Beskjedenhet, Erik Stridden to nearby mortals, was sprawled on the sofa in the house that still belonged to his father. His girlfriend was standing over him, comforting the baby. He wished she would do that elsewhere so he could sleep. It was the middle of the damn night in Norway. He was tired. His half-sister was standing outside, smoking. The step-mother was probably asleep. She didn't wait for Axel to return these days. He works late, he comes home late, sometimes not at all, then goes back out, and they just all carried on as normal. "Orkan, please. Take him to another room."
"How come you never help? Like, ever?"
"I do help!" He shot to his feet, scowling. "I'm just tired." A car drew up outside. Axel Stridsoks had been even busier as of late as first Elder with the disappearance of Grand Mage Skisma. There was the slam of a car door, silence, then sounds of violence and the blare of a car alarm. Kai, the baby, gave a renewed onslaught of screams. Beskjedenhet frowned, concerned. He edged to the living room door and jumped at the sound of the front door banging open. His half-sister began calling for him. "Erik! Erik, help! They've got Dad!" Normally Sandra, or Virvelvind, could fight off anyone herself, but if they'd taken her by surprise, injured her...he ran to the front door to help her, warning Orkan to stay put and watch Kai.
Virvelvind wasn't at the front door. The driveway was empty, as was the forest path leading up to the house. His frown deepening, he stepped out and turned a full circle. Had he imagined it? No, judging by the look on Orkan's face, she'd heard it all as well. There was a creak on the stairs as his step-mother came to investigate the noises. He hugged himself, hands tucked into his armpits, and cursed himself for not bringing a jacket or dressing gown on his way out. He sensed someone behind him, turned just as they swung something that looked suspiciously like a frying pan at his head and deflected it painfully with his hand. He gave a gasp of pain and stepped back, clicking the fingers of his other hand to summon a flame. The other man swung the frying pan again and almost hit the Elder's son. He jerked back and almost tripped over on a tree root. There was a muffled screaming coming from behind him. He peered over his shoulder and saw Sandra bound and gagged. Again he gasped, and then the pan was jabbed into his stomach, winding him. The fireball hit the grass below him and set it alight. Sandra's screams became even more frantic. Wonderful, Erik thought. Now he'd started a forest fire, no doubt. He pushed at the air and the man fell over backwards. The young man took the opportunity to run to his half-sister and undo her bonds, but before he was finished both her and his girlfriend called out to him in alarm. He turned and the frying pan cracked against the side of his head. With a yell he fell sideways. As he tried to scrabble up, the pan came cracking down against his head again. The pan came down again and again until Erik had stopped moving and a little bit after that. There was one brief pause to keep Orkan and the step-mother off his back, and then the man had disappeared with Beskjedenhet and Virvelvind...
Loud Lady Gaga music blared through the radio as Twist drove his car through a narrow countryside lane, unaware his car was being followed as he was too busy trying to get the in-car company to behave without using his voice. Beside him, in the front passenger seat, sat Jayden, who was fiddling with the stereo. It was as if he'd never seen one. He switched it from CD to radio, seemed satisfied for a few seconds with Wham! and then began flipping through stations, looking for something he preferred. They ended up back on the same station, then went cycling again before returning to the CD. Mortis shot him a dirty look as he gave navigating instructions. He was sat in the middle of the middle, refusing to sit up front after he had been in a car accident once. He just didn't trust windshield wipers not to stab him. He'd needed a replacement liver and everything. Garnet and B-J were either side of him and the Grotesquery took up the back seats.
"Is it safe to be transporting that thing in plain view?" The girl asked. Nobody answered. Mort slammed his fist on the seatbelt release thing and stood, pointing to the side.
"Pull in there a moment!"
Sighing, Twist obliged, parking near a big, ugly building. It took him a moment to realise he had been directed to Roarhaven and parked beside the Irish Sanctuary. Mortis nudged Garnet, wanting him to get out, and the redhead obliged with a deep sigh. He was still moving sluggishly, tired, out of it. He watched him, concerned. This was probably ordinary tiredness though. He had probably been trying to doze off when they'd pulled over. Still, it worried him whenever Dorado got tired. Ever since the hospital thing. That had just been upsetting. Jayden was up and out as well, happy to be stretching his legs. Suspicious, B-J followed the three in. "Where're you three going?"
