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When the Devil is on your tail

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In the end, it’s not they who kill Whispers. It’s not sensates disguised as BPO employees. Most importantly, it’s not Wolfgang who shots him in the head with a .357 and calls it a day. It’s someone completely different

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The boat ride to Sweden is spent in silence, with the hum of the engines lulling everyone to sleep every time the sun sets in the horizon. Sven mostly keeps himself busy in the front of the boat most days, and on the rare occasion that they have to travel in the dark two nights in a row, Sven quickly teaches Riley how to work the machine before falling asleep, unknowing of the fact that Capheus takes the wheel with a small shrug shortly after and lets Riley return to Wills’ sleeping form. When Sven wakes up, he’s too tired to notice anything, or maybe he does, and decides against mentioning anything. Riley doesn’t know, and frankly, she doesn’t care, because Will saved the cluster a few long days ago, and it gave him nothing but unconsciousness. The only thing Riley cares about is how to make it up to him.

It takes two injections a day to keep him asleep, which means he wakes every twelve hours, sometimes delirious and afraid, sometimes just tired and awaiting his impending return to nothingness. When he wakes up gasping for air and shivering, Riley wraps their blanket snugly around them and kiss his forehead while driving the needle gently through his skin again and watches the lights in his eyes go dark, and the cluster is always there to comfort her when she feels like crying. When Sven can’t leave the wheel and she feels the loss of her daughter pierce her heart. When she remembers kissing Magnus one last time in that cold, doomed car that took away everything she held dear.

It’s Kala who speaks to her of the miracle of reincarnation, and how she talks to Ganesha often of helping them. It’s Sun who sits with her for hours just talking about everything between the loss of their mothers and the love they share for their cluster. Wolfgang comes to her sparsely throughout the trip, but he always stay until Wills’ next injection, leaving Riley thankful that she once in a while don’t have to see Wills’ eyes closing. That she can look away and still have the knowledge that he got the injection properly, because honestly, she trusts Wolfgang the most when it comes to this.

Mi corazón, how are you? I brought you some veggie roles that you can save for later and some chicken soup. Hernando also wants me to tell you what the ingredients are, but I wont bore you with the details.” He winks at her, and she sees him making a kissing gesture out to thin air, where she presumes Hernando is standing back in Mexico. Lito hands her a spoon and the warmth of the soup is such a pleasant change to the cold ocean air that tears spill out of her eyes and she asks Sven to drop the anchor and come join her. Lito joins in with his two siblings and this icelandic man who he trusts simply because Riley trusts him.

It takes them another day to see the coast of Norway, and Nomi is there the whole way to the ports of Stockholm. It takes them hours to get to the so- called “Capital of Scandinavia”, and Capheus joins in when they leave Danish territory. Riley is terrified of what happens next, of what will happen when she has to wake Will up and tell him he needs to be awake for a whíle, long enough for them to find a way back home, wherever on earth that is. She’s merely spoken to Will since they left Iceland, aside from the “you need to eat” and the “I love you’s” he’s said to her every time he’s gotten the chance. She loves him too, she knows it, but she’s not going to say it when he’s barely conscious and in the middle of an ocean.

It’s shortly after Capheus joins the two girls that the rest of the cluster fall in, one after one joining, each bringing an item, they will need to get on a flight. Riley hadn’t really thought the plan she had made while she dreamt once was going to be broadcast to the entire cluster, but seeing them each contributing only reminded her that they were a family now, and Riley was not up for losing any more family members.

Listen up, this plan has to be set in motion before Will wakes up, we need to deal with this now, at this instant. First question: What flight do I get you on?” Nomi’s question is meant for Riley, but it is Wolfgang who answers.

They are coming to me. Not to Germany, book them on a cruise to Latvia, a discreet suite. I’ll steal a car and drive through Poland and Lithuania and meet them there.” He speaks with a kind of authority only a brother would use, and she feels a surge of gratitude and love that she can’t deal with right now. Instead, she takes after Sun and puts her emotions into her the soles on her feet, because she’s going to have to move fast in a couple of hours.

