The Cuban Mage was sat cross-legged on a bed, in the shirt he had worn for eight years straight but that was now, after many wash cycles, clean. The jeans he wore were too big for him. He neither knew nor cared who they belonged to. The same went for the phone in his hand. It was an old model and wasn't working very well, and had little signal, but at least Perseus made a note of any phone numbers he may have needed to take note of. One of these was that of a contact, something to do with that girl he had worked with...he couldn't remember the contact, but he had tried Jasmin's phone several times.
The call was picked up. "Hallo?" Asked a heavily accented voice, before saying something in French.
A name came to Perseus' mind. "Agression?"
He could sense the ill smirk from Agression. "Ah, vous vous souvenez de moi...a qui je parle?"
"Uh...I don't speak French..."
"Where are you, Agression?"
"Quebec...you'll never guess what I've found."
"Three little girls, living with their uncle, a low level Adept Mage...I am interested in these children..."
"Are they in danger?" Alarm bells began ringing in Perseus' head, always so concerned for children.
"Wait, one of the girls is the man's daughter...they are in danger..."
"Who are they? Do you know names?"
"Lydie, Clarice and Comfort. I have been watching them for a while."
His anxiety rose. "What sort of danger are they in? Agression?"
"Lydie and Clarice...are those not two of the daughters of the French Detective, Orage?"
"He's Grand Mage-" Perseus spat before he could stop himself. There was something in Agression's tone that was making him untrustworthy. "Facheux Agression, tell me what danger they are in, give me details, let me assess."
There was a sickening chuckle, a crash of glass...Perseus gasped as he heard the screams. "Agression!"
"They are in danger of me!" There was an hysterical laugh, more screaming, and then came the threat. "I'd like to see the Grand Mage. The French one. You think you can arrange that?"
Perseus found all words had left him. He made a few odd noises and listened to another laugh.
"I'll take that as a yes. You and your little web of contacts know what to do, and you of all people should know where to find me..." The connection was cut. The Cuban Mage sat there, trying to catch his breath Charles would be thrilled. He put down the phone and it began to ring. He picked it up again.
"This is Babs. We need to talk, Nyx."
"Nyx is not here. I am Perseus."
"What the hell are you doing with Nyx's phone?!"
"Trying to track down the French Grand Mage."
There was silence, some faint voices on the other end of the line, and a crackle as the phone was passed to someone new. "Who is this? Charles?" Jasmin asked, high-strung.
"Perseus. Charles is...elsewhere...but perfectly fine. I...where are you?"
"You need to get to Canada."
"Lydie and Clarice. They're in danger. I'm going to contact Nightwish and Fiable."
"I know the man who did this, I know what he's like. I have a plan, Jasmin."
Jasmin bit his lip, but agreed to Perseus' terms as the plan was explained to him. He turned to the other men in the room. "I need to get to Canada...Toronto."
Fred gave a sharp nod. "I can arrange that...why?"
"Matter of life and death. Bad man has my daughters and niece."
Fred nodded again. "I know the feeling."
Lelenny gave him a confused look. "You do?"
He ignored him, taking out his phone. "This won't take long, Mr Orage."
Charles sighed, sitting at a table on a door. Pons sat opposite him, playing cards. Charles scowled when his phone went off. "Hallo?" He asked down the line as Pons won the round.
"Jasmin's safe. We're going to Toronto. Meet me there. It's am emergency."
"What...what sort of emergency?"
"Your nieces, Lydie and Clarice. Also Jasmin's niece, a girl named Comfort."
"They're in danger. Meet me and Jasmin and Cadence at Toronto airport."
He heaved a heavy sigh as he closed the connection. He went to pack his bag with clothes and food that didn't belong to him and snuck away from the house after taking enough money that wasn't his to buy a plane ticket to Toronto. This wasn't going to be good at all.
