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the wicked game

Barden, VA

10 INK

a part of the wicked game, by partially-stars.

A city of heroes and villains that is tired of both.

partially-stars holds sovereignty over Barden, VA, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

2,228 readers have been here.

Setting

Default Location for the wicked game
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Barden, VA

A city of heroes and villains that is tired of both.

Minimap

Barden, VA is a part of the wicked game.

10 Characters Here

Dhani Batra [74] I know, better than anyone else, that there are no heroes coming to save us.
Atticus Hawkins [70] i once kneeled in shaking thrill, I chase the memory of it still.
Cerys Day [67] I'm bursting out of myself.
Aaron Langdan [66] "Son of Death? Maybe, but I'm so much more. Just let me show you."
Jena Wainwright//Adrian Robles [63] There's always two sides to a coin.
Kieran Valanetti [63] "I can hurt you from inside."
Piper Young [59] It's all in your head...
Luciana Morrison [56] "Wanna see a trick? You might want to finish your food first."
Lilian Anderbilt [17] "Turn off your cell phone and take out the battery; I have a secret to tell you"
Michael Bennett [17] Freedom or Order? Pick one

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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Atticus Hawkins Character Portrait: Kieran Valanetti Character Portrait: Piper Young Character Portrait: Jena Wainwright//Adrian Robles Character Portrait: Aaron Langdan
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Aaron Langdan
The Hero | BludWynd | #545352
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xxxEverybody's scared so dance in the dark
xxxDa-dance in the dark, da-dance in the dark
xxxParty with your fears, da-dance in the dark
xxxDa-dance with the dark, da-dance in the dark

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To say that the rescue mission, was an entire bust, was putting it incredibly lightly. All Aaron remembered, was getting the people he was with, out of the building, and telling Kieran to not go after them. That there was nothing they could do for the others at that time, and would have to regroup. He spent the rest of the day, stressing on how to get the others back. First Red Witch, and now Dhani and Cerys. Dhani was like an older brother to him, and he knew how important her was to Kieran, they had to get him back. And Cerys. Aaron felt his stomach drop at the thought. All he knew, was that they had to, no, needed, to get her back. If not for the others, for his own god damn peace of mind.

Aaron had spent the remaining of the night, laying on his back, staring at the wall of his bedroom. He wasn't able to sleep, no matter how hard he tried. So when morning came, he groaned. He needed sleep, but that'd have to wait. They had another meeting to attend, and if the other day was any indication, it was going to be a disaster. If they were lucky.

He messaged Kieran, making sure she'd be there, got dressed and made his way over to the usual place. One by one, the others arrived, and alongside Kieran, Aaron hung towards the back wall. Keeping his eyes on the others. It was only when Gemini came storming in, demanding for answers, that his expectation was correct. Things were going to go horribly wrong. Aaron leaned in when Kieran asked if they wanted to run a bet for who'd be punched first, and accepted the deal.

It was only when the first punch was drawn that he attempted to help stop it, but with Kieran's messed up attempt at keeping Aaron from being involved, that he was momentarily distracted. Only to find out a few short minutes later, that is was indeed, one of Kieran's ferrets. He shot her a glare as the ferret escaped and ran back over to Kieran. "Really? A ferret, Malfyre?" he grumbled, getting back to his feet thanks to his friend.

Aaron shot Gemini a glare as he shot Malfyre some water, and watched as they shifted into their female form. Giving her a small nod of his head at her, turning back to Malfyre, "And she's not my girlfriend, I" "Sure, she's not." Malfyre responded. Bludwynd sighed, and finally walked over to the others, taking a moment to think things over.

"Malfyre's right, we need to stop being at each other's throat. That's all things have been between us, and it's getting us nowhere. We need to stop allowing ourselves from letting our emotions control our every action...We just, need to figure out where they are now, and get all three back. It's the only way we can make any progress. The more we fight between ourselves, the more counterproductive and void our efforts are." Aaron looked around between the group for a moment. "The more we fight amongst ourselves, the worse things become. We can't do this on our own, we all know that. Heroes or villains, right now it doesn't matter. We have to see that. We may not like it, but working together, however unlikely it may be, is the only solution. We want our respective friends back, yeah? Then let's fucking get that done."





Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Atticus Hawkins Character Portrait: Kieran Valanetti Character Portrait: Piper Young Character Portrait: Jena Wainwright//Adrian Robles Character Portrait: Aaron Langdan
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PIPER YOUNG
zzAboleth - #3E7A4E
zzzzzzzzzoutfit - mask

open your eyes.

there is fear. there is great sorrow. there is a catalogue of sins and a host of great terrors eating at your soul.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

It didn’t take long for the fighting to start, of course. It didn’t surprise Piper in the slightest when Atticus reared back to punch Gemini, but that didn’t stop her from shouting, “What are you doing?” As she backed away from the men and their little scuffle. This was ridiculous. How were they supposed to get anyone back if they were fighting each other? So she took matters into her own hands, walked around until she could catch Att’s eye and said, “Stop.” It was a simple command, but it was a command nonetheless, “Get off him.” Was her follow up command. She only relaxed when Atticus listened, and shook her head when he apologized. There was a lot riding on this, and tensions were high. She understood.

Of course, Malfyre and Bludwynd had to go and do something disruptive. Piper wasn’t… entirely sure what was going on there. But by the time she had turned back from that, Gemini was moving, fighting at Att again, and this time he looked like he was winning. She wasn’t sure if it would even work in Gemini’s case, but she quickly found herself saying, “You need to calm down.” She was worried that he was going to kill Att or something, and then she wasn’t sure the heroes could be convinced to get Lucy back.

She took the chance when Gemini turned to look at her to try to give him a command, “Stop,” He’d, just moments ago, been talking to someone, and when she tried to use her powers on him Piper felt them reach out beyond him to someone else. Maybe his other half? Piper wasn’t sure how it was possible, but she focused hard, dug deep, and channeled all her energy into trying to get through, “You need to take a break, Gemini…”

And then they changed, and the female half of Gemini was there in the room with them.

Piper was exhausted, and quickly sat herself down on the nearest chair, brushing the hair out of her face. “They’re right,” She said, referencing Malfyre and Bludwynd’s very touching speeches about working together, “Fighting each other just means we’re all going to end up dead. So save it until after we’ve rescued my only real friend.” She shot Atticus a cold look, then, as if to remind him that he was on thin ice.

She crossed her arms, glancing around the room, “We fell into a trap last time. I’m sorry your friends got caught in that.” She glanced briefly at Atticus, she didn’t like to speak for others, but she wasn’t sure she could trust Att not to do something stupid, so she decided to do all the talking for the moment. After a breath, she looked towards Malfyre, since they seemed to be close with Paladin, and said, “I don’t know about Artemis, but Paladin was quick to help us find Red Witch. It’d be stupid if we didn’t do the same.” She shot a pointed look at Gemini, though it was directed more at her other half than the side of Gemini currently present.


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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Atticus Hawkins Character Portrait: Kieran Valanetti Character Portrait: Piper Young Character Portrait: Jena Wainwright//Adrian Robles Character Portrait: Aaron Langdan
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atticus hawkins
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hex: #88c878xxxxxoutfit: here
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xxxwe are deaf
xxxwe are numb
xxxfree and young
xxxand we can feel none of it

xxx
Att had just gotten to his feet and caught his breath when BludWynd suddenly began hysterically screaming about something. Att frowned and glanced at him, before glancing at Malfyre, figuring she had to be involved. Her plan seemed to have worked, though, as his attention was on her as she spoke, telling him and Gemini to stop fighting.

And then something crashed into him, hurling him against the wall. He just had enough time to see Gemini’s face, still furious, before he was pulled to the ground, with Gemini’s knee on his chest. Att knew he had a knife in his pocket, but it was out of reach with the way Gemini had him pinned to the ground, throwing punches the whole time. When Gemini glanced towards Piper, Atticus took the distraction to shove him away from him and managed to get in a punch of his own. He was halfway to getting Gemini off of him, when he seemed to snap out of it and shove Att back to the ground.

It was over as quickly as it had started, Gemini’s female counterpart suddenly taking over and releasing Att, even having the courtesy to help him to dry off. He folded his arms as BludWynd made yet another impassioned speech, telling them they didn’t need to be further divided and needed to work together. As far as Att was concerned, Gemini had started the whole thing.

He’d hoped Piper might be on his side. He seemed to be wrong. He met her look with a cold stare of his own. Tired of speeches about how they needed to work together, he sighed.

