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While Chase couldn’t see much of the room he was in, he could hear, feel, and smell a lot of things. First was the thick smell of chemicals and burning that almost clogged his nose. There was also the uncomfortable feeling of having his arm unattached. His metal one, thankfully.

There was also the sizzle of electricity and the sound static coming from seemingly everywhere. It would be eerie and he should be very afraid right now but for some reason he wasn’t. Maybe it was the hope that Jackie would come and save him.

Right now he was on his back, strapped to a table like he was Frankenstein’s monster. As soon as that thought crossed his mind the door opened, filling the room with light, and in stepped Frankenstein himself, or some guy wearing a labcoat that gave off Frankenstein vibes.

While it was still hard to see, he could make out a few distinct features. First off, an eyepatch over his right eye and a wild hairdo. He had deep bags under his eyes and looked like he’d rather be anywhere but here.

The man shut the door and flipped a light switch, illuminating the room. It wasn’t as big or as extravagant as he thought it’d be. It was actually pretty band, and that’s an understatement.

The walls were a depressing gray and made out of cold metal, which was a serious health risk in the colder seasons. There was nothing in the room besides the bed chase was strapped to and a metal desk. There wasn’t even a swivel chair or a house plant.

On the desk was a chemistry set, which was probably where the smell was coming from, and Chase’s prosthetic arm. The man was holding a long metal pole, which he propped up against the wall.

He was also holding a clipboard which he placed on the desk and went over some papers.

“Chase Brody. That is your name right?” His voice was monotoned, and squeaky, like he wasn’t used to talking at all. He also had an accent, German maybe?

“Who wants to know?” He said with a smirk, having always wanted to use that line.

The man sighs and sits himself on the desk, the clipboard on his knees. “Please don’t make this difficult for me.”

He raises an eyebrow at him. “Maybe if you give me back my arm I’ll comply.”

He sighed again. “I’d love to, but my b-” He stopped suddenly, and tenses up, slapping his hand over his eyepatch.

“You good over there?” Chase asks, noticing the odd shift in behavior.

The man stands up, turns around and hunches over the desk. “Please stop asking questions and answer mine.”

“Fine, fine. Yeah I’m Chase, I still wanna know why you wanna know.”

He doesn’t respond. Just kinda staring at the desk.

“Henry.”

“Wh-what?” Now he responds, turning to look at him.

“That’s your name right? Henry?”

He freezes, his eyes darting around the plane room. “It’s Henrik. How’d you know that?”

Chase shrugs. “I thought I heard someone call someone by that name while I was being dragged in here. I was curious as to who that was.”

Henrik was trembling slightly which worried him, even if he was just a stranger who’s kidnapped him.

He turns back around, looking back over the papers.

“Ya know, it seems I’m gonna be here a bit, why don’t we get to know each other.” He didn’t respond so Chase kept going. “I know, I’ll tell you something about me and you tell me something about you.”

“Why would I tell you anything about myself,” Henrik said sternly.

“Because you wanna know stuff about me? So we can be friends.” He smiled childishly.

“And why do you want to be friends with me? Why are you even talking to me?” His voice was shaking slightly.

“Because, I’m holding onto the small hope that you may not be as bad you seem and you’re actually a good guy in a bad situation.”

“How- I don’t understand.” He put his head in his hands. “I already know everything there is to know about you anyway.”

“Really like what?” He should honestly feel creeped out that someone might have been monitoring him and knew his life story. All in all, he shouldn’t be so nonchalant right now.

“I know you lost your arm in a wreck when you were sixteen and your father built you a prosthetic limb that you spent the rest of your teen years showing off to everyone.”

“Wow.” He had nothing to respond to that. “Did you know that I became obsessed with mechanics and I started making my own prosthetics in college which won me quite a few prizes.”

“You made this?” Henrik asked, picking up the limb still sitting on the table. “It’s very well crafted.”

“My father’s design! Of course the programming and lifelikeness were my doing. See you don’t know everything about me.”

“Interesting.” He continued to examine the limb. “Tell me about the pro-” Like before, he stopped, tensed, and dropped the arm onto the table.

“Hey! Be careful!”

Henrik whimpered softly, trembling like he was in serious pain.

“Shit, are you okay?” He wanted to go up to him and hug him or something, but he was still strapped to a table.

“Shut up!” It didn’t seem like he was talking to him.

Chase tugged on the restraints, which broke easily. He was almost about to flaunt his strength before he realized the restraints were duct tape.

He was about to step up to him and Henrik acted fast. Grabbing the pole and spinning around, holding it up in defense. There was blood leaking from his eyepatch.

“Don’t touch me!”

He raised his arms- er arm in defense. “Hey, hey, chill! I’m just going to grab my arm.” He inched toward the table, Henrik didn’t even try to stop him, still holding the pole up.

Slowly he grabbed it and reattached it to his nub. “There, I’m not gonna harm you, just put the pole down.”

He lowered it slightly, stilling having it at the ready.

“Now. I’m just going to slowly back towards the door.”

“I’m sorry, I can’t let you do that.” He stood in front of the door and flipped an unnoticeable switch on the metal pole. It was now Chase realized he was wearing rubber gloves.

The pole emitted an electric sound and Chase had a feeling it would hurt a whole hell of a lot if that thing even touched him.

“Why not.”

“I just can’t.” His eye was bleeding harder.

“What’s going on with your-” He pointed to his eye.

“Nothing, please just sit back down.” His voice shook and he looked like he was being forced to do something he really didn’t want to do.

Chase took a deep breath. Henrik was pretty frail, he could take him in hand to hand combat, but the electric pole. Luckily he had something for every situation.

“I bet you also didn’t know that my arm is pretty hollow. Making it fairly light and giving me a bit of storage space.”

He glanced down at it, watching in intrigue as Chase pulled out two gardeners gloves and put them on. “I’d even bet you didn’t know I was trained in hand to hand combat.”

It wasn’t even a fair fight, he was able to pull the pole right out of his hand, push him to the ground, and handcuff him to the table that seemed to be screwed in the ground, in a matter of seconds.

He almost felt bad, but he was too busy running out the doors to really care. This place wasn’t as twisty curvy as he’d thought it’d be. Once he was out of the depressing office the front door what right there.