"Justice Popularity. I may travel and kill, but I keep up with things. I have to, or I'd miss something big like this." Mortis responded in a somewhat bitter tone. They turned a corner and Garnet threw up an arm to halt his company. Justice was right ahead, 'talking' to someone through a door. It was obvious he had seen them the instant they'd turned the corner, but didn't recognise them. The three men began talking in hushed voices, making sure they left B-J out. They then proceeded to stride down the walkway, chatting amongst themselves about what they did to Dexter Vex. She felt rather sick as she heard them talk. This Popularity man, apparently now an Elder, was coming towards them, not really bothered by them. As they drew level, Mortis unsheathed Wilbur and aimed towards the Elder's ribs, but Justice caught his wrist and gave a backhand slap. Grievance seemed shocked as the Elder whistled, and in an instant the two of them were surrounded by Cleavers. He wrenched his wrist free and instantly more Cleavers were between him and Popularity. He spat out a curse and turned, trying to strike, but there was soon no room to move his arm. There was no room to manoeuvre at all. He could turn his head as he tried to strike a Cleaver to no avail, simply getting a scythe in his side instead. He gasped and caught sight of a trio of men striding purposefully towards the knot of Cleavers, one showing some kind of mark of authority to the knot, dispersing it, saying he would take charge of the prisoners. Mortis managed to turn his head and see what was going on with the others. They were fighting, Garnet and B-J to get away, Jayden to get closer to either him or Popularity. The freedom fighters were breaking free but Jayden was being cuffed. "Jay!" he screamed, trying to get to him, but being hauled back. Something hit him hard on the head and an arm locked around his throat. As he began to black out, cursing himself for not being careful enough, not following protocol, not restarting the observation, he heard some kind of administrator or something yelling 'Mevolent's here!'. He heard B-J scream to Garnet to tunnel, and the beginnings of his insistence that he couldn't. He passed out as someone pulled him away from the one with the arm round his throat and dragged him away in the commotion.
Box was talking on the phone to someone, voice a little bit shaky. Gale Blaze was on his back on the man's sofa, a bag of frozen peas pressed to his forehead. Austin was upstairs in a scruffy bedroom, fuming. Awesome was on a chair in the corner of the living room, glaring at Gale in disapproval. "Don't you have boundaries?" He asked finally.
"Katharine doesn't." Gale replied with a sleazy grin. Awesome threw his shoe at him.
"I may not know you, but Austin does. You knew Kathy was out of bounds!"
"From what I've heard, Katharine's cheated on Austin multiple times before. I think by now he should just get the picture and leave her." He hesitated and sighed. "I don't really like Austin, but with a girl like that he'll just get his heart broken again and again. She's cheated on him more than he knows. She told me about it, made me promise not to tell."
"And yet you're telling me?"
He sighed. "Yeah. Right now Austin won't believe me if I told him."
"He's ended it with Katharine anyway now. Your problem is that you treat girls like meat or sex objects."
"Is that what Austin told you?"
Awesome sighed. "Austin's used to girls being in charge. He grew up with a single mother, two older sisters, constantly under the thumb of some chick named Crystalline or something..."
Gale frowned. "I have older sisters. Artemis and Niamh, I think..."
The vampire smirked. "I know an Artemis. Artemis Hunter."
"...that's the one..."
He nodded. "Cool. She's Katharine's house mate and I'm going to tell her what's happened."
"Aw! Seriously, don't! She goes seriously psycho when it comes to me!"
"I wonder why..."
"Because unlike her, I approved of Niamh's marriage." He responded snarkily. They both sat in silence, glaring at one another. "Artemis didn't like Advantageous, or whatever the hell his name was, because he was mute or something...and because of his friends. She thought they were weird...and something to do with his social station...I can't quite remember, it was a really long time ago."
Awesome Dude seemed to have lost interest.
Mortis gave a low moan, or at least as low a moan as he could muster, as droplets of water were shaken over his face. He turned away so that his face was buried in a cushion on the sofa he was lying on. There was a smirk. "Well, Hiro, he's alive. I'll give him that."