“Okay, standing around talking is all well and good, but now we’ve agreed to-” He had to stop himself from making a sarcastic comment, knowing that if there was another fight, Piper might just walk out and leave them to it. “Now we’re all on the same page, we need to have a plan. We don’t have time. Based on my vision, we have a day, absolute outside, to save Red Witch, and I’m guessing not much more to save Paladin and Artemis. So what are we going to do?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cerys Day Character Portrait: Luciana Morrison Character Portrait: Dhani Batra
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Cerys
#C7BBB4
Lucy
#571616
Dhani
#b85c9e
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When Cerys sat down next to Dhani, bumping a shoulder against his, he leaned down to gently tap his head against hers. Kind of a hug-without-hugging kind of maneuver. He shook his head when she asked if he thought Icarus and Aboleth were in on it too. “No, I don’t think Att would-” He stopped suddenly, almost like a deer in headlights, but continued on before Cerys had a chance to call him out on that slip, “I don’t know Aboleth well, but Icarus was genuinely worried when he asked for help finding Red Witch. I don’t think they knew.” He sighed, “Hey, uh, I’m sorry for all of this, Care bear.” This was part genuine apology, part distraction, “I should have seen the signs that it was a trap and gotten you out of there.” He’d always felt responsible for protecting Cerys, in a way. That protective nature was probably why Helen asked him to help while she was training Cerys in the first place.

There was a rough knock on the door before it opened with a command, “No funny business.” Dhani shot Cerys a sideways glance, but the guards were quick to cuff them. Not that they could realistically escape anyway, if security was as tight as it seemed. As the guards prepped them to go out the door, one of them said, “Shower time,” And after a pause, added, “You could use one.” Dhani wasn’t sure if he should agree or feel offended.

Cerys raised an eyebrow as Dhani seemed to call one of the villains by their first name, before recovering and continuing. By the sounds of it, Icarus was the one he’d called “Att.” He didn’t give her a chance to remark on it, but she stashed it at the back of her head to bring up at some other point. She smiled a little at the use of her nickname, knowing he was trying to change the subject but letting him. She sighed and shook her head a little. “Dhani, it wasn’t your fault. Neither of us spotted it was a trap, I don’t think anyone did.” She wanted to say more, wanted to remind him that he didn’t need to worry about her as much any more. She knew that he’d worry regardless, but it was still nice to remind him. But she was interrupted as the door opened. Instinctively, she was assessing the situation, meeting Dhani’s look. But they were outnumbered and outpowered, and they were quickly cuffed. The guards were probably a tad rougher than they needed to be, but Cerys figured it was probably better to keep her mouth shut. She shot Dhani a confused look as they said they were being brought for a shower, but truth be told, the idea of a shower was more welcome than she was prepared to admit.

The shower stalls were nicer than she was expecting, if she was honest, with partitions between each of them so their modesty was somewhat protected. As she stepped into her stall, she heard voices from the door again and whirled around, prepared for this to be some sort of sick joke. Instead, another girl was shoved into the room. Cerys shot Dhani another look, unsure of what to do or say in this case. Part of her was concerned that it was some sort of trap, and she instinctively braced herself for a fight.

Dhani was initially a little concerned about the fact that they’d be showering in the same room, but was happy enough that they had stalls set up, even if he was going to have to duck to be able to get his head under the water. They had fifteen minutes, roughly, but Dhani wasn’t entirely sure he trusted the guards not to rush them out quicker, so he wasn’t about to waste any time. The door opened again shortly after he’d gotten started and he felt a bit of panic rising in him, even as a woman was pushed into the room. Cerys looked about ready for a fight, but the woman was just… Staring at them. She looked a little rough- shaken up, maybe even a little scared.

And of course she was, she was here, she looked injured, so he presumed she was some sort of prisoner, and there was a tall muscular man in the room while she was supposed to be showering. “Are… Are you okay?” He asked, hoping to try to settle the apprehensive air in the room. She quickly stated she was fine, and went to a shower of her own. Dhani didn’t want to stare, but he did want to make sure this wasn’t some elaborate ruse or something. He quickly turned to mind his own business, however, when he saw the amount of scars covering the woman’s body. His mind started turning; were these people doing that to her? Was she okay? Could he get her to open up if he tried? “Hey,” He could try to establish a rapport of some kind with her, at least, “I don’t know how it usually is, but the water temperature’s a little finicky today.” A part of him was worried that guards would burst in and yell at them to stop talking

Luciana turned the valve and water quickly came out of the shower, causing her to flinch as she wasn’t expecting it to be as cold. A second too late Dhani remarked about the temperature being a bit finicky. “You think?” She said instinctively and sarcastically, and then sighing to herself as she realized she doesn’t want them knowing who she is and should probably play along. Then an idea came to her, she could possibly pretend to be on their side as they don’t know who she is and get any other information from me.

