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Inktober 2016

Chapter Text

He has to work quickly, as fast as he can, or this one chance will slip away. The Strangers do not fully understand the complex matter of mixing memories together, knitting together a past of emotions, hopes and dreams, of what constitutes a human soul, and that is his only saving grace.

He hadn't been given the vial that contained the Strangers' hive mind memories, they guard that with their life, but he would never use it. He's working as fast as he can to create a new set of memories. If only John had learned to wield the power of tuning from the start, maybe this would all be over by now. He doesn't fully understand how tuning works, nor does he know why John can wield it, but he has to try. He's seen the Strangers use so many times.

He mixes the memories carefully but quickly. He's only got one chance, for no matter how valuable Daniel is to them, they won't react kindly to his betrayal. They've already crippled him. They'll make him wipe his own memories (again) and imprint him to be nothing but a slave. He can't have that, not again, not when freedom is so close.

Finally, he is done with his work and holds the golden syringe in his hand. He's done his best, but he's still got to hurry. He can't afford this last chance to slip away.

Chapter Text

The words bring forth an explosion. Everything is so loud. The very air around him seems to heat up, and crackle with electricity. He's studied for so long, he knows this power, but he has never felt it in this capacity before. It's so... much, so overwhelming, so loud. The noise it almost hurting him.

The Greybeards told him it may have been too early to attempt to channel his Voice into a Shout, and now that he can feel the power of ancient dragons so loud in his ears, he understands why. He's not ready. It's too loud. He can't even begin to try and finish the words of the Shout he wished to attempt, his mouth too dry to form any other noise than a small, almost pathetic, whine of pain as he fall to his knees.

The next thing he remembers is Master Arngeir kneeling beside him in the snow, gently shaking him awake. He opens his eyes and sits up slowly.

"I'm sorry, Master Arngeir," he says, mouth still feeling somewhat dry. "I should have trusted your judgement that I was not ready." Arngeir gives him a gentle smile.

"Such is the way of the Voice, Ulfric. It can not be forced. You are very skilled, but you were not ready."

"It was so loud," Ulfric comments. "Is that what it always feels like?"

"In a way, yes. The power of the Voice is strong, but you have not yet understood it fully to be able to use it with ease. Maybe one day, when you are ready, you may succeed what you attempted today, but not before you have found within yourself what you need to understand." Arngeir helps Ulfric to his feet.

"Let's head inside again, my student. You still have much to learn."

Chapter Text

If anyone were to ask Hermann Gottlieb about why he was in that very moment going out of his way to aquire a very rare kaiju collectible figurine, he's not sure he would be able to answer. Why is he willing to go to such length to do something nice for someone he claims to dislike so much?

(Of course he knows the answer. He's known why for a long time. He's just trying to pretend he doesn't, try to deny it, to stay ignorant of his feelings for just a while more)

The collectible isn't easy to get ahold of, and it's not cheap, especially not in times like this, but he's got it. He takes care wrapping it really carefully, bribing Tendo to keep quiet when he accidentally walks by and see Hermann wrapping the kaiju figurine.

"Don't worry, man. I won't tell Newt," he says, and Hermann feels he can believe him. He feels like Newton is going to figure out who the gift came from pretty quickly anyway, but he's grateful for Tendo's promise none the less.

Hermann is going to put the gift on Newton's desk on his birthday, which is not far away. He's relieved he managed to get hold of the gift in time. He just hope he likes it.

And when Newton walks into their shared labspace on his birthday, as loud and excited as always, and sees the box, Hermann pretends he isn't looking, isn't trying to watch for his reaction, isn't smiling to himself ever so slightly as Newton opens the box. Hermann lets out a breath he didn't realise he was holding at Newton's loud sound of happiness as he finally unwraps the kaiju collectible.

Newton places the gift down carefully and walks over the line drawn out on the floor separating their lab spaces.

"Hey, Herms," he says, and suddenly embrace Hermann in a hug. "Thank you. I really like it." Hermann doesn't even feel like calling him out on his use of silly nicknames or the fact that he's not too comfortable with hugs. He's just happy that Newton is happy.

"You're welcome, Dr. Geizler."

"Hey, how many times do I have to ask you to call me Newt?"

"Happy birthday, Newton."

