He's been doing this since I got him in bed," Chase explained hopelessly, "it's like he's trapped in a nightmare."

"I wouldn't doubt it," Marvin muttered, still looking down at Schneep, "you said he was given a sleeping sedative?"

"Looks like it, yea." Chase replied.

"Then all we can do is wait for him to wake up,"

"What?!" Jakieboyman looked sharply to Marvin, "Can't we do anything to wake him up?"

Marvin shook his head, "Not that I know of anyways,"

"No, there has to be something we can do!"

"I'm sorry but there isn't," Marvin turned away and walked back to Chase, sitting down next to him.

"So you're just going to give up?" Jackie accused

"You're allowed to try yourself!" Marvin defended, "But there's nothing we can do right now! So I'm going to wait until he wakes up."

Jackie nearly glared, "Well Jackieboyman never gives up!" He turned back to shneep, and true to his word, kept trying to shake Shneep awake.

One hour passed, then two. Occasionally Schneep would have a yelling fit, but most of the time he was quiet. The others waited anxiously, pacing, sometimes getting a drink or making small talk with eachother. But everyone seemed to anxious to do much.

It was around four in the morning when Shneep finally woke up.

"Get ovv of me!"

Chase woke from the doze he had fallen into to see Shneeplestein pushing away a very confused and scared looking Jameson.

"I do not need your help, I can stand on my own!"

"Doc," Chase stood up as the doctor swung his feet out of bed, wincing, "you're awake!"

"Of course I am!" Doc rolled his eyes, "Vat, did you doubt me?"

"No, I just...." Chase trailed of, unsure what to say.

"We were worried," Marvin stepped in, "you collapsed and were yelling in your sleep, what happened?"

"Ah," the Doc shook his head, "you should not have worried, it was just a nightmare, nozing I could not handle," he smiled confidently.

But there was something in his tone that Chase just didn't believe, something....off.

"And the collapse?" Marvin raised an eyebrow, "Chase said Jack attacked you,"

"Ah...well, yes, he did," Schneep shook his head, "I vent over to check his vitals, and he voke up suddenly. I do not zink he recognized me, because he attacked me with ze closest zing he could get his hands on. I am lucky it vas not lethal."

There was that tone again. It was like when Schneep suddenly reappeared, he wouldn't tell anyone the truth of where he'd been...but why would the Doc lie about this? It just didnt add up.

Marvin opened his mouth to continue the interrogation, but Jackieboyman stopped him.

"Give the man a rest! He just went through hell and back!"

"Thank you," the Doc smiled at him, "but seeing as I just took a nap, I would like to get back to verk," he made as if to get up when Chase put a hand on him to stop him.

"Are you sure that's a good idea?" He asked softly, "You still seem a little shaken."

Schneep looked up at Chase"...I am fine. You, meanwhile, look like you have stayed up all night, no? Go home, get some rest, all ov you,"

Chase started to protest, but Marvin interrupted, "No offence Chase, but you looks aweful,"

Chase contiued to try to protest, but he was overruled, and was sent with Marvin to go home. Still, Chase didn't want to leave. Something was off with the Doctor, but he couldn't place what....and this whole thing didn't make sense. Maybe it was because he was tired. Perhaps the Doc was right, maybe some sleep would help.

Chapter Text

Schneep watched as the other three left, though it was tough getting Jackyboyman to go. But, with many assurances of his well being, and promises he would go home early and take a break, he finally pushed the red suited superhero out the door of the hospital. Schneeplestein took the first opportunity he could to get a light restraint on Jack's catatonic body, and had a camera set up to watch him for any unusual activity. He knew for sure that Anti was still in there now, and he could only hope Jack was as well. Of course, he was never quite the optimist, but there was no harm in a little hope.

On the other hand, there was no harm in a little extra protection as well.

Especially when it came to the other three.

Schneep had never quite told them where he had dissapeared to for a little over 9 months, never told them about his attempts to save Jack from Anti, or about his ultimate failure of it in the end. They didn't know Anti was the reason Jack was like this, and he hoped they wouldn't find out it was his own failings that lead to it.

This did lead to some complications however, such as the others not knowing it was dangerous to be around Jack alone, or fall asleep next to Jack, where Anti could enter dreams, and haunt you even when he was not close by. Chase had already been the recipient of a few of these haunted dreams. While the father never spoke much of them, Schneep could recognize the symptoms very well.

Schneeplestein did not return to Jack's room durring the rest of his stay, instead finishing up work from the day before, doing his rounds within the hospital, and as he promised his friends, left early. Well, early for him anyways.

~~~~~~~

Arriving home was....relaxing was a good way to put it. It was better than the noisy emergency room hallways or steadily beeping machines with patients who babbled on for hours on end. God that got annoying at times, when you had patients that whined their conditions. Well you know what Billy, screw you and your tiny leg syndrome, Joel down the hall had no legs and he didn't hear her complain as much as Billy! It's like he always said, legs are overrated anyways!

At home it was quieter, smaller, more lonely, sure, but peaceful. Sometimes it was good to take a break from all the noise from work.

Schneep went through his normal routine; getting some food, working out a bit, watching some shows the others had gotten him into, scrolling through social media, and even played a few games. Gaming had never really been his thing, no, it was Jack's, but there were a few surgeon simulators that he liked, and it was always a good way to wind down.

Only when the computer screen seemed to flicker, glitch almost, that Schneep froze, hands hovering on the mouse. He stared blankly at the screen, heart stopped. It flickered again, more intense this time, and he stood up quickly, backing away.

His first thought was that the glitch was in his house somehow, but that wasnt right. Anti was connected to Jack's body, and that was far avay from here. Even Anti had some rules and limits. His second thought was that he was hallucinating, a long day at work, especially after the attack, could do that to a per-

The screen flickered once more, and this time it began to spread to the desk and wall.

Schneeplestein stumbled back, watching in shock as it continued to spread across the room, a giant shadow. The colors distorted, and began to look like Anti, blood soaked neck and all.

"Mis̢s ̕m̛e, D̡o̸c͘tor?̶"

Schneep closed his eyes, looking away. This....this couldn't be....it shouldn't be....the sound of static filled his ears, buzzing louder and louder, almost deafening, before it suddenly stopped. The doctor blinked a few times, and looked up to find ....nothing, just a normal looking game on a normal looking computer screen.

Schneeplestein practically collapsed into the nearest chair, shaking slightly. That.....that was unexpected. Like Chase, Schneep was now having the dreams, but....He was awake, or he was pretty sure he was....one glance of his hands later assured him. He was awake, and this was real.

Schneep rested his head in his hand. If so then he would have to keep Chase away from Jack more, the poor father already had enough on his hands as it was. Hallucinations on top of nightmares might be to much for his mental troubles. In any case he had to-

"Y̕ou̡'̷r͢e̸ n͜ot̡ p̡aying a̧tt̴e͝n̕ţion.̸"

Schneep just about jumped in his seat again. He glanced around the room quickly, trying to find the sourse of the voice.

"....Anti? Are you really still zat much of a covard zat you hide in shadows?"

"I'm no͜t ta͡kin͟g ̶ţhe bai̧t̕ ̕t̢h̶is͞ ͜ti̸me̛!̡" the voice giggled back.

"And vhy not?" Schneep replied, still looking around him for any sign of Anti.

"Be̴c̕aus͘e̴ ̛you'r̷e mo͟re a͝f͢rai̕d ̨o̷f ̴wh͡at̨ yo͟u̸ ca̕n'͘t see̶,̶ a͘re̶n't ͡y̧o̵u͞ D̨o͡ct̛ơr?"

The doctor stood up, grabbing his keys from his pocket and heading towards the door, "If you're just going to vaste my time I'm leaving, I have other zings to zan listen to you," he strode over to the door, eager to leave.

His keys jangled as he found the right key to lock the door after he left. He grabbed the handle, and froze again, seeing the handle, and his own hand, flicker.

A claw like hand grabbed his shoulder, digging in through his lab coat and piercing his skin slightly. It spun him around to face the glitch himself. With a thud, it slammed him against the door, pinning the doctor with a forearm pressed against his throat.

Schneep's heart pounded and it became hard to breath. His eyes found Anti's pitch black ones, and he found he couldn't look away. His well practiced hands grabbed at Anti's arm, trying to relieve some of the pressure on his neck, trying to get some air.

"W̴̕҉h̴̵͡e͡r̵͜e҉͞ ͜͠do ҉҉y̸̕͝ou͝ ̴t̴̨̕hi̛͘҉n͟k̸͡͏ ̢̕y͠ou͏'̶re̡ ̢g͜͏̶o͟͡in̨g̵͟?͟" Anti's voice was gleeful, almost a purr, "W͝͡e͡ ̛͢ą҉r͏e̕͢n̸͜'̵͟t͝ d͜o̶͘n͡e͟͢ ̨͘ye͘t!҉̵"

Schneeplestein's mind was going a hundred miles per hours. How could Anti be powerful enough to physically attack someone without his puppet?! It shouldn't be possible! This had to be fake, this couldn't be real!

His thoughts were interrupted when Anti held out his hand. Schneep's eyes finally broke away from the glitch's to focus on the newly materialized carving knife flickering in his attackers claw. Schneep grit his teeth, leaning as far away as be could when the sharp blade was drawn near to his face.

Anti was practically gleaming with joy, "Do͏̶̧n'̡҉t t̡e̵̡͡l̨̢l ̡͘m̡͞e͏̛ ̷y̕o͞ų̢̡'re͜ ҉҉sc͠ar̕͢e͢͟d̷̸! ̢An҉d͢͡ ͟wȩ ҉͘͡ḩ͞a͜ve͡n͡'t͡ ҉͡͞e͡v̢͜e̷n̸̴ ̨̕g̶̛o̡tt̷̕e̷̛̕n ţ̷o ̷͝th̢͞e̡͏ ͠f̸u͘n̴ ̴҉͞p̛a͡rt̸ ̵y̷̛͞e̢͠t͢!̸͡"

The metal of the knife caressed Schneep's cheek, not digging in quite yet, but a reminder of what was to come. As if Schneep would forget-

Knock knock

The scene suddenly flickered out of view. Schneep was staring at his hand which had the handle to the door in a vice grip. His neck was damp with sweat, and he could still feel his heart pounding in his chest. He let go of the handle, wiping his palm on his lab coat.

Knock knock

"Henrik? You in there?" The warm voice of Jackaboyman rang from the other side of the door.

"Yes, yes, just a minute," Schneep replied.

He took a step back, breathing hard and gathering himself to look a bit more presentable. It wasn't real.

After his heart had stopped trying to escape his chest, Schneep opened the door to see the familiar red clad hero.

"Hey Schneep," he greeted the doctor happily.

"Jackyboy, et is very surprising to see you here," that much was true, Schneep hadn't expected him to come by.

"I came to check on you," Jackyboyman came inside and shut the door behind him, "Marvin was worried you would stay at the hospital too long. We tried to call your phone, but you weren't answering, everything ok?"

"Oh, yes, my mistake!" Schneep rubbed the back of his head, he couldn't really explain what had just happened logically, Jackaboyman would probably think he was overworked, "I vas just distracted, it vill not happen again, I assure you,"

"And how about your shoulder? That needle was long,"

"Et vill be fine, it vas not a very big needle,"

"No side effects from the shot either?"

Schneep raised his eyebrow, "Jackyboy, I am a doctor! I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself,"

Jackyboyman laughed, "I know, just making sure."

Schneep leaned against the arm of his couch casually, "I vas just about to leave, es there anyzing else you needed?"

"Nah not really, where you going?"

"For a valk. I need to, 'clear my head' as they say," Schneep put his hands in his lab coat pockets.

"Oh," Jacky's smile fell, "something wrong?"

"Nien," Schneep said quickly, "don't vorry about me."

"It's a little late for that!" Jacky laughed again.

~~~~~~~~~

Both the superhero and doctor left Schneep's apartment. Jackyboyman headed off to fight some evil doers.....apparently. Shneep, meanwhile, did what he said he would, and took a walk.

His gears were turning on what had just happened. Schneep's mind had been invaded by Anti before, back when Schneep had been in the glitch's.....'care', and dissapeared for months. When Anti had done this before, it had only lasted a couple of days, and the symptoms were limited to; auditory hallucinations, night terrors, short term memory loss, eye twitches, and a variety of glitches. Nothing like that attack.

Anti shouldn't have been able to do that. Unless.....the glitch had somehow gotten stronger. How though? Anti-no, Jack was in a coma, that should stop any growth. But....it seemed the coma wasn't doing what it was supposed to.

Schneep continued to walk, no place in particular in mind. Anti, or his influence, did not interrupt his train of thought. Schneep wasn't sure if that was a good thing or bad thing, but he decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth.

It was getting dark when Schneep's revery was broken. His phone, which he had remembered to take this time, buzzed in his pocket, making him jump. He pulled it out quickly to find Chase calling him. Chase of all people....

Schneep answered the phone anyways, wondering what this was about.

"Oh! Hey doc!" Chase's voice came through happily.

"Hello Chase." Schneep sat down on a nearby bench, "Es somezing ze matter?"

"No, Jackyboyman just came back from fighting someone-"

"Ah, does he need me to patch him up?" This was fairly common, especially in the nastier fights. Schneep was basically the hero's personal doctor. And since the hero was Chase's friend, that's how Schneep had met the father and saved him. One of his now staggeringly few acoplishments.

"No, no, I told you, everything is fine here!" Chase reassured him.

"Oh....zen vhat is it?"

"What? Can't I just talk to a friend?" His voice was cheerful, a little too cheerful.

"Chase...." Schneep sighed, "you are really bad at lying,"

There was disbelieving silence on the other end for a moment before Chase replied, "Well, you got me there. I was just.....look Schneep, I'm just worried about you."

Schneep's grip tightened slightly on his phone. First Jacky, now Chase? Why were they all inconveniencing themselves for his sake?

"Like I told Jackyboy, I am fine."

"Yeah, well, you don't seem it."

"..." Schneep nearly rolled his eyes, "I assure you, I am perfectly able to take care ov myself."

"I know that." Chase irritatedly replied, "But you just were attacked-"

Wait, how did Chase know about the attack by Anti?!

"-by Jack, and you're acting like nothing happened at all!"

Ah yes, that's what he was talking about.

"Chase, I know you are concerned, but trust me, it's not somezing to vorry ovar. I am fine, I just need a little....time."

Once again, silence rang in his ear. Schneep rubbed his temple. He would rather not deal with Chase's presumptions right now, he had enough to deal with.

"Well, alright, if you say so." Chase replied, "Oh ah...I gotta go doc, see you later."

"See you zen." The doctor nodded and hung up, putting his phone into his pocket.

He stared up into the now black night sky and sighed. Chase would be back with his concerns eventually, but they seemed quelled for now. Even so, Schneep would probably have to avoid him, and avoid sleep if he didn't want Anti to haunt his dreams...

This was going to be a long few days.

Chapter Text

Chase hung up his phone and put it in his pocket, still worried. Despite all of the Doc's assurances, it didn't seem like it was fine, or that it should be fine right now. If this were Chase, well, no one would be worried for one, but he knew he'd feel confused, if not scared. But maybe he was projecting a bit.

"Well, what did he say?" Jackyboyman was sitting at a nearby table, putting a bandaid on a small cut, pausing when he looked up at Chase as the father put the phone away.

Chase sighed, "He said he was fine, and that he needed some time."

Jackyboy nodded, "Sounds about right." He replied, going back to putting bandaids over small cuts.

Chase sat at another chair in the hero's kitchen, folding his arms on the small table. Perhaps he was imagining things, but he couldn't get the thought out of his head that something wasn't right. Something felt off even before this, ever since Schneep had gotten back from his 'vacation'.

"Hey, Jacky?" Jackyboyman looked up as he spoke, "Do you think that somethings....changed?"

Jacky raised an eyebrow, "Do you mean with Shneep?"

"Kinda. He just seems, you know, different lately."

Jackyboy leaned back, considering, "Well he's probably under a lot of pressure....he comes back to his friend in a coma, that can't be the most relaxing thing in the world."

Chase shrugged, "Probably not, but...you don't think its anything else?"

Jackyboy shook his head, "Chase, you're worrying to much. Schneeplestein is fine, he's always fine!"

"He says that but....he dissapeared for NINE whole months, and he comes back on the day Jack becomes comatose." The father ran a hand through his hair, "It's like he's....hiding something."

Jackyboyman looked sharply up at him, "He wouldn't do that to Jack. I know him, he's a good man."

"I-I know." Chase replied, slightly startled at the stern tone Jacky had taken with him, "I'm not accusing him of putting Jack in a coma or anything, but...you don't just dissapear on vacation for that long. You can't even get that many days off!"

Jackyboy paused for a moment, then said, "It....is odd I'll give you that, but he would tell us if it was anything to be concerned about."

"..." Chase looked away from the hero.

"If you don't trust him, trust me at least." Jackyboy insisted, "I know him, you don't need to stress about it so much. And....if it really bugs you, you can always ask him what's going on."

But would he even tell me?! Chase fumed silently, but his frustration dissipated and he sighed instead.