She quickly rubbed some shampoo into her hair before turning back and looking at the two, a small laugh escaping as she realized Dhani had to duck. “Guess they don’t have a tall shower section?” Lucy teased, flashing a fake smile. Then turning her gaze over to the woman for a second. “So… you two captured super-powered people as well?” She asked, already knowing the answers, though curious how they would respond. “What type of restraints are you kept in?”

Cerys stayed watching the woman somewhat wearily. She’d spotted the cuts and scars covering the woman’s body as well, but a lot of supers had their fair share of scars. Honestly, the only reason Cerys herself didn’t have more was because if Dhani noticed (and he always did), he’d insist on healing her. The sarcasm got half a smile out of her, at least, as she undid her braids and stood fully under the water.

The woman made a joke about the showers not being tall enough for Dhani, and Cerys chuckled despite herself. “Even a tall shower section probably wouldn’t be tall enough for him,” she remarked, shooting a grin at Dhani. But the fact that the woman asked about their restraints didn’t sit quite right with her. “Same as you, I’d imagine. Why?” She asked lightly. She still wasn’t sure that this wasn’t some sort of test or something. She turned slightly to shoot Dhani a look, telling him to play along and not give too much away.

“I don’t see much of others here, due to the mask they keep me in. The metal one over there.” Lucy said with softness behind her voice, referencing the mask the guards left in the room along with the wrist restraints.

Dhani ignored the comments about being too tall for the showers, it was a common enough thing to hear. But when she asked them about having powers, and what kind of restraints they were using on them, Dhani wasn’t sure how to deal with those questions. He caught Cerys’ look, and then turned his head to glance at the restraints the other woman had mentioned. He had to wonder what kind of powers she must have, to be kept in a mask where she couldn’t see.

“Do they keep doing your restraints too tight, too?” He asked, wondering if he could parse out how long she’d been there, or if this was some kind of trap. He knew they had to be careful about how much information they gave out. On the chance they got out of here, he didn’t want to be giving anyone more information than they already have. “It’s nice to talk to people who aren’t here to push me around.” He paused, thinking carefully, then added, “For ten to fifteen minutes, anyway.”

Luciana was just about done with her hair and spread the soap over her body, not getting too distracted with talking with the heroes. “Actually, not too much. I believe they think they have me under their control with the mask and wrist restraints... And the injections…” Luciana trailed off, mumbling the last part and rubbing her skin where the needle went into her neck. “If I act up they tend to give me a little zap. Some guards are nicer than others.” Which was true. The guards treated her like a normal prisoner, while Mr. Anderson and her mother seemed to treat her with a more friendly demeanor.

“Not much time is given for conversations around here. You two look smart enough to realize they don’t want us freaks to interact with each other too much. I heard the nervousness in the one guard's voice about me showering here with you two around.” Luciana paused for a second, looking between the two of them. “You two know each other outside of here?” She asked with a tilt of her head.

Cerys hadn’t noticed the metal mask they’d had on the woman until she pointed it out, and for a few moments, she felt guilty about her suspicions towards her. Dhani remarked about them having the restraints too tight, and Cerys was glad that he also seemed to not want to give too much away. She forced a smile at the comment, combing through her hair with her fingers.

When the woman went to explain about everything they were using to control her, she frowned a little bit as she stepped under the water again and her expression was hidden. She wondered what type of power the woman had that required that level of control.

She forced another smile as the woman asked if she and Dhani knew each other. Something about these questions had her a little on edge, unsure if the woman was just making small talk or if there was something more to her questioning. She glanced at Dhani and back at the woman. “Uh, yeah, we’re friends. What about you?” Cerys asked, deciding to turn the interrogation back on the woman. “You know anyone around these parts?” She asked.

As she started rinsing the water off of her, Artemis spoke, saying they were friends, but then asking her about herself. Luciana stopped for a second, the water dripping over her body. Friends. Of course the heroes considered themselves friends, but Luciana hadn’t really had many of those besides Atticus and Piper. And where were they now?

It wasn’t until Lucy heard herself drop the bottle of soap that she brought herself back to reality. “Oh, uh. Sorry. No, not really.” She finally answered the heroes question, quickly picking up the bottle and finish rinsing herself off. She wrapped a towel around herself and started drying herself off before stepping out of the shower.

While it was obvious that they were friends, Dhani didn’t like the probing questions about whatever their relationship might be. He caught Cerys’ glance at him out of the corner of his eye. He let her deal with it, ducking down to rinse out his hair, and give himself a little time to think. The moment of silence after Cerys asked the other woman if she had any friends in… Wherever they were, it was a little worrying. Dhani had to quickly decide if he thought she was taking the time to make up a lie, or if she was, like Cerys and himself, trying to decide if they were going to use whatever they found out to hurt her.