***

How Chase got home, he couldn’t tell you. It was like the walk from that lair he escaped from his little workshop/home, was completely erased from his mind. Whatever happened, he was home now and trying to make up on lost hours by working late.

The bell above the door rang and he stood up from behind the desk, where he was working on the blueprints for some project.

Jackie smiled at him. “Chase, how are you?”

“I’m doing good! Can I help you with something?”

“That’s not what I’m here for.” His expression changed to something more serious.

“Oh, it one of those meetings.” He glances around the mostly empty workshop and into the back storage room, aka his bedroom.

Jackie closed the door behind him and sat on a box. “You get kidnapped by one of the most dangerous villains I’ve ever met, somehow escape them unharmed, and don’t bother to tell me!”

“Okay, I know I should’ve at least texted you to tell you I’m fine. I’m surprised that didn’t occur to me.”

He sighed, putting his face into his hands. “What happened? What did he do to you?”

“Nothing.” Jackie gave him a disbelieving look. “I’m serious, I didn’t even see the guy. I met his henchman though.”

“What’d his henchman do?”

“Nothing, I was actually a bit concerned for him.”

“Concerned? How so?” Now he seemed curious.

“He seemed like he didn’t want to be there, like he was just following orders.”

“Of course he was following orders. Any weakness or whatever you thought you saw was probably just a trick to make you feel sympathy for the bad guy,” Jackie said, standing up.

“I know, but I think there’s a difference between bad guys and bad guys.”

Jackie shook his head and made his way out. “Get some rest, I’ll close everything up for you.”

“Whatever you say.” Chase yawned, lying down and passing out instantly.

Chapter Text

Pain. That’s all he could register. It was like he was being burned and frozen all at once. It didn’t matter.

He twitches, too weak to fully stand. He drags himself into his room, passing out on the floor. It was worth it, somehow in someway.

***

Chase awoke feeling fully rested, despite how late he fell asleep. He’d been waking up at seven in the morning for so long that at this point, even if he was tired, his body wouldn’t let him sleep.

His workshop didn’t open ‘till eleven, so he has enough time to get some work done, maybe read a book and watch tv, before he actually has to do anything.

Upstairs is his kitchen, bathroom, and living room. It’s small, and kinda cramped, but he likes it that way. He could easily afford a bigger house, but he lives alone so he doesn’t see the need to.

Unfortunately any plans to relax this morning were crushed once he stepped upstairs. Jackie was sitting on his couch, watching the news.

“Decided to crash in my place last night, huh?”

Jackie just shrugs. “I said I’d lock the place up for you, I was tired and I couldn’t find your keys so I just locked the door and passed out up here.”

“Understandable.” He opens the compartment on his arm and pulls out a key ring. “Here!” He tosses a spare key.

“Thanks dude. Now, there’s something I need to talk to you about now that you’re fully awake.” He stands up and turns up the volume on the tv.

“The newest villain, that the internet has taken to calling ‘The Glitch’, has been terrorizing upper class citizens for months now. This villain’s motive has yet to be seen. More news at nine.” The news lady said (informed).

“So what about it. Everyone already knows this stuff. Why are you showing me this?”

“Everyone knows about this, but you and Marvin are the only people who know about me and my secret identity. I think that’s why The Glitch kidnapped you.”

“I see what you’re saying, but what does it matter. I escaped them and I could escape them again.”

“What I’m saying is that The Glitch is going to come back after you. This must be a trap of some kind, there has to be a recording device or something. There’s no way you could’ve escaped so easily.”

“Maybe there is a way.” He flops onto the couch. “He’s probably just one of those villains that acts all tough on the outside, but has nothing to show for it.”

“I’m not taking any risks. Until I can figure anything out I’m sending Marvin to watch over you. Which means, no leaving the house, no contact with people outside of the house, and you also have to obey everything they say. Got it?”

Chase rolls his eyes. “Got it dad. You wouldn’t be jealous of be sending all this time with Marv, without you, right?”

“Jealous! What do you mean?” his cheeks turned bright red.

“Come on Jackie.” He stands and walks up to him. “It’s so obvious you’ve been crushing on them for awhile. Take it from me, a love expert, and just ask them out sometime!”

“Love expert?” He scoffs. “You’ve never even dated someone for more than a few weeks.”

“That’s not true. I was married once.”

“You and Stacy got drunk and thought it’d be funny to get married in order to trick your parents.”

He chuckles, remembering that night. “I mean for about forty-eight hours I was married on paper.”

Jackie rolls his eyes. “Even if I was in love with Marvin, you would be the last person I’d go for advice.” He shakes his head. “This is getting off topic.”

“First off, ouch-” he acts over dramatically acts like he’s hurt, “-second off, this is stupid. I really don’t need all this, I don’t leave the house all that much anyway and I won’t hurt too much to close up shop for a few days. Let me care for myself.”

“You should go outside more, another time when we’re not in a crysis.” He turns on his phone.

“I get enough exercise from working here, I only need to go out for food. And we’re not in a crisis, you’re blowing this out of proportion!” He loved Jackie, but sometimes he’s a little too much.

“It doesn’t matter I’ve already texted Marvin. He’ll be here in five minutes, don’t cause trouble ‘till them got it?” He didn’t wait for an answer. He opened the window and disappeared.

“You’re not my dad,” he mutters, sitting back on the couch. At least he could still work on his stuff.

***

Marvin always did like showing up fashionably late, but five hours felt like a bit much. She, Chase was guessing, appeared out of thin air in his workshop wearing a green dress, golden eyeshadow, and her hair in a bun.

“Sup aunt Marvin.” Marvin gave him a weird look. “Jackie decided he was my dad so that makes you my aunt now.”

She snorts. “More like your nanny since I’m babysitting you for a bit. Or I was supposed to be babysitting you. Don’t let Jackie know I was late.” She whispers the last part.

Chase makes a “my lips are sealed” gesture.

“What kept ya anyway?”

She shrugs. “I know Jackie. He’s overreacting about whatever’s happening. So I decided to take my time coming here.”

He nods. “I’m guessing you’re a she today?”

