The traffic was thick and unpleasant, and the American was bleeding to death on the back seat. Anton drummed his fingers on the steering wheel in time to the music, checking the mirror every two seconds to check how his dying passenger was. The result was still dying half an hour later, but thankfully not dead. He had been shot. Finally, there was a turn-off available, but not the one Anton wanted to take. It would bring him much further away from his destination and run perpendicular to Roarhaven. Then again, two of the men in the car worked for Sanctuaries. Perhaps getting closer to Roarhaven wasn't such a bad idea. He indicated to turn and then a car blocked the way and slammed his hand down on the horn. Mortis Grievance seemed to be enjoying the whole thing.
Perseus was good. He had always been a stealthy one. Somehow he was sneaking through the Castle undetected. He had woken up after Ricky, Hiro, Franz and the others had disappeared. Arachne was very pissed off, having not been finished with him by that point. The Cuban Mage was unsure what he was looking for, but he seemed to be enjoying himself despite still being in pain. He pushed open a door accidentally. He wanted to lean and have a rest. A little girl came to the door. "Pussuss?"
Frowning, he looked down. "Faine!"
The little girl hugged him and he grimaced. "I missed you."
"Can you stay here? I met my mummy. She seems nice, but she leaves me alone a lot. You could keep me from being lonely?"
"Or I could leave and you could come with again."
"But mummy!" She moved away and stamped her foot. "I can read now."
He arched an eyebrow. "Really? She taught you that?"
"No. A nice man who lived in a magic hotel did."
He nodded slowly. "Clever him. He managed to get you to go near reading material."
"He made funny voices. He read Snow White and did different voices for all seven dwarves, and only confused the voices twice."
He smiled again. "Wow. Sounds good."
"He's dead now."
"I'll be fine. I'm always fine."
She hugged him again and he gave a slight hiss of pain.
Bayside Absurdity frowned. "I would have thought you knew better than to get yourself shot in the back, Richard."
"It's bad enough I have to trust a nutbag like you to do this. What happened to Violet?"
"Dead, duh." Bayside was a very short man with blonde hair and blue eyes and a temper. He had a foreign accent, German, Richard thought. This Violet woman's had been German and he had met Bayside through her. Why they had both chosen their taken names in English was beyond him, but he knew English had been Absurdity's first language. He lay on his front looking miserable. "Anyway, Richard, you have to take it easy for a little while." He straightened to his full lack of height and nodded to Hiro as he passed. Ursa had been the one to get them the hell out of there with the flintlock. Hiro had told him where Bay lived. The upstairs of the German man's house had been converted into a series of hospital beds, another four of which were taken up. A lanky, frizzy-haired Irishman was chatting excitedly to a shorter man with dark hair that fell across his face. It seemed the dark-haired man was in a coma and the frizzy-haired man was quite close to him. The next one was Welsh, of Asian descent with dyed blonde hair, dip-dyed lime green. She had a little girl beside her and was reading a book while the girl played with blocks. The man in the bed opposite, beside Ricky and Hiro, was large, bulky and had dark hair and stubble. He was fast asleep and snoring.
Hiro sat on the edge of the bed he'd been assigned and Garnet joined him shortly, mouth full of something he'd smuggled from the kitchen. Bayside glared at him. "I told you ten times you can't eat in here."
Garnet didn't reply. He instead looked curiously at the other patients. Each one had a proper little medical chart and their names on a little whiteboard and everything. It was all very official.
"Can I get up now?" Richard asked wearily.
"Sure, why not? Geraint! Get back in bed!" He crossed over to the other side of the room and started checking the dark-haired coma man's obs. Richard slid off his bed, decided lanky Geraint didn't look to sick or injured to be walking around, and went over to his friends.
Garnet put his hand into his coat pocket, his hand closing around Wilbur's hilt. "Find Mortis?"
"He could be anywhere. There isn't even the slightest hint where he could be. Until we know Franz' update, I'm at a bit of a loss at what to do here...and I do not want to hang around here with Absurdity and his 'patients'."