As he finished up in the shower, he found himself wondering what- if anything- he should do. He dried up as much as he could before stepping out of the shower so he could start getting dressed, at least enough to be considered decent. “Don’t worry,” he said, “I’m not going to stare at you or anything weird, I’m not,” He paused, “I mean, you’re… It’s just-” He shook his head at himself. His attempts at being reassuring were more awkward than anything.

There was a silence before the woman answered the question, lasting a second or two longer than she would have liked. But at the end of the day, they were two strangers, and she probably didn’t want to give too much away. She just nodded as the woman said she didn’t know anyone. She decided against braiding her hair again and simply pulled a towel around her as she shut the water off, drying off. Dhani began trying to reassure the woman he wouldn’t stare, and Cerys properly laughed for the first time.

“He’s as gay as they come, is what he’s trying to say,” she said, looking back towards the woman. “So, as pretty as you are, you’re not his type.” Had it been any other circumstance, she might have been tempted to crack a joke about her being more Cerys’ type, but decided that it wasn’t the place. She pulled on the clothes they had left for them. While they weren’t her style, they were at least clean, dry, and comfortable, so it could have been worse.

Luciana was going to start getting dressed when she heard the water shut off, pausing for a moment again as the heroes got out and Dhani spoke. Well, more so mumbling, stuttering, and bambling about not staring at her. Idiot… She thought to herself, and then heard Artemis spoke, about him being gay. Lucy wanted to say she knew, but stopped herself, as that would reveal that she knew of the heroes. “It’s fine, he’s not my type either. Far from it.” Though she unconsciously added the last portion of her sentence.

She quickly got dressed in the clothes they had sitting next to her restraints and mask. Staring at the wrist restraints and feeling her wrists, Lucy felt the tenderness from the small burns the guards had given her. She signed to herself as she sat on the bench taking a moment to herself.

Dhani chuckled when Cerys commented that he was “gay as they come,” and nodded when the blonde woman said he wasn’t her type anyway. In a better situation, he may have made a joke, but it wasn’t quite the time or place for that. Instead, he got dressed. The clothes weren’t what he would typically choose, but they fit okay, were comfortable enough, and best of all clean.

He turned and looked at the blonde woman, debating with himself for a short moment. He didn’t know if it was the right move to make, but in the end he decided that if he decided if he helped someone and they used it against him, that said more about them than him. So he sat down next to her and cleared his throat, “I’m,” He paused, wondering if this was a good idea to introduce himself. If she worked for these people, though, she likely already knew everything about him. “I’m Dhani.” He gestured towards her wrists, “That looks like it hurts.” He shot her a soft smile, “I, uh… I have healing powers, and if you don't mind, I’d like to help you.” He shrugged, “The freaks have to stick together, right?”

Luciana was taking a breather from everything going on when she noticed Dhani sit down and introduce himself. I know… She thought to herself, not needing his introduction. She was shocked though when he mentioned his weisst and offered to heal them. Lucy wanted to immediately shut him down, she didn’t need his charity, but that might raise some questions that she didn’t want to answer. “I…” She stuttered for a bit, looking over at Artemis for a second and then back at him. “Okay. It better not sting.” She said, holding out her wrists to him.

What came next felt strange to Luciana, but also warm and comforting. Within moments her wrists were healed, clean in a sense, they didn’t feel tender and the redness was completely gone. She was speechless for a moment, never having felt Paladin’s power, but was quickly brought back into the moment and pulled her wrists back quickly.

Before Lucy could speak again the door to the showers opened up and some guards walked in. “Hey! Back off!” One of them shouted realizing the prisoners were intermingling, another coming up and tossing Lucy’s confinements to her again.

She let out a sigh as she slid the wrist restraints over the freshly healed area, but still felt warm and not so uncomfortable for the moment. Luciana stood still as one of the guards secured the mask over her face again, blocking her eyesight. As she was ushered towards the door she stopped for a second and turned back towards where she could hear Paladin and Artemis. “Thanks Paladin…” She spoke softly, flashing a soft smile before she was shoved again and told to be quiet.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cerys Day Character Portrait: Dhani Batra
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CERYS DAY
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artemis | hex: #857c78
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DHANI BATRA
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paladin | hex:#b85c9e
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Cerys frowned as the woman called Dhani “Paladin”, trying to remember if either of them had mentioned their aliases. She was pretty sure they hadn’t. “Dhani,” she said, her voice low, “Something doesn’t feel right.” The guards came into the room before she could elaborate. “Come on, move it you two.” One of them said, but they didn’t move to immediately cuff them. They didn’t even seem to be paying too much attention. An idea came into Cerys’ head, something dumb, and something she might just regret, but something that also might just work. She’d need to be quick. She glanced at Dhani, shooting him a quick look that she’d hope he understood. Quick as lightning, she fished one of their phones out of their pocket. It was locked, but she tapped into the emergency call mode, and dialled out one of the few numbers she knew by heart. Aaron.