"Yeah, I guess so."

~~~~~

The hour turned to midnight. Schneep could see the electric clock on the bedside table next to Jack's motionless body. He was behind glass, safely away from Schneep, and anyone else. The camera in the room still had the recording light on. Good, he would need to rewatch the hours of video for any activity, though he suspected he would get nothing. Anti usually laid low after any attack, regroup and replan. That would buy Schneep some time.

"Doctor, what are you doing here?" A confused voice said from behind him.

The doctor startled, turning around and seeing a nurse where he half expected Anti to be.

"Oh, it's just you." He couldn't help a sigh of relief.

The nurse raised their eyebrow, "....Yes? Doctor. What are you doing here? I thought you clocked out hours ago."

"I did, but I'm back. I took a shift from Celine, zey needed a break," that was partially the truth, he had called and taken the shift, though not just because Celine needed some rest.

The nurse blinked, surprised, then nodded, "Alright, then you should know there's a patient in room 4. He apparently broke his ankle."

"Alright, I vill be zere in a moment."

The nurse nodded again, than looked over Schneep's shoulder, "It's a real shame about your friend. He was nice."

"Zat he vas,"

"You think he'll be getting up soon?"

Schneep shook his head without hesitation, "Unfortunately, no. Ve just have to vait and see vat happens."

The nurse sighed sadly, "Yeah....well, I've got to get back to work, and so do you, come on!"

Schneep reluctantly left, he didn't trust Anti for a second, but there was work to be done. A lot of work, and for once Schneep was thankful for it. It kept him on his toes, gave him something to do rather than stew in the dark. Even if Schneep had been tired, he wouldn't sleep. He knew the night terrors than Anti's invasion to his mind would bring, and he also knew it was easier to just avoid them. Just a day or two without sleep, then he would be free of Anti.

Though, something still bothered him about the whole ordeal. That hallucination had been while he was awake, when his mind and defenses were strong, and it had felt so real, like Anti had actually been there. That had never happened before, what was different this time?

Despite this worry, he put the thought aside, focusing on his work. After the patient was sent off, now in a cast, Schneeplestein began to watch the video of An-Jack sped up. He occasionally would pause it to focus on some sort of paperwork, or other task, but returned when he could.

When morning came, it brought more people with it. Nurses carted medicines to those still in intensive care. Surgeries were to be done, checkups to be made, and meals to be served. Schneep worked through morning as well, still keeping up his energy, and burying himself in his work.

He was reminded to leave twice before he actually thought about going back home. Fortunately for him, he still managed to get through all of the tape, and like he had expected, nothing had happened. So after the third, "Go home and get some rest." He was ready to leave.

Schneep got maybe a meter or so away before another distraction presented itself.

"Henrik! Didn't expect you here." Marvin, in his cat like mask and cape, walked up to him, "Did you just get here?"

"Hello Marvin." Schneep paused in walking, "No, I vas just leaving."

"Visiting then?" The magician guessed

"Getting off a shift." Schneep corrected, "I vas just heading to get breakfast."

"I know a great place for that!" Marvin grinned, "here let me...." He started to rummage around in his pockets.

"Marvin wait-" Schneep started, realizing what the other was about to do.

But Marvin took no heed and pulled out a bunch of glitter and threw it on the ground, creating a plume of smoke and glitter that enveloped them both.

Schneep coughed as it got in his lungs, waving it away, "Marvin!" He grumbled, "Did you have to?"

"Of course I did!" The magician grinned as the glitter/smoke faded, "We're here aren't we?"

Schneep sighed and looked around. Sure enough they weren't in the hospital parking lot anymore, they were in front of a small, but warm looking restaurant. It seemed to be mostly empty at the moment, less people to notice their grandiose entrance.

"Did I amaze you yet?" Marvin was standing there, looking expectant.

"My car." Schneep replied, deadpanned.

"What?" Marvin blinked at him, bemused.

"My car, it vas in ze parking lot." Schneep sighed, explaining, "and unless you have more of zat," he guestured to Marvin's pocket that had held the glitter, "ve're going to have to valk back...."

"Oh...." Marvin's grin vanished for a second, "welp!"

The doctor rolled his eyes, "Nevar mind, let's just get some food."

~~~~~

The next day played out about the same. Schneep took the night shift again, and by mid-day left, only to be greated by Jackyboyman this time. Unfortunately, the red hero couldn't talk for long, as he was going to visit Jack, so Schneep went home earlier than yesterday. It was a shame too, Schneep rather enjoyed Jackyboyman's company.

Home was quiet, to quiet for his unrestful mind. So, he turned on the telivision, and went about making himself a pot of coffee. The background noise helped some, as well as going around, busying himself with picking up a bit. It was peaceful, relaxing.

"W̛͞e͞l͡cơ̢̨m̶̢͜e̡͢ ̴͢h͝o̸m̸̛e҉͡͝, D̕҉oc̶̛t͡or̛.̵"

And of course, he had to be there, didn't he. Schneep sighed, turning around to see the green glitch leaning against the kitchen wall, grinning. Schneep gave him a once over look, then decidedly ignored him, taking a sip of his coffee instead.

"Oi̡!̧͘͢ ̴̢Yǫu͞ ca͟͢ņ̴̧'͘t͝ ͏j̧̡͜u͏͜s̶̴̵t̵͘͟-̸" Anti started.

"Not pay attention? Of course I can." Schneep interupted, walking from the room, keeping his gaze off of the glitch, "Leave before you embaress yourzelf anymore."

Anti followed him, lit with indignant anger, "Y͞o҉u̴̧͞-̛" the Glitches hand reached for the doctor's shoulder.

Schneep reacted quick, grabbing the hand before it even touched him. This seemed to make Anti pause, at least for now.

"So I can touch you zen, just as much as you can touch me in zese halutionations. Interesting."

The other man sneered, "Th̴̢a̛t̸͞'̛҉s ͏w̢h̨a͏t͠ ̸y͝͠o̸̵u҉ ͡t͏̧h҉i̕͟n̨k̷̷̶ ͢t̴̛h͠͏i͜͡͏s ͞i̶͏͠s?̴̢ ̨͞A͏ ͞h͏͡҉a͏͠l͏l̨ųci̕na̷ţ̴̛i̡͟o͝n͜?̢̧!̕"

"Am I wrong?" Schneep turned his head slightly to look Anti in the eye, "Zere is no vay for you to have moved, meaning zis is all in my head."

"..." His black eyes narrowed, "Ve͘ry̷ ͜o̸b̷s͞e̛҉͏rvą̵n̛͢t͏̸ ̵͏͝ơ͠f̨ ̕yo͏͢u,̷ ̵t҉̛͘o͘ ̡͏k̨n͞ow w̡͠h͞e͘n̴ ͢͡y͡o̸u'͘re̵ ͏̴̨g̸͘oiņg ͡͠i̢͡n͜͠͡s̸a͠͝n̴̨ę."

"I am not insane. I do not know how you are doing zese walking daydreams, but it is no matter to me anymore." Schneep let go of Anti's hand, and headed to the couch.

"Ą͡n̛d̕͟͠ ̷̵w͡hy҉ ̸͝i̕s̢͡͡ ̢t̡h̛at̸̵ ̕do͜c̵̸t̸͡oŗ͞?̛͢͠" Anti raised an eyebrow at him.

"Because your influence vill fade, as it always does. If I am not mistaken, you vill be gone by tomorrow, and I can finally rest easy." Schneep replied calmly, sitting down, back to Anti, "and Zen zis vill all be ovar."

There was silence for a long time. Schneep was starting to think Anti had dissapeared, finally left him alone, when he heard a giggle. He looked to see Anti covering his mouth, grinning and giggling as he stared at the doctor. The giggle turned into a chuckle, and the chuckle into a cackle.

"H̵̨ęh̨͡ȩh͏.̶.̵..̢͟͞a͝l҉r҉͏i̸͘gh̵̷t̵ ̷̧̢th̴̷͠e̕͝n̡̛͠ ̡D̴o̶͢͞cţ̷o͝҉r̡͜͢,͞ Į͘͢'͏l͟l̸ ̵͠pl̢a̛͝y̶̢ th҉͘a̸͡t̵ ͝ga̷me͟." The glitch grinned, "L҉̧e̛͠t̵̢'s̵͏ ̸̛s̷̕͠ee̶̢͟ ̸w͠hat͠ h҉a̷͡p̕p͡e͏n͢s̨͞,͏͝ ̵e̸͏h͢͜҉?̵͜ T̸̢h҉iş͘͝ ͠will ̷̨b̶̵͟ȩ̕ F̨̡̛̛͏ ̶͡͞͞Ų͘͜͜ ̕͝N̵̕͡͡

Chapter Text

Schneep was recording a game for Jack's channel. Rather odd, he thought, since Marvin, Chase, and Jackyboyman were usually the ones to fill in for Jack. However this was a medical game, so he supposed it made sense if he played it. He started up the game and began to read through the tutorial. Things were going good, the game seemed easy, especially for a certified doctor like him! Simple!

The headphone jack to the computer jerked out at one point. Schneep leaned down to pick it up, but when he looked back up at his monitor, what he saw made the blood drain from his face.

There sat Jack's face, staring right at him, lifeless eyes boring into his, as blood trickled from his eyes, ears, and mouth like a river.

The scenery around him suddenly shifted, and the doctor was no longer sitting down, but rather standing above Jack, who was now on a surgery table. Schneep looked around, and saw bright lights and cameras. Beyond them were a sea of people, all just watching, waiting. In the front row, of the people he could see clearly, were Jack's friends, Marvin, Chase, James, and even Jackyboyman, all looking expectant, but not saying a word. It was deathly quiet.

Schneep looked back down at Jack, a wave of dread coming over him. He was holding a scalpel, though had no memory of picking it up. What was he doin-

"Fix Jack!" the faint cry came from somewhere in the crowd. Schneep looked over to see who was speaking, but found no one.

"Fix Jack!" Someone else repeated, "Save Jack! Fix him!"

Another person picked up the chant, calling out to him. Then another, and another, until the whole group surrounding him were practically screaming at him to help Jack, to fix him! They didn't understand, he couldn't do this alone! All he could do was-

"W̷a̸it͘, ̡an̶d҉ ̨w͟at͢c̷h ̡p̨ati̛e̛ntly." An all to familiar voice whispered in his ear, right at his shoulder, and all the other voices evaporated.

Schneep was paralyzed, frozen in place as the glitch's voice giggled behind him. The world seemed to swirl around him, the lights and crowd becoming blurry. An arm, discolored green and red, reached out and gently grabbed the doctor's wrist, the one holding the scalpel, and moved it out, towards Jack's un-moving body.

"Come҉ o̡n do̴cto͟r! Y҉ou̸'re ͠n͡o̕t af͝raid ̛a̶re̡ y͠ou͝?͠" More giggling, "Y̴o̴u̵ ͞c͢an cu͡t me ̧o̕u͏ţ ̛of͠ h̨im,͢ ͞çan't y̴o̶u̸? ͝Sure, it̸ ̸m҉ay kill͜ ͟him, ͘b̵ut͞ ͝a̶ll͜ ̶fo͡r ̡t̢h̵e g͘r̸eatȩr go̸ǫd͜, ̸r̵ighţ?͝ T̸h̨e̸y͢ ͟w̴o̕n͞'t͘ un̕d͢er͘stand, ̢b͠u̢t ͡in͝ ̵the͢ e͡n̡d i̛t̢'s̢ ̶al̶l͘ ͢f͟or ̕their pr̸o͜te̕c҉ti̡o҉n!"

Schneep squeezed his eyes shut, trying to focus, managing to stop Anti from forcing his hand any further, "I.....vill.....not," he muttered, more to himself than anything, "and....I vill not.....let you make me!"

"W͏h̷at? Sc̛arȩd t̛o͞ see͝ ̢the҉ir d̵̢is̢̛a҉̶p̧͟o̢i̢͢n̨t͢m̨̨͞ȩ͠n̕͟t͟͠?!" Anti tightened his grip, pushing forward with more force, "You̸ jus͟t͟ ̕do̡n't ̧w͢ant t͞h͘e̛m tơ kno͘w wha̛t҉ y̢o͡u ͡d҉id̨! ̕A̷nd y̶ou ̛c̕al̵l͢ed me ̷a͟ ̧co̡w̢ar̸d."

Schneep could practically see his friends reactions, disgust, betrayal, or even just pity.

"Shut....UP!" He broke his arm free and the dream shattered. Whipping around, the doctor threw his fist as hard as he could into Anti's shocked face, sending the glitch a few steps backward.

The dream shattered, dissipating like mist. It was just Schneep and the stunned glitch in the dark

Anti's shock turned to anger in seconds. His form shook and rattled as no human form could, glitching and spasming left right and center. Before Henrik could even atrempt to move, Anti was on him, pinning him to the floor.

"Ṱ̢̖̙̠̼̤ḫ͈̫̗̱̠͜͢i̛̘͇̼̭̘͘͝n̵̸͈̱̥ḵ̴̜͖͈͇̜̩̳ ͚̠̠̬̦̫̰ỵ̶̛̣̳͔̤̻o̞̥̥̞̕u̱̺̤̟͓̳̗͘͜'̱͚̯͇̖̟̺͘r҉͙͍͙͙̖̲̝̺e̴̶̫͓̤͚̪͞ ̴͇̬̮̯̫̯̦͜͡t͏̭͖̠̣̦̱͢͝o̸̡͎̠͉̭̲̜̬̼ͅu̶͇͉͖̬g̺̗̝͎̼͟h̨҉̯̠͚͎̗̗̲͇͟ ̯͎̮̤ͅs̵҉̢̫̯̫̪̘h͕̲̮i̴̥̱͈̻͈̤͓̭͡t̷̠͙͙?̵̹͕͇̱̖̰͓̣͕͡!͎̩͉̫͙̪̟̯" Anti spat at the doctor beneath him, "Y̛͖o҉̹̻̜͓̙u̡̺͇̱͚̬͈̜͝.̡̮̠͉͍̤͘ͅͅ ̗̞̲͍̘̦̮͜A̶͈̮̤r͙̳e͓̟͈͙͕̻͓̪͟.̰̕ ̷̮͇̲̣̣̜̖͚N҉̹̜̞̳O̷̗̩̺̞̮͠T̴̸̜̥̠͎͚͚̜H̷͈̗̘̮̠͇̘̥̕͞ͅI͡҉͎̪͓̻̝̘͍͍͔N̨͖̘̝͇̱G̫̺͘͢ ̡̹̖̦͚̯b̸̤̜͚͇͢͡u͕͎̖͉͕ṭ͓͍̗͈ ̵̧̟̞̪̬͇͠a̩̳̲͙̹̭̖̥ ̙̭͟͠͡w̨̛͓̤͠o̢҉͖̞̫̳ṛ̴͡t̤̱̹̳̯͔̜̼h̤͕̠ļ̖̘͍̺̙̠̹ͅe̵̙̬͡s͍͢s̗̦ ̡͔̗͠ḏ̖͍o͏҉̭̗͟c̸͎͍t͏̶͖͎͕o̗̝͕ͅr̛͕̭̥̠!̜̻̗̹͔̻ ̶̢͍̘̦A̷̟̥̘̲͇̭̥͝n̵̹ ̶͔̰a̛͇̰n͚̘͍̺͜n̩̙̥̲͕̖͉̳͝ͅo͙̺̺͉͘ͅy̠̲͇̩̻͍̥͚a̪̟͔̰̼͉̝̘n̩͜c̵҉͇ȩ̹̰͇͘ ̣̼̩̖̥͙͘͘a̱͓̘̦̤̫n̪̞͔͘͝d̲͈͟ ̴͚̫̪̱͚͝P̵̡̼̻̪͔̹͖͖ͅE̷͓̙͍̥̞͡S̛̺Ṭ̨ ̬͎̙̹̪a̷̛̮͓̕t̝̲͎͙̙͓͠͝ ͡҉͉̳̝̞̭̣̤̝b̫̼̰͉̖̟̗͞e͖̯͇̹̳̣̼͉s҉̭̝̺̖t̩̪̘̗̻̜̼̺̺̕!̵̫̺̟͍̪"

Anti's hands seemed to turn into claws, digging into Schneep's shoulders. The doctor tried to pull Anti off him, but the glitch caught one of Schneep's arms and twisted it painfully above his head. Shneep inhaled through his teeth at the pain, now looking up at the black eyes of his enemy.

"V-vat vere you expecting?" He grinned despite the pain, an almost manic look to his expression, "a doormat for you to-ah- step ovar?"

Anti snarled and twisted his arm further, but Schneep took a savage pleasure from his frustration. After all Anti had done, any payback was cathartic, if unwise. The doctor took a painful gasp of air, still smiling.

"M̴̨͞a̴͠y̸̛͟b̷e̷̵͝͞͏ ̷͡҉͠I͡͏̵͜ ̸̡̢͞s̶̴̡̢h͡҉ơ̷̷u̵͡͏̕͢l̛͢d̨̡ ̸͢͞j̸̧͠ư͘̕͏s̶̢̛t̷̢͝͠ ̷̴̨͏e̴̸̕͏n͜͝͡d̶̵̷͜ ̴͜҉̶y̵̡̡͟ǫ̵͠u҉̢r̶͜҉͞͞ ̶͠m̡͞i̸̧̧͜͟s҉͠e̢͡͡r̶̡̧͝͞a͢b̴̵̴͡l҉e͘͟ ̸̧e̴̸̛̕x̴̶̨͡s̷̶͡͡is̢͏̶͡t̸͠͞a̸͞n̨̧̨̕͢c͏̛e̸͝ ͘͢͢͠͞ŗ͘i̵̛̕g͞͞h̸̡t̴͘͜͜ ̸̷҉hȩ̵̷r̢̢e̴̡̡̢,̕ ̡͢l̴̡͢͟y̵̨̡͢͠i̕͠n̨g̸̢͢͞ ̢͡i̷̷̶̸n̴̢͝͞ ̸̢t͟h̶̢̛͟ę͞͞ ̷̧d̷a̸͟͠r̸̨̨k̢͜͜͝ ̷̸̢̛͟w̨̡͏h̶̡̕͟͞ȩ̢͠r̡͢e̸͟͞͝ ̢͟n̵҉o̷̸̵͝ ͟͞͝͠͡o͝͝҉̨n͞҉̢e̛͞͏̨͝ ̸̸̡͘wo͟͞u̢̕͜l̷̨͘d̶̵̶ c̨҉̰͔̖a͚͍̗̗̳̟͢r̮̘̤͔̹̰͚̺͙͡ȩ͕͈̝͞!̜͈̟̹͍͚' The glitch suggested, still staring daggers at Shneep, "Y̶̶̷͏o҉̸̕u͏͡ ̡w̛̕o̶̧̡͝u̶͘l̸̢҉͝d̴̷̢͟͢ ͏͢͢҉d̕i̶͡͝͠e̢ ͏̸̷͡a͝͏̴l̕͝ļ͞ ̛͡͡a̴̧̢̛͝l҉̢̢̡͏o͟n̵͡e̛͠,̴̴͟͟͞ ̷̷a̡̕͢ ͏̨f͟҉̸it͏̨t̡̡̧͢͢i̴̢̨͢n̸ģ͢͡͠ en̨d͞҉̛ ͠҉͢t̵̢͟o̷̡̕͟͡ ̷̧͞y̵̕͜͏ơ̧̕͟ur̢͘͢͞ ̷̶͞s͢͏t҉̨͡͞o̶̡̨r̸̸͞͠y͏̡͞͞!̧"

"You von't kill me," the doctor replied easily, "you still need me."

Anti reeled back slightly, surprise once again crossing his features. But it didnt last.

"I...don't know vat you are planning, but you seem to have a terrible fixation on me as ov late." The doctor continued, "vatever it is, you need me for it, don't you?"

He took the silence for a yes.

"Alvays so predictable Anti," he chuckled, "I'm disappointed."

The look of rage was the only warning the doctor got, and luckily it was enough to dodge the knife sticking into the ground where his head had been mere moments before. Another knife appeared at his chest right over his sternum.