Chapter Text

Lena was on a mission. She was determined to find out who had the nerve to make most of the base smell like really delicious baked goods when she hadn't had lunch yet. Sure, that was her own fault for having chosen to accept Hana's request to play a co-op game with her for one of her streams, but still, she was really hungry.

When she was nearing the kitchen area, she heard a sound. A faint humming, the sound of someone quietly singing to themselves. Words she didnt recognise were interspaced with the humming of a simple happy melody. She entered the kitchen.

To put it simply, the sight before her was one she hadn't expected to see. In the kitchen was their swedish teammate, doing what looked like baking, slicing pieces from a rolled log of dough, putting each piece in a paper case on a baking pan.

"Hi Torbjörn, " Lena says, taking care to pronounce the unfamiliar vowel sounds correctly. She still remembers the time when he had gotten fed up with how some of them were mispronouncing his name that he gathered them in one of the common rooms and taught them how to say his name properly. That had in turn lead to some of the other members teaching each other how to say their names properly.

"Oh, hello Lena," Torbjörn returns her greeting, turning around to face her.

"So, what're you making?", she asks. "It smells delicious."

"Kanelbullar" is the answer she gets from him. "It's Cinnamon Bun Day today. The first batch should be ready as soon as I've put this one away to rise." He covers the baking pan with a tea towel and puts it away, opening the oven and grabbing the hot pan with his claw.

"Why do they have salt on them?" Lena asks. Torbjörn sighs.

"It's not salt, Lena. It's pearl sugar. This is proper cinnamon buns and not those odd american ones covered in glaze."

"...Oh. Okay."

A comfortable silence falls while Torbjörn piles the pan of baked goods under another towel.

"They just have to cool for a little while, then if you'd like you can have one."

"Thanks, love, that'd be wonderful." She was still feeling somewhat hungry, but the prospect of getting one of Torbjörn's cinnamon buns sounded absolutely amazing.

Lena sat down with a cup of tea, watching Torbjörn continue baking. He had started humming again, and she found herself humming along, despite not knowing the words, with a small smile on her lips.

Chapter Text

Professor Palladium should be happy, shouldn't he? He should be relieved that they had defeated Darkar, and that the real Avalon was safe at Alfea. Yet, he was not sure he actually was.

He shouldn't be missing the company of someone who turned out to be nothing but an impostor sent by Lord Darkar to infiltrate the school, but he was. Palladium had felt happy. It had felt so real, so near perfect.

The real Professor Avalon didn't know him, didn't fully know the details of what his impostor had done. Palladium didn't want to face him just yet. He had just about managed a brief introduction and a handshake at the staff-only victory celebration before excusing himself and returning to his quarters. Miss Faragonda had given him a small knowing nod as he left. She had known, of course she had. They had met in her office only a few hours earlier. She had asked him his opinion on how much to tell Avalon about the actions of his Impostor, but he knew that what she had really meant was if Avalon were to be told about the relationship between the Impostor and himself. He had taken a shaky breath and told Faragonda that Avalon deserved to know, but Palladium wasn't ready for him to know with whom. Perhaps in the future he would be, but not yet.

The elf took a look at himself in his bathroom mirror, letting out a short bitter laugh at his own reflection. This form was supposed to be a show of strength, beauty and experience, but he didn't feel particularly strong at that moment. Palladium felt weak, used and manipulated, and yet he still mourned the loss of the very same one who'd brought those feelings forth.

He all but fell into his comfortable armchair by the window, and there was not much he could do to stop himself from crying. Just look at me, he thought. I shouldn't be crying over an evil impostor. He sniffled. Yet here I am.

Professor Palladium should be happy. He should be relieved that the real Avalon was safe, relieved that Darkar could be stopped, relieved that Alfea and the whole of Magix was safe.

And yet, he wasn't sure he was.

Chapter Text

Koschei is not lost, nor is he forgotten. He lies hidden.

His consciousness, trapped within the small watch, is not exactly aware of everything that's going on. He can vaguely feel Yana's presence, his own presence, yet Yana can't sense him. He's been hidden for so many years now, but to a Time Lord that is all but no time at all. Centuries of time, of lives lived and enemies encountered, they all fill his mind. Yana can not know this. Yana can not be allowed to open the watch, not yet. He much remain hidden.

He must stay hidden until he knows he has a safe way out of here.