Hoping the call would stay active, she slipped the phone back into the pocket, and turned back to Dhani. “Come on then, grandad, let’s not keep the nice gentlemen waiting,” she said, a little louder than normal in the hope the phone would be able to pick up her voice, with the slightest nod to Dhani.

Dhani nodded when Cerys said something didn’t feel right. He agreed, there was definitely something fishy going on. They didn’t get a chance to discuss it, however, before some guards came into the room. They didn’t seem to be taking the two of them very seriously, which Dhani knew they could use to their advantage. Cerys shot him a look, and Dhani knew he only had a split second to think of a plan, and it had better do the trick of distracting the guards long enough.

“It seems like the floors would get slick in here, doesn’t it?” Dhani played it up like he was talking to Cerys, but really he was trying to discern which of the guards she was targeting. He wasn’t entirely sure what her plan was, but he knew what he was going to do would help her either way. With a shrill shriek, he dramatically “slipped” on the damp floor, reaching out to grab the guard Cerys wasn’t actively pickpocketing to “catch himself.” Dhani was pretty sure he was big enough and had enough momentum to take both of them to the ground, and he was right. “Oh my god!” He yelled, as he “struggled” to untangle himself from the guard so he could get up, “I’m so sorry.”

It didn’t take long for the guards to right the situation, but it was long enough. Dhani smiled at Cerys when she nodded- brief and subtle, but it gave her the message that he understood. “Man, you guys should do something about that flooring. Maybe change the tiles?” He was speaking a bit louder than normal too, but hopefully not so much that he’d raise suspicion, “Or get your prisoners slip resistant shoes or something.”

Thankfully, Cerys knew the elaborate and dramatic form that Dhani’s distractions tended to take, otherwise the distraction could have thrown her too. It worked, with both guards seemingly oblivious that one of them had been pickpocketed. “Or maybe you just need to learn to distribute your weight better, Paladin,” she said. “Sorry about him.”

The guards seemed to remember then why they were there, cuffing them both and leading them back to the cells. Cerys kept waiting for the guard leading her to put his hand in his pocket for his phone and knock the call off, either inadvertently or deliberately. But he kept one hand on Cerys’ shoulder and the other on her cuffs, making sure she couldn’t run… and that he couldn’t knock off the call. She managed to keep a straight face as they led her and Dhani back into their cell, taking off the cuffs. But the minute that the guards left the cell, a triumphant grin took over her expression.

“You okay, Dhani? You hit the floor kinda hard back there,” she said, just in case the guards happened to still be listening outside the door. “I need you to know, though, that I fully intend on telling Aaron all about your clumsy ass in intricate detail.”

The moment Cerys used his hero name, Dhani was pretty sure he knew what was happening. “We’re not all compact and close to the ground, Artemis.”

The guard in charge of Dhani kept an extra firm grip as they walked back to their cell, almost as if bracing for another fall the entire time. There was a natural nervousness there, as if he was sure they would get caught any moment. Dhani trusted Cerys to his core, but there would likely be big problems for them if they were caught, or if this call was cut short. This was, very likely, their only real hope.

“I didn’t hit my head too hard,” He said with a smile, “I’ll be good as new in no time thanks to my powers. I’d worry about the guard.” He rolled his eyes when she said she was going to tell Aaron about his fall. “If that makes you happy, Care bear.” He reached out to playfully muss up her hair before settling into one of the beds in the cell, a little sore from his fall. He’d be all healed up in no time, he knew, but he had taken that fall a little harder than he’d intended. The things he did for Cerys. He was tired, but very proud of her. He shot her a grin, she deserved that much, at least.

Cerys rolled her eyes as he called her “Care Bear” again, the childhood nickname making her smile despite herself. She playfully scowled at him as he messed up her hair, but followed him over to sit on the other bunk. She shot him a grin back, but something he’d said, or almost said, earlier, was once again lingering in her mind.