"Yo͢͞u ̢k̵n̵o҉w͠ ̕͏d͠ǫ̨ct̕o̶r,̢͜ y̧o̢͞u̴̡ re̕a̡͟l̢͝l̛̕y̢̨͞ ҉g̸e͟t̶̕͞ ̛on̡ ҉m̸y͘҉ ̨̕͜n͝ ̵̶̡e r̛͘ v͜ e͠͞ ̶͜s̶.̴" Anti's voice was shaking, but from manic glee or from levels of extreme Pissed-off-ness, Schneep couldn't tell, "I̶̕͜ ̡̛t͘h͝͏i̸͏͏n̢k͢͞ I͏̡'̷͘͠l͏͘̕l̨̛ ͘h̴̴ą͏ve̴͟ ͞a͜ ̢̢l͏i̡t҉̸̡t͞l̸ȩ ͢f҉̴u̵͘n̛, ̨j͡u̸̵̸st̨̕͡ ̷̸t͢o҉̴͝ ҉҉c̡a̸l̷͜m ̶͟th̷̢̧e̵̷m̕͡ ̶̡͞d̕o̴̶͡w̢n.̸͘"

The knife began to lower, and there was nothing Schneep could do to stop it.

~~~~~~~

 

He woke up abruptly, feeling something warm trickling down the center of his chest. It was almost burning hot compared to the cold sweat drenching the rest of his body. Cursing fluently in German, he got up and darted to the bathroom, flipping on the lights and taking off his shirt. There was a small, but somewhat deep wound on his chest, right above his sternum. It was bleeding, and looked like a fresh cut. It was a good thing Schneep kept medical supplies in his house.

He used a washcloth to clean the gash up with a little help from hydrogen peroxide as he searched for his suture supplies. It stung, badly, but the wound was bad enough that a bandaid wouldn't cut it. In a little under an hour, the blood had slowed to a stop, and he had several stitches where the cut used to be.

Schneep sighed, putting the medical kit away. At least he wasn't bleeding anymore, but that was the least of his worries. That dream....it was much more vivid than his usual nightmares. The gash he had sustained while fighting Anti had effected his physical body, not to mention his arm feeling bruise from where it had been violently twisted. How was Anti able to do that? The effects of Anti's infiltration only should have lasted a few days, and at that, only effect his psyche.

Apparently not, he thought bitterly, pulling back on his shirt, which had a little bit of blood on them.

Perhaps a few more days to try and purge Anti from his mind. He could go that long without sleep, Shneep had done it before. In the meantime he would have to figure out how Anti was doing all these things he was not supposed to be able to do.

But what if that doesn't work, a small voice in the back of his head protested, what if he's still there?

He shook his head, if that happened....well it wouldn't, he was almost sure of it!

Almost.

He finished cleaning up, using rubbing alcohol to clean the blood up completely. The amount of times he had to use this trick when Jackyboyman came in injured made it practically routine for him now. His kitchen and bathroom floors had gotten quite dirty from the hero's misadventures, and if his apartment was ever searched for one reason or another, he would rather not have Jackyboyman or himself in suspicion....

Shcneep sighed, staring down at the rag he was using. Those had been good times, before the doctor had dissapeared and-

No, no more of that, Schneep decided firmly. It was already bad enough he was having vivid nightmares, he didnt need to relive that time again.

He put the cleaning supplies away quickly and got dressed. It was still early in the morning, and a drowsy grey light peered through his blinds in the living room. Schneep didn't bother turning on the light as he found and put on his lab coat. It was back to the hospital then, to bury himself in work once more, and maybe find a cure to whatever Anti was doing.

That would be a godsend.

Chapter Text

Schneep put down his pen with a sigh. He had been staring at this nasty peice of a document for over an hour, rereading it over and over but understanding none of it. His eyes were itchy and heavy, wanting to close, but he couldn't let himself. Instead he stood, grabbed his nearly empty coffee mug, and headed for the break room.

It had been a week since Anti's last attack.

It had also been a week since Schneep has last had a good nights rest. He was currently running off of a few hours of unintentional sleep, and a few gallons of caffeinated coffee. Despite this, he was actually running fairly well!

Well, as well as he could. He wasn't seeing patients anymore, or doing surgery, with his current state it was not wise. He mainly stuck himself doing paperwork, sorting files and pill prescriptions, that sort of thing. He was sure that if he tried to do anything more, he might hurt someone by accident.

Or̛ ͏o҉n ͢p̕urp͡ose.̵

There had been one annoying constant throughout the week. From time to time these annoying....Quips by Anti. The glitch didn't appear, but he seemed unafraid to voice his opinions on whatever Schneep seemed to be doing at the moment. Always trying to remind the doctor that he was there, always present.

The doctor had learned to tune him out after a time.

This only seemed to annoy Anti more.

Schneep made it to the break room at last. As he opened the door, the few people inside waved to him, congratulating him for coming out of his cave finally. Schneep rolled his eyes and headed strait for the coffee maker. Luckily for him, there was still some in the pot, and it was still warm.

Schneep poored himself a cup of the liquid and took a sip. Wasn't as hot as he liked it, but it would do. He would make some himself next time. With his cup in hand, he said a farewell to the nurses and others in the break room, and started heading back to his office.

He would make a quick detour down to the ICU first though.

Jack's room had a small window looking into it, not that there was much inside. Simply a bed that held his comatose friend with a mess of monitors to either side of it. There was also another door leading into a shower for whenever Jack woke up.

That wouldn't be for a while unfortunately.

Still, it was good that he was doing.....wait.

Schneep startled, looking at the other side of the room. He swore he had just seen...something out of the corner of his eye. Something...unwanted. He took another, closer look at the room.

Everything was still and quiet. Jack hadn't moved, and nothing seemed misplaced. Schneep sighed, pressing his hand against the glass. He was just imagining things, making himself jump at the slightest shadows.

He should head ba-

Ban͢g̴!

Schneep jumped back, heart flailing in his chest.

On the other side of the glass, a hand had come out of nowhere and slammed on the invisible barrier, cracking it. He stared at the hand, and the arm extending from it.

Black shadows obscured the rest of the room, leaving the glitch himself visible. He grinned at Schneep before pounding on the glass again, cracking it further. He was going to get out?! How it...no, This couldn't-

"Doctor Schneeplestein?"

Schneep startled, turning to look at the nurse that had just disturbed him with large, fearful eyes.

"Doctor Schneeplestein? What's the matter?" They asked, looking concerned.

"Wh-" Schneep looked back at the window, only to see the room, now Anti-free.

"...it's nozing...." He replied after a second, clearing his head, "I vas just....zinking."

"...alright?" The nurse seemed a but confused, "uh...could I get around you then?""

"Oh, right," Schneep moved out of the way, letting the nurse pass. He glanced into the window, and saw Anti's face grinning smugly back at him. The sound of static started in his head, but Schneep had no interested in continuing this conversation, so turned and left.

"You ̨ca͠n̛'t ̢ig̨nore ̕me̸.̶" Anti appeared in the next window down, looking irked.

"Vatch me." Schneep hissed under his breath, before walking right past him.

Anti appeared in the next room's window in stead of Schneep's own reflection, "Yo͢u ̡p͏athet͟ic littl̕e-"

Schneep didn't even spare Anti a glance as he walked by. He had shit to do, he didn't need this. Anti continued to follow him, but Schneep paid him no mind.

"H̡ey̕!͘ Don't ͏j҉u̷st-" Anti was interupted again as the doctor continued to walk back to his office, "P҉a͞y ̛͠a͜t͞t̶en̛t̷i͟o̧n ̸̡͘ţ͞o͞͠ ̵̶̵m̸͜e͞ ̛͠w̷h͝͡e̶͠ņ͞ ̵̡͞I̵̢҉'m͝-͞͝ ͝D͢a̸̡m͘͏n̷̛͢ ͏y̨̛o̧͠u-͝͠!̷"

Schneep got back to his office, and shut the door with a slam behind him. Anti could be so annoying sometimes. As long as Schneep didn't let him get into his head to much, the glitch was a nuisance more than a threat.

"Y̖̹̳̲̤͇̩o̰̺̝̞͍̥͉u̸̸̼̳̖̰̜̣̖͠ ̢̞͈͕̯̪͓̩̹͙l͖̻͚i̴̖̣̝͖̮̯͓̤͍t͙̱̭̤͟t̩̹͈̮̘͍̩͝l̩͔͔͉̦͟ȩ̣̼̮͖͞-͕͍͓͍͘͜͢!҉̢̭̲̹"

Anti had manifested in the office, and he was glitching badly. It almost looked like his body had been split in half. If looks could kill, the glare he was giving Schneep would have fried him instantly.

Schneep only raised an eyebrow in reaction, "Did I touch a nerve?"

"N͜o͜͠͞,͞͡ ̕y͜҉o͟u're ̶͜j͘̕u҉̕s̵t҉͢͡ ̴be̢͘͟i͢n̶͜͞g̛͞͞ ҉a ͘͠f͠҉̷ư͏c̶̢k̢͟i̢͠n̴̕͝g͟ ̨a̡͜͝ss҉h͜͏o̢le͡͠!" Anti growled back.

"Am I supposed to care?" The doctor replied coldly as he walked past Anti to sit down.

The glitch grabbed him by his shoulder and whipped Schneep around so they were facing one another, "Y̱͕̲̖͙o̞̠̻̻u̷̷̙̫͇̳͓͕͚̠'̻̻r̺͙̰̮͝e̡̯̗̱͠ ̵̵̯̖͜s̷͓̩͎̕͝u̵̟͍̱̱͜p̨͓̳̩̭͖͚̟̟p̰͇̩͓͉̱̟̤̗o̢̩̟͍̻ş̷̲̖ȩ̣͇̰̞̪̪͚͢ḓ̴̹ ̬͉̬̟͓̭͡ţ̵̫̬̱̝͈͢o̮̗̱͝ ͚͇͖̺̙̺̝̲b̲̘͍̝ȩ̜͉̦̦̜̱͓ ͉̲̙̯͘d̸̢̘͉͔̯͕̦̬e͏̻̣̩̻̹͟a͏̷̴̟̲̭̱͙̣d̛̘̯̳͚̩͔͕̕!̵̱̰͈͇̖̫̻̩͎͞"

"..." Schneep grabbed Anti's arm, "You listen here you little glitch bitch." Schneep practically snarled, causing the other to freeze, "I am tired of zis. I am tired of your little games. Vatever you are trying to do, it isn't verking. You can't vin, and you're vasting. Your. Time."

Schneep let go of Anti's hand, and continued to walk towards his chair.

".͜.̶.̡.you'l͟l̵ ̢pay for ̶t̶hi̷s̢." Anti growled.

"I suspect I vill. But I do not care." Schneep sat down, placing his coffee down on the desk, "You've already done your verst to me, remember?"

There was silence, an angry, frustrated silence. Then the static, stopped. He waited for a moment, then looked around the office.

Finally, he was alone.

Schneep sighed, and turned back to his desk, placing his shaking hands on top. Taking a deep breath, he concentrated on them, and the shaking slowed. Eventaully they got to the point where he could write.

He needed sleep, badly. But if he could keep this up for just a few more days, just a few more, Anti could be gone from his head. Then he could continue trying to find out how to kill Anti for good.

~~~~~~~

Anti was seething.

The doctor had ignored him. He had mocked him of all things that arrog͏a̵n͡t şo̷̵n̨ o͘͜f̛ ̨a̸ b̧̮̱̤į̢̨͔̪t̡̟̞̹͔͈̩̕͢c҉̶̫͎̯̭̳̝̺h͎̦͉̝͇̩̬͈̜͜͠

Did he know the plan he had soiled, the hours of time Anti had daydreamed about torturing and finally killing Henrik Von Schneeplestein? Had he any idea of the wrath Anti wished he could bring down upon his puny mortal soul?! Damn that doctor!

If Anti could have his way he would've shredded the doctor right there. But someone would have heard. The hospital was not empty, and screaming from Schneeplestein in his last moments of agony would most certainly be heard. As satisfying as it might be to tear him to peices right there and then, Anti had other plans that required him to stay silent.

Fucking inconvincence.

So, he would have to wait and make the doctor pay later. He would make the doctor pay. It couldn't be the same thing he usually did. No, he would have to get....creative for this one.

And he might have to call in a favor.

Chapter Text

Today had been a good day.

The games lined up for recording today looked fun to play, and not to mention Robin had sent back a few videos ready to upload. Not to mention it was sunny out today, and the windows were open, letting in the warm rays.

The sun didn't always help, but it was a cherry on top of a nice Sunday. Literally, heh.

He should have known it was too good to last.

He was in the middle of a recording when there was a sound of a window opening in the kitchen. Chase figured it was Jackie. He liked to get in that way. Less people saw him and it made him feel dramatic, so he didn't worry about it to much.

Until he heard a crash, and a yelp from the kitchen as well.

"Chase!....uh-uhg...."

It certainly sounded like Jackie. Chase got up from his chair, paused the recording and headed into the kitchen. The window was open-

Chase froze.

There was blood all over the floor.

Scratch that, there was blood all over the windowsill too.

Jackie was in a pool of it.

Oh God.

Chase ran over to Jackie, who was currently sitting on the floor with his hand over his abdomen. Chase leaned down and Jackie lifted his hand so he could see.

It looked like he'd been shot.

"What the hell?" Chase asked, voice shakey.

"I don't know." Jackie grimaced, "Someone got me from behind, I didn't....didn't dodge fast enough. Couldn't see them either....."

Chase just stared, a ball of terror rising in his throat.

"Heh...I don't feel good mister Brody." The hero murmered with an incredulous grin on his face.

Chase's voice unclogged, "Jackie now is not the time for jokes!"

"Every time is the time for jokes Chase!" The hero grinned, then coughed, blood coming out of his mouth. This was BAD

"Oh god, we need to get you to a hospital."

"No!" Jackie grunted, "no, we can't go there. They'd be like 'hm, this blood looks a lot like Jackie's its almost like he's Jackaboyman!' Or...something."

Chase sighed, "Alright then...no hospitals....but then what the fuck do you want me to do?!"

Jackie smiled, despite the pain, "Schneep he....he's fixed worse."

Chase shook his head. Of course, why didn't he think of that?! He got up and pulled his phone out as he dashed over to the linin closet. There was a moment he paused to tap Doc's phone number, then he listened to the phone ring as he rushed back to Jackie with towels.

The phone rang.

Jackie coughed, more blood pouring from his lips. Chase knelt down beside his friend and grabbed one of towels, and began to clear off the wound. Jackie winced as it touched the edges of the open flesh. Chase paused, but Jackie just shook his head.

The phone rang again.

"Keep...keep going, we have to get it clean....." Jackie grimaced.

Chase swallowed, but pressed forward, soaking up the blood, god there was so much of it, into the towel. The blood kept flowing from the wound like a waterfall, and Jackie started to look pale.

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck!

The phone rang an third time before Schneep picked up.

"Cha-"

"Doc, we've got an emergency." Chase interupted, "we need you down here, now!"

"Vhat-"

"Just hurry."

"I'm...I'm on my vay."

Schneep hung up, and Chase put the phone down to use both hand to try and stop the bleeding. There wasn't time to explain. He just had to hope Schneep was close.

"He's....coming?" Jackie coughed, wincing.

"Yeah, he's...he's coming." Chase was on the verge of panicking, "Try and stay awake, Kay? He'll be here soon!"

"...ok."

~~~~~

It had not been a good day.

Schneep hadn't slept since yesterday, when he had gotten an hour or so at his desk. There were no nightmares, thankfully, and Anti hadn't seemed to have appeared since the last encounter. He did that, dissapeared for a long while before coming back to wreck havoc. Having that on his mind, along with the constant lack of sleep, and food now that he thought about it, made this day a very...unhappy one.

Chase's call would prove to be another point of worry.

He got off early, explaining it as an emergency, before heading over to Chase's and Jackie's house. Jackie had let the father move in after Stacy, that bitch, had taken the kids and the house. Chase could have moved in with any one else, but Jackie was the one to help save him, and his closest friend. How noble of him.

Schneeplestein arrived at the door, and barely had to knock before Chase flung it open and practically dragged him inside, talking fast and out of breath.

"Doc, it's Jackie."

"I-I figured as much-" Schneep started, bemused.

"No, he got shot, bad. He's...he's unconscious right now, and he's losing a lot of blood."

Schneep almost froze at that. He looked down, and for the first time he could see Chase's hands. They were stained red, and he had splotches of blood all up his arm.

"How-"

"I dont know." Chase interupted, "just...get in here will ya?"

Schneep was dragged to the kitchen, and even here he could see the blood along the open windowsill and counter underneath. The hood of the hero's costume was barely visible over the table as well. Schneep's stomach dropped at the sight of his friend's blood pooled around his feet.

"I...I think there's a lot of internal bleeding and....I-I tried to stop it," Chase grabbed the towel from where it had previously lain on the table, "but that's all I can do....Doc, you've gotta help him, please!.

Numbly, Schneep knelt next to Jackie, staring. The bullet had gone through an area where there were some pretty important organs. He...it was a miracle that Jackie managed to make it to the house, much less out of danger. He could have died...he was dying.

His hands shook violently as his mind went suddenly blank. He couldn't do this. He was paralyzed, frozen as Jackie bled out in front of him!

"Doc!"

Chase shook him by his shoulder, "What are you waiting for?!" He asked, panic evident in his voice.

"I...." Schneep swallowed thickly, trying to force the words out, "I...I can't do zis...."

"What?!"

"Chase I can't...I can't fix him. I...." Schneep raised his shaking hands to his face. He couldn't do it. Jackie was going to die because he couldn't do anything. Jackie was going to die because of him!

Schneep felt Chase's hand touch his own trembling one, then draw back.

"I'll call Marvin, maybe....he'll have something." Chase said, his voice softer, "just....here." He pressed the towl into Schneep's hands, "Try-try and stop the bleeding, please."

Schneep took a deep breath and nodded. Now was not the time to be having a mental breakdown. Chase shook and pulled out his phone, dialing Marvin's number.

Schneep knelt next to Jackie, still trembling. The hole left by the shot was slippery with blood. The doctor pressed the already soaked towel against the wound, his hands shaking, and smudged with the red ichor. It was all he could do to keep it there.

If Jackie died it would be his fault. His inability to stop this. He would lose another friend because of his ineptitude. How could he let this happen? He was Henrik Von Schneeplestein, how could he stand by and do nothing?!

His hands trembled more.

Even if he could muster up the will to operate on Jackie, he would probably make things worse than it already was. He could have been the direct cause of Jackie's death. The thought made him nauseous.

Chase hung up his phone, "He's coming, he should be here-"

Before Chase could finish, a puff of smoke appeared on the other side of the kitchen. The cat masked magician was there. Marvin smiled at the other two, "What's the matter-"

Marvin's smile fell suddenly as his eyes traveled over Jackie, "Oh fuck this is serious."

The magician darted over, kneeling down to the injured hero, "What happened?"

"Someone shot him from behind while he was out." Chase explained breathlessly, "Can you heal him?"

"What?!" Marvin looked up at him, bewildered, "That's not my area of expertise, why can't Schne-"

Schneep cut in before Marvin could finish, showing his blood stained hands, which were still shaking violently, "I can't." He explained simply, feeling that if he said anymore he might throw up.

Marvin looked at him incredulously, then shook his head, "Well..."

"Please Marv!" Chase insisted, looking up at the magician with desperation in his eyes, "If we don't do something now he'll die!"

"I.....ok. I'll try something but...I don't know if it'll work." Marvin replied reluctantly.

"It'll have to do." Chase replied.

The magician hesitated, then took off his gloves. With a deep breath, and a snap of his fingers, green fire began to dance across his skin. Schneep removed the towel, still trembling. Marvin gingerly pressed his hand against Jackie's gaping wound.

Almost instantly, Jackie jerked awake, crying out in pain. Marvin flinched, but continued pressing. When the hero started thrashing, both Schneep and Chase had to hold him down. Marvin's arm was starting to shake, and the air around it grew thick with sparks. Schneep could practically feel the magic as it swelled through Jackie. It tingled and bristled under his skin, though for him it was not painful, unlike whatever the hero must be experiencing.

Marvin drew back his arm, and the magic faded. Jackie grew limp, and slumped back against the counters. Schneep checked for a pulse, and sighed in relief when he found it, beating hard and steady. The hole through the hero's side was closed with fresh skin, dried blood all around it.

Marvin was breathing hard, but looked alright, "That should do it...mostly..."

"Are you alright?" Chase turned his attention to the magician.

"I'm fine." Marvin nodded, "There's just....a reason I don't use that magic that often."

"It....it hurts?" Schneep asked, speaking up despite his throat threatening to close.

"Yes," he huffed, "but it's worth it though, he's alive."

Chase nodded, "Alright let's...let's get him to his room or something. Doc, could you help me?"

Schneep nodded, he could do that at least. The father bent down and put an arm around Jackie's torso, under his arm. Schneep did likewise and together, they half carried half dragged the hero out of the kitchen. Chase lead the way down the hallway to the master bedroom, Schneep following silently. They put him on the bed, taking off the bloodied top of his costume and putting it aside.

The hero laid there, unmoving except for the slight rise and fall of his chest. He was still pale, still, almost like a corpse-

No, Schneep didn't want to think about that.

"Chase...you said he vas shot?" Schneep asked, mainly to distract himself.

"That's what he said," Chase sighed, "it was from behind too, so he didn't see who did it."

"He...didn't dodge?"

"Wasn't fast enough....figures....the one time and they manage to get a lucky shot...." Chase's voice was grim as he stared down at Jackie woefully.

That...wasn't right. Jackie should have been able to dodge it, or at least sense he was going to get shot before it happened. Even a shooter from behind wouldn't have been enough to take him by surprise.

.͜.̶.̡.you'l͟l̵ ̢pay for ̶t̶hi̷s̢.

Anti's words from their last meeting rang suddenly in his head.

A ball of tight anger rose in his chest, swelling fit to burst.

Schneep left with Chase still staring at Jackieboyman. He crossed the hall in a few strides, and was back to the entrance hall in a flash. Marvin, who had moved to the couch in there, looked up, surprised.

"Schneep-?"

"I'm fine, I just have somezing else I need to do right now." Schneep interupted him, walking over to the door, "Zank you for saving Jackie."

The door nearly slammed behind him.