“What gave it away?” She smirks. “Was it the dress and the lack of my mask, so I could show off my makeup?”

“Well you never know these days. Not like that’s a bad thing of course, just means you gotta check up every once and awhile.”

She laughs. “Good to know you haven’t changed at all. What happened that’s got Jackie all worked up?”

“I got kidnapped and Jackie doesn’t believe I’m strong or smart enough to fend for myself.”

“What’s he think? That they stuck some kind of recorder on you?”

“Yeah actually. He literally said that.” They both burst into laughter.

***

At some point Chase and Marvin had the great idea to bust out some alcohol. Neither were sure how much they drank, only that everything was immensely funny.

“You know Marvin-” Chase hiccuped, “-I wish I could go out and prove myself to Jackie. Prove I don’t need ta be protected. Ya know?”

“I mean wha’s stoppin’ ya,” Marvin slurred back. “Go out there, punch that glitch bitch in the face and he’ll have ta respect you. You’ll be a hero!”

“Yeah!” Chase jumped up, before tripping over his own feet. “I’ll save the world tomorrow…”

She bursted into laughter, tears spilling from her eyes. “Oh my god, Chase are you okay?”

“Shut the fuck up!” He was lying on his face, on the ground, his voice muffled by the floor.

She only laughed harder, before calming herself and passing out on the couch. Chase just stayed on the floor.

His thoughts were hazy, but one single thought stayed clear. If he took down The Glitch, Jackie would listen to him and he wouldn’t have to deal with him being overprotective. It was a stupid thought, but maybe… just maybe.

***

“What’s he think? That they stuck some kind of recorder on you?”

It’s laughter was cold and ruthless. “Maybe they should listen to their friends.”

Henrik twitched, barely reacting to its voice. He’d been listening to this recording for hours at this point, still no clue what he’s supposed to be listening for.

The Glitch stalked up behind him, placing a hand on his shoulder. He flinched at the contact.

It tossed a roll of bandages in front of him. “Keep listening, report anything and everything you hear that might be important. Then maybe your last offense will be forgiven.”

It let go of him and he scrambled for the bandages.

Chapter Text

The static was deafening, yet soothing. It made him want to put his head down and sleep for the next century, but no, he had work to do. Even if he was so very, very tired…

***

This was a very stupid idea, but in Chase’s defense, has he ever had a good one? He was just going to try and find the Glitch’s hideout and then come home before Jackie did.

Marvin was still passed out on his couch, knowing them they’d probably sleep in until noon so that gave him time to get ready and leave.

He didn’t bring much, just some bandages and stuff in his arm, just in case he was feeling brave, and some stuff so he could make a map of sorts.

He had an extremely vague idea of where the Glitch’s hideout was, enough so he wouldn’t just be wandering around aimlessly.

From what he knew, the hideout was somewhere near the outskirts of town, to the west. It would probably be really hard to spot so he’d have to really search around…

Or it could be a giant house that looked like something out of a fairytale. How has he not noticed this before? This had to be a trap. God he’s sounding like Jackie.

The front door was unlocked, but not even Chase was stupid enough to just waltz right in there. He did the less stupid, but still stupid, thing and decided he would crawl through the vents, just to get a quick idea of what it looked like inside.

It was almost eerily silent inside, the only sound was his clothes rubbing against the sides of the vent, and something that sounded like sniffling that seemed to be coming from the left.

Through the vent screen he could see into a tiny office that seemed to be the one he was trapped in earlier, and that man from earlier too. At least there was a chair now.

Who puts metal bars over an air vent?

The man, his name was Henrik right? Seemed to be crying softly, while applying bandages sloppily over his arm.

Slowly and quietly, Chase started unscrewing the vent cover and the bars, letting both fall and clink on the floor. Henrik jolted up and backed up against the wall, he seemed to be trembling slightly.

“Now I know for a fact I didn’t rough you up this much.” There were cuts and bruises all over his arms and face, most of them looked pretty fresh. “And do you not know how to apply bandages?”

“What are you doing here?” He sounded terrified.

“Let me bandage you up first, dude.” He pushes him back onto the chair and pulls out the bandages and Antiseptic he brought.

Henrik whimpered softly as he poured a bit on the largest cut. It looked like it had been done by a knife. “What happened?”

He didn’t answer. He had a shocked and terrified look in his eyes.

Once he finished bandaging him up and took a look around the room. It was even smaller than Chase had thought. The mattress on the bed could barely even qualify as a mattress. It was more like a giant brick.

“Do you live here?!”

Again no answer. Chase was starting to get worried.

He checked the door, it wasn’t even locked. As he opened it he could hear Henrik’s breath hitch.

“Why do you even stay in here? It’s not even wired.”

“You don’t understand.” His voice was soft, and groggy. It made Chase wanna pick him up and take him far away from here. That actually didn’t seem like a bad idea.

“What don’t I understand?”

He stood up and backed into the back corner, covering his head.

Chase hadn’t noticed until now, but there was a faint sound of static that seemed to be coming closer and closer. At this moment, Chase knew he was probably screwed.

A vague, humanoid shape formed before him. It glitched and was definitely where that sound is coming from.

“Lovely work Henry.” It waved its hand and Henrik collapsed to the round, out cold.

“What the fuck?”

“I was hoping for that upstart, little brat that calls himself a superhero, but his foolish friend will have to do.” The ground began shaking and large cracks formed in the walls. It disappeared with a haunting laugh.

“Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit-” He swooped Henrik up and ran out of the room.

Everything was pitch black. It was impossible to see where the door was and pieces of the ceiling were beginning to crash down.

“Over here Chase!” He could hear Jackie’s voice and see a faint light. He ran for it, almost tripping on the stairs outside.

Jackie tugged him out a safe distance away and they watched it crumble to the ground.

“What the hell were you thinking? And why do you have him?” He practically screamed.

“I thought if I found this guy’s hideout you’d actually treat me like a normal human being and not some child who needs to be watched every second of their life! And that asshole was just going to leave him there to die.”

Jackie has to stop himself from yelling again. “I’ve been monitoring this house for weeks. I didn’t need your help to try and find it.”