“Sooooo… what’s up with you and Icarus?” She asked, making sure she was out of arm’s reach as she said so. “Before you ask, I wouldn’t say it’s that obvious. But you two sure have been sharing a lot of glances across the room. And also you called him “Att” earlier. So, come on, spill.” Her tone was deliberately light and playful; both because that was their dynamic, and because she wanted Dhani to know this wasn’t coming from a place of judgement. The lines between hero and villain were becoming more and more blurred; and besides, Icarus wasn’t even the worst of the villains. He wasn’t even the worst of who they were working with.

When Cerys asked about what was up between himself and Icarus, Dhani’s shoulders stiffened. This was it, he’d have to explain himself and look like a terrible hero. But she didn’t sound judgemental, and it was Cerys, she knew him, she knew what kind of a person he was. He didn’t need to be defensive. So he shrugged, “Honestly, I’m not even sure.” That was true, “We met before,” He gestured around the confines of their cell, “All this. It wasn’t much, but I guess it was enough.” He sighed, looking Cerys in the eye, “I really like him, though.”

“It’s probably clouding my judgement a little, but he’s a good guy, Cerys. And he gets it, and you know how hard that is to find, especially when,” He paused, a little abruptly. The dating pool for a gay superhero was very shallow, and the last person Dhani had considered he might have a chance with was far too related to Cerys for him to attempt to pursue anything. “I just feel like it might be stupid if I keep acting like nothing’s going on there, especially after all of this.”

Cerys knew Dhani as well as, if not even better than, either of her brothers. So she could tell that he was telling the truth. The villain meant something to him, she could tell that much. And it couldn’t be easy for Dhani. Cerys’ dating field was technically wider, but it was hard dating as a hero. In some ways, maybe it was easier to date another super, even if it was a villain. At least then they didn’t think they should be destroyed just for being different.

At the comment about not wanting to act like there was nothing going on after all of this, Cerys glanced down towards her hands, raising an eyebrow for the first time. She wasn’t going to judge anyone for that. She kept telling herself that she was going to tell Aaron, that she would finally do it; and every single time, she bottled it, afraid of destroying something good. They were a good team. He was one of her best friends. Risking that seemed crazy.

“You should go for it, Dhani. I think… this,” she said, mimicking his gesture around the cell, “is going to kinda smash the whole villain hero divide. I mean, I’m assuming that the whole thing isn’t going to actually make things worse and that they’re not like… I dunno, beating the shit out of each other right now. We don’t know what’s going to happen next, so you should go for it.” She raised an eyebrow. “And if you start any bullshit about me needing to follow my own advice, I swear to god,” she warned, laughing a little.

“Just know I’m thinking it, then.” He smirked and laid back on his bed, “Really though, Cerys, life is too short not to take risks and find love if you can find it,” He paused, pointing vaguely in her direction without looking to make sure he was pointing at her, “Obviously we’re both strong and independent and don’t need anyone in our lives, but it is nice to be loved and wanted.”

Cerys was like the little sister he’d always wanted, so he tried to be good and kind and fair with her, “All of this will just be history one of these days, but you know you deserve to live your life now, too.” He crossed his fingers behind his head, staring intently at the ceiling- as if he were trying to make sense of whatever patterns he could see there. If they got out of this place, if he survived this, he knew he needed to go for it with Att. He’d denied himself a chance to really love someone romantically for so long, and this could very well be his last chance.

“Hey, Cerys,” He said, after a moment of silently contemplating his life choices, “I love you.” He wanted to make sure she knew that, and had a deep and burning need in his chest that he’d just had to say it. “I don’t think I tell you enough, but I do.” She was really the only person on the planet that knew him as deeply as she did- she knew about almost every facet of his life, and he appreciated her more than he knew how to express. He had hope that the others would find them and get them out of there, but he also knew that every moment in that cell could be his last.

She laughed as he joked about them not needing anyone, but it being nice to have someone. He did have a point on that front. And with Dhani, it wasn’t just nonsense platitudes either. He’d known exactly what she’d gone through and why the idea of love and relationships frightened her. It had gone so wrong the last time, but he knew that. She trusted him and trusted his take on it more than probably anyone else in the world.

“God, have you been reading YA books again?” She teased as he made the comment about it all eventually being history. She knew he was right, but actually working up the guts to make a move or say something would be a different matter altogether. But she also knew that Dhani would be there to either support her and help her out, or give her a kick up the ass and find some way of orchestrating things so she literally had no choice. They had their separate lives, now, so sometimes she almost forgot how willing they were to drop everything and help the other out.

She smiled as he told her he loved her. It was something they’d always said when they were a little bit younger and a little bit dumber, when they needed reminding that no matter what, they had family, and that family wasn’t just about blood. “Love you too, Dhani. I don’t know where I’d be without you, honestly.”