~~~~~

He was home in all of five minutes.

"Anti!" Schneep nearly yelled as the door of his house closed with a thud, "Come out here you tucking covard!"

The static started again, and Anti was in front of him, on the couch, grinning.

"You bastard!"

"D̛i̕d͞ ͡I͏.̛.̛.̧to͠uc͟h a ne͝rve?̧" Anti giggled, playing with the knife in his hand.

Schneep marched right up to him, and grabbed the glitch bitch by the shirt, "Zat vas fucking you vasn't it?!"

"Mąyb͞e͟~͟" Anti grinned, "Ma̵ybe̡ ͜n͢o̡t͡. If ̷it̵ ͞w͜a̸s̛,͢ I cer͠ta͝inl͘y wo͞uldn͞'̶t ̸te̴ll y͠ou҉."

"Vhy ze fuck did you go after Jackieboyman?!" Anti only laughed at his question.

"Answer me you bastard!" Schneep drew back his fist, which was trembling, more so in anger now.

Anti smirked, "Oh ͡doc͢tor, ̨t͢h̢at s̶houlḑ be qui͠t̵e ͠obv̛i̕o̧us̵~̶"

"He has nozing to do vith our fight! He doesn't even know you still exist!"

"He h̢as͘ ̸E͜V̛ERYTHĮNG ̷t̢o͜ do w͠it͏h͡ ou͘r f̷i̴g͠ht. Af͜t̕er ͜al̸l, ̢he'̸s yo͠ur ̧fŗiend̸! ͢Ąnd it̡ wou̡l̷ḑ b̷e̷ ą ҉s͞h͡a͜m̛ȩ t͞o ͠l̶o҉se̵ ͟suc̕h ͡a͘ d̶e̢ar͘ ̷fri̷end̡."

Schneep's fist shook even more as he stared daggers at Anti.

"Oh҉ wa͏it,͜ you͡'v͝e͏ a̶lrea͜dy ͠lost ̕o̶n̛e͟, h͡ave̸n't ̷yo͘u?͟ You͜ ͡fail̡ed ͞Ja̧ck ͞l͟i͠ke͞ you͝ ̧fa͟il̴e͜d tha̧t s͜tupid͢ hero! Y̶ou ̛cla̡i̧me̷d ̡t̨o ͝be ͝h̛i͘s ̸fr͜įe̡n͢d̕ and you lef͡t h͠im ̷tǫ di̸e!̸"

Schneep threw his fist at Anti's face, a angry haze buzzing around his head. The glitch grinned and dodged the punch before grabbing Schneep's arm. With a grin, he turned and hoisted Schneep into the air above him, slamming him onto the ground behind the couch. Anti jumped over as well, pinning Schneeplestein there with an arm.

Schneeplestein stilled, catching his breath and letting his vision clear. Anti had his knife pressed tight against his throat, any movement would cut into his esophagus.

"T̡c͢h͟. ̨I ̧w̶ou͠ld ̢s͟aid ͏'̶go͝oḑ ̵a̸tte̴mpt', ̢b͡ut̵ ͞that͜ ̶wǫu̕ld͢ be ͜a ̶l̢ie." The glitch laughed, "To̧ li͜ttle too ̴ļat̶e doct͡or.͏"

Schneep glared at Anti, gears spinning in his head. He had to get the upper hand, he couldn't let Anti win! Not after what he did, the bastard!

"N͠o w̵itt̕y͡ c͢o͞m̡e̴b҉a̡c̡k͞, ͟or͢ h҉av͜e ͜y͠o͏u͠ j͝u͏st͡ ͟l҉ost͝ ̢your ͡t͢ouch͞?" Anti grinned triumphantly, "Įt͡'̶s͞ ̕to͜o͞ ̛ba̶d̵,̛ I̕ was͘ j͜u̕st͝ s͏taŗti͟n̷g̷ ţo̢ ha͘ve̵ f̸u͞n̛."

Schneep let his gaze flicker to behind Anti, before settling on the area, widening his eyes in shock slightly. Anti stared for a second, confused, then turned back suddenly to see what was there.

"W̡͜h͟a̧t҉͠ ̧͘a̸͡r̕e̵ ̡̛y̧̛o͢ư̧-̵" Anti's grip waned on the knife enough.

Schneeplestein kicked the glitch in the stomach, causing his knife to clatter to the floor. The doctor picked it up as his opponent stumbled back, realizing the trick. He looked up to snarl at Schneep again, but Schneep slashed at him, the blade of the knife catching the glitch's skin, and ripping across his chest.

Anti found himself against a wall and he avoided the next blow. He was surprised, distracted. Good, that was all Schneep needed. He made to attack with the knife, and while Anti tried to deflect, he pinned the glitch to the wall with one arm

Schneep dropped the knife, clenching his other fist instead. He drew it back and threw a punch into Anti's face. The Glitch's head flew back and hit the wall with a sharp crack. Schneep shook his hand, wincing at the pain it had caused, but he didn't care.

He punched Anti again, and again and again and again and again.

Finally, he let the glitch fall to the floor, a black-reddish blood flowing from his mouth. Schneep turned, examining his bloodied and bruised knuckles, his blood mixing with Anti's.

It felt good to be in control.

After all the frustration of not being able to do anything about Anti, he could finally do this, make the glitch bleed, feel exactly what he felt. Finally get back at Anti for all those months of torment and pain. For all the things the glitch had done.

It really felt good to make the bastard pay.

Schneep heard rustling from the glitch, and he looked up, readying himself in case Anti tried to retaliate-

He froze.

Jackieboyman was there, slumped against the wall. His suit was torn and bloodied. A deep cut, crossed his chest, bleeding profusely. He groaned as he tried to sit, and his eyes widened as he saw Schneep.

"No, wait, Henrik, please!" The hero tried backing up, the glint of fear in his eyes, "D-Don't, please! You don't need to do this!"

"Jackie...?" Schneep reached out, bewildered, but Jackie flinched back, raising his hand as if to block a blow.

Schneep retracted his arm. His vision caught on his hand as he did. It was smeared with bright red along his knuckles. He looked back at Jackie, who had the shining, scarlet, human, blood dripping down his mouth, soaking into his costume as he bled out.

He had....Oh God, what had he done?

He fell to his knees, down to Jackie's level, "Oh god I.....Jackie..."

Schneep covered his mouth, staring at the floor but not really seeing it. He had done this much damage to Jackie. Imagine what could have happened if it was one of the others? He could have killed them.

He could've killed them.

"H͢o͝w̛ ͞t͝o̵uchi͞ng~" Schneep felt two claws grab him gently by the shoulder, "T͠he̡ ̸mon̡st͜e̛r̕ d̷o͘e͞s͢ ̢h͘a̕ve ҉f͞eeli̢ng͞s!"

The feeling hands moved up to his head, one holding his jaw, the other the side of his head. Schneep raised a hand to try and pull them away, but found nothing to hold onto. His mind raced, and his head was lifted, forcing him to look at the terrified Jackyboyman.

"I'v͢e got͘ ͝to han͡d i͞t͟ to yo͜u̷,̛ ͢y͜o҉u ̵did ̡a͡ ̸nu͏mb͞e̸r ̸on him!" Anti giggled in his ear, "Y͝ou͟'͢ve͞ gįv҉e͜n me a ̕l̡ot ̧o̧f̵ i͘d͞eas.̛~ ͠B̛ut f̸o̕ŗ n͜ơw,͡" the grip tightened, "I thin̷k͘ ̶yo̶u ͏nȩed t҉o sļee̷p͝, d̕ơn't̵ ͜yo̢u ͡doc̨t͠or҉?"

There was a sudden jerk, cracking the doctor's head sideways.

And suddenly everything was black.

~~~~~

It was dark in Jackieboyman's room. The only light was coming from the pale moon outside the window. Chase was sitting on the floor next to Jackie's bed, a bottle in his grasp filled with amber liquid.

Chase rested a hand on his head, thoughts swirling in his mind. He knew he shouldn't. He knew he shouldn't but here he was anyways. What would Jackie say?

What would Jackie say indeed....

First Stacey and the kids, after that the Doc had went missing, then Jack, his friend, had gone into a coma in some mysterious accident, and now....now Jackie was sitting in a bed after almost dying

How much more could Chase really lose?

He took a drink to that.

Marvin had left hours ago after cleaning up the kitchen. He told Chase to call if there were any signs of Jackie getting worse, and he would come back ASAP. Fortunately, it seemed like Jackie was alright. That was good......

Please let him be alright.

"Gh-" there was a groan from the bed. Chase startled, some of the amber liquid almost sloshing onto the floor in his freight. He put the bottle down quickly and turned to see Jackie moving, trying to sit up. Chase got up and sat on the bed, relieved.

"Jackie? You awake bro?"

"Nhg....y-yeah." Jackie squinted one eye open, "Chase?"

"Yeah, it's me." Chase smiled, almost feeling the stress leaving him completely, "Dude, you scared me real good there for a second. Thought you were gonna..." Chase trailed off.

"Go into a coma too?" Jackie chuckled weakly, "Nah, I wouldn't leave you like that."

Chase smiled slightly, "I know."

Jackie looked around, "Where's Schneeplestein? He usually hangs around to give me a lecture or something."

"He left after Marvin fixed you up."

"Marvin?" Jackie blinked, "Why'd you call Marvin?"

"Schneep was......it was weird." Chase sighed frustratedly, "It looked like he was having some sort of break down. He was shaking so bad he couldn't help you. I had to call Marvin or else...you might have bled out."

Jackie furrowed his brow, "that's....weird. Was he ok?"

Chase shook his head, "He looked really shaken. I didnt get a chance to ask, he left really quickly."

"Have you tried calling him?"

"Several times but it's gone strait to voicemail."

Jackie grunted, "We should go check on him. He made to get up, but Chase stopped him with a hand.

"No, just...not now. You're hurt enough as it is. Plus, Marvin says he's never done that spell on an injury like that, you might still have some damage done dude."

Jackie rolled his eyes, "Chase-"

"Jackie....please?" Chase looked away, "I....I don't want you to die on me. I don't have a lotta friends left...."

"..." Jackie sighed, turning away, "Alright, I'll rest up for now, but we should check in on Schneep at some point."

"Yeah..." Chase agreed, standing up again, "We will, but in the morning, ok?"

"Alright, in the morning."

Chase took his position by the bed again, the bottle nearly abandoned. Jackie closed his eyes, and eventually fell back asleep. Chase stayed awake, just in case something else came up.

The moonlight shone through Jackie's window, onto the floor in front of Chase. The stars he could see outside fluttered in between wisps of clouds, shimmering in the sky. It was really........really.......

Chase's thought process drifted as he too, fell asleep, completely oblivious to the outside world.

Chapter Text

Schneeplestein was floating in darkness. It was quiet, peaceful, uninterrupted. It pressed on every aspect of his being, blanketing his mind and body. Thought swam through the molasis of his consciousness, barely breaching the surface of understanding.

How peaceful this would be, to stay here, rest. Schneep felt tired, more tired than he wanted to be. Sleeping would be nice. So he tried to force his brain to go back to the darkness, to the unrealization of dreams. The more he tried, however, the more awake and aware his brain became.

His mind gradually began to run, albeit slow and reluctantly at first. The thoughts began to swim a little easier. No, Schneep realized, this darkness would not do. He couldn't feel his hands or feet.

Did he have hands and feet?

Of course he had hands and feet.

He had arms too, not to mention legs, and a torso. Most people had that, and a head. Oh yes, he had a head as well. Probably had some eyes too.

Probably.

No sooner had he thought it, than he really became aware of his body, and just how heavy it was. The thought of eyelids fluttered across his consciousness, and he realized they were shut. Maybe that's why it was dark. He should really do something about that.

Why bother? He was tired, he wanted to sleep. The dark was peaceful.....so then why did he have the urge to get up? An instinctive, animalistic urge to rise and run?

Anti.

That was right.

Anti had done....something.

Was he still there?

The need to open his eyes became more urgent.

Blearily, Schneeplestein cracked an eyelid open. He regretted it almost immidiently. Piercing light flooded the dark, and with it came the feeling of cold and pain. His head and neck were wracked with it. He felt achy, and bruises from who knows where lit with hurt.

Ow.

The world slowly came into view, his sluggish brain finally registering shapes in the blinding light. They didn't make sense. Since when did the couch attach to the wall?

It didn't take him long to realize his face was pressed up against the cold hardwood floor. And that the light that had been so piercingly blind was just morning rays coming through a partially opened window.

Schneep rose, despite his aching muscles and head begging him not to. He stood, leaning heavily on the couch and, looking around, he sighed in relief. Anti was nowhere to be seen. There was no any sign of the glitch bitch anywhere.

What had happened exactly?

He had come home from Jackie's. Anti had been here. Schneep had attacked and-

Oh god, Jackie.

The thoughts spilling through his head made his empty stomach lurch.

Jackie, bloodied, beaten, within an inch of his life. His cry of desperation, all done by Schneep's own hands. The feeling of cold claws on his neck-

Schneep's eyes widened as he remembered. His arm shot up to his neck, feeling the vertabre of his spine. Nothing felt broken. Experimentally, he checked his pulse, it was there, beating fast as a rabbit's.

He was still alive. Had the glitch meant to leave him like this? Or, the worse possibility, had....

Had Anti really tried to kill him?

Could Anti kill him?

The doctor shivered, though there was no chill..

Anti had limits, such as needing a human host to channel his powers through. The glitch had no body of his own, and his powers were....limited outside of his chosen victim. These were halutionations, they weren't real. They shouldn't be able to attack him. They shouldn't be able to hurt him. However, the stitched cut on his chest, and the bruises wracking his arms begged to differ.

Schneep sat down, rubbing his eyes harshly as his hands trembled. If Anti had meant to kill him, he had obviously failed. But that didn't mean he couldn't try again, and....hell. If he was able to succeed....

The thought made Schneep's stomach churn even more than it had been.

Anti could kill him, but never even needed to be in the same room as him.

Schneep stood up suddenly, shaking the thoughts from his head. No. No thinking of such things now. If anything he should be thinking of how to stop whatever Anti had done. It was obvious this was not what he had previously thought. Anti wasn't just invading his mind, he had done something else. Something much worse.

It had to have happened when Anti stabbed him with that needle. That's when this had all started. What had happened-?

The bite.

Schneep half remembered these things. Anti had said something foreboding about 'his venom'. And then the thing had drilled into his skull.....

No, not just into his skull, into his mind.

Oh.

That was it, wasn't it? That thing, whatever it was, was still in his head, allowing Antiseptic to get in and stay in. It may even allow the glitch to hurt him physically. However, it didn't seem to be able to kill him.

Schneep scrubbed his eyes with the heels of his hands. This was not good. He needed to find a way to get the thing out of his head. Could he preform brain surgery? Maybe, but it may not even be physical.

A knock on his door broke the doctor out of his revelry. He rose from the couch, still a bit shakey, and strode over to the door. He looked in the peephole, blinked in surprise, and opened the door.

Marvin was standing on the other side.

"Hey Schneep, can I come in?"

"Of course." Schneeplestein stepped aside and let the magician in, "zis is an unexpected visit."

"Yeah, I know. Just coming in to say hello." Marvin grinned and flopped on the couch, "Not to mention check on you."

Ah, yes, after last night he had kind of dissapeared. It was a miracle Jackie wasn't here now to check on him, if the hero had heard what happened of course.

"You had no need to, I am fi-"

"Sure you are." Marvin interupted, "That's why you stormed out like you were going to kill someone."

Schneep sighed, internally cursing himself for not keeping his temper under better wraps, "I apologize for zat. My actions vere driven in frustration."

"And didn't answer your phone all night?" Marvin raised an eyebrow.

"Zat vas.....accidental. I passed out almost as soon as I got home." That was true at least.

"..." Marvin gave him a good long stare, which Schneep returned flawlessly, before shrugging, "Well, in any case, last night was a rough one for all of us."

"Zat is true. Especially for you and Jackieboy."

"Me? Jackie was the one who got shot." Marvin sat up.

"Yes, but your magic-"

"It wasn't any thing a good night's sleep could fix." Marvin replied firmly, "Anyways, last night was hard, so I thought that you all deserved a break." The magician stood up and took something out of his pocket, handing it to Schneep, "I have a show tonight, attendance is mandatory."

"Mandatory?" Schneep took the ticket, confused.

"Jackie suggested that part. He also said he and Chase would be coming over to pick you up-"

"Zey don't need to-"

"So you don't lose track of time." Marvin continued as if Schneep hadn't spoken, "which you're becoming known for."

"I...well true." Schneep admitted, going over the past few days, not sleeping had the side effect of forgetting appointments and such, "But I still do not see why this is mandatory."

Marvin sighed, "Henrik, Jackie almost died last night. I don't know what'ss going on with you and Chase has been running his comatose friend's channel for months now. Hell the last time we hung out was when Jack was awake!"

Schneep turned away, rubbing his temple.

"And...I just....get this feeling." Marvin went quieter, "That this will be the last time for awhile that we can just....relax and have fun...."

Schneep looked back at the magician, and saw his face, sunken and tired behind the literal cat mask. Marvin sat back down, rubbing his own temple. Schneep looked back down at the ticket in his hand.

A night to relax....

"I'll be zere."

Marvin started, staring up at him in surprised, "You will....?"

"Sure! Vhy not, I had ze day off anyvays." Schneep shrugged with a smile, "Besides, like you said, we all had a hard night last night."

Marvin smiled, and hopped to his feet, "Good. Be there or be square, literally."

"Eh?"

"I will literally turn you into a square if you don't show up." Marvin said, sounding serious, "Anyways, see you there Schneep, I've gotta prepare!"

And with a puff of smoke, Marvin was gone, leaving Schneep alone in his flat.