“Well maybe if you’d actually sat down and spoke to me and told me things, I wouldn’t have gone inside. I wouldn’t have even gone looking for it if you hadn’t made Marvin babysit me.”

“I’m trying to protect you, Chase! I don’t want to lose my best friend.”

“Well I don’t want to be protected. If you were really my friend you’d actually listen to me for once.” He hadn’t realized it yet, but he tearing up a bit.

“Then tell me what you want!”

“I want you to leave me alone and let me take care of myself.” He huffed and walked away, still holding Henrik in his arms.

Chapter Text

When Chase made it home, Marvin had already left, leaving him alone. It was still the middle of the day, he could’ve opened up his shop, maybe make up for lost time, but he didn’t feel like dealing with customers and he had some overdue orders he needed to finish up anyway.

He stuck Henrik on the couch upstairs and went down to bury himself in work.

Eventually he gave up trying to bury his feelings. He needed to talk to someone. He didn’t want to talk to Marvin, they and Jackie were too close anyway, and he also didn’t want to hear some stale apology from Jackie either.

That left him with one choice.

He dialed the number and a female voice answered on the other end.

“Good evening Mister Brody.”

“I haven’t even said anything. Have you memorized my number?”

“Mr. Jackson has you saved has “Mister meme man” in his phone. And you call like every other day.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know.” Chase suppresses a chuckle at the “Mister meme man” thing. “Can you get me Jamie on the phone?”

“I’m afraid he’s busy right now, but I can tell him you called.”

“Actually, can you send him a message for me?”

“Sure, but make it quick.”

“Do you have a notepad and a pen?”

There’s and sigh and the sound of stuff rustling around, and then the click of a pen. “Alright, what’s your message?”

“I fucked up. Please come talk to me.”

“Is that your message or a summary of your life?”

“Sandra!”

She chuckles. “Alright, I’ll give it to him.” She hangs up and Chase slumps into his seat.

***

It was almost ten p.m. when Chase heard a knock on his door. He prayed it wasn’t Jackie or some customer that couldn’t read.

Instead he saw the very person he’d been hoping to see.

Jameson smiled at him. “Mind if I come in?”

“Not at all.” He moved to the side, letting him in.

The two sat down in the backroom/bedroom, Jameson setting his hat down and a pile of boxes and sitting on the bed.

“I got your message. What happened?”

“Me and Jackie had a fight, I said some bad things but I still feel like he was in the wrong.” Chase clenched his fist.

“A fight over what?”

“It’s hard to explain…” At that moment there was a loud bang upstairs and the sound of someone shuffling around.

“I think someone’s in your house,” Jameson signed nervously.

Chase stood up. “Oh. He’s awake.” He can’t believe he forgot about Henrik.

He went upstairs, Jameson trailing behind him, to find Henrik trying to pry open a window.

“Hey! What are you doing?”

He froze, not responding.

Chase slowly walked up to him and placed a hand on his shoulder. ”You alright?”

He turned, trembling slightly. “I need to go.” He glanced over to Jameson and tensed.

Jameson was standing awkwardly by the couch.

“JJ, would you mind stepping into the kitchen for just a second.”

The man hesitated before nodding and disappearing.

“There’s no need to be nervous right now, you know.” Chase carefully guided him over to the couch and they sat down. “Where do you need to go?”

Henrik looked scared, of what Chase wished he knew. He bit his lip and looked down. “Can’t say.”

“Why not?”

“I just can’t.”

“Can you at least stay here a bit?”

“No!” Henrik said as if that were the most insane thing he’d ever heard. “He’d be mad.”

“He?”

He slapped his hand over his mouth and scooted away from him.

Chase only scooted closer to him, gently pulling his hand away and holding it. “Henrik? That’s your name right?”

He nods.

“And you work for the Glitch, right? How come? That job can’t be fun.”

He tensed and looked away. “I can’t.”

“Okay…” Chase wasn’t sure what to do right now. “Are you missing an eye?”

“I- yeah.”

“Can I get you a prosthetic?”

“I- uh- what?” He turned back towards him.

“I make prosthetics and fix mechanics. I can get you an eye, if you follow me.” Chase stood, still holding Henrik’s hand.

“JJ give me a hand would ya.”

The three stood in the workshop, Chase search around for something while Henrik and Jamie watch.

“Here we go.” He pulled out a chart and some weird tool. “I just need your eye color and the size of your eye. Mind taking the eye patch off?”

He hesitates before pulling the eyepatch off and revealing a nasty hole. This was the first time Chase had ever done this, usually people knew what size and shape they needed before buying one from him.

“Alright. I’ll need a sky blue eye that’s about-” He shoved the tool into the socket and glanced at the chart, “-this big.”

He reached into a drawer full of eyes and pulled a few out. “This one should fit.”

Henrik looked very uncomfortable, which made since considering Chase just shoved and strange tool in his head with little warning.

Slowly he took the tool out and set it down, making a mental note to wash it later, before placing the eye in his hand. “Try it on. There’s a mirror over there.”

Henrik stared at himself in the mirror, it had been a long time since he’d seen himself he hadn’t even noticed how much of a mess he looked like. He stuck the fake eye in and for a second he looked normal, like he wasn’t some traumatized weirdo with a missing eye.

But no.

“I can’t.” He shoved the eye back in his hand and put his eye patch back on.

“Yeah you can. I won’t even charge you.”

“I- I appreciate it but I can’t. I’m sorry.”

“Why are you sorry?”

“I can’t explain, I need to go.” Before Chase could say anything else Henrik bolted and Jameson grabbed Chase before he could follow.

“What the hell JJ!”

“I have no clue what’s going on, who that guy is, or what happened. I need answers. You’d be wasting your time chasing him anyway.”

Chase sighed, trying to rationalize this. “You’re right. Sit down and I’ll explain the best I can.”

Chapter Text

Henrik came to the place that couldn’t be located, only found. It was far from the town, tucked away where not even that upstart superhero and his sidekick could find.

He wandered down the long empty hallways, meant to confuse anyone who hadn’t been here for years. There was a specific path you had to take if you wanted to get where you needed to go and he was the only one who knew it.

He found himself in a small room, illuminated by the light of multiple screens on the wall, used to keep an eye on important places in the city. There in front of it all, was the Glitch himself.