A couple of hours of an oddly turbulent flight later, and he disembarked into Canada. It was a nice summers day, and he had unknowingly been on the same flight as two of his contacts.
Charles spotted Perseus as he was getting his bags. He didn't approach him until they had passed passport control, by which point he had also spotted Cadence. Cadence approached Perseus first.
"Cay! Glad you could make it!" He sped up and Cay tried to keep pace with him. It was difficult in her heels.
"Persey, you didn't tell me what this was about?"
"No..." She scowled as she spotted someone in a cafe, trying to stem a nose bleed. "You didn't tell me Jasmin was involved, either."
Charles came up behind them and cleared his throat. "Please tell me I haven't just disturbed two complete strangers...please, you two are Perseus and Cadence? I am really having trouble with my sight right now..."
Perseus nodded and took his boyfriend's hand. "I have an optician in my contacts. He's a miracle worker. Dorcas. You'll have to make do with a, uh, set of contact lenses though. He doesn't do glasses."
Dorcas held an instrument to Charles' eye. Cadence sat opposite Jasmin, who kept his eyes on the floor. Pons Exitacion sat between them, feet on the table, and Perseus was behind Charles' chair. Cadence scowled. "We were engaged."
Jasmin lowered his head even more.
"My sister had just died. You broke up with me and told me to leave the country! Why the hell would you do that?"
Jasmin mumbled something about Pourri.
"My ex-wife had just died, Cadence...you, her, Charles and Moineaux were the only people I trusted...two of them died, I saw their bodies and it made me sick. I didn't want to see another person close to me die, I had to cut off connection to them, I had to stop them being targets, and it hasn't worked! My daughters have still been kidnapped, are still being used against me, because of my stupid position of power! It means I can't be a good friend, or a good father, or anything!"
"He was worried about you...scared that he was going to get you killed." Charles offered.
"Everyone I get close to dies, and it's always my fault they were attacked!"
Charles pulled a face. "I started the fight that got Jalousie and Moyen and Poupee and all the rest killed, not you..."
"Keep your eyes open." Dorcas scolded.
Jasmin whimpered. "I dragged all of them along to the stupid club. Over half of you didn't want to go..."
"But I started the fight! You had nothing to do with it, I threw the punch that got all of McMooney and Vehemence's friends on our case!"
"I'm pregnant!" Cadence told Jasmin furiously. "Did you know that? I'm bloody pregnant and...and I've been pushed out to deal with everything by myself..."
"I'm not coping with any of this at all!" Jasmin shrieked back. "My daughter is dead, her mother is dead, my eldest blames me for both of those happening! It may well be my fault! I cannot run a country, my Sanctuary is compromised, France is under Mevolent's rule now, I've doomed my entire country, it was all I could do to so much as attempt to keep you and the girls safe, and I've failed that as well, haven't I?" He shrunk back, using the bloody tissues he'd been using for his nose to mop up the tears on his face.
Dorcas carefully placed a pair of contact lenses into Charles' eyes. The French Mage blinked rapidly, not liking the feeling at all. He frowned once he could see. His worse eye was seeing clear now, and that was the problem. He could see Jasmin's arms from here, where the jacket had pushed up a little. "You've been burning yourself..." he stated, dismayed.
The Grand Mage paled a little and tugged his sleeves down as far as they would go. "Shut up, Charles."
Cadence shook her head. It was now her turn to look at the floor.
Lydie struggled against the chains binding her to the wall. Clarice simply wailed. Agression appeared to be enjoying it. He didn't seem to notice the group of people coming through the window, not until they got to the stairs, when he turned and fired a gun into their midst. Pons was pitched head-first down the stairs. Jasmin fell over the railing, reaching out wildly and pulling poor Perseus with him. They both slowed their descent with the air, but Jasmin still had Persey land painfully on his freshly burnt arms. Charles got shot in the shoulder and Cadence shadow-walked away. Agression laughed, approaching the children. "Frivolidad, I thought you knew me better than that." He pulled a shot gun from his back, grinning, and pointed it at the two little girls. Jasmin groaned, pushed Perseus off him and saw.