~~~~~

Jackie and Chase arrived half an hour before the show. Schneep had busied himself with various chores around the house that he had been neglecting. He lived alone, so it had taken most of the day.

The three chatted in the cab ride over to the theater. Chase and Jackie both had never been to one of Marvin's shows, and were excited. Schneep had been once or twice but that had been long ago and the shows were...decent but nothing spectacular. However, both Jackie and Chase did inform him that JJ had joined the act as well, and that quite a few people came to see the show.

The lobby of the theater was warm and welcoming. There was an air of excitement as people began to file into the house. Jackie dragged them over to the concession stand and got something sugary for him and Chase, though Schneep declined the offer. Then, they headed to their seats. Marvin had gotten them good ones, near the front of the stage.

They sat down, and waited for the show to start. The rest of the audience filed in over time, and the house was full of chatter. Fortunately, they didn't have to wait long.

"Welcome ladies, gentlemen, and all people in between!" The announcer's voice was loud, booming throughout the entire house, "We hope you're having a wonderful night, because we have a very SPECIAL show for you! Just remember, if you need a drink or snack, the confessions booth is out the back doors to your left! And now, without further ado, I give you, Marvin the Magnificent!"

There was a fair amount of cheering from the audience before the lights dimmed. The clapping slowed as the house got darker, and darker. The lights finally turned off, leaving the audience in complete darkness and silence.

Fwoom!

Two brasiers on either side of the stage lit up with bright green flame. People gasped, and well dressed Marvin, somehow now in the middle of the stage, took a bow.

"Welcome to Marvin's magic show!" The cat masked magician said excitedly as he rose, spreading his arms wide, his cape billowing behind him, "Today we are going to see a spectical and answer the question, does MAGIC exist?!"

"He does magic, vhy vould he need to prove it exists?" Schneep murmered to Chase, who shushed him.

"And I'm not alone this dare to face the impossible! Please welcome my assistant, and dear friend, Jameson Jackson!" Marvin gestured to the left of him, and the audience clapped and JJ, dressed in a blue vest and bowling cap, came jogging in waving to the crowd.

JJ stopped next to Marvin, still waving and smiling happily. Marvin turned to him, arms folded, "So, what do you think Jameson? Is magic real?"

JJ turned, a pondering expression on his face and tapping his foot as if thinking. Then he gave an animated shrug to Marvin, as if to say, "I dunno!"

"Well why don't we find out! We have a few tricks set up behind the curtain that we're gonna be trying!"

Jameson pretended to gasp, turning to the audience in surprise. He reminded Schneep of a cartoon character, for the way he over exaggerated his actions, and how much energy went into conveying each movement.

Marvin waited for him to be done and then continued, "Are you ready?"

After a vigorous nod from his assistant, Marvin waved his hand, "then let's begin the show!"

The two ducked behind the curtain, and after another round of clapping, the curtain began to draw back. The stage actually had scarce few items, the main two being a table and a tall looking, fantastically painted box, which looked large enough to fit a person inside. There were also a number of open cardboard boxes, much smaller and less sturdy looking than the other box, scattered around stage. One next to the taller box, two under the table, and one on it. JJ and Marvin were at the table, either side of the box.

The magician rubbed his hands together, "I managed to get my hands on some items so called magicians use for their shows. No instructions that come with them or stuff like that, all just pure magic tricks."

"Let's see what we have here!" Marvin announced, before digging into the box, "Rings! Oh, a classic!" He handed them to JJ, who held them up, before putting them around his arm like a bracelet. Marvin was too busy to notice.

He continued to empty the box, calling out the names of the objects as he did, "A line of scarfs, little canisters, a magic wand, a hat," as he handed them to JJ, JJ showed them to the audience before putting them on with a flourish, the top hat going over his own.

"Now-" Marvin looked up and stared at the costume JJ had made with all his supplies, "....uh..."

Jameson grinned at the magician as he whipped around the line of tied scarfs around his neck. He started to strut down the stage as if he was a runway model showing off the latest design.

"Ah, Jameson, that's...." Marvin paused, trying not to smile, "that's not what we're supposed to be doing with all of that."

JJ turned, looking surprised.

"No, we're supposed to be doing magic." Marvin waved his hands in the air, "Remember?"

JJ hunched over grumpily, but obligingly started to take the magic equipment off. He put it back in the box one by one. However when it got to the top hat he paused, taking it back slightly. Marvin reached out a hand patiently, and Jameson sighed, reluctantly handing it over.

"Thank you. Alright, now that we have this, we can do a very classic magic trick." Marvin set the hat down and grabbed a magic wand from out of the box, "pulling a rabbit out of the hat! But before we do that, I need a magic word. Can I get one from the audience?"

There was a few suggestions yelled around, but the loudest shout of "Booper Dooper!" won out.

"Booper Dooper it is then!" Marvin rolled up his sleeves, "Alright!" He ran his wand around the brim of the hat, "Booper! Dooper!"

Marvin reached in, then frowned, looking down.

"Huh, I don't see anything.....maybe....Hey, Jameson, come here."

Marvin lifted the hat by the brim, so it was still upsidown, and showed it to his assistant. JJ's brow furrowed as he looked over. He glanced in the hat, then back to Marvin.

"Can you see anything?" Marvin asked, and JJ nodded, "Well, pull it out!"

JJ reached into the hat, and tugged, but whatever was inside seemed to be stuck. He frowned and tugged again, readjusting his grip. He held up a finger, then stuck his arms up to his elbow into the relatively small hat. The man pulled and pulled but it didn't seem to be coming out.

"Damn, that rabbit's stuck in there." Marvin scratched his neck, "Hold up, on the count of three, we'll pull together, alright?"

Jameson nodded, and twisted his arms, now nearly up to his shoulders, as if grabbing it once more.

"One.....two....three!"

There was a pop sound and the two went flying in opposite directions. Marvin fell off the stage while Jameson stumbled backwards, a cartoon looking stuffed animal in his hands. When he managed to regain his balance, he looked at it in surprise, then showed it off to the crowd who cheered. He went down to the edge of the stage and gave it to someone from the front row as Marvin got back onstage.

"Well, that went.....well?" Marvin huffed, "Alright let's try something else then!"

The show continued like this, Marvin pulling out different magic trick's and testing them. They usually turned out unexpectedly with the help of Jameson. The two had a dichotomy that Schneep had never noticed before. To be fair, however, he did not really know JJ. Marvin's partner had appeared durring his time captive.

Perhaps, he thought as JJ got his hands stuck in the connecting metal rings, this was all part of the show as well. The two seemed to be making the audience laugh quite a bit. True, even Schneep got a few laughs here and there. Still, he had to wonder if they were like this outside of the theater. Chase might know, but Schneeplestein had spent little to no time with the two since he got back.

Perhaps he was just overanalyzing. He had a show to enjoy.

The act seemed to be coming to a close as the cardboard boxes were emptied. But as Schneep was worried they had run out of magic tricks, Marvin redirected the audience's attention to the bigger, sturdier box on stage.

"We have one last trick, as you can see, however this is a special one." Marvin walked over and opened a door on the front, revealing an empty box that was just as ornate on the inside as it was on the outside, "Jameson, if you'd be so kind?"

With an easy and confident smile, JJ walked over and stepped in the box. He waved goodbye to the audience and smiled one last time before Marvin shut the door.

"This trick," Marvin bent down, leaning over a nearby cardboard box, "is rather dangerous, especially since it involves these." When the magician stood, he held several steel swords in his hands.

"Now, as I've said, this is my first time trying this, so I hope it works or else I'm down an assistant!" He winked at the audience, before turning to the box, "I'm going to run the box through with the swords, there's actually holes that they go through. They'll go in one side and come out the other, going strait through my assistant, unless he can find a way to escape!. But do not be alarmed! With my magic, I assure you he will be fine by the end of this. Give us a knock if you're still in there Jameson!"

Two knocks came from the box and Marvin smiled, "Good, let's get started!" He put down the handful of swords, choosing only one to hold in his hand.

It was a strait blade with a pointed end and simple hilt. Marvin attempted to bend it, but it barely curved. He turned to the box, waving his free hand over the door.

"Booper! Dooper!" He called, then, with a great flourish, he slowly inserted the blade.

At first he had to put a lot of effort into pushing it through, but then with a sickening splunk, it jolted through easily, sticking out the other end. Schneep watched, torn between worry and curiosity. Marvin hadn't actually cast any magic yet. Or...perhaps he did and he was just better at hiding it. His worries only grew as Marvin repeated the process.

What if there had been a mistake? Or a problem? What if Jameson was actually dead? What if-

No, there would have been blood on the end of the swords if that were the case.....right?

Schneep's hand was trembling, clenching the armrest of his seat. He forced himself to let go, and took a deep breath. This had to be part of the act.

The fire on either side of the stage swelled with each added sword. The more he put in, the more Schneep, and the audience, realized that there was no way Jameson wouldn't have been hit by at least one of the blades. When they were all in there, Marvin spun the box around, revealing no secret compartments or escape routes.

This did not ease any of Schneeplestein's fears.

"Jameson, give us a knock if you're still in there." Marvin finally said, finishing showing off the box in front of him, which looked akin to a pincushion.

The room was silent, completely still waiting for the knock. When none came, Marvin looked at the box, worry covering his face.

"Jameson?"

Knock knock

It came from, not the box, but the middle of the audience. Everyone turned and stared as, rising from a previously empty seat, Jameson stood up tall, tapping a cane (where had that come from?) on the floor.

Schneep let out a quiet sigh. He had been worrying over nothing.

The spotlight vacated Marvin and streamed until it was on JJ. The man took a bow as an impressed applause broke out. The people sitting next to him looked almost shocked to see Jameson there, and were looking at eachother in confusion.

JJ smiled, and started to weave in between the crowd, heading up to the stage, spotlight following all the way. Marvin helped him up on the stage. The two took a bow together, Marvin allowing more time for Jameson to take an extra bow the the screaming audience, and they both ran off the stage into the wings of the stage.

The crowd quieted to a dull roar as people gathered up their things and talked excitedly over the show. Jackieboyman and Chase chatted, reliving the funniest moments. Schneep continued to sit, pondering himself.

Marvin's magic could teleport people, but it was obvious when it did. There was a big puff of smoke and glitter, but there had been none of that here. Jameson had just appeared in the middle of the seats. Either Marvin could control his theatrics, or.....perhaps Jameson had a few 'magic' tricks of his own. Either way, he was glad no one was hurt.

"What about you Schneep?" Chase's voice brought him back.

"Ah, vhat?" Schneep looked up at the two, who had stood and gathered their things.

"What was your favorite part?" Jackieboyman added on, grinning.

"Oh, yes." Schneep really needed to pay more attention, "Ze last trick was phenomenal. I have no idea how zey pulled it off vith no vone noticing."

"Yeah!" Chase laughed, "For a second there I was worried!"

Schneep nodded, standing up himself. He didn't know the two as well as he would like, but a murder on stage, in front of a crowd of people......

After they had all gathered their things, the three headed backstage, where they found Marvin and Jameson waiting for them. The two looked exhausted but happy.

"So, how did you enjoy the show?" Marvin asked, his mask and cape lying to the side for once.

"It was awesome dude!" Chase clapped him on the shoulder, "I didn't know it was a comedy act too!"

Yes, well that's what happens when you don't come! You miss out! Jameson replied, face also damp with sweat, though a large grin was visible behind his mustache.

"That was epic!" Jackieboyman lept in the air, "We have to come again!"

"Well next time you're paying for the ticket yourself!" Marvin chuckled, joking.

"Aw! Come on man! Can't I just use my best friend pass?"

"This was your only freebee." Marvin rolled up his sleeves, "and only because you almost died."

"Alright, fair enough."

What did you think Henrik?

"It was impressive!" Schneep said truthfully, "I have no idea how you did some of zose tricks, and I know Marvin has magic!"

Well we- Jameson started, but Marvin put a hand on his shoulder.

"A magician never tells his secrets." He said with a wink, "But let's just say I wouldn't have been able to do that last one without Jameson's excellent ideas!"

Jameson rolled his eyes, Oh stop you, you're making me blush!

Eventually, the night, and their conversation, came to a close. Schneep left his friends . He rather did enjoy their company, especially tonight. Anti had not invaded for the entire day, it seemed even the glitch needed a break. Or perhaps he had just given up, though that was simply wishful thinking.

Either way, Schneep wasn't going to complain.

Chapter Text

"Come on Jackie, you don't need to go out right now!"

"I disagree. Now is the perfect time to go patrol! You never know when someone might need help!"

"No one's gonna be out! It's raining cats and dogs out there!"

It had been days since the show and since Marvin had healed Jackie. Chase and the hero were arguing in the kitchen. The window that had previously had bloodstains on it was clean, and open. The outside was as grey and dour as ever, tons of rain pouring onto the streets and roofs of homes all around.

"Nonsense. Since when did bad weather stop good deeds?" Jackie protested.

Chase sighed, crossing his arms. They had been going around in circles with this conversation. It wasn't getting them anywhere, but he refused to back down.

"Jackie, just cause Marvin says you should be alright doesn't mean you can just go out and put yourself in danger!"

The red clad hero rolled his eyes, "Chase-"

"No! You don't understand!" His tone rose, becoming hysterical, "You almost died for hell's sake! What if who ever shot you comes back? Then what? What if you're not able to come back in time? What if you go out and never come back and I have to be ALONE!"

The rain pounded against the windowsill, spilling into the kitchen. The grey sky outside shone dimly into the room, barely highlighting the droplets of water running down Chase's face.

Jackie broke the silence, a look of understanding crossing his face.

"Chase...."

Chase stepped back, his hands in fists. He said nothing. Not even daring to look at Jackie.

"......look, being a superhero...danger comes with the job."

"You don't have to be a superhero."

It was a plea. A small want, a selfish want. But Chase asked it nonetheless. He had to ask it.

Jackie frowned, his brow furrowing, and there was instant regret, "Chase."

"...." Chase glanced down at the floor, his voice catching in his throat.

"If I don't try and help them, then who will?" Jackie's hand landed on Chase's shoulder, squeezing it gently, "If there's people that need help, and I can help them, I have to. They deserve it."

"You can't help them if you're dead." Chase replied in a whisper.

Jackie simply smiled at him, "That's a risk I'll have to take."

~~~~~~

"I̸t̶'͏s ͞t͝i͡me ̢tǫ ge̢t͝ u̶p Docto҉r~"

He hadn't meant to fall asleep. Schneep never meant to fall asleep these days, but his stupid human body had a tendency to fail him Just getting home from a day of work was exhausting. He had just sat down on the couch, blinked and found himself deep in blissful sleep, despite his wishes.

He didn't know how long he had been asleep before he come to awareness, but it wasn't enough time.

An unpleasant shiver went down his back as he felt a breath of hot air against his neck and heard the whisper in his ear. It woke him and his hair stood on end. Schneep's eyes snapped open, but instead of finding himself in his living room, he found darkness all around around him, unable to see anything. But he knew where he was.

"So͟ w̸ea̕k̨,̡" The glitch's hands were clutching his shoulders, and his presence burned against Schneeplestein's mind, "bu͡t͘ ̨I͏ gu̶es͡s͝ it ̛is usef͜u̷l ͘in ͡s͝om҉e ͟w̡a͠ys" one of the hands moved to his face.

Instinctively, Schneep turned and pushed the glitch away from him, his heart pounding in his chest.

"Do not fucking touch me." He spat at Anti, who looked at him with some sort of amusement.

"R͝em̧em͢bering so̕meth̛in͘g̶ u̸npleasant͡?҉"

Schneep narrowed his eyes. He had to wake up, that was the goal here, wake up before Anti did anymore damage. He did not want a repeat of their last meeting.

"O͡r ͞p̢erha̡ps ͡y͜o҉u'͝d̶ ̸r̴athe҉r͜ ̢forg҉et͟!͞" Anti's grin turned malicious, and Schneep found Anti's hand on the side of his head, grabbing him roughly.

Schneep's eyes widened, and for a moment, the fear of his memory being erased flashed through his mind. He stood stock still, waiting for the information to drain from him. One second passed, then two, and Schneep noticed that nothing was...happening. A light of hope burst in his chest as Anti scowled and retracted his hand, both realizing the same thing.

Anti couldn't take away his memories here.

"Ha...." An incredulous smile tugged at Schneep's lips, "so you really don't have as much power as you claimed..."

"I ha̷ve p͝owe̵r ͜enoug̵h ͞to k̛ill̸ you." Anti snarled in return.

"Do you really? Zen vhy didn't you finish me off last time?"

The glitch's silence widened the ridiculous grin on his face, "It's because you can't, can you? You've called me weak zis entire time but in reality, you're not even strong enough to off me-"

Schneep was interrupted as Anti blurred from view and a sharp pain struck his ribs. He looked down to find Anti's knife buried up to the hilt in his torso. He let out a strangled gasp and the glitch, now behind him once more, hissed softly in his ear.

"Y̵ou̸ ͠ha̶ve ͜s̛o͡ ͟m̧uc̕h͏ a͜rro̢g͢a̷n͝ce͜ in yoų.̨" Anti twisted the knife deeper into the doctor's side, "I hope ̵it҉ kill͏s҉ ̡you ͏ǫne͟ o̕f th͡es͢e͞ ͝d̴ays.̨"

Schneep cried out in pain as red hot agony wracked his ribs. Anti yanked the knife out, grinning down at the doctor. The glitch tossed him aside, and he fell to the floor with a thud.

Anti stood over Schneep, a malicious smile on his face, "Give i̛t̛ ҉u̸p͜ d͘o̕ct͢ơr, I'v̡e w͡on͢.͟ I̵ w̶i͜n͏ ͟o҉ver, ͠and o̴v͞er,̨ ̴and̨ ͠OVER͢!" With each word he kicked the doctor in the stomach.

When he'd had his fill, Anti squatted down and grabbed Schneep sharply by the chin, forcing him to look the glitch in the eye, "You͞ ̵h͘a͞v͟e ̕AL͏W͢AY̨S b̵een҉ mi̡ne.̡ Yo̢u ̷wil̡ļ ̧alway͜s b̸e ̨MY p͏upp̶et͘!͞"

Schneep had to have heard that line a thousand times from Anti during his 9 months in captive. It had been repeated time after time, drilled into his head. It had been a constant phrase in sessions of pain, a supposed truth that was cemented into his brain. Then he had endured it to keep Anti's wrath from coming down harder. Now, however....now he was free from the glitch bitch.

"No."

"...̧no̢?̕" Anti's eyes narrowed, "A͝nd ̸wh͝at ͏d̨o y͘o͝ư mean by͟ ͘tha͜t̵.̧"

"I mean," Schneep glared into those void black eyes, his own hand grabbing Anti's wrist vehemently and jerking his head away, "zat I am not your puppet, I never VAS your puppet and I never VILL BE your damn puppet!"

Anti's eyes burned with hate. He grabbed Schneep by the throat, dragging the doctor to his feet. Schneep grunted in pain, but kept his eyes locked on the glitch.

"Y̨ou'͝d̡ like ̕to̕ ͟th͏i͏nk̷ th͜a͜t,͟ ͝w͠oųldn͡'̡t̕ you!"

"Just like you vould like to zink you are in control here."

Anti snarled and Schneep chuckled weakly in response, "Vhat? Did I hit to close to home? Are you really afraid of losing vhat little control you have ovah me?"

"I ̡AM͟ ͠fe̡a̶r!" The glitch snapped, his eyes narrowed and teeth bared, "I͟ ̶can ̡not ͠be ̨a̶f̨raid!͟"

"Really?" Schneep raised an eyebrows, "because zat look on your face tells a different story."

Anti's expression flashed to something like a mix of concern and surprise, before returning to it's hateful snarl. He threw Schneep against the floor hard. Schneep laid there, somewhat satisfied. It appeared Schneeplestein had hit the mark.

Anti placed his foot on Schneeplestein's chest, putting his whole weight behind it.

"So ̧s̴m͝ar̢t, e̸h̴ ͘d̷oc͘t͜or?" His voice was quiet, but Schneep saw the longing to tear him to pieces behind those eyes, "T̛h̷e̛n ̢l̡et ͠me͏ ̨sh͏are a̕ sȩcr̕et with ̢you." The foot on Schneeplestein's chest pressed down, making his ribs creak, "Yo̧͏u̧ ̧w̡i̛͘͞ll͠ ̵͢n̢̛̛e͞͞v̴er̛͢͠ ̵̡es̷c̨͢ąp̧͝e m̕ę̴͏.̧͡ ̵͞Y̶̴̨o͡͏u̴ a͟l̢͘w̸̷̸a͜ys̷ ̵h̷ą͢v̷͘e ̧be̶͘e̶̕n҉̸͝ m͟ine̴,̢͞ ̨͞ḑ̕͠e҉s͘͘͢p̧͘it̴̕͡e͏ ̴̕͜yo̡͜u̡̕̕r̴͡ ҉̸̵dis͏҉o̴b͜e͝d͝ie͝͡n̴c̢̛e͜. It ͠şeem҉s̶ ̨I̧ n͞eed ̨to ̷r̶e͘m͟iņd y͏ou ơf̢ t͝h͏at."