The Glitch didn’t have a physical from, though that didn’t mean he couldn’t harm you physically, he was simply an ever changing mass of particles that occasionally would take a humanoid shape.

“So,” the Glitches raspy voice sounded like if a swarm of bees all learned to speak in unison, “Is the mechanic dead?”

Henrik swallowed, prepared for whatever might happen to him. “I’m afraid not, Sir.”

The Glitch laughed, or it sounded like a laugh. “And what do you know of the hero or that tryhard magician.”

“Well… Ch- the mechanic and the hero had a fight of sorts. So the hero won’t try to go after him, if we set up another trap. As for the magician I know nothing. They completely disappeared after the trap collapsed.”

There was a long silence, the only noise being the loud static coming from a few of the tvs and the Glitch himself.

Finally the Glitched laughed again, turning and staring into his soul with cold, unfeeling eyes. Henrik braced himself for whatever happened next.

“Alright Henrik! I have a brand new job for you!”

***

Chase and JJ’s conversation lasted into the early morning. Chase tried his best to explain what exactly what happened, but that failed and the whole conversation turned into JJ trying to cheer him up.

“How’s your whole acting career going anyway? Things been working out for you?”

“Yes. Tomorrow we’re wrapping up filming on my latest project. I’m quite excited.”

“Tomorrow?” Chase glanced up at the clock. “You mean like later today?”

Jameson stared at the clock and scrambled around to find his pocket watch. “I hadn’t noticed the passing time. I’m afraid I must go and get some rest. You should get some rest too, can’t have you working with no sleep.”

The old timey actor left, leaving Chase alone to think.

He was probably going to skip work tomorrow anyway, all he had to do was drop a few things off at the post office.

When was the last time he’d taken a day of just for himself, anyway? At least he wouldn’t have Jackie breathing down his neck.

***

The next day would’ve been a great day. Chase was planning on going out to eat and seeing a movie, and finally finish up that custom, motorized wheelchair he was commissioned for.

Unfortunately, Chase had to be friends with Marvin, who had just pulled him behind and dumpster in an alleyway. He looked panicked.

“Chase you have to help me! I’m in deep shit.”

“What did you do?”

“I don’t know! All I know is that my brother Robbie is in serious danger.”

“Why can’t you go to Jackie?”

“Jackie would just barge headfirst into this. This is more complicated than a simple bank heist. I need your help!” Marvin said, getting more and more panicked.

“Okay, okay. Take a deep breath. What happened?”

He looked around, as if someone could be watching them. “We should move somewhere else. He has eyes everywhere.”

***

Chase always found teleportation extremely disortenting. Marvin said it was because he didn’t do it enough, but he didn’t see the need to.

More forms of mundane travel got him from point a to point b quickly enough. And most mundane forms of travel don’t take years of practice and half your soul, well maybe with things like skateboarding. Though you’re less likely to get trapped in some dark world while learning to skateboard, though it had happened.

The point Chase is trying to make is that if he really needs to get somewhere instantly he could just learn shadow travel. Sure it’s harder, but you’re less likely to puke out your organs afterwards.

The place Marvin brought him looked like a hose in some regular old suburban town. It seemed pretty normal. Too normal.

Looking out the window every single house was exactly the same, with slightly different colors. The lawns were all freshly moved, lawn ornaments were all standing up right and seemed to be brand new. Everything was creepily normal.

“Where are we?”

Marvin shrugs. “It doesn’t exactly have a name. This is where demons, angels, goblins, and whatever magical creature you can think of, stay when they’re away from their natural habitat. Since you know how most big cities feel about letting magical beings live there.”

“Oh… How did you get a house here? You’re human, right?”

“I made a deal with the devil, literally. The guy who owns this house is a chill dude. He lets me practice dangerous magic here, I bring him junk food he doesn’t have access to and play dnd with him every other tuesday.”

“Oh cool. You didn’t sign any contracts with the guy, right?”

“Come on, you sound like Jackie.” Marvin rolls his eyes. “That’s besides the point. Let me explain.”

The two take a seat at the kitchen table.

“So basically. While you were out investigating and trying to prove yourself, I did some investigating myself. That house you went in, wasn’t real. It was simply an illusion set up as a trap, but you already knew that.”

Chase nodded as Marvin pulled out a large book that absolutely could not fit in Marvin’s pocket, and slammed it on the table.

“So I decided to try to find where the illusion was coming from, since in order to keep up an illusion you need a constant stream of magic.”

“So..?”

“Well I found where the magic was coming from. Well not the exact place, but around the area of where it was.” He hands him a map that has a large circle drawn in it. “As soon as I found it, I got this.” He holds out a back envelope to him.

The envelope itself gave off a general feeling of unease, making Chase a little scared to find out what was inside.

Slowly he opened it and pulled out an ancient looking piece of paper, and started reading aloud.

“Dear Marvin, so you think you’re clever. While I must admit, knowing how to track a stream of magic is something else, I know a few things too. I know you have a special little someone lying in a hospital bed in room one-o-six at the Septic hospital. If you want to be an only child than feel free to keep searching for me. Always watching, The Glitch.”

“Are you sure this couldn’t be a prank?” Chase asked after a long, tension filled second.

“This letter showed up as soon as I circled that area on the map. And that envelope is made out of cursed paper. That would be one hell of an expensive prank.”

Chase swallowed, his throat suddenly dry. “So what do you want me to do?”

“Oh that’s simple. I just need you to keep an eye on my brother while I figure out a plan.”

Chapter Text

Hospitals were always so weird to Chase. In one room a father could be holding his newborn son on the happiest day of his life, and only a few rooms down a child could be saying a final goodbye before they pull the plug on their grandma.

Circle of life, he supposed. At least he wasn’t one of those people who went around singing songs and passing out balloons to everyone

Today must have been an off day for the hospital because the lady at the front desk didn’t ask too many questions on who and why he was visiting. Chase simply explained that he wanted to give flowers to, and comfort a friend.

Robbie was in the hospital due to a broken leg. Chase didn’t know him very well, he did try to teach him how to skateboard once which is why Robbie was in the hospital in the first place.

