Thursday, March 14, 2013

Insert Bad Superhero Name Here (part 3 of 4)

A week since the day Rhia was discovered dead. Seven days. One hundred and sixty-eight hours. Ten thousand and eighty minutes. However one counted the passing time, it was a waking nightmare for the Society. One of their own was gone. They'd recovered, for the most part but it was an oddly shaped hole she left behind. Certain smells would have one person or another peek their head in to see what was cooking, hoping it was Rhia, only to see another agent and turn away.

It'd been five days since the Will had been read. It helped somewhat, leaving a happy, or at least pleasant, end note.

Tash and Valerie had kept quiet on the disappearing body. It made Valerie even guiltier, and left Tash at a complete loss. Both were confused as to why her body would disappear like that. It simply didn't make sense.

It'd been two days since anyone had seen Cristoph. They didn't even know where he was in the Library, let alone if he was in his room or not. Knowing him, this was understandable, and a Search and Rescue mission would be launched if there was no sign of him in another few days.

An alert sounded in the Monitor room, loud and blaring. The screens all flashed and turned to the same image. This happened only when a Sue that had already been encountered by an agent resurfaced in another fandom. All known stats appeared, along with the name of the agent that originally faced off against them, and any others if applicable.

Michael's expression turned dark, and he hit the comm. button. "Phoenixia, call an Emergency Society meeting. We've got a Sue in the Kick Ass fandom."


Rhia heard the screech of a door opening and closing, and steel-toed boots hitting a metal floor before Roxelana came into view, a huge smile on her face.

"Hello again dear. How have you been doing?"

Rhia glared.

"Oh, that's right. You lost your voice. I'm sorry about that, my dear. It's time soon, though." She giggled, and turned in a little circle. "You know, you've been here for about two days. And we've had such fun. Time flies so fast. You're a very good screamer; I hope you take that as a compliment. Your voice carried quite a ways away." She sighed, and put a hand to her face as if in thought. "Who is this Cristoph you were screaming for, dear? A brother?"

Rhia started pulling against her bonds frantically, teeth bared in an expression of frustration.

"Ooooh, from your reaction there I guess not. A lover, then?" Her hands clasped together in excitement. "His reaction when he found you dead must have been priceless. I wonder if @'s got footage…"

The bonds around Rhia's wrists started to rub the skin raw as she pulled.

"I guess I can go after him next then. All I have to do is play a recording of your screams and he'd follow me to the ends of the Earth. Oh, this is just perfect."

Rhia had stopped struggling and stared at Roxelana with enough hate that it was possible that she would just spontaneously combust.

"Didn't think it was possible for plans to go this smoothly. Oh, yes, everything's going nicely. You didn't lose your voice from all your screaming, though many would have. It was in the water I was giving you, a handy little chemical that made your vocal cords swell up completely. You can't say a thing! And that's not the last thing I'm going to take away. No, first were your friends, and then your voice. Next it's your hearing, and then your sight. And then, well…" She shrugged. "You'll go the way of your clone."

Rhia clenched her jaw.


"Kick Ass isn't a kind fandom. It's violent, and it's all too easy to die there. From what Tash's Plot Summary has told us, the main character almost did. Twice." Michael said at the head of the table.

"Then why call a meeting? Just have a Society muster and beat the crap out whatever Sue is there." Ben asked.

"People are wary of vigilantes in this fandom. And it has a real world effect. If we suddenly start throwing around magic powers, we're gonna catch attention." Michael paused. "Also, it's a Sue we've dealt with before. Roxelana."

One of the chairs was suddenly missing the person that was sitting in it, spinning from the speed of his departure.

"Cristoph! Wait!" Michael's shout was a bit futile. "Well, I was going to have three people volunteer, and I guess he's one of them. Anyone else?"

"Count me in. Been wanting to beat on something lately and haven't had the chance." Willie raised his hand.
Ingrid slowly raised hers. "I'll go."

Michael was surprised. "You sure?"

"Yeah." She nodded, lips pursed. "I can do this."

"Ok. Valerie, be ready in case they come back with injuries. This fandom is fond of bullets."


Cristoph dashed across a roof, nothing more than a black blur to any who might have seen him. Unlikely. It was dark, and the lights in this neighborhood were orange and dim; nowhere near the strength they needed to be to reveal him to anyone. The edge of the building loomed, he jumped, and landed square on the next building, three feet up. He kept going.