The rest of you are going to India, they won’t expect us to choose India over America when most of us live in the states. This way, Sun can join us when she’s out of prison.” Kala’s voice resembles the one Wolfgang used, and Riley finds herself wondering why they aren’t together yet.

Nomi types away like she’s on fire, booking plane tickets and cars and forging new passports, and somewhere along the lines of them planning they’re escape, apparently Amanita appears with seven freshly new passports all ready to be used. Riley has to give the couple credit, they look real, and she thinks they might actually work.

How are we getting the drugs on the cruise?” Capheus asks after a while, but when Wolfgang and Riley share a glance and starts laughing, a feeling of calm washing over the rest of the cluster, they all settle in an easy silence once again and enjoys these last few moments of peace.

When she inspects her new name, she shoots a grateful smile to Nomi and look to see that Will’s name has become “Michael”, and without prior knowledge of the names meaning to Nomi, she can feel everything Nomi feels about this specific name. Nomi loves the name, and now she’s passing it on to someone else, albeit only temporarily, but it makes Riley cry all the same.

They all leave shortly before Will wakes up, leaving the items behind on the boat. Sven announces that they’ll reach Stockholm in about an hour or so, and she starts packing the few belongings she has, leaving Will’s side a short minute to collect the drugs and her clothes and the mostly empty containers of food Lito brought and Hernando prepared. In the midst of stuffing these things in a two simple bags that Nomi and Amanita provided, she feels her phone notify her of a new e-mail, which includes her (and her boyfriends’) ticket to Latvia, or as she calls it, haven. She tells her kind-of brother to drop them off near a port called “Värtahamnen” and sits back down, waiting for the second love of her life to wake up.

Chapter Text

He wakes to her humming a rhythm so calming he almost falls back asleep, but the feeling in the back of his head informs him that they're on a clock, and he blinks his eyes open to see her looking straight ahead. He takes a moment to admire her chin, and then the curve of her lips, and then the wrinkles etched in worry on her forehead. And he's never been more in love.

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Riley feels Will shift in her arms, and she glances down to see him smiling up at her with the sun dancing in his eyes. She leans down to kiss him once, twice, thrice before smiling back at him.

“Do you trust me?”, Riley asks and the feeling of loyalty and love courses through their bond like a fire in the woods, uncontainable and beautiful. She reaches for Lito’s gift, two beautiful engagement rings embroidered with braid-like patterns, and she looks him deep in the eyes, trying to tell him that, “hey, this is not an actual engagement, it’s our cover story to save our lives’, please don’t hate me”, all the while she can feel the cluster smiling at the thought of it happening someday in the back of her head. He takes the ring without asking what it means.

He doesn't take his eyes off of her until they reach Värtahamnen, and she doesn't take her eyes off of him. She can sense Will's worry, his fear of endangering the cluster lingering in the back of her mind like a parasite, and she suspects that's why he doesn't look around to inspect where they are. She's also pretty sure he can sense her feelings as well, but she prays not, because she's not ready yet, not for the feelings she swore a long time ago she would lock away for anyone except for her dad. Anyone who wasn't her dad, or dead, that is.

She's not afraid. She's not nervous. She's not trembling while walking the beautiful streets of Stockholm with Will in her arms, guiding the blind, deaf man all the way in to the city and back. Thanks to Nomi, Capheus and Wolfgang, turning Will into a mystery to all the onlookers in Stockholm was one easy task. With Nomi's rainbow- coloured earmuffs, Capheus bright pink boa and Wolfgang's black sleep mask, Will had been rendered helpless. Wolfgang had made Riley promise not to tell anyone that he did sleep with a mask over his eyes, he said it wasn't manly enough, but when Riley mentioned that Kala probably would have something to say about his definition of manly, he disappeared from her mind leaving a horrified expression behind, along with a string of swear words.