The man himself was asleep when Chase came in, which saved him the trouble of trying to explain why he was here and not Marvin. Which he didn’t know the answer to either.

What was he even supposed to do if the Glitch tried to attack them? Fight the most powerful thing in the city with a bouquet?

Well he soon found out once the doctor came in to change the anesthetic.

At first Chase didn’t recognize him. He was boredly scrolling through stuff on his phone when he came in. It took him a few seconds to realize-

“Henrik!?” He stood up, forcing himself not to hug him.

The man forze, slowly looking up to meet his gaze. He wasn’t wearing an eyepatch and he now had a green eye.

“Yes that’s my name.” He pokes his nametag.

“What are you doing here?”

“I… work here?” Henrik wasn’t a good actor. It was clear he hadn’t expected to meet Chase here.

“Since when? And where did you get an eye?” He wouldn’t show it, but he was a little hurt that Henrik hadn’t taken the one he’d offered him.

“I’m sorry, I can’t talk right now. I do actually work here, and he wouldn’t like me being around you.” He whispers the last part. “You should get out of here.”

“Why? What’s going to happen?”

“I can’t talk.” He steps towards the door but Chase moves in front of him, shutting it.

“Please. I know you hate working for the guy as much as we hate him in general. We can help each other.”

“You don’t understand.”

“What don’t I understand?”

He points to his green eye.

Chase’s eyes widen as realization hits him. “He’s watching through your eye.”

Henrik nods, his eye beginning to bleed. “He knows.”

“What does her know?”

Henrik grabs the front of his shirt, his whole body began to tremble. “The magician. He knows.”

“Marvin? What does he know?”

“It’s a trap!” As he shouts that, his legs go out.

The sound of static started filling up the room as Chase picked Henrik up.

“You should probably run.”

“And leave you here? No way!” He began dragging Henrik out.

“Maybe I should’ve frazed it differently.” He bites Chase’s arm, causing him to drop the other man. “Get out of here if you want to save your fucking friend.” Before he’s dropped, he shoves a wadded up piece of paper into his hand.

***

One panicked trip home and about half an hour or pacing and trying to get a hold of Marvin, Chase sucked in his pride and attempted to call Jackie.

No answer.

He sighs. Of course Jackie wouldn’t want to talk to him right now. At least he could leave a voicemail.

He lies down on his bed, trying to think. Marvin was walking straight into a trap and Chase had no way to warn him, Jackie wouldn’t talk to him, and Henrik… oh god Henrik.

He shouldn’t have left him there. He sure as hell hoped he knew what he was doing, because Chase didn’t.

The only hint he really had was the piece of paper hem was given, but it only had a bunch of arrows on it. There was probably a code there somewhere but he wasn’t smart enough to solve it.

He was just a mechanic, he wasn’t cut out for being the hero and saving the day, that was Jackie’s job. And Jackie wouldn’t talk to him.

Then he remembered something. The map Marvin had given him while they were talking about the plan. He never asked for it back, and he’d just stuck in his arm.

He scrambles to pull it out and examine it.

This was a very stupid idea, but stupid has always worked for him before so why wouldn’t it now?

***

Henrik was still lying on the hospital floor, clutching in stomach in pure agony, that grew worse as the static drew closer. Soon the broken form of the glitch was standing before him.

“I’ve been a very patient man with you, Henrik,” His voice was almost taunting. “Yet time and time again you seem to only wish to defy me.”

He gives him a good, hard kick to the stomach, earning a weak yelp from the poor doctor.

“I took you in when you were lonely and desperate. I gave you a roof over your head, and kept you alive this long. All I asked in return was your service.” He kicks him again, simply to be cruel.

“And it seems no matter how much I punish or reward you, you still only want to cause me trouble.” He reaches down and plucks the green eye out of his skull. “Maybe it’s time to try a different method. Those little brats have been getting on my nerves anyway.”

“No!” Henrik groaned, attempting to get up. “Please… don’t hurt them.”

The Glitch smirked. “Well then. Get up, you don’t want anyone to find you here.”

Chapter Text

About a week ago, Chase was just a normal dude who sold cheap prosthetics and sometimes fixed things. Now he was driving a minivan through the seemingly endless fields outside the city.

Does having a metal arm make him a cyborg?

Holy crap, he’s a cyborg!

Too bad he wasn’t one of the cool ones that could shoot lasers and turns their hands into saws, though the hand-saw thing wasn’t too far out of his mechanic skills.

He was considering turning around and working on blueprints for that, but no. His friend was in danger and he would help them no matter what. Even if it was without the aid of a cool hand-saw.

The map didn’t pinpoint a single location, it just showed a general radius of where the base might be. And since there was only so much road and his van was in no way fit for driving through fields and forests, Chase found himself walking.

His simple three-step plan was looking a lot harder now.

Step one: Find and bring home Marvin. Well Marvin was nowhere to be seen and worst case scenario, he’s already dead.

Step two: Beg Jackie for forgiveness. That was supposed to be step one, but you see how that went.

Step three: Save Henrik and move to another country. The Glitch won’t follow them all the way to Australia, right?

Well he can go ahead and scratch off step three, since he just missed his chance to save him.

Eventually his legs started feeling sore, and he was no closer to finding this hideout than he was before. He lays down in the grass, covering his eyes from the sun.

Then something changed. It could’ve been the ants crawling up Chase’s sleeve, but he felt a tingly sensation down his spine.

It wasn’t until he heard the faint sound of static did he jolt up and look around.

There was a door just standing there. It looked like it was made out of TV static.

Chase’s first thought was, who the hell leaves a door in the middle of nowhere? His second thought was, Marvin would probably do that. His third thought was, Holy fuck, this is the entrance to the Glitch’s hideout!

In Chase’s defence, he fell asleep for a good five minutes and his mind was still groggy.

He runs up to the door and opens it. He gets the weird, fuzzy feeling in his hand for a moment and as soon as he’s inside the door is gone.

He was standing in a long, dimly lit hallway. Behind him was just an infinite hallway, and in front of him were three hallways.

He walks forward for about ten minutes, not getting anywhere he turns back around to find that he’s still in the same place he was before, with three hallways he could go down.