Running like this was a bit of a relief. It drowned out all the thoughts he'd been having lately, the red splash that was almost permanently shadowed on the back of his eyelids. The wind whistling by his ears filled the silence that pushed in his ears; it was either that or a gargled scream.

He shook his head violently. Musing on something that had already happened would not help things now!

A flash of movement caught Cristoph's eye, and he slowed down to let the person catch up.

"You're new in town." The girl had violently electric purple hair, a mask over her eyes, a leather jacket zipped shut, and a plaid, knee-length skirt over leather pants.


"I'm Hit Girl."


Hit Girl narrowed her eyes. "You shouldn't tell anyone your real name; it'll bite you in the butt later."

Cristoph shrugged. "I'm not going to be here long. Looking for someone."

"There's a new girl on the beat. You looking for her?"

"Possibly." He looked sideways at her. "What does she look like?"

"Tall. Thin, black hair, black eyes. Calls herself Black Abyss. Quite a bit of a looker."

"That's her, most likely."

"Been keeping an eye on her." Hit Girl crossed her arms. "Don't quite trust her motivations. Something always seems off. Always gets out of things with the least casualties that I've ever seen. And she always comes out unscathed. You have something to settle with her?"

"Of a sort." Cristoph shrugged again.

"I want in on the take-down. I know where her center of operations is, I can take you."


"Three days. At the harbor. Six pm." Hit Girl turned and disappeared into the shadows.


Roxelana skipped into Rhia's view, a smile on her face. She waved at her.

The Sue started to say something, covered her mouth in fake shock, and pointed. She got very close, face only a couple inches from Rhia's, and tapped her own ears in understanding. She smirked.

Rhia snarled, lip curling up and showing teeth. Her rage was only a mask, however; her hands were gripping the armrests and her knuckles were white.

Roxelana smiled fondly and patted Rhia on the head. She backed up and brought out a five inch knife, eyeing the edge before her shoulders shook in a giggle.


The sun was setting behind the three agents and one vigilante, lengthening their shadows far beyond what was normal. The dockyard was quiet for that time of day, wind whispering through the crate aisles where instead there should have been the sound of slamming metal, the shouts of the dockworkers, and the rumble of ships' horns.

Ingrid, Willie, Cristoph and Hit Girl hid in the shadow of one of the cargo crates to the front and right of the target crate.

"So, what's the battle plan?" Willie whispered.

"Pincer movement. We wait until she comes out and then don't let her—Wait!" Hit Girl stopped when she realized Cristoph wasn't in the huddle anymore. "Where'd the ninja go?"

Ingrid pointed. "Up there."

Cristoph was on top of the second level of cargo crates, looking almost straight down on what intel said was Roxelana's headquarters. He'd drawn one of his sai in one hand and three shuriken in the other. His focus was completely on the doors of the crate, waiting for his prey to come out.

"Okaaaay... I guess that's his position." Hit Girl shrugged. An overhead strike would work just fine for this. "We wait until she comes out and then attack her all at once. Willie, you stay here and rush her from the far side. Ingrid, you'll rush her from the center. I'll rush her from the far left until you have her thoroughly distracted, and then I'll try and break into that crate. I know Black Abyss has some info on the more prominent gang leaders."

The other two nodded and they got into position. Cristoph hadn't moved from his spot on higher ground, and had become nearly invisible against the backdrop of a black painted crate.

Then, fifteen minutes later, the door to the crate creaked open and a tall, wraith-like girl walked out. Dressed in a black, skintight cat suit, and black boots, with raven's wing black hair done in a braided ponytail. It was Black Abyss, or to the Society agents, Roxelana Ambrosia Aurelius Terelli.

Simultaneously, Willie, Ingrid and Hit Girl shot forward towards their target. Though Roxelana was surprised, she recovered quickly and pulled her steel batons from their holsters, already moving to attack the oncoming trio. But a trio of shuriken from the shadows forced her back as they embedded themselves in the concrete near her feet even as their owner leapt out of the shadows at her. She darted left to avoid him and found herself face-first with Hit Girl.

