Ricky woke up in a bed. He had missed beds. He was sure beds had missed him. A quick survey of the room told him he was in his own home. He snuggled back into the bed with a small sigh. The door opened and someone came and put something on the bedside table. He could smell newspaper. Before him stood Hiro, who gave him a gentle smile.
"Your mail, scarface."
Ricky propped himself up on his elbows. There was a newspaper on the bedside table underneath a couple of months worth of letters.
"Only the most recent paper, Rick. The rest are recycled."
"Thanks, butthead." He replied, picking up the top letter. He recognised the handwriting. It was from a mortal girl named Kathleen. They had had a one night stand once, a couple of years ago. They kept in contact and suddenly Ricky felt guilty. The letter was almost certainly going to be a chunk of worry about why he wasn't answering his phone and why he hadn't paid his child support. Richard D. Sloane, the envelope said. Richard Sloane had been a bad person. He looked up. Hiro was still standing there.
"Do you need something?"
"A girl called a couple of times. Mortal. Put you on the missing persons register."
"I owe her money." He replied with a shrug.
"Had to call to say you'd turned up."
"I was missing for three months."
Hiro grinned. "I was a murder suspect. It was awesome. I told them about a redhead mugging you and all."
"Well...thanks, I guess."
"No-one's been arrested."
"Tell them to drop charges."
"They'll want to know what happened."
"They never will." He went on to the next letter, something about overdue bills, and snuggled down deeper under the covers. At least his bedroom was warm.
Jerry seemed to find Jayden coming to face him hilarious. "This will be too easy." He proclaimed as the dark-skinned man stood directly opposite him.
"Says you. You hardly know me."
"I know enough, mate." He palmed a knife casually from his back pocket and Jayden froze. He had no weapon. Oh well, when push comes to shove...
Jerry looked a little fazed when he saw the dark-skinned man transform into a massive spider-thing. Looking round, he saw Ass Bandit had already fled, and he let out a groan. "Well, when push comes to shove, guess I gotta see how much spiders like a little fire." He hurled a fire ball, and with his increase in size, Jayden could not dodge it. He just had to take it across the armoured skin and hope he wouldn't get burnt. He swiped down with his talons, but of course Jerry had more room to manoeuvre. He got naught but a scratch as Jayden came for him again.
Russia was interesting. Austin had been many places before, but Russia was not one of them. He found himself staring out the window at the landscape. They were in a scenic part, and Austin normally lived in the complete opposite. He was enjoying the view a fair amount.
River heaved a sigh. Mihai freaked her out a little. Santa was chatting away happily to Xerxes. She just sat on a frozen bed, thinking. She hadn't the slightest clue where her son was, and her husband was dead. She was a remnant. Who even was River Tempest? Oh, great time to have an identity crisis, you stupid girl. She looked around briefly and sighed. The Romanian elder beside Xerxes, the female elder, was flirting with him whenever she could get a word in, she was sure of it. Nightwish was asleep in a somewhat less frozen room, baby asleep on a coffee table as there was some shortness of space. She saw the other two Necromancers stood side by side at the window and wondered how close a couple they were. They had all had a good rest since arriving, but few felt all that awake. Her eyes met with Ursa's and she heaved another sigh. He came over.
"Just about, I guess."
He opened his mouth to speak, but found he had nothing to say. He made a vague 'uh' sound as he racked his brains for some light conversation.
"Guess this is pretty awkward, huh?"
River laughed a little. "And cold. We're in one hell of a situation, huh?"
Ursa nodded, resting his chin on the back of one of his hands. "This whole thing...this war...it's hell..."
Jerry Vehemence lay motionless and slowly, Jayden turned back to normal form and sighed.
"We have to get out of here ASAP." Mortis hissed, shivering slightly. Millie rubbed his arm awkwardly and got a glare for her efforts. Jay came over, limping slightly, but still supported his boyfriend.
"Jay, if you're hurt-"
"You're hurt more, Mort. That makes you more important. Besides, I couldn't live with myself if I let you suffer."
Mortis smiled, dark eyes lighting up as he remembered why he had fallen for Slander in the first place.
"Jay, about that fight earlier..."
"Don't worry about it. Water under the bridge."
"No, really, I need to apologise. I like your protectiveness. It's sweet...just sometimes a bit too much."
He smiled. "I understand. It's not as sweet as you when you get-"
Jayden gasped as he felt the knife plunge into the small of his back. Mortis' eyes widened, not entirely sure what had happened until Jayen fell forward, the hilt of Wilbur sticking out of him. The Necromancer gave a horrified howl and Millie knelt down, pulling the knife out.
"Shadow-walk us, Mort. It's Jay's best chance." Garnet ordered as Millie handed over the knife. Shakily, Mortis did as he was told, but once they were free of the castle, where could they go? Jerry Vehemence, B-J Maleficent and Ass Bandit were all coming up close behind...