He’d barely moved at all, even though he’s been walking forward for a long time. He tried again, and the same thing happened.

Then, he remembered the note Henrik passed him. The arrows!

“Henrik you beautiful genius!”

***

There was a door, just like the one before. Behind it was a small, circular room, with a part of the wall covered in TV screens. He recognized specific parts of the city.

There didn’t seem to be any other doors and there was no sign of Marvin. Had he messed up?

When he turned around the door was gone. Not sure what else to do, he plopped down in the fancy looking chair in front of the screens and watched.

The sound of static was rather southing, and the chair was comfy. No one would mind if he just layed back for a bit, right? He’s a little tired from the ride here anyway.

Just five minutes.

Only five.

He woke up to a good hard slap to the face. Through his blurry vision he could see Marvin in front of him, looking furious. He hoped that fury wasn’t for him.

“What the hell are you doing here? You were supposed to be with my brother!” Marvin slaps him again.

“I- what- you’re alive?” He wants to hug them but he kinda likes living.

“Of course I am, but Robbie may not be because you’re here and not with him.”

Chase bared his teeth. He was so tired of being yelled at for trying to help. “I came here to warn you.”

“To warn me.” Marvin echoed, looking unimpressed.

He takes a deep breath. “The letter was just meant to get one of us out of the picture. The Glitch knows you’re stubborn and would just appoint me to watch him while you ran into a trap.”

“A trap, huh?” They laugh. “Who told you that? The Bitch’s little henchman?”

“Yes!” His face flushes red.

“You idiot!” Marvin smacks him a third time. “It was a trick, you should know better than to trust him.”

Chase stands up, resisting the urge to slap them in return. “You don’t know what I know. I trust both of you, why can’t you trust me?”

“Because you’re stupid, Chase. And you do stupid things, that’s probably why Jackie didn’t trust you either.” They sigh. “Just get out of here.”

The door had returned and Chase walked out, refusing to show how hurt he felt.

***

Chase found himself wandering through the endless halls. He couldn’t care less what Marvin got themselves into now, but he most certainly didn’t want to return to the hospital.

After a few moments he came across a door. It was blue with clouds and a sun painted on it like a nursery.

Chase, curious as always, opened it.

Inside there were three little girls, the oldest seemed to only be fourteen or threteen. When the door opened, the two younger ones hid behind the oldest.

Chase blinked in surprise. Why does the Glitch have kids? And more importantly, who the hell had kids with him?

Could he reproduce asexually? How would that work, like budding or something?

He snaps out of his thoughts when he realizes he’s just been standing here while these kids stare at him.

“So…” He clears his throat. “I’m sure we both have a lot of questions.”

***

The slow clapping was almost mocking.

Marvin turned to face the Glitch, meeting those cold eyes.

“What a lovely show!” He grins.

Marvin’s form shifts, and there stands Henrik looking down.

“Oh, don’t give me that look. It was for his own good.”

It didn’t feel that way, but he could dwell on it. These feelings he felt were just fantasy, he had a family to take care of.

Chapter Text

“So.” Chase takes a seat on the floor next to the three kids. “My name is Chase. What’s yours?”

The oldest girl hesitates. “I’m Freddie. Freddie Schnee- Sheep- Sneep-”

“Schneeplestein!” The youngest shouts, looking proud of herself. “And I’m Claire!”

“Do you work with our dad?” Freddie asks.

“Not exactly. I’m trying to help your dad.” He glanced over to the third child who hasn’t said anything.

“Hey. What’s your name?”

The middle child, hid behind Freddie.

“May can’t speak.” Claire said, pulling the older girl out into the open.

May waves, her cheeks flushed with embarrassment.

“Hey it’s alright.” He gives a kind smile and beckoned her closer. “Do you know how to sign?”

Her face brightens and she sits next to him. “You can sign!”

He grins, patting her on the head. “I’m afraid I can’t stay long. Do you know where your father is?”

They shake their heads.

“The broken man said we’re not allowed to see him,” said Claire.

“The broken man? You mean the Glitch?”

“We did see someone else though,” Freddie mused. “He was wearing a mask and he was running from something. The Glitch grabbed him and dragged him away.”

“A man wearing a mask?” Marvin? But that’s impossible. He just saw Marvin. Didn’t he?

A realization hit him and Chase bolted to his feet. “Sorry kids. I’ll come back and just a second.”

As soon as he reaches for the doorknob, the whole door disappears. He was so caught up in hanging with the kids, he hadn’t noticed the growing sound of static surrounding him.

One of the children shouted, and Chase turned just in time to see a metal bar swung at him.

***

Chase awoke with an awful headache and a sense of regret for even getting out of bed this morning. He was tempted to fall back asleep but a hard slap preventented that.

There, standing over him was The Glitch, and Henrik.

Chase found himself strapped to something, all he knew was that he could move anything.

“Where is he?” The Glitch snarled.

“Who?”

“Don’t play dumb! The magician. He’s hiding somewhere outside of the city, and I know you know where.”

“And even if I did know what you were talking about, what makes you think I’d tell you shit?”

“Because, I have this.” It help up a long, metal bar that was glowing with heat.

“Y-you think that scares me?” It did scare him, but he had a strong will.

The Glitch’s laugh was more unsettling than any weapon it could pull out. “Oh, I know you aren’t scared. But I know who is.”

He turns to Henrik and presses the smoldering edge against his neck. Henrik screams.

“Wait!” Chase struggles against the restraints. “Stop. I’ll speak. I swear!”

He stops and Henrik falls onto the floor. “That was quick. I didn’t even get to the fun part.”

He pants, trying to catch his breath. “There’s a town, somewhere near the city, were magical creatures live. Marvin stays in a house there from time to time. I don’t know exactly where it is, but if I know them, they’re probably staying there.”

“A magic town, you say.” He snaps his fingers, making the restraints disappear. “I’ll let you two, rekindle while I’m gone.” He laughs, disappear and leaving the still smoldering metal bar.

Chase crawls over to Henrik, gently checking his pulse and examining the burn on his neck. It wasn’t too bad, but it still looked painful.

“Henrik? Are you okay?”