Garnet sighed. "I'll find Mortis then." He got up to go.
"Sit down, Garnet!"
"It's my fault though..."
He sighed. "All in good time. He's Mortis. He can look after himself."
"I hope you're right about that..."
Anton heaved Memphis through the doors of the Sanctuary and the administrator came to help. He explained briefly who Mem and Indishan were and asked if they could use the medical facilities and the administrator agreed. Besides, if they refused, who knew how America and Australia would react? Memphis wasn't the best detective they had, but he was one of the old favourites of Bisahalani. Once he had a bed, he went for a walk around the Sanctuary. Well, really he was looking for a bathroom so he could wash his hands and maybe sponge any blood off his coat and shirt. Instead he got lost. He passed the Elders, paused, turned to watch them go and felt, seeing as he still planned to pretend to be Serpine, it was best his friend didn't know he was still alive. Erskine turned and Anton bit his lip, thinking 'shit'. He narrowed his eyes, slight recognition clouding them, but it seemed he was unable to place the raven-haired man before him.
"You look familiar." He finally stated.
Anton shrugged one shoulder. "I get that a lot, Grand Mage." He made a point of sounding ever so slightly bitter. He must have sounded too bitter though, as Erskine gave a shocked and somewhat miserable frown.
"I'm sorry...what's your name?"
He thought about lying, but as he was trying to make the decision, "Anton" was already passing his lips.
The Grand Mage paled. "Oh-kay, things just got a little Twilight Zone..." Anton smirked a little. "I think I know why you look familiar, and I'm pretty certain you should be dead."
"So does that mean you're not happy to see me?"
"Jesus Christ, I'm shocked. And currently I don't believe you."
Anton shrugged again. "I don't blame you. Hey, guess what?"
"I'm apparently a wanted criminal now. Also I've forgotten...most of my life." He nodded. "Amnesia rules. You should try it some time."
"Uh, no thanks. Why a criminal?"
"Eh, some English bloke talked me into pressing a special little button. Apparently I destroyed the Middle East or something. Or the East East. Not quite sure. Oh, there's a convict behind you." Erskine spun, wide-eyed and found himself glaring maliciously at Mortis, who had found a bunch of bananas somewhere. He paused before offering them out.
"Okay, this is weird. What the fuck is going on?"
Anton suppressed a laugh and Mortis explained. "We went after Serpine. Didn't get as far as him though. Anyway, we're here with these two detectives. Heatwave of America and Anonymous of Australia?"
"Yeah, I know 'em."
"The American's using the medical facilities here and the Australian is just a tag-along...
"Wait a second...you went after Serpine? You?"
"Anything to stop the Faceless things." He smiled and nodded to Anton. "Weeeee had a plan."
Anton rolled his eyes. "We were going to replace the general, and we think, if we play it right, we still can."
"No offence, but I think you're nuts."
"We just need someone who looks more like Serpine. Because currently they want to use me and I don't look like him."
Erskine hesitated. "Do you have a death wish?"
He shrugged. "We need tactic."
"And how in Hell's way would I tell the other Sanctuaries or anyone without alerting?"
"You wouldn't. If I die, I die."
Mortis grinned. "And then I would be happy and Mevolent's lot would have been weakened by us from the inside!" Ravel glared at him and he offered him a banana again.
Anton shrugged. "It's probably never going to happen anyway." He reached across his friend and took one off Mortis himself. "Just speculation. Like I said, we need someone to actually do the taking over thing. How's Madame Mist by the way?"
"Uh, yeah, she's good..."
"We were going to name one of our kids after you..."
"Really? Cool. Do it."
"But you're alive now."
Mortis put his hand up. "Ooh, ohh, can I be Godfather?"
((Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! I don't know where I'm going with anything! Then I named the chapter with Ursa and he didn't physically appear once so I had to change it...goddamnit...))