~~~~

Schneeplestein was sitting on his bathroom counter again. The wound in his side, while not as deep or serious as it had been in the dream, was just as painful here. It was large as well, and had left large red stains across his clothes.

Stitches wouldn't be good time.

Schneep put on a glove, pulled out a white packet of powder, opened it and poured it's contents into his covered hand. He then crammed the powder directly into the wound, here it began to hiss and burn. It was like fire, but Schneep bit the inside of his cheek, resisted the urge to scream and continued to put the powder in.

The powder would cauterize the flesh, stopping the bleeding. But it also hurt like hell. Looking back on it he should have taken a pain killer before hand. He would have to do that later.

After the stinging and burning sensation faded, and Schneep wrapped up and threw away the remaining powder. It was best not to leave it exposed, as it could hurt someone. Then, he cleaned off the extra around his gash, his skin a bright red from the irritation. It hurt, but he could handle it.

This wasn't the worst pain he had been in.

He got off the counter, and washed his hands. In the mirror, he took a good look at himself. He was thinner than he should be. It wouldn't be noticeable, fortunately, as his sweater usually covered up most of his scarred skin anyways. Speaking of which, he needed to clean them or someone might get suspicious. Of course he'd also have to bandage up the wound so it didn't get infected. If Anti were to-

Schneep paused, his head swirling with 'what if's and 'I need to do's. Taking a deep breath, he rubbed his eyes, which felt heavy and tired despite having just woken up.

"I am not his." The hiss of air escaped his clenched jaw, "I vill nevar be his."

Are͘ ͞y͘ǫu s̡u͞re about̛ ͡ţh̨at?̴ The little voice in his head replied.

It took a moment for him to answer.

"Yes." He replied vehemently, "I am positive."

The voice did not reply, but seemed to leave an air of disbelief behind. Schneep looked at the mirror again, and his reflection stared back. Dark shadows lived under his eyes now, and his face was gaunt. If he didn't know any better, he wouldn't have recognized the man staring back at him with those dull blue eyes

He stayed there for a long time.

~~~~~
Chase knew he wasn't a good person. He knew he was selfish, arrogant, and more broken than any of his friends. He knew this, but this morning had brought it to sharp clarity. How could he ask Jackie to give up being a hero, to give up being what he loved? Chase had known he was selfish, but he didn't realize he was THAT selfish. It certainly put himself in perspective.

He had videos to get to today, so he couldn't dwell over it all day. Jack's audience would notice if he was feeling bad, no matter how hard he tried to hide it, the energy he put into the video showed through in the end. (honestly it was kind of nice, having so many people caring about him, though he knew their affections were going towards Jack. He really hoped that when Jack woke up he would allow Chase to continue working on the videos with him.) So, to distract himself, he forced his mind to wander to something else that had been bothering him.

Henrik.

Ever since Jackie's incident the doc had been acting weird. He was forgetting things more often, and drifting off into thought. It also seemed that Schneep was...avoiding them. He hardly returned texts now, and when he did they were always short. The doctor's conversations and visits were much the same. It was really worrying, and yet, Chase told himself, there wasn't anything he could do. He couldn't force the doc to explain all of this, or to answer truthfully.

After finishing filming for a video, Chase headed to the kitchen hungry. He hadn't eaten all day, so he opened the fridge, staring aimlessly at the contents. He chose some leftovers, put them on a plate, and put in in the microwave.

His eyes wandered as he waited, first to the walls which were as clean as ever, then to the counters filled with clean and dirty dishes alike, and then to the things hanging on the fridge itself. There wasn't much, some magnets, a shopping list, and a calendar with a few marks on it.

Chase looked over at the calendar again, noticing the red circle around the date one week for now. He squinted at the tiny handwriting on it, then smiled as he read it. Maybe he could help out with something after all.

He took out his phone, and, still grinning, called up Jackieboyman.

"Hey, Jackie, I had an idea."

~~~~~

Everything was starting to irritate him. Wether it be small things like a nurse dropping pens all over the floor, the coffee machine in the hospital breaking, or the miles of paperwork he had to do there and at home. Everyone seemed to have done something wrong to Schneep, though he knew it wasn't their fault. Like the doctor he was, he acted through it, ignoring the urge to shout at them all for being so STUPID.

If he hadn't been a good actor, he thought someone might have noticed.

The feeling of extreme annoyance towards anyone who happened to be in his vicinity increase over the next few days. Crowds became to much to handle, as did the loud babling that came with them. It ran it's way through his ears like mice in a cheese shop. The daily gossip he overheard was more than enough to chase him to the quieter parts of town.

He was...well, not afraid, but extremely apprehensive of going home. Anti was there most nights, with another quip or fight to put Schneep through. At best it was annoying, at worst, extremely painful. So he was chased out of his own home by a phantom no one else could see. Not that he told anyone that, else they call him mad.

He wasn't mad.

Wa͠s he?̛

No, he wasn't. He refused to be.

One good thing had come from the meetings with Anti was the realization that the glitch couldn't kill him. He couldn't make him forget about his friends or anything like that. All he could do was threaten and maim, and as Schneep had assured himself, he had been through that a thousand times before. It was the lack of sleep that was getting to him, that's all.

How long would he be able to keep it up?

Chapter Text

Schneep was exhausted. Despite his act, he had to admit to himself that he was tired. He needed sleep, and badly. While usually he would avoid it when nessecary, he would have gladly gone to bed long ago. The only problem was that Antiseptic kept intruding on his dreams any time he managed to drift off.

Sometimes a nurse woke him at his desk, halfway through a nightmare or torture scenario Anti had cooked up. Other times, at home mostly, Schneep wouldn't wake up for hours and was stuck struggling with the glitch. These confrontations would usually end with him patching up old scars or wrapping bruises to keep them from sight.

He had started avoiding his flat after awhile.

Schneep was starting to crack too. He noticed himself becoming more snappy, quicker to anger than normal. His temper seemed to shorten quite a bit. It was unclear whether this was Anti's work or just Schneep's loss of control on his emotions. He was inclined to blame Anti, though his instincts told him that was unfair.

It didn't help that his friends were planning something. They could try to hide it all they liked, but Schneep noticed they way they would cut off conversations around him and lied about being busy certain nights. They all seemed in on it as well, each taking a turn distracting him and giving eachother furtive glances. However, wracking his brain for hours on end, Schneep couldn't come up with what they might be planning. Anti kept suggesting it was a plot to murder him and while Schneep did consider it, he didn't think they had it in them. They were much to good of people to stoop down so far. Still his paranoia kept him from asking them, just in case.

What else could it be then?

Perhaps they were suspicious about Jack and were tired of his bullshit explanations for his vacations. Maybe something had slipped that he hadn't meant to and they thought he was working with Anti? Maybe they were turning against him.

Perhaps they just didn't want to be around him anymore. That was the more likely scenario. Schneep really couldn't bring himself to blame them for it. After his failure to do anything but waste time with Jackie, it was obvious there was something wrong with him. He wasn't the most stable person in the world. Perhaps they just wanted to have nothing to do with him.

That was far more likely than a murder plot anyways.

~~~~~

"Jackie, Marvin and I need to go pick up the cake, can you make sure Doc isn't heading that way, or back here."

"On it."

"And Jamie, can you finish setting up decorations here? We're almost done, but we need to finish."

I'll be done in no time!

"Thanks. Once we're done I'll go get Schneep, then we party!"

Jackie, Marvin and Jameson all nodded. Chase motioned for Marvin to follow him, and off they went.

It was the Doc's birthday today.

Chase was pretty sure Schneeplestein had forgot about it. He couldn't blame the doctor, he'd been busier than ever between the hospital, Jackieboyman, and wherever else he went. He always seemed down recently, often getting lost in thought or seeming to doze off. Even so, it was his birthday, and Chase was going to make sure the doc had a good time, whether he liked it or not.

Of course, it would probably better if he did like it.

The four men had been preparing th is for awhile, getting simple decorations, placing orders for cakes and scouting out gifts. Chase had made sure they were discreet, at least mostly secretive. There had been a few times when the doc had raised an eyebrow at a glance thrown at one of the others. Those had been blunders, but Chase was sure the doc had no idea what was coming.....hopefully.

"So, what exactly did you want me to do to the cake?" Marvin cut in.

"Oh, yeah." Chase smiled at the magician as they walked out of the house, "Just something to the candles, so when he tries to blow them out they relight."

"Can't you just do that with those trick candles?"

"It'll be much cooler if you do them." Chase shrugged.

"That's fair." Marvin grinned, "I can do much better than those cheap party tricks."

~~~~~

Jackie had been tailing him for most of the morning. The hero hadn't even been discreet about it. He had just shown up for what seemed to be a bedside visit, but stayed for much longer than necessary, insisting that he stay to keep Schneeplestein company. While Schneep did not mind the presence of his friend, he may loose that soon enough, it didn't help his suspicions much.

Jackie also seemed to be very intent on his phone, texting every few hours. Schneep had the wild desire to rip the device from his hand and demand to know what was going on, but he resisted. That would be childish. Besides, it was none of his business anyways.

As his shift came to a close, Jackie insisted Schneep give him a ride to his and Chase's house. This was obvious bullshit but Schneep didn't object. Whatever was going on, he had a feeling it was going to come to a head here. It was best to get this over with sooner than later.

The car was silent on the way there. The radio had broken down and Schneep hadn't had time to get it fixed. Jackie wasn't very talkative. It was odd for the hero, who usually liked to chat, very odd. He kept glancing down at his phone as well. Comunicating with the others? Probably. Why? He didn't have a clue.

He pulled up next to Jackie's house. Unsurprisingly he could see Jameson's car on the other side of the street. He was the only other one that could drive. Jackie preferred getting around on subways and on his own two feet, Marvin relied on his magic to take him places, and Chase's licence had been revoked due to his ex-wife and his drinking problem.

Damn Stacy.

Jackie hopped out of the car excitedly, before he turned to Schneep, "Come on in! Chase'd probably love a visit!"

"Oh, thank you but-" Schneep started, a futile attempt to avoid whatever was going on here.

Jackie cut him off, "Oh come on Henrik! It's not that bad inside!"

With a heavy sigh, Schneeplestein unbuckled himself and got out. Jackie smiled wide and accompanied Schneep to the door. The hero stayed right behind him, as if to make sure he wouldn't run off.

They made their way to the front door. Schneep made to grab for the handle, but as he did the door was thrown wide open.

"Happy Birthday!"

A chorus of voices burst out from the open entry hall, causing the doctor to nearly jump right out of his skin. He stared as the door opened, not to grim faces or attacking foes, but to his friends wearing ridiculous party hats and holding party favors.

"What-" he started hesitantly.

"It's your birthday Doc!" Chase said, coming forward with a smile, "Come on in!"

Schneep paused for a moment before going through the dates in his head. It had been...no it couldn't-but it was. Chase was right, it was his birthday! That's what all that sneaking around was about. It wasn't them trying to get rid of him, it was them trying to make a surprise party! By God he was stupid!

He felt the relief flood him as he smiled and stepped inside. A tension that he didn't realize had been there before left. His suspicions from before seemed preposterous and childish. How could he forget his own birthday?

The entryway was sparsely decorated, with ribbons lining the corners of the room. Jackie closed the door and Schneep caught a glimpse of an old sign reading 'happy birthday' on it. The rest of the decorations were newer, but this one he remembered. It was his last party, a year ago, before Jack had...before Anti had-

No. No, not now. This was not the time to think of such things. Schneep turned his back on it and instead began to talk to his friends, distracting himself.

Now was not a time to think about that.

Chapter Text

It was surprising how much effort was put into the decorations. There wasn't a particular theme, no, but there were twisted streamers over every doorway. Everything was clean and spotless.

 

Almost everyone was dressed casually. Marvin had his mask off, which was rare in of itself, while Jackie was dressed in civilian clothes. Chase wore his usual snap back and grey shirt, a welcome and familiar sight. The only one really dressed to the nines was Jameson, who's costume never seemed to vary. The blue vest and bowtie made Schneep, who had worn this particular sweater for three days in a row now, feel very under-dressed.

 

"You put a lot of effort into this." Schneep said, taking a look around the living room as they entered, "It must have taken awhile."

 

I had time on my hands. Jameson smiled, I'm glad you like it.

 

"Thank you." Schneep replied, "I feel a little bad making you go through all this effort on my behalf."

 

"It was my idea!" Chase interupted, "You do a lot for us, we can do this for you!"

 

Besides, we wanted to do it!

 

"I still feel bad about putting it on you." Schneep replied sheepishly. Usually he hosted his own parties so the others could go and visit him. It had been a long time since anyonr had thrown him a party.

 

Nonsense! It's just decorations cake and drinks!

 

"Doc," Chase smiled at him, "don't worry about it, just try to relax for the evening, kay bro?"

 

Schneep nodded, "Well, alright, if you insist."