Metal ground against metal as the cross of the batons caught Hit Girls' naginata. The Sue shoved the bladed weapon aside and snapped a baton at the masked girl's head and forcing Hit Girl to leap back or get a sizable dent in her skull. The vigilante whirled, her heel catching Roxelana on the face and as the Sue stumbled, thrust her weapon forwards. But the Sue was quick and deflected the blade so it only left a harmless rip in her outfit. A rapid exchange of weapons' blows followed and then Hit Girl caught Roxelana's wrist as it came at her for an outside swing, creating the opening necessary to kick her a dozen feet towards Ingrid.

"You-" Still off balance from the kick, Roxelana's parry was too wide as Ingrid's knife sliced a red line down her right arm. "You-!" But then Ingrid's knife went clattering to the ground as the Sue made a swift in-step, smashing one baton across the Agent wrist and the other across throat, dropping Ingrid to her knees as she gasped for air before a kick to the face sent her sprawling backwards.

Willie came next, his barber razor's glinting slightly as he slashed at the Sue's head, but his choice of weapons had put him too far into Roxelana's reach and she easily leaned back to avoid the slash and then smashed a baton into his forehead, leaving him dazed and reeling. A second passed and he was suddenly staring at the sky, only vaguely realizing that she had swept his feet out from under him.

The light flashed and a spark flew as Roxelana blocked the blur that filled the space that Willie had just vacated, the razor edge of the sword blade not an inch from her head.

"I have a score to settle with you, Sue."

Ingrid called out, "You sure about this, Cristoph?"

Roxelana heard the name and just started to laugh, chin up and mouth open. Her guard even dropped, but everyone else was too surprised to take advantage of it. "You're Cristoph? Oh, this is just perfect. I get to gloat."

Cristoph raised an eyebrow. "Your point?"

"Oh, you must've gotten there too late. Did you break down in tears? Did you scream, throw something? Oh, even better, did you clutch at the body, hoping she would wake up? What'ja do? I'm curious." She giggled, then, a high pitched number that grated on everybody's nerves.

It was starting to click in the agent's minds.

"You…" Willie whispered.

"Yes, me." She grinned and turned back to Cristoph. "She called for you. Or, well…" Roxelana shrugged. "She tried. Hard to do with a second mouth."

Cristoph was shaking now, in anger, and was making no move to hide it. Hit Girl was using this distraction to work on the nasty-looking lock on the cargo crate.

"You won't leave this fandom free, Roxelana. If I have it my way, you won't leave it alive."

She sneered. "Prove it."

Cristoph dashed at Roxelana, his blade flashing for her head. But at the last second, she blocked with a baton in a clang of metal and spun around his sword arm, using the momentum from the spin to smash her other baton into his back, sending him stumbling and then sprawling forwards.

"Gah!" Wincing, he turned to face his opponent again, his hand flicking out as he did. Fountains of smoke erupted near Roxelana's feet and she coughed and staggered, blinking her watery-eyes to clear them enough just in time to see Cristoph rushing towards her. The sais crossed at her throat, an inch away from nicking the skin, and he pushed her back until she slammed against a cargo crate wall.

"You killed her! Why?" He towered over her, very much the dark void he said he was.

Roxelana giggled. "She caught my attention."

Cristoph drew back his sais and grabbed her by the neck, lifting her up until her feet were off the ground. "That's it? That's the only reason?" He snarled, and threw her on the ground. Roxelana landed hard on her back.

"Oh, did I make you upset again? I'm sorry. Let me make it all better." Grabbing her batons from where they had fallen, she flipped off the ground and gave Cristoph an uppercut with her baton that had him spitting blood. She giggled again.

"No more. I'm done with you." He rushed her one more time, fast, and this time she couldn't dodge. His tackle pushed her face first into the ground. Keeping his knee in the small of her back, he drew out a pair of Prohibitors and slapped them on her hands behind her back.

Cristoph drew her up roughly to her knees and looked her in the eye. "You will stay put. You will not resist when we bring you in. If you as much as twitch wrong, I'll place this dart," he drew out a thin, almost invisible blow dart out of a compartment in his ninjato's scabbard, "right into your neck. It's laced with fugu poison. It's a neurotoxin that stops your breathing bit by bit. I would enjoy watching you die slowly."

Roxelana stared, and started to giggle. "Oh, wow. Sounds like fun." She continued to snicker quietly to herself.

Cristoph recoiled, disgusted. "You can't be serious." No response, Roxelana was in her own little world, amused at something only she could think of.

Ingrid walked up. "Ready to go?"

"Yeah." He eyed the Sue talking to herself on the ground. "I'll be happy to put her in a deep, dark cell and completely forget about her."