(If one such way out ever even appears)

Thoughts are fleeting and far between while trapped in a watch. Well, not exactly trapped, he notes. Hidden. He chose to hide at the one place he would not be dragged back into the war. The one time even the Time Lords wouldn't go to. The very end of the universe, that's where he was hidden. He didn't know exactly where, what planet or the exact year, only that the universe was nearing its end. He could feel it. He could feel it was the very end times of the universe, even from within the small watch. He could sense the universe was ending, as he could sense Yana's presence close to him.

(His own, he reminds himself. Yana is him, but it's hard to remember sometimes.)

It's hard to keep track of time from within a watch. The drums, the tapping sound in his head, the ever present noise in his head, they had helped at first. He could count on them to tell him the passing of time, but even for him, a Time Lord, they soon bled together to a mass of noise.

He can't even escape the drums while hidden.

Chapter Text

Barney Calhoun was at a loss. How could someone just disappear? He had only just managed to escape the Black Mesa facility himself, along with a few of the scientists, but Freeman had been in the HEV suit when Barney had last seen him, being dragged down a corridor by a pair of soldiers.

Oh, how he had wanted to shoot them both right then and there, but he couldn't. Gordon had been too close, and he had been low on ammunition. Really the only weapon he had was the crowbar, and he would never have been able to take out both soldiers through the grate in the wall he was stuck behind, while making sure both he and Gordon stayed safe.

Barney had heard from one of the scientists that Gordon had helped open a portal to where the alien creatures supposedly came from, and Barney wants to hope he hadn't gone through the portal, but he is damn sure that the man had done just that. It was just the thing his mute scientist friend would do.

Barney missed him a lot, of course he did. Gordon was one of his best friends, if not his closest, so losing him hurt a lot. Barney had thought that as years went by and things around him got worse and the resistance fighters got hit even harder he'd have other things to think about that he'd have no time to grieve over the loss of his friend, but that hadn't happened. He still felt that loss as strongly as the day he escaped Black Mesa.

Why did he do that? he wondered sometimes. Why does the memory of Gordon Freeman matter so much to me? he whispers to himself. Why do I care?

Because I loved him.

Time continues ticking, and Barney continues fighting, and as the years go by he still grieves for the loss of Gordon Freeman.

Chapter Text

The rock he carries with him all the time is beautiful. Whenever Quentin feels down, he traces the pattern in the stone with his paw, holds it close, and it just feels calming. Whenever the stress is too much, the stone brings his anxiety down.

He doesn’t know if his treasured rock has another purpose other than being his personal source of calm and stability. Maybe he will find out what one day. Maybe he will one day stand among a group of friends where they face a problem that looks to be unsolvable, and his treasure will solve the problem for them. He hopes that whatever happens, it is something good. He’s had it for as long as he can remember, so the least it deserves is a good purpose.

Quentin almost lost his most precious possession. It had been stolen from him, and he wants to thank Arceus that he found Leela who could give him help. She seemed to be confused and a little scared, which didn’t seem too odd considering it appeared she had washed up on a beach, and that’s not usually a situation a Vulpix wants to find themselves in.

She had helped him to regain his treasure. They had stood side by side, a Shinx and a Vulpix, through caves of hostiles to find the ones who had taken his rock. He doesn’t know why Leela had wanted to help him, but he’s just really grateful to have found someone he thinks he will be able to one day call his very best friend. 

They were going to become explorers together. They had barely known each other for a day, but they had already drifted close. Leela seemed unsure at first, and Quentin had been scared to do it, but now they were a team. 

Quentin had pretended to have fallen asleep, had waited for the signs of Leela falling asleep, and then had crawled up to sit near the window. He had taken out his stone, holding it close to him. He could already anticipate it happening, but he was already feeling that Leela would come to be as important to him as his treasured rock.

Chapter Text

Is he broken?

He suppose he is. Mirrors are not exactly common, so he doesn't often have a chance to... admire his torn up face, his broken parts, and literal loose screws. When he does, all he sees is a broken piece of metal.

His sense of touch is fading. He can only barely still feel the frayed edges of the synthetic skin stretched across his face. Sometimes one of his eyes gives out, and he blinks rapidly and has to ask Ellie to help him reconnect a wire or two. He is old, so some of his parts are as well. He supposes that is fair, that some of his ancient parts are giving up on him, and that his capacity for self-repair is worsening with the years.