They hadn't gotten far however, when she realized that they hadn't changed their outfit in four days and her hair was starting to form itself into stripes of oily hair. When she realized this, Sven was on his way back to Iceland and she was stuck with her handicapped man for a boyfriend. Thankfully, Will had brought his card on his rescue mission and she didn't have to search long for his code amongst his memories.

Getting on the cruise ship was easy compared to walking Will through Stockholm. You'd think he would be happy and energetic after being unconscious for four days, but he walked slowly and drunkenly every step of the way, smiling lazily as they went. With the drugs tucked away safely in places there shouldn't be drugs, they pass safely through the terminal to the check-in center.

"Hej, hur kan jag hjälpa till?" the woman in the box asks, and Riley answers in broken Swedish.

"Vi vill checka in tack." She answers, and upon seeing the attendants confused glances towards Will, Riley grabs his hand, the one with the ring, and shows her the beautiful engagement band while grinning to her ears.

"We're getting married in two weeks, and we just needed a break from all the planning. He doesn't know though, it's a surprise" she adds the last part in a whisper, as if Will would somehow hear her.

The attendant believes her immediately and wishes them all her best before asking for their, very false, passports and Riley almost dies on the spot of anxiety before she hands them back with the parting words "Ha en trevlig resa, framtida Herr och Fru Lidenbäck." and Riley can breathe again.

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The ship is amazing, with boutiques, restaurants, casinos and glass covered elevators with amazing views. She can see the water outside, drifting through the Swedish archipelago without no sense of duty or worry in the world. Together with her boyfriends’ arm around her shoulder, they stagger together to the rear of the ship to find their suite, stumbling together through the narrow corridors until they reach their room and hastily swipes the key card into the lock to find the rest of the cluster gathered on the king sized bed.

“This is what you call a discreet suite?” The sound of Kala’s voice carries throughout the room with astonishment, and Riley can’t help but agree with her. Their room has two floors, for heaven's’ sake, with a TV room upstairs and a private balcony. She doesn’t even want to think about how much this would have cost had it not been for Nomi.

“You should’ve seen the options for this cruise, this is a medium” Nomi explains quickly, but Riley is pretty sure the rest of the cluster can feel the lie in the back of their heads.

“Okay, guys, we need to address a few things. Number one, Wolfgang where are you right now?” It’s Capheus who asks, shocking everyone out of their banter.

“I was driving all day, halfway across Poland to a city called Łódź. I’ll be in Riga in time, I promise. How are you guys doing Riley?” His english breaks multiple times with his german shining through, but Riley is too busy being thankful to notice.

“He’s awake, as you can see, but he can’t hear or see anything. I would suggest meeting up at someone else’s house but we don’t know if Whispers know what all of us looks like, and we don’t want run some sort of face recognition program. Besides, I’m thinking of running down to get some food at this fast food- restaurant onboard.” She still hasn’t grasped that this is a huge enough boat for it to have a fast food- restaurant, and by the looks on their faces, neither has Capheus or Kala.

“I hate to be the one to say it, but he should be back to sleep as soon as possible.”. They all glanced at the sleeping man on the bed, totally oblivious to the conversation going on around him.

“I’ll just get him something to eat before I inject him again, and he needs to take a shower. I’ll give him an hour, tops” Riley said, trying to give her boyfriend a little bit more time than he needs.

“How are the trips to India going?” It’s Sun who says it, and the cluster start discussing different flights and hotels, and Kala talks about the culture and colours and all the various spices, and Riley tunes out of the conversation long enough to realise the ship is moving.

She doesn’t mention the way Wolfgang’s eyes turn sad when Kala tells everyone they can come to her wedding if they make it in time. Nobody told her about their relationship, and she can’t explain it, but when Kala speaks, Riley is Wolfgang, feeling her heart pump blood at an incredible speed and her fists wanting to punch a wall ‘til they bleed.

“RIley? Are you okay mi corazón? You’re pale.” It’s Lito who brings her out of it, and she just shoots him a gentle smile before excusing herself to go downstairs and buy some sandwiches. When she comes back, two baguettes with ham and cheese along with a bottle of cheap wine in hand, the cluster is gone.