“You’d be dead, for sure.” Dhani quipped, remembering one too many times where he’d had to heal her up when Cerys was still learning the ropes. He turned his head to look at her, “I’m really proud of you, you know. Helen would be, too.” He knew that would be a little touchy, but he didn’t know if anyone told her recently, or ever. “You’ve been saving my ass recently. You’ve really grown into a great hero.”

“And YA books are great, by the way.” He added.

Cerys laughed as Dhani reminded her she’d probably be dead. He wasn’t wrong, she’d gotten herself into a few major scraps that he’d gotten her out of and then had fixed her up afterwards, while also giving her advice on how to not get into such trouble next time. She looked back down at her hands as he reminded her that she was proud of her, her smile slipping a little as he mentioned Helen. Everything she did, she did with her sister in mind to try and make her proud. She wasn’t sure she would ever live up to her sister’s memory, but she could try. She tried every single day.

His comment about YA books pulled her from her thoughts, and she laughed. “I’ll have to get some book recommendations from you when we get out of all this.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cerys Day Character Portrait: Atticus Hawkins Character Portrait: Kieran Valanetti Character Portrait: Piper Young Character Portrait: Jena Wainwright//Adrian Robles Character Portrait: Aaron Langdan Character Portrait: Luciana Morrison Character Portrait: Dhani Batra
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Kieran Vallenetti
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Malfyre | Antihero | #575772
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Seems like the whole damn world
went and lost its mind
And all my childhood heroes
have fallen off or died
Fake tears, we are living fake tears
But the alcohol never lies, never lies
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Kieran remained silent as she watched the shit show transpire in front of her. Of course the two boys would start a fight, it happened just about every god damn time. And she was borderline sick of their petty and childish actions. They were adults and could act as such, not squabble like children. But she actually going to stay out of it this time. Just wait as the others settled things between them, seeing as she did her part already. She watched as the female counterpart of Gemini appeared, taking over the situation as hand. Surprisingly she had a cooler head and better grasp on things than the other half seemed to possess.

She continued to sit back and listen more as the rest continued to debate on what to do. It seemed that everyone was stuck with how to progress with things, and she wasn't too shocked. They had so little to work with, and they were slowly running out of time. It was only when Icarus was done talking, that she stepped forward again. "It's not a solid plan, but it is a plan regardless." Malfyre finally spoke up, eyeing the others. "I don't know if you picked up on it or not, but there is a pattern." she continued.

"So far, it has always been warehouses or large buildings, right?" she asked, glancing out at the others. Kieran retrieved her phone and placed it down on the table. A large holographic map opened up and expanded in the air above the device. "We have already checked out these locations, yeah?" Malfyre said as she pointed to a few outlines of buildings. "Each time, it has been bigger than the last. And if you look at the map of the Barden- Malfyre gestured once back to the map they were looking at.

"What is the largest building, in all of Barden? Especially one we haven't checked yet, not would we even begin to assume or suspect?" Maflyre eyed the others, before finally pointing to the one in question. The map zoomed in on the building. "It's not a sure fire or even promised location, but it is an idea. We get we're running out of ideas and more importantly time. But would you rather give this one a go, and possibly be right, or would you rather we continue to check building by god damn building and run out of time before we even reach half of the places?"

Malfyre backed up from the table, arms crossed, "It's a random guess sure, but it's all we got at this point. My vote, we at least attempt it, and if we're wrong....I don't even know. But what I do know, we're running out of time, and if we don't come together now, we're all fucked."

It was just then that someone's phone went off. Malfyre looked off in Aaron's direction, giving him an annoyed look, even through the mask he'd be able to sense it. She watched as he answered it, and the look on his face was enough for her to grow worried. "What is it?" she questioned. Bludywnd made his way over to the others, handing Malfyre his phone, "I just got a call and...I think you should see it..." Malfyre took his phone, retrieving something from her pocket as she attached it to his phone. A series of numbers and coding scrambled across his phone's screen for a moment, and she paused after the process was done.

"What? What is it?" Bludwynd questioned. Malfyre looked at the others, still in shock. "I don't know what kinds of Gods exist...But they just confirmed my random, bullshit guess." Malfyre placed Bludwynd's phone beside her's on the table. "Those god damn coordinates from where that phone call came from....is the same as that building's address...I think we just found them, guys..." Malfyre looked at the others to gauge their reactions. She knew it was seemingly all too coincidental, but at this point, what else did they have to lose?