 

~~~~~

 

Schneep DID try to relax. He really did try. His mind, however, had different plans. He had work to do, papers to go through, bills to pay. He needed to practice mediation or go eat something healthy for a change. His house needed cleaning, he had to text Marie and see about visitation....

 

He couldn't stay here, but he couldn't leave. They had spent so much time and effort for it all to be wasted on him. This was pointless, all of it was. All this effort, just for him...But their work really WOULD go to waste if he didn't try and relax.

 

Despite the insistent parioa of his mind, he did try to sit down and relax. Ironically he found himself to intent on relaxing that he actually forgot to relax himself. Luckily, he eventually found himself listening to the others instead over drinks.

 

It was mainly idle chatter, the usual for their get togethers. Inside jokes, memes, daily happenings. Jackie and Marvin argued over the best places in the city to roam around to and observe the people below. Jameson and Chase got into a battle of rock paper scissors where JJ won every round. Jackie then challenged him, lost, and left it up to Marvin, who managed to draw with Jameson twice. That was the closest any one came to winning against him.

 

As the universe would have it, just as Schneep was just starting to distract himself enough to actually relax,vthe conversation shifted to him.

 

How's Jack doing? Jameson asked.

 

"Hm?" Schneep turned to JJ, blinking, "What?"

 

The man shrugged, Just wondering. I...know I didn't know him as well as all of you, but he seemed like a nice chap. Do you know how he's doing?

 

"Ah, well..." Schneep tried a smile, but it faltered. To be honest, he had been avoiding the ICU if he could. Any time he got near Jack, Anti wasn't far behind. Even the tapes had gotten hard to watch, to tell fiction from reality.

 

"He's...doing good! As well as he can be."

 

The mood seemed to dour quickly, so Schneep continued quickly, "There's a good chance he might wake up soon, since the last incident and all."

 

"I hope so." Jackie sighed, "I miss him..."

 

"We all miss him..." Chase assured the hero, "Personally when he wakes up, I was gonna ask him if I could stay on and help out on the channel."

 

Marvin raised an eyebrow, "Really? I thought it like...drained you or some shit."

 

"Kind of does." Chase replied solemnly, taking a small drink from his cup, "but it uh...kind of gives me something to do, pays bills and all...and uh...." He paused, staring at his drink.

 

"Ja?" Schneep prompted.

 

".....my kids get to see me...at least a little." Chase continued, voice quiet.

 

A pang of sympathy shot through Schneeplestein's heart. He knew what it was like. He hadn't seen his own child in a few months and Chase was in a much worse situation. Stacy, that bitch, wasn't as merciful as Marie had been. She had gotten the kids under permanent custody and had taken everything from Chase. Leading him to alchoholism and...well, leading him to Schneeplestein.

 

The hero placed a hand on Chase's shoulder and smiled, "Knowing Jack he'll probably make you his right hand man!"

 

"You think?" Chase replied, a little more hopefully this time.

 

"Of course he will! He's gonna be in for a surprise when he sees how well you've kept it up!" Marvin affirmed.

 

"I sure hope so," Chase set down his drink, smiling a bit, "or else he's going to kick my ass!"

 

They laughed, and the conversation diverted, steering clear of the subject of comatose friends, ex-wives, or other such topics. Schneep was greatful for the distraction, as was Chase it seemed. Unfortunetly, he was back on high gear, his mind racing again.

 

He should check up on Chase at some point, make sure he's still healthy. In fact, all of them needed a physical. Schneep was their in house doctor, but the last time he had done an examination was.....

 

Well it was a bad enough sign that he couldn't remember.

 

Another thing came to his mind when Jackie spoke, telling the others about a robbery he'd helped stop. He needed to check over the hero in particular. Jackie's job was perilous, with all the villains, fistfights, gunshots-

 

Right, he hadn't checked on that wound either. A feeling of guilt crawled through his stomach as he thought about it. He hadn't even bothered to ask if Jackie had felt ok the next day....

 

Schneep focused back on on the conversation, trying to block the thoughts from his mind.

 

"-I'm surprised you can do all that without magic." Marvin was saying to Jackie, "That's quite a feat!"

 

Schneep nearly scoffed and muttered under his breath, "Magic, yes, because he needs that."

 

Marvin stared at Schneep as he always did in these arguments, with complete incredulity, "I can teleport half way around the fucking globe! How is that not magic?!?"

 

"Just because I can not explain it doesn't make it 'magic'." Schneep rolled his eyes, "It's just not understood yet."

 

JJ raised an eyebrow curiously, What's all this about?

 

Marvin rolled his eyes, gesturing to Schneeplestein, "He doesn't think the magic exists! At all!"

 

"Because it's not magic." Schneep interjected, "It's fancy hand movements and tricks. That's not magic."

 

"See?" Marvin slumped back in his chair huffily.

 

To be fair he has a point. Jameson grinned as the look on the magician's face turned to surprise, There's no proof of your magic-

 

"You've seen me do it!"

 

The others burst out laughing at the dumbfounded magician. Schneep grinned himself and let a chuckle escape him. Marvin looked peeved for a moment, but let out a good natured sigh and smiled too.

 

Just teasing chap. JJ grinned, Your magic is just fine.

 

"Yeah well...." Marvin raised his hands, "bedazzle bedoodle your dick is now a noodle."

 

Rude.

 

"Nah, just payback."

 

Eventually, the time came for cake. They moved the kitchen, similarly decked out in celabratory decorations. There was a cake on the table, covered in frosting. Just by looking at it Schneep knew he probably wouldn't like it. Sugar was never his thing and this cake looked made of it. It had to be covered in at least an inch of vanilla icing, not including the light blue words that adorned it's surface.

 

Happy Birthday Henrik!

 

There were candles all around them, and Marvin lit them with a wave of his hand. They burned green instead of orange. Jackie turned off the lights and conducted the others in a birthday song while Schneep waited. After the final verse, they cheered and he blew out the candles. He reached to pluck them out, only to find them sparking, then sending up mini firework's before relighting.

 

"Marvin." He glanced over at the magician.

 

"I have no idea what you're talking about." Marvin grinned mischeviously, "It's almost like magic or something!"

 

Schneep blew out the candles again, rolling his eyes, before starting to take them out. Bits of thick and sweet icing stuck. He put the end of one in his mouth and his suspicion was confirmed. Yup, sugary as hell.

 

Chase was rummaging around in the drawers. He pulled out something and pressed it into Schneeplestein's hands, "Birthday boy gets to cut the cake!"

 

"You know the birthday song is actually rather satanic." Marvin interupted, drawing Chase's attention away.

 

"What? What are you even talking about?"

 

"Well think about it, we turn off all the lights, burn candles above a certain object, chant together, and then cut open and eat that same object!"

 

That is surprisingly similar.

 

"Yeah but I don't think it counts!" Chase protested, "Besides..."

 

The others continued to talk but Schneep didn't register it, he was to focused on the knife in his hands. The fucking knife Chase had pressed into his hand.

 

It was h̡is knife.

 

The one Anti used to take to 'visit' Schneep. The one that had cut scars into his skin. The one Anti had used to kill Jack. It was the exact same knife, Schneep remembered every single detail from the bottom of the handle to the tip of the blade.

 

Anti must have taken it from Chase and Jackie's house to attack him specifically. It was right under their noses the entire time. They probably used it after Anti...

 

Suddenly, Schneep's hands felt shakey. The knife slipped out of the hand holding it. It hit his other hand and he felt a dull tingle of pain.

 

His heart lurched and he stared down at the cut. A line of thin red blood was seeping out of the side. It was minor, but it stung. It bled down the side of his hand slightly.

 

Static rang in his ears.

 

There was a noise at the door and Schneep glanced up at it. Anti was standing in the entryway, stone and wood creeping in on the linoleum and the walls. The glitch was grinning.

 

"Fa͝i̷lu̷re͝." The glitch giggled maliciously, "Yo͡u̢ ͝can't e҉ven h̴id̨e ̷it͏ ̧a͞n̴y͏mo͞r͜e.̛"

 

Schneep took a step back, keeping his eyes on Antiseptic. He wasn't moving, but the space between them seemed to be getting shorter. Anti was there, in front of him, knife in hand. Inches from his own face-

 

"-rik!"

 

There was a far off voice saying something, but it sounded wrong, like at the end of a tunnel and right next to him. It wasn't Anti's was it? No...no it didn't sound the same.

 

A hand was placed on his shoulder and Schneep jolted, spinning around to face his attacker and defend himself. Instead, he found a very worried looking Jac-Chase. Chase not Jack.

 

Wait-where was...

 

Schneep glanced around, eyes wide. Kitchen and not a shack, ok good, decorations, he had no idea what those were for, and cake that said-

 

Oh, right.

 

The muted sound came back on and he was suddenly aware that the room had gone quiet. They were all staring at him. What...what had he been doing, how long had he been out, what had they seen? Was Anti still-

 

He glanced at the entryway to the kitchen, now glitch free, and almost sighed in relief. Almost.

 

"Henrik, I'm...can you hear me?" Chase asked, hand still on his shoulder.

 

Schneep opened his mouth only to find it dry. He swallowed, then responded croakily, "Y-Yes, I'm...I'm fine. I'm fine "

 

He leaned on the counter again, careful to not touch the knife. His head starting to pound. It was either a day dream, halutionation or flashback. Honestly any option was plausible and couldn't be explained easily. Shit, he thought he was more careful than this.

 

"Schneep...this...this isn't fine, you don't look ok." Chase's voice drifted to him and he felt a spike of irritation.

 

"I am FINE." He snapped, feeling his temper growing taught, "I just..."

 

He needed an escape, a reason to run.

 

"...need to relive myself," he stood, heading out of the kitchen, "I will be right back."

 

No one stopped him as he left.

 

~~~~~

 

The bathroom itself was small. A sink stood near the door and the toilet and shower were on the far side of the room. There was enough room for about three people, but it would do to get away from the party.

 

Schneep closed the door, finally alone where he could react in peace. Where his trembling hands could turn on the sink and wash off the blood from the small cut that caused so much damage. Where he didn't have their eyes following him, concerned.

 

He'd blown it. They knew something was up now for sure. If Chase's face was any indication, he, at least, would inquire further. If Schneep could've just pretended a little longer....

 

A buzzing, like that of radio being tuned, started to fill his head again. Slowly pooring in at first, then coming in great waves. Schneep's head started to pound with it. It was loud, so much louder, and yet perplexingly easier to handle, than the situation outside.

 

Schneep turned off the water and put his slightly injured hand, which was now clean, against the sink. His other hand, went to his head, rubbing his temple. He knew what this was. Another Anti visit, he was sure.

 

"Not here," he muttered to the ever buzzing presence, "not NOW. This isn't the time."

 

He was supposed to be having fun. This was a party for hell's sake.

 

"Whe͢n̨ ̕is҉ ͘t͘he͏ ̷tim̧e̶ the͜n do͘ct̛o͞r͟?͟"

 

"Are you letting me set terms and conditions now?" Schneep chuckled grimly, shaking his head as he glared down at the porcelain sink.

 

"Woul̨d ͢y̛ou͝ ̴like t̛o͠?͏ Tell m̷e̛ whe҉re̛ and wh̸e̡n̢ you͘ ͘woųl̡d like͟ ͘t̡o̢ ̶cont͡i̶n͜ue,̶ ͟a̴n͢d̢ ̵I'll coo̡peŗat̛e." Schneep could practically hear the smile on the glitch's face.

 

"Never, would that work for you?" Schneep practically growled back, "So why don't you just fuck off?"

 

He looked up, staring right back at the glitch in the mirror. Neither wavered in their glare, hatred pooring from their expressions. There was a long silence neither dared break. They simply locked eyes with one another through the silvery surface. The doctor could practically feel the loathing towards him, and the feeling was mutual.

 

Finally, it felt like an eternity to Schneep, Anti leaned back and smiled, though his gaze was still ice cold.

 

"I͟ ͝di͏d̸ o͟f͝f̶e͝r̡, bu̷t̕ i̕f ̶you̵'͘d̸ rath͞e͞r d͠o̢ t͝hi̕s͠ n̷o̧w,̛ I'͝m͠ m͜ǫr͟e ̨tha͠n h͟a͝p̢py҉ ̛to!̨"

 

Anti leaned forward and, to Schneep's slight surprise, continued even as the glitch reached where the glass of the mirror should be. Schneep stepped back, letting go of the sink. He raised his arms to-he didn't even know. Defend himself? Push Anti back in? Whatever his subconscious plan, he was too slow. Anti's hand seized Schneep's throat and shoved him against the far wall of the mirror. The doctor choked on his gasp of surprised, literally, as the Glitch jumped out of the mirror and landed on the tiled floor silently. He stepped closer to the doctor, still grinning. Schneep opened his mouth to yell, to get someone to help him break out of this hallucination, but Anti covered his mouth, and he felt his vocal cords freeze against his will.

 

"Sh̨h͞hhh, ͜you͢ w̶ouldn̷'t want th̵em̴ to͟ hea͞r̵ an͝d find҉ ͝y̧ou̕ ̵l̷i̵k̡e thi͟s." Anti's smug face infuriated Schneep, but Anti's other hand was still wringing his neck.

 

For a moment Schneep was frozen by fear.

 

But he let the fear fade quickly.

 

With a burst of desperate energy, he kicked Anti in the gut. The Ggitch let go and stumbled into the bathroom counter. Schneep's feet hit the ground, and he used Anti's surprised state to his advantage. Grabbing the glitch by the collar, Schneeplestein whipped around and hurled Anti to the ground. His head made a satisfying thunk on the tile.

 

Schneeplestein took a deep breath. His heart was pounding and his neck would probably bruise, but he didn't care. There was a bubble of something hot in his chest, some sort of richous anger. Anti was groaning beneath him, trying to get up. Schneep did not hesitate in kneeling down and pinning the glitch with a knee. He grabbed Anti by the shirt and pulled him up, his other arm ready to bash Anti's face in.

 

The next words made him freeze again.

 

"You̸ ͡enjoy̢ t̕h̸is, ̷do͏ct̵o̡r̴."

 

Anti was still smiling, looking up at him knowingly.

 

"F̴i͢nall̕y͜ be͡i̴ng a̶ble̢ ̕tǫ take ͘ou͘t̵ ̨y͞ou͘r̶ a͟ņg̸er ͘on s͠o͜m͟et͏hi̢ng̕,̛ be͟at̸ing͢ you̵r e̢n͢em͜ies͝ ̧'til̵l͞ th͞ey'̛r͠e n͝ice an̶d ̛b̧ļoo̶d͜i͞ed͝.̡ ̢Tak̷ing it͡ ͜out on̡ ot̵hers p̢his͜i͠ca͢l̛ly͢ ͟o̕r͜ v͏erball͠y͘.͢ ͡Yo͞u̧ e̕njo͠y͏ that̵,͞ ͢don't yoų. ͞I̵t'ş ̶yo̴ur on҉ly ou͝t͢l̶et.̧"

 

It wasn't a question, it was a statement.

 

Anti grabbed the arm holding his shirt tightly, lifting himself up further, even as Schneep tried to shake him off.

 

"W͏e̕'̡r̵e ̵not so d͢i͘f̸ferȩnt ther͡e̢." Anti chuckled, pulling Schneep closer to him, "Do͡n̢'̶t͘ ͞lie̛ to yoursel͘f,͝ ̧y̶ou'͢re ̢j̸us̶t͠ as b̵ad ͝a͜s҉-" his words were interupted by a fist to the jaw.

 

The doctor stood, letting go of Anti, "I will not fall for such bullshit so easily!"

 

Anti paused, but then chuckled, "I'̶m̧ ͜not̢ ͏w̡ro̡n͘g͘ ̶a̶m ̷I?" He raised his eyes to meet Schneep's. Schneep stiffened and looked away from the glitch.

 

"You d͜ơ e͜n̨j̢oy ̸i̡t̛,͞ do̷n͝'t y̨o͞u?̴" Anti laughed again, the static noticeably returning, "Ḩo͏w ̢odd. ̷T̛h͝e ͘'good͠' d̷octo̵r ͞Sch̴nee̷p̶le͠s͢tei̡n, wan̷ting ̵to͢ ͜get hi̧s̨ ͠h͡and͢s dirty.҉" The glitch looked to the door with a smile, "I̢ w̧ǫn͞der, what͘ w̷ill̢ ̕yo͠u͏r ͝f͠r͡i͏e͜n̨ds thin͠k ͞of ̴t͏h͜a̕t?"

 

"You do not know what you're talking about." Schneep growled back, turning to glare at Anti.

 

"Pa͜th͡e͝tic." The laugh chilled Schneep to the bone, and as it faded out, so did Anti.

 

Schneep was alone in the quiet, heart still pounding.

 

Even when Anti lost, it seems he found a way to win.

 

Damn that glitch.

Chapter Text

"What....what was that?"

Marvin was the first to break the silence that had fallen over the others after the Doc had just walked out. Chase glanced to the magician, who looked as worried and confused as Chase felt. 

Jackie crossed his arms, frowning, "Something's up with Henrik...."

Part of Chase wanted to say 'I told you so', but now wasn't the time, "Yeah, I...I don't know what that was but it didn't seem good."

Schneeplestein had just frozen. He had dropped the knife and had been staring at his hand for a few minutes. He hadn't seemed to hear any of them when they asked what was wrong. He'd only snapped out of it when Chase had touched him. It...had honestly been scary to watch.

JJ turned to Marvin, brow furrowed, Has he done that before?

"Not to my knowledge." The magician replied, glancing at the bathroom Schneep had disappeared into, "That seemed like....something personal. Maybe we should just let it go?"

Jackie shook his head, "No. We can't. Something's been off for a few months now. Chase noticed it, but I didn't really believe it 'till tonight."

Chase nodded, "Something's been bothering him badly. I....I think he's been worse than he says he is."

Jackie nodded, "We've got to do something before it gets out of hand."

Marvin had a sour look on his face, "I don't like this."

"Neither do I." Chase agreed, glancing back at the bathroom door.

 


 

 

Schneep nearly stomped out of the bathroom with every intention of just going home. He had enough of this party and enough of the glitch messing with his head. Everything was just a big pile of shit and he didn't really care for it anymore. 

He didn't expect to see four concerned faces sitting in the living room, waiting for him.

"Hen, we need to talk." Jackie started.

They looked at him like they expected him to sit down. He didn't oblige. Were they were doing a fucking intervention or something?

"If it's about what happened just now, it was a mistake. My hand slipped." Schneep replied tiredly.

The lie didn't seem to suffice. Marvin's already bitter face grew colder and everyone else looked more concerned.

"Schneep, you didn't respond for like, a solid few minutes bro." Chase spoke up, "That's not normal."

"I was lost in thought." Schneep huffed slightly. Damn his loss of composure.

You looked...scared.
 Jameson spoke up, and lost.

"Disoriented. I've had a long day at work." 

"That doesn't seem like it Hen." Jackie replied coolly.

Schneep crossed his arms and raised his eyebrow, "And you are a doctor? Please, I know my own needs."

"Yeah, but we don't." The hero replied, "What's going on Henrik?"

"Real work, unlike the shit you do."

If you asked him why he'd said that, Schneep couldn't tell you. It felt cold, even as he said it, but right now he had no patience. He wanted out of here.

"Oi!" Jackie stood up suddenly, "What's that supposed to mean?"

"What do you think it means?" Schneep snapped back, keeping himself from glaring too harshly at the hero.

"I do work! I don't see you getting a bullet in your guts trying to save someone!"

...shit. Right that.....he shouldn't be doing this. He shouldn't be talking to Jackie like that. Especially after failing to have saved him. His temper was running too thin. What was he thinking, snapping at Jackie like that?!

"...My apologies." Schneep glanced away from Jackie guiltily, "That was rude of me."

Marvin glared at Schneep, "What the fuck is up your ass?"

"...nothing." Schneep sighed, "I'm just...tired."

He wasn't really, his heart was pounding in his chest, but the others couldn't tell that. Tiredness was an excusable crime.

Jackie sat back down, "Well you got to stop working yourself to death."

"I know I know." Schneep glanced around, he needed a moment to breath...the kitchen maybe, "Let me get some cake first. Then...I'll go home and get some sleep."

"...alright." Jackie sighed, "you look like you need it."

Schneep smiled, and it seemed to placate Marvin, Jackie, and Jameson. Chase, however, looked at him with concerned eyes and a frown. The doctor headed for the kitchen, eager to get away, but Chase spoke up.

"Are you sure doc?"

"Very."

Now it was Chase who stood up, "Hey!"

"I told you I'm fine."

He disappeared into the kitchen, intent on his goal. Chase jumped over the couch, following him. It was irritating really. He'd already apologized, had an explanation, what more did the father want from him?!

"Doc, something hadn't been ok since you got back! No, even before then."

"I told you I'm fine, I was just tired." Schneep snapped back, heading over towards the dropped knife and cake, picking it back up. He would not drop it this time.

"You can't bullshit me doc." Chase insisted, "That...that was something bad. You looked like you saw something."

The knife had been on the floor, it would need to be cleaned before he did anything with it. He ran it under the kitchen tap.

"Doc, doc don't ignore me." Chase took a step closer, and Schneep could see the figures of the others standing just outside the entryway to the kitchen. Apparently, they had gotten up to eavesdrop, "This has to do with you going missing for nine months, doesn't it?"

Schneep dried off the knife with his shirt, growing more and more agitated. Why was Chase testing his temper like this? It was already bad enough he'd got aggressive with Jackie.

"Tell me the truth Henrik, why were you gone for nine months?!"

Just

"Does it have something to do with Jack?"

Leave

"What happened really?"

Him

"Let us help you!"

ALONE!

"My God would you just shUT THE HELL UP?!" Schneep snapped finally, the knife flying out of his hand as he made a violent gesture towards Chase.