His head is full of memories. He was someone else, but not really. He remembers being someone he never actually was, doing things he's never done, loving a woman he'd never known. He's not human, but he remembers being one. Sometimes he wishes he could have been, or that the old Nick Valentine had never volunteered for the Institute to poke around in his head. This Nick Valentine, the half-broken synthetic one, never asked for this. He never asked to be made.

He never asked to be made, but here he is. Sometimes the memories are too strong. He forgets who he is now, that he's not human, that he's broken, not fully functional. Those days are hard, since all he can do is relive memories of some poor bastard who's loved ones died and who let himself willingly get poked by Institute scientists, and who's lived in a past Nick can never go back to. He wishes he could cry then, grieving for those moments that are now all gone, that he's never had to begin with.

He met someone. Someone who helped him escape from the clutches of Skinny Malone. They say they came from a Vault, and that they need his help. They were alive before the war, like him.

They needed his help to find someone, and Nick was good at that. He would do his best to do whatever he could for this Vault dweller, to help them find their son. He could do something.

Maybe Nick Valentine is broken, maybe some parts of his need to be repaired. Maybe he is broken and barely hanging on to this way of life, although maybe, just maybe, he can be of help to people.

He can do good.

Chapter Text

Tony flies into the portal in the sky, carrying the nuclear bomb that was aimed towards the city. He doesn’t have time to think it through properly. His chances of survival are not exactly high, but is there really any other choice? He can’t let the nuke hit the city, and the only safe way to dispose of it is to send it straight at where the aliens are coming from, out into space.

One of the last things he sees before passing out is the bright lights of the explosion that happens once the nuke hits the big spaceship. Then he feels himself falling. He’s falling back towards the portal.

Everything goes dark.

 

Hulk smashes enemies until they stop moving. Then suddenly, they all stop moving.

Hulk sees Metal Man falling.

Metal Man is not moving on his own. Metal Man falls fast. Too fast.

Hulk sees Shouty Long-Hair preparing to save Metal Man. 

Hulk knows Shouty Long-Hair will not reach Metal Man in time, so Hulk starts to run towards the edge of the roof. 

Hulk jumps.

 

Tony had woken up at the sound of a roar. A great, loud sound had startled him awake.

The Hulk.

Even as as he continued talking about shawarma and victory celebrations or whatever, his mind was drifting towards one thing in particular. 

The Hulk had saved him. He had apparently jumped to catch him, and protected him as they fell towards the ground. Were it not for Bruce's big green jelly bean of an alter ego, he wouldn't be alive right now. 

Maybe this would be the chance to finally show Bruce that he wasn't dangerous, and that the Hulk was capable of more than just destruction. Maybe this was Tony's chance to convince him to stay. 

And it it had all been because of that jump. 

 

Hulk was happy to have saved Metal Man. Maybe Bruce could be too. 

Chapter Text

”Back in my day we’d have this payload delivered already,” Hana hears Solder: 76’s voice on the comms. She flicks up her stream, looking over the chat, and flicks her microphone over to the stream only instead of both it and her teammates’ communication system.

“Yeah, nerfdat666, he does sound just like a dad. I swear, he acts like it as well.” She turns her attention back to the mission; taking down a couple of enemy omnics as she rounds a corner in her mech.

She can still hear 76’s voice over the comms. He and McCree were supposed to guard and transport the payload to the extraction point. They couldn’t let the massive bomb getting in the wrong hands. They had to get it back to the base to be dismantled. It wasn't a particularly difficult mission, so only 76, Hanzo, McCree and D.Va were there. Hana was of course streaming the whole thing, talking with her fans whenever there was a calm moment.

"Where is McCree and why isn't he on the damn payload," 76 asks, and rather surprisingly (or not really, Hana thinks), Hanzo is the one to answer.

"He is closer to my position. I can see him from my vantage point." Hana can hear 76 sigh heavily and can almost see his facial expression, which she would imagine as 100% done with this shit. "Why isn't he answering," he asks Hanzo.

"I believe Agent McCree's comm unit may have been damaged earlier," Hanzo answers him. Hana hears 76 sigh again.

"Can you safely get back closer to the payload, Hanzo?"