"No! Stop!" He shrieked. He would have no chance of getting to Agression before he shot the gun, so, using the air, he launched himself at his daughters, throwing himself in front of them, confident his old jacket would protect them as he heard the double-barrel gun go off. He felt a sharp pain in his back, and a thunk beside it. Of course. His bullet-proof jacket was so old, so battered, that parts of it were no longer bullet-proof. Lucky shot, he thought as he heard the man reload. Perseus had been knocked out when he hit his head on the rail on the way over. Pons was unconscious. Charles couldn't see what was going on from where he was sat, trying to stem the bleed of his shoulder. Jasmin sobbed, doing his best to cover his daughters with his own body. The last thing to go through his mind was two large, lead bullets. He didn't die instantly. He knelt there, tears streaming, agony overwhelming, struggling to get a breath in. Lydie's amber eyes met his, watching in horror as the life left his eyes and he went limp over his two precious little girls. She began screaming and crying.
Charles frowned at the sound of his niece's screams. He got shakily to his feet, clutching his injured shoulder hard, and stumbled to the edge of the landing he was on. His eyes widened as he saw the blood on the back of Jasmin's head. His breathing became a little uneasy. Perseus came round with a heavy groan and Agression turned to him, reloading his shot gun. Charles flew to the bottom of the metal stairs, tripping over Pons' body and sprawling on the floor. He scrambled to his feet, ran to block Perseus from the line of fire. There was a wheezing sound coming from his boyfriend, worth concern. He spread his arms and legs out, like he was blocking a football goal. Then a hand reached from his torso, and Agression stopped grinning. He hadn't finished reloading yet. He had been gloating. Now he was rushing, dropping his bullets, terrified of getting sliced by that Gist...It was on him before he knew what was happening. He screamed as Charles Fiable's Gist raked its claws across his face and torso, doing such severe damage that he was dead in seconds. The Gist was pulled back into the French Detective, and he stumbled back, tripped and found his butt coming down hard on Perseus' chest. The Cuban Mage gave a pained wheeze and Charles willed himself to get up. His legs were like jelly, and he fell forward off his boyfriend. He looked up, saw Perseus rubbing his chest with an open hand, struggling for breath. Asthma attack. He closed the hand, kneading his chest with his fist, desperate to get some air in. Charles got to his hands and knees, looking desperately around. He went to check Agression's person, but found nothing of use. He looked at the three girls, chained together beneath Jasmin. He shakily made his way to them, pulled his brother-in-law off them and asked them desperately if any of them had asthma.
The girl he didn't recognise, Comfort, nodded. "I do...why?" She turned her head, craning her neck, and saw the fallen men, heard the wheezing.
"Do you have your inhaler on you?"
"My back pocket."
Charles nodded, digging his fingers into the pockets of her jeans, then running back to Perseus, giving him the medicine, trying his best to help him breathe.
Zacharie Souvenir and Jasmin Orage had both been killed. The brothers were laid to rest side by side, by Cadence's command, in Ireland. She refused to have them resting in a country ruled over by Mevolent. Comfort, Lydie and Clarice were put under the care of their last uncle, Charles. Charles and Perseus were staying with Dorcas, in Ireland, as for the moment nowhere else was safe for them. Pons was in hospital, having not yet woken up. His ID had identified him under his given name, Marion Darcy. Marion's condition was not good. He had broken a femur, dislocated a shoulder and was lucky not to have broken his neck. As it was, his skull was fractured. His skull! He had hit his head more times than would ever be healthy on those metal stairs. Cadence was making her way back to where Belinda used to live, now completely lost inside. Jasmin had died with her furious with him...
((Dear Fabi, writing this chapter made me cry. Please feel free to attack me with glitter throwers and flame throwers and glitter flames and all the rest.))