An Australian voice spoke next. "You owe me, Hiro."
The first voice spoke again. Irish and somehow familiar. "And me, Hiro. I've been healing this guy for years, ever since Gar dragged me along on a stupid hike and we found him collapsed by some car wreckage. They'd met before, but I doubt he had a windshield wiper sticking in his side that time." There was a round of laughter. "Had to get an unwilling donor though. Healing started a bit late to be properly successful. God, this guy was fun. Grade A lunatic." The familiar voice's owner began shaking him gently. "Hey Mortis! Get your lazy arse off my sofa! Wilbur's in my knife block."
He shot to his knees and glared at the back of the man with the stubby ponytail and long blue pirate-like coat. He was trying to recognise him and ignore the Asian man in the 'geek' shirt and the tanned redhead. They were arguing in whispers over how much the Asian man owed the redhead. "R...Ricky Sloth?"
The brunette paused. "Yeah?"
Mortis gave a slightly insane sounding laugh. "Puh-lease, Richard, you're the lazy one, not me! You hated moving two inches if you weren't being pushed or driven!"
"And yet I never got fat...strange, huh?"
"Not really. We never had any food in the fridge. 'Course Gar and I were always out, so you and Jay were the ones who had to bear the brunt of that one."
"God, that was a painful life!" Ricky spun on his heel, grinning. "At least Hiro makes money...and didn't have to kill someone to get a house."
"No, he took Garnet's old one, I see."
The grin faded. "I'm surprised to see he's still kicking."
"I'm surprised to see you're still kicking. Thought you burnt to death. Is that a burn scar?"
"Yeah, but from a different fire. Didn't he have a tumour or something?"
He grinned again. "After you threatened to kill me because I couldn't cure it and all."
"Sorry about that. You're not a very good user of science-magic, you do know that, right?"
"Yeah. C'mon, get up. We have to discuss some things. Namely the capture of Jay and Gar."
Garnet awoke in less favourable conditions. His cheek was pressed to a gritty, cold, soggy floor. He was adding to the soggy part by drooling in his sleep. B-J was pacing around the small cell. He didn't feel he had enough energy to so much as raise his head. He let out a low moan instead and heard B-J whimper.
"They carved something into your skin. They said it would drain your energy or something...that...that it was the best way to stop you tunnelling without killing you..."
He managed to forced himself up onto his knees, but that small change of altitude made him feel so dizzy..."I think I'm going to be sick."
"Please don't." Came a misty voice from the corner. A woman was chained up there and watching them with dark eyes.
B-J was shivering, and somehow he doubted it was with cold. Then he remembered the people here thought she was dead. "Jinx? Jinx, calm down, you look like you're about to have a panic attack." A door opened and closed. Someone was entering the cells. Serpine and Mevolent stopped at their cell.
"Oh." Serpine said, lip curling in distaste. "It's you." Garnet briefly wondered how that man had spawned such a, in his opinion, hot daughter. The man with the glittering emerald eyes opened the cell and stepped over him, going straight to B-J. He had a brainwave related to escape, but two things barred his way. The first was the complete exhaustion of a level he had never felt before, the other was Mevolen't standing in his way. Serpine was closely examining B-J's face. He wasn't sure whether to believe it was her or not, but he seemed to decided that she was her when she burst into tears. He held her close and guided her out of the cell, ignoring her protests to set Garnet and the woman in the corner free as well. He was locked back in and felt another wave of dizziness coming on.
"Looks like we'll have some time to talk." The woman in the corner said.
((Aaaaand to stay correct to what I believe to be the time frame here, I can't do anything with Jayden or Garnet for a couple of months now...apart from have them talk to other prisoners...also some stuff...and B-J has returned, but will Arachne, Prosperity and Arduous find out? FIND OUT NEXT TIME ON HALF-LIFE, FULL LIFE CONSEQUENCES!...wait, wrong thing...also I'm hyper, so flippety-blip-nuggets. And I really like the murderers' trio-turned-quartet...you know what that means? TORTURE!!!(uh, mainly of Gar since he's in the perfect situation for it...)))