"Yes, but why?" comes the somewhat confused answer from Hanzo.

"Get your tits on that payload," Hana chips in, "cause your gay ass cowboy will follow you back there." She knows he's definitely blushing ever so slightly now.

"...Yes," 76 says, "what D.Va said."

"Very well," comes the answer from Hanzo. "Moving back towards the payload."

"Gay," Hana whispers as she flicks over to the stream again.

Chapter Text

"Welcome to Freddy Fazbear's Pizza. A magical place for kids and grown-ups alike. Fazbear Entertainment is not responsible for damage to property or person. Upon discovering that damage or death has occurred, a missing person report will be filed within 90 days, or as soon property and premises have been thoroughly cleaned and bleached, and the carpets have been replaced." Blah blah blah, now that might sound bad, I know, but there's really nothing to worry about..."

Mike wasn't worried.

The dark and quiet atmosphere was a bit spooky, and he had been told he couldn't bring any form of music or radio equipment to listen to while working, since the free-roaming animatronics could be easily startled by noises.

Huh, Mike had thought. If they're twitchy about sound, why the hell were they made to entertain children?

Sure, the guy on the phone's message did sound slightly ominous, but Mike just assumed that is was some weirdo who had written up the company policy, and didn't think much of it. He wasnt worried, though. Why would he be? He's just guarding some robot animals that walk around sometimes.

Mike flicked up the security camera feed. There they were, just standing idly on their stage, doing nothing. Mike leaned back in his chair. This would be easy.

A few moments later he looked back at them again. He froze.

They were all looking directly into the camera.

Chapter Text

He was a few days down the line of his new job now, and so far he had gotten through the days doing very well. It was quite different from what he expected from a supposedly standard security guard job, but he was doing great.

Mike was still not worried, no.

He was fucking terrified.

Why he had come back each night so far was beyond him. It seemed to go so well, so he had thought that yet next night can't be that bad. He really needed the money from this.

Mike thought he could hear Freddy's laugh down the corridor on his right.

He had made it each night so far without consuming all the building's electricity, all the way to 6 AM, when the animatronics seemed to stop trying to attack him and calmly walked back to their stages as if nothing had happened.

Was that Foxy screeching in the distance?

He realised that the guy on the phone's comments about being stuffed inside a suit and violently maimed probably wasn't an idle threat, as he yet again closed the door when Chica appeared outside.

Why wouldn't they leave him alone?

As he closed the monitor after checking on Bonnie's location, something appeared right in front of him. A slumped over faded yellow suit, looking very much like a golden Freddy, was right on the floor in the office. After only a few seconds, the suit seemed to disappear out of thin air, until finally it was completely gone, as if it had never been there in the first place.

Mike swore he could hear a voice whispering "It's me", although from where he was not sure.

Mike was absolutely terrified.

Chapter Text

Through the forest you wander. It is late in the evening, and while the sun hasn't set, the forest is covered in such a sense fog that you can not see very far in front of you regardless. You do not know where you are, but something is urging you onward, keeping you on your toes. You do not know exactly what it is, only that you must not stop. You can not stop. There is something you have to find. You are looking for something. You are looking for pages.

HE RIPS YOUR EYES

You do not know where they are, but there is a strange feeling calling you forward, urging you in a certain direction whenever you get to a split in your path. You do not know why you need to find them, only that if you do not, he will catch you.

YOUR TEARS ARE BLOOD

You have not seen him yet, so you do not know what he looks like, but you have felt him near. A big looming shadow, always watching you. You are scared and you keep walking. You can not stop.

HE IS BEHIND YOU

You enter a large clearing in the forest. A small raise in the ground makes the tree growing in the middle appear even bigger than it already is. It is massive, dark and crooked branches reaching for the sky as if it too wants to escape this place. From the branches hangs nooses of a thick and sturdy rope. You approach the tree.

YOUR FEAR HAS CALLED
HIM

Something inside you is screaming for you to run. Get away from the tree! It is dangerous. Do not go near. Foolishly you ignore that. You do not see him until it is already too late. He is a tall figure in a suit with a featureless white face, and you can not look away. He's standing a bit away on the other side of the tree, but he is coming closer.

You have already lost.

NO ONE LEAVES
NO ONE GETS OUT
He is not real
He is not real
He is not real
He is not real
He is not real
He is not real