There was a moment where he realized what he had done, saw the surprised look on Chase's face, and saw the other man's arms raise to defend himself. Everyone seemed to pause for a moment, shocked to the bone.

Then, all hell broke lose.

The knife embedded itself in his hand. Chase cried out and doubled over in pain.  Both JJ and Marvin rushed over to him, wide eyed.

"Chase!"

Oh my god oh my god-

Jackieboyman was stunned, looking between Schneep and Chase in horror. The hero didn't seem to know what to do for once. His gaze finally settled on Schneep with a look of disbelief.

A cold snake was in the pit of the doctor's stomach, coiling up and around his throat. The fire of anger died suddenly, and the pounding in his ears quietened until all he could hear were Jameson's and Marvin's worried tones.

I.....could have killed him. What- what was I.....

"I'm...I'm fine...." Chase was murmuring to the others, breathing shakily, "it's....." He trailed off, cursing under his breath.

Schneep took a step back as he saw that the knife had gone right through Chase's hand. He could see the blade sticking out through the man's palm.

"What. The hell."

Marvin was glaring at him, his voice shaking with ill contained anger, "What the hell Schneep?! You threw a fucking knife at him?! What is fucking wrong with you?!"

"He...." Jacky blinked, seeming to snap out of his shock, "Schneep, what.....what did you just-"

Marvin stood and started advancing on the doctor, but Jameson grabbed the magician's sleeve.

Marvin, we've got to get Chase to the hospital. We don't have time for this!

Marvin paused, glaring at Schneep for what seemed like an eternity.

"Fine!" He finally spat, turning away from Schneep, and rummaging in his pockets, "Let's go!"

With a plume of smoke, Marvin, Jameson, and Chase vanished, apparently having teleported to the hospital. That left Schneep and Jackieboyman alone in the kitchen.

Schneep leaned his back against the nearest wall. He was shaking, badly. He....he had just attacked....he hadn't meant to....his hand had acted of its own accord! The knife had just slipped out of his hand, gone flying, right at Chase's face-

"Sch-Schneep......."

Schneeplestein startled, looking up at Jackieboyman, who was approaching cautiously.

"It....it wasn't your fault, the knife slipped, you didn't mean..." Jackie continued to talk, but Schneep wasn't listening.

The others had seemed annoying to him. Like flies buzzing in and around his head, making him want to explode. He had been angry at Chase for pestering him, sick of them all in his face. Asking stupid questions. He had just wanted to be alone! Make them stop annoying him!

It......it hadn't been an accident that he threw the knife.

The realization made his stomach churn like no physical wound could. He slowly slid down the wall until he was sitting on the ground. His insides had turned to ice, freezing his muscles and stopping his heart.

"...talk to them, they'll understand." Jackie was still talking. He was leaning down next to Schneep now, putting a hand on the doctor's shoulder.

Schneep looked down at the floor, putting his head in his hands. God, this was a nightmare, except it wasn't, this was real. There was no static in the air to indicate a hallucination. He had done it. Not Anti, not anyone else, it had been him.

Anti had been right. He did enjoy it.

"Henrik?" Jackieboyman looked at him, "Schneeplestein please, talk to-"

Schneep brushed off the hero's hand and stood up, still shaking slightly. Jackie stood up as well, looking concerned.

"Schneeplestein, are you ok? You're......You're not to blame for this."

What would Jackie know? He was idealistic, a hero. What would he know about Schneep, the man who had killed people in his ER, who had let Jack down, who had lost Peter, who was still talking to the glitch that started all of this?

The hero knew nothing.

"This.....this won't end up like some story Jackie." Schneep told him in a low voice, "You heard Marvin, he doesn't want me here when he gets back."

"He was just mad! He'll cool down!"

"No, he's right." Schneep stumbled towards to the door, a strange empty numbness starting to hollow out his chest, freezing the guilt from twisting up his intestines, "...you should go too, check up on Chase."

"What? No! I'm not just going to let you-"

"Shut up Jackie." Schneep forced the words out of his mouth, but they sounded hollow rather than venomous, "Shut up and go play hero like you always do."

There was a stinging silence that hollowed him out even further. Schneep needed to be alone, needed to get away from the others, from Jackie. This was the only way. After a few more moments of silence, Schneep headed for the front door. Jackie did not stop him as he left.

 


 

 

The doctor was always a surprise to Anti, which was sometimes good, sometimes bad.

This was a good surprise.

Anti only had to intensify the doctor's feelings, and look what happened, a knife almost landed in that pathetic excuse for a man's face! Oh, how precious it was, especially seeing the chaos that ensued afterwards! Schneep had cut himself off from all of his friends completely on his own too, even that stupid 'hero'. They shouldn't go looking for him for a couple of days.

Good, that was all the time Anti needed.

It was time for the real fun to begin!

Chapter Text

Chase's hand hurt like hell.

 

That was probably expected when you had a fucking knife go through your hand.  He had been bleeding like crazy, even as he was rushed to the emergency ward, he was dripping blood all over the floor. Luckily, JJ helped distract him while the doctors took the offending blade out and fixed him up.

 

He got lucky. They had gotten here fast enough that there would be minimal lasting damage. The knife had missed most of his tendons and only damaged a few others. Thank god for that.

 

JJ and Marvin were outside the room, talking to said doctor. Chase was sitting on the hospital bed, hand stitched and bandaged. He'd just texted Stacy to inform her he was in the ER, though he doubted she would care.

 

He needed to talk to the doc.

 

Chase reached for his phone again, glancing at the screen. He had already called Henrik twice. Perhaps his ringer was off? Or he couldn't talk?

 

With his good hand, he wrote out a message to Henrik.

 

I've already called you twice, but we need to talk. Call me when you're ready. Come home soon bro.

 

That would do, yeah. No need to pressure Doc. Not right now, but they did need to talk about what the fuck had just happened.

 

The response came a few minutes after Chase had sent his.

 

I'm not coming home. Don't look for me.

 

What?

 

Chase stared at his phone before quickly typing a reply.

 

Bro what do you mean by that?

 

Ten seconds passed, then thirty, then a minute, then a handful of minutes.

 

No answer.

 

You're scaring me dude, what do you mean?

 

Chase continued to wait, tapping his foot against the edge of his bed impatiently as he waited with bated breath. Still nothing. Schneep didn't reply at all.

 

Henrik? Answer me bro.

 

Still, nothing.

 

A tight ball of nerves and anxiety was forming in his chest. He felt strangely light headed, and it was getting hard to breath. Chase stared at his phone, waiting, praying that Schneep would reply. Please reply. Please be ok.

 

The door opened with a click and Marvin walked in, still looking angry. Jameson came in after him. The argument they had seemed to be over, for now at least. But it didn't matter.

 

"Guys," Chase got to his feet, "Henrik isn't answering his phone!"

 

"He better not the son of a-" Marvin started, but Chase interrupted.

 

"No, this is serious, look!" He thrust his phone into Marvin's hands.

 

Both Jameson and Marvin looked down and began to read. Marvin just stared at the messages. Jameson's eyes went wide and he looked up at Chase, alarmed.

 

Did he call you at all after this?

 

"No!" Chase shook his head, "He hasn't responded at all."

 

Jameson glanced up at the magician, worried, Marvin, check the house, please, you're the only one who can get there fast enough.

 

Marvin blinked and looked up at his friend. They shared a moment of silence, but Marvin broke it with a sigh.  The magician tossed the phone on the hospital bed and disappeared in a puff of smoke, leaving.

 

Chase started to pace, running his good hand through his already messy hair, "God...I knew...I knew something was up. I knew something was wrong...I didn't think....oh God...."

 

Chase, calm down, it will be alright lad.

 

"No, it's not! He's who knows where at this point, not answering his phone-"

 

Chase, please.

 

"-all because I wouldn't let go of a stupid suspicion!"

 

Jameson gently out a hand on his shoulder, Chase, no one blames you. Jackie said it the best, you were just the first to notice.

 

But he hadn't done anything about it. He'd let the others persuade him until he wouldn't have been seen as crazy, and then did something. Now he was paying the price for it. Another one of his dwindling number of friends was gone, and his hand was hurting.

 

Why did he do this?

 

Jameson lead him over to the hospital bed again, sitting him down, It'll be ok. Marvin will find him and if he doesn't, we'll get Jackie looking. Jackie was with him, remember?

 

"R...right..." Chase shook his head, at least there was that. Jackie wouldn't let Schneep just run off, "Right I'm just..."

 

It's alright. Jameson patted him reassuringly, Take your time and breath.

 

Chase didn't have time to do that, as in the next second, Marvin reappeared in a flash of smoke and glitter.

 

Did you-

 

"They're both gone." The magician replied sourly, crossing his arms, "Fucking damn it. Chase, do you have Jackie's number? I bet the prick is with him."

 

Chase nodded, picking up the phone next to him and unlocking it. He scrolled quickly through his contacts. He tapped on Jackie's name and the phone started to ring.

 

Ring

 

Ring

 

Ring

 

Ring

 

Ring

 

Ring

 

Ring

 

Chase was just about to give up and text him when a voice on the other side finally picked up.

 

"C hase? Are you alright?"

 

"Yeah." He replied quickly to Jackie, "I'm fine, the doctors said I'll recover with minimal injury."

 

"Good. I was worried it was worse."

 

"Jackie, where are you right now?"

 

"In Brighton. I had to go blow off some steam, Henrik was trying to get me pissed."

 

A cold feeling curled up in Chase's gut, "Wait, is the Doctor with you?"

 

"Nah, he wanted me out so I left. Why?"

 

Chase glanced to the other two and shook his head. Jameson looked alarmed and Marvin's scowl deepened. There was a flutter of fear inside his chest now.

 

"He- Look I just got a text saying he's not coming back."

 

"What?!"

 

"I can show you when you get back. Do you know where the Doc went?"

 

There was a fair amount if cursing on the other side of the line before Jackie replied, "No. He just drove off in his car. God damn it! I knew I shouldn't have let him go. Fuck!"

 

We need to find him as soon as possible. Jameson spoke up, Before he does something stupid.

 

"I'll start looking for his car." Jackie replied, "I'll call you if I find anything."

 

Jackie hung up and Chase put his phone down, the fear now rising to his throat. If the Doc wasn't anywhere to be found...oh God... Why did he do this? Why in all of hell did he have to push Henrik so god damn far?

 

"I'll look at his house," Marvin was saying, "Wait here and let Chase recover, we don't need two injured people."

 

Stay safe.

 

Marvin disappeared again, and Hanson came over. He sat on the bed, next to Chase. The remained in silence for a moment before JJ broke the heavy stillness.

 

Well. Fuck.

 

Chase honestly couldn't agree more.

 


 

 

Schneep didn't pay attention to where he was going. That was not the safest driving practice, no, but he could honestly care less. He just wanted to be away from all the thoughts swarming his head, and the cold, hollowed out feeling in his chest.

 

When he pulled out into the empty parking lot, he just sat in his car staring out the windshield, unsure what to do next. Chase could've had a second fatal injury. This time, Schneep was unsure if he would have been able to save him, just like Jackieboy...

 

Another wave of guilt hit his stomach at that thought. He couldn't have even saved Jackie and now he had just pushed the hero away. It was a wonder how he had managed to deal with Schneep all those years.

 

He shook his head, looking around at where he was. It was twilight. On one side of the lot, there was the road he had just come from, on the other, there was a sign for a trail head leading into the forest. Without really thinking about it, Schneep headed for the trail. He needed to walk, get this nervous cold energy out of his system and just be away from everything.

 

The doctor got out of the car and headed for the trail, mind swirling in a numb haze. He wasn't sure how long he walked, but he knew it was a long time. Despite trying to clear his mind, nothing seemed to stop the flood washing over him. What would Jackie do, once he got over his shock? Would Marvin try to attack him? Schneep couldn't blame him if he did. Jackie and Chase.....they were just trying to help and he'd lost his temper twice in the same night.

 

He recognized this path.

Schneep froze in his tracks, staring at the forest ahead. It had been months since he had been here, and he vowed to never go back again. Not to this place of pain....and yet here he was, staring at the small prison that had been his 'home' for so long.

 

He could just leave. Turn away, go back to his car. Leave this alone and....

Go back to what? To Jackieboyman, to Marvin, to Chase? No. He couldn't face them.

 

What other choice did he have?

 

His next steps were hesitant, but he continued, now walking off the path. It was a few minutes before the small shack came into view. It was still worn, tired, and shabby, but still standing. Spiderwebs had collected at its base, and the wood had become dirty and decrepit.

 

He could always turn back, just go back to the others, forget this. He didn't need to go in there. Telling the truth couldn't be that bad, could it?

 

Schneep felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. Checking it, he found a text from Chase.

 

I've already called you twice, but we need to talk. Call me when you're ready. Come home soon bro.

 

A lump grew in his throat. Talk to Chase? What exactly would he tell him? What could he say to the others that could possibly excuse this? Would he just tell them that he was a sadistic bastard? That he was to god damn disturbed to be normal?

 

Just telling the truth wasn't so easy after all.

 

He glanced at the shack again.

 

They would be better off without him fucking things up anyways. Here, at least, he could be useful and keep Anti distracted. Here, he wasn't hurting them. Here, he would probably stay for a very long time.

 

His thumbs tapped quickly against the phone screen.

 

I'm not coming home. Don't look for me.

 

Chase started typing something, but Schneep turned his phone off. Facing the woods, he chucked his phone as far as he could. He wouldn't need it anymore anyways.

 

He turned back to his course and continued walking.

 

The door of the shack creaked open. It was exactly how he remembered it. The wood was unfinished, as if someone had just cobbled it together, small splinters ran all along the different boards. A small window, broken and still jagged, lived near the top of the back wall and a sort of tap was next to the door. There were dark stains along the cold stone floor, dry puddles here and there making a path around the room. His blood if he remembered correctly.

 

The mattress, he really couldn't call it a bed, was in the corner, worn and dirty. It bore clearer signs of decay by the elements, but it remained usable. The plastic table and chairs, the only other things in the small room, were in a similar state. It smelled of earth and rot.

 

Nothing had changed.

 

As soon as Schneep set foot in the room, a buzzing sound, static, filled his ears. For once, he did not find it annoying, but a needed relief. He made his way to the chair, sitting down in it and let the sound fill his head. It was so loud there was no room for anything else. He welcomed it greatly, letting it blur his thoughts until all he knew was an indistinguishable crackle and hum of static.

 

"We͘ll, ̡is̛n̨'t ͠this͏ ͞in͜ter̛es͘tin͠g͜?̶"

 

The wooden door creaked loudly on it's hinges as it was pushed shut.

 

"I͞ n͜ever t̵h̕o҉ugh̵t ̛I'd see you̡ ҉here ̛aga͞i͏n,̵ ̨e͟spec͢i̷all̶y̶ ͠of ̕y͏o̧u̷r͜ ͟o̶wn͏ f̴ree̡ wi͢ll."

 

Footsteps drew closer, but Schneep didn't care, he was trying to block out the sounds, focus on the nothingness be had found temporary peace in.

 

"Węa̷k̛.̴"

 

For once, the static stopped, and Schneep found himself looking at the table, a light shadow falling over him in the dim room.

 

He did not want to look up.

 

"Are y͠o̡u ͟p̛a͡ying̛ attent̶i͝on now?"

 

He didn't have a choice.

 

"Doctor͠, I ͟a͘s̡k̴ed ͟y͝o̧u a q̢ue̵st̛i̕on."

 

Schneep took a deep breath, then nodded.

 

"S̨a̸y ͝it." Anti's hand pushed Schneeplestein's head roughly into the table, so that his forehead hit the plastic with a loud thunk.

 

".....Yes," Schneep finally relented, "Yes Anti, I am listening."

 

"G͠ǫ̧͟o̸̕͏d!̵" Anti let go of his head, but Schneep made no move to sit up again.

 

"Y̶ou̶ ̧made q͡ui҉te ̶a҉ me̛ss̴ ͝of͠ your ͏f̴ri̢end̢s ̸th̸e̕re͜,͜ ̧d͞id̢n͜'͝t̢ y͜o͡u͏?͝"

 

"..." Schneep didn't reply.

 

"I҉ kn̨ew̧ y̡ou ̵we͢rę b̸a̸d̶,͝ bu̷t̛ ͞ęv͏e̷n͘ I w͟a̛ş ͜s͞ưrp̶ris̡ed̴ by tha͝t! You go͠t ͝l͡ucky͢ Cha͏s͝e͠ ̵has̢ ̴goo͟d̸ r͏efļexe͞s, ̨else y̢ou ͠w͝o͝ul͡d̴ ͝h͞av̢e͘ lo͜s͠t̢ hi̧m, ̛s̶inc҉e yo̶u obv͘io͏us̸ly c͝an̶'̷t ͜s̨eem ţo h̛an̶dl̵ę tre̷a̸t̶in͜g̴ ͝any of͞ ͡t̕hem.̸"

 

"..."

 

"Y͡ou ̡s͢t͘i̛l̢l̷ di҉d a n̛um̶b҉er̶ ̛on̶ ͢hi̴m̸! Not to me͜ntion͡ tḩat̶ ̵her̶o̴."

 

Schneep closed his eyes, shoulders sagging, "What do you want Anti?" Even to him, his voice sounded lifeless.

 

".͟.̡." Anti giggled, "I̵ t͟o̷l̶d̵ you͡ ̴when͠ this̨ al͢l̛ ̸f̡irs͏t st͠ar͟ted ̸D̡octor! I wa͜n҉t̨ ̨yo̶u!̡"

 

A part of the doctor's brain wondered why, but he couldn't muster the will to ask.

 

"Y̛o͏u͘ ͏w͜a̷n͘t ̧to͡ for҉get,͏ ̶c͠orr̢ect͝?"

 

About the fight, about getting himself abandoned, about hurting Chase?

 

"Yes."

 

"T͞h͜e̸n̨ B̮͇̠̘ͬͮ̃̿ ̼͉̩̈́ͥ̿̀ͧ̃͌͠E͏̙͓̠̘̥ ̢͉̟̭ͨͤ̑̚G̩̻̫̙̐̌͠"

 

There was a stretch or silence. Schneep knew this is what Anti wanted. He knew Anti would take pleasure in seeing him beat down to this level, asking an enemy for a moment of peace inside his guilt-ridden mind. Asking for help from the one person he hadn't turned away, his tormentor.

 

But he found he couldn't care much.

 

"Please." He mumbled.

 

"Pl͡ea͘se ̷w̸ha̢t͢?"

 

"Please just....let me forget." He said, a bit louder this time.

 

Another stretch of silence, then Anti touched his head lightly.

 

"Th͜a̶t'̛s what̸ I̢'͢ve҉ ̵b̢e҉en wa͘it҉in̕g t͟o͝ hear.͠"

 

Schneep's mind cleared suddenly, and without him really realizing it. There was no thought, no memories, no guilt, just quiet existence. All his worries faded from his mind completely.

 

It was bliss.