Henrik jolts up, and immediately grabs Chase’s metallic arm and pulls out a small chip that blended in with his skin. He smashes it against the floor and slumps back down.

“What was that!?” He stares at his own arm.

“A recording device. That’s how the Glitch has always known where you are.”

“How long has that been there?”

“Since the day I first kidnapping you. T-two weeks ago?” He rubs his eyes, looking exhausted. “I was told to put in in your fake arm sense you wouldn’t feel it there.”

“I-I can’t believe it. This whole time I’ve been a fool.” He leans against the wall next to him.

“You couldn’t have known better.”

There’s a strangely comfortable silence.

“I met your kids.”

“You did?” He sounded nervous. “Are they okay?”

“They seemed fine when I was there. Very sweet kids.”

“I probably just screwed them over by doing that.”

“Hey. Don’t think like that. We’ll all get out of here and everything will be just fine.”

“Sorry I have a hard time believing that.” Henrik curls up into a tight ball and pulls his hand in his arms.

“It’s okay. I promise that I’ll figure something out.”

“How? He controls this place. He only lets you see and go places he wants you to.”

“If there’s one thing Marvin’s bullshit has taught me is that, that’s impossible. There’s always a pattern or some consistency.” He gets to his feet, helping the other up.

Then he pulls Henrik into a tight hug. Henrik goes still as his face heats up and his body starts to feel like jelly.

He has to keep himself from falling over as Chase let’s go. He wants it to last longer, but there’s not enough time to spare.

“Into the unknown!” Chase cries, dragging Henrik down the endless hallways.

Chapter Text

Back before Henrik was married, before he made a long series of bad decisions and ended up where he is now, he lived in a very small town somewhere in eastern Germany.

On the edge of the town there was a large, wild corn field. It was said to go on for miles, but in Henrik’s experience it only took about ten minutes to sprint through it, given you could handle getting smacked over and over by giant stalks of corn.

There was a little game he and the other kids in his hometown used to play. You were given twenty-five to thirty minutes to sprint through the field, grab a rock from the pond on the other side, and grab as many corn stalks as you could. Whoever had the most, and got back the quickest, won.

One day a group of kids went missing in that field. After that, his parents packed up and they moved to Britain. He never found out what happened to those kids.

For months in his new home, he would have the same recurring nightmare of running through that field and finding all those kids dead. Those dreams lasted until his parents got tired of being woken up and got him a cheap sleeping medication that actually helped.

The only thing he could really remember was the sense of dread and that deep fear of the unknown. That’s what this felt like.

As of late, he’s had a similar set of nightmares, most of them involve some handsome or beautiful stranger coming and rescuing him, only to betray him right at the end.

At this point he had trouble telling dreams from reality. But there were a few things that made him sure, or as sure as he could be, that this was real.

For starters, everything hurt.

He could still feel the sharp, burning tip of that metal bar, digging into his neck. It was unpleasant to say the least.

Second of all, they’ve been walking for what’s either been a few hours, or a few minutes, and they were no closer to finding an exit or his kids.

Third of all, Chase was dumb.

Not necessarily dumb, after all it takes a lot of smarts and hard work to create such a realistic and well functioning prosthetic. But when it came to emotional intelligence, and an overall understanding of the world and people around him, Chase was not the most keen.

Not the Henrik could blame him, he wasn’t all that emotionally intelligent either, especially when it came to identifying emotions, mainly his own.

Chase was still holding his hand. It felt nice, and warm, and made little butterflies float around his stomach. He wanted to keep feeling that, but at the same time he wanted to pull away and cry in the corner of his room.

It was odd, and he was afraid to try and find out more.

This was his fourth tip that this was in fact, real. This feeling was one he could only faintly remember, though he couldn’t quite remember where.

He’s never felt this in his dreams. So either the Glitch has gotten smarter, or he actually has a chance of being free.

That notion felt so strange. He’s spent so long believing he’d die before he ever saw the light of day again, but here was his chance right here, holding his hand…

“Hey, are you doing alright?” Chase asked softly, noticing that Henrik has been rather quiet.

“I’m… fine?”

“Are you sure? You sound confused.”

He was confused. Why did he care if he was alright? Why was he even helping him?

“I think I’m fine? I don’t really know what ‘fine’ feels like.”

“That’s okay. Feelings are fucking weird man.”

He giggles, a real genuine giggle. It feels really weird, in a bubbly, enjoyable way. “I was just thinking that.”

“Really?” He grins, making Henrik’s heart flutter.

He looks down at his feet, hoping he isn’t blushing as much as it feels like.

***

Some time passes, it’s hard to judge how much, when they found themselves in that circular room with all the TVs. It was progress.

Chase frowned. This room reminded him of Marvin. He was still mad at them.

For now, though, he could relax and maybe form a better plan. He collapsed on the nice, red chair, pulling Henrik with him.

Henrik froze. He was practically sitting in his lap.

“There has to be a pattern to this place, right?” Chase asks, not noticing how tense the other was. “There was a pattern to get in, so there has to be a pattern to get out, and to find your kids.”

“You found my kids by accident, right?” Henrik’s voice cracks. “So it can’t be that complicated.”

He was being positive..? What is this man doing to him?

“I guess. Still I don’t wanna spend three hundred years just wandering around you know? Not like we have that much time anyway.”

“Yeah…” It’d only be a matter of time before the Glitch found what he wanted and finished them off… what’s even the point of trying?

No. He stood up, not willing to give up when he was so close.

“The Glitch always seems to know where everything and everyone is in here, right?”

Chase nods along, not sure where he’s going with this but acting like he did.

“And I know he’s not omniscient, or an all seeing being. So he must have some way of keeping an eye on everything, like…” He flips a switch on the back of one of the screens. “A camera!”

The screen know showed an empty room with a large table in it. The room they were only just a few minutes ago.

“Henrik you genius!” Chase jumps up and swoops him into the tightest hug he could without snapping the frail man in half.

“We still have to find a way to get there,” he strains out. “Also you’re suffocating me.”

The hug was a moment too long, yet far too short.

“Still. You’re amazing.” Chase flashed a kind smile that made Henrik’s stomach flip. “Now at least we have a better idea of what we’re doing.”

Henrik nodded, not trusting himself to speak.