"Hey, Cristoph," Hit Girl called from the doors of the crate. "C'mere."

"Hold on!" He turned to Willie. "Watch her; I'll be back in a minute."

"Right." He turned and grinned at Roxelana, looking not all that sane himself. "So, you're the one to blame for Rhia's death? This'll be fun." Hellfire bloomed to life in his hands.


Cristoph jogged over to where Hit Girl was standing, looking oddly nervous. "Yeah? Look, we've got what we came for, and so do you, thanks for your help…"

Hit Girl jerked a thumb behind her. "Took a look around, didn't see anything in the way of papers, but for some reason Black Abyss had a hostage. Tried to get her to talk so I could help her, but she just flinched away from me and didn't say anything." She shrugged. "Maybe you could do something?"

"Did you say 'her'?" Cristoph asked, suddenly looking very intense.

"Yeah, there's a girl—" Cristoph tore into the crate. She stared at the spot he was just in. "Haven't seen anyone move that fast in a long time." She shrugged it off and went to talk to Ingrid. Maybe she would say just why Cristoph had been so intent after Black Abyss.


It was a lot darker in the crate than outside, with the only source of light coming from a dim, orange hued light bulb near the front. The crate itself was barren of anything except two chairs, some cut rope, a knife, and a lump in the back left corner.

Further inspection of the lump revealed it as a person sitting on the floor, knees bent, head tucked in, and arms wrapped around their knees.

Cristoph took a few steps closer, and then rubbed at his eyes to make sure they were working right. "Rhia?"

Rhia didn't move. He placed a hand on her shoulder and she cringed away from it, tucking herself further into the corner. He pulled his hand away as he narrowed his eyes. Something was wrong.

He snapped his fingers next to her ear with no reaction, and realized she was completely deaf. And most likely blind as well or she would have looked up to see what it was next to her.

He sat down next to her, as close as he could without touching. She sat there, knuckles white where they gripped her elbows. Ever so softly, he rested his hand on hers. She tensed, but didn't move this time. She couldn't, stuck between what she saw as a danger and the wall. He left it there, and didn't move. A moment passed, and then another. Her grip on her elbows lightened. Cristoph waited, patiently. Her hand under his twitched, lifting slightly and turning over. Her fingers started rubbing over that hand, feeling the calluses and small scars there, marks that Roxelana did not have. She started to uncurl from the ball she put herself in. She turned towards him, other hand reaching for another point of contact. Cristoph took that hand and brought it up to his face.

It only took a few seconds for Rhia to rub her thumb over the edge of his cowl and run her fingers along his facial structure to realize who he was.

She clutched at him for all she was worth, tears streaming down her face. Cristoph gathered her up in his arms and held her tightly, burying his face into her hair, rubbing small circles on her back.


It'd been thirty minutes since the third member of their group had gone into the crate to investigate exactly what was in there. Willie and Ingrid knew Cristoph could take care of himself, but if it was taking this long, then something really had his attention. Hit Girl had left a few minutes ago, citing that she had other obligations.

"I'm gonna go see what's taking Cristoph so long. We've got the Sue, and the longer we're here…" Ingrid stopped short. The door creaked open, squeaky hinges heralding a departure. Cristoph walked out, a figure held in his arms bridal style. "Who's that… oh God…" Ingrid's jaw dropped to the ground.

"What's going on?" Willie craned his head around Ingrid's shoulder and almost lost control of his Hellfire in shock. "Is that…?"

"Rhia? Yeah, I think so." Ingrid whirled around and grabbed Willie by the shoulders. "Get that plot hole set up. Call ahead and have Valerie get ready for her. This is the first bit of really good news the Society's had in a while."

Willie nodded, eyes set.

Ingrid ran up and matched Cristoph's pace. "Is she ok?"

"No. She's deaf, blind, and mute; didn't even know it was me at first." Now that Ingrid was closer, she could tell that Rhia's eyes were wide open, but not focused on anything. Her hands had a death grip on a part of Cristoph's shirt, knuckles almost bone white. "I want to get her home."

"Already set up, Willie's got the plot hole up and running."

"Thank you, Lady Ingrid."


Valerie was tapping away on a computer, finishing up a report when she heard a clatter from the med ward. She craned her head around the door and her eyes went wide. Rhia was up and experiencing a panic attack. Knowing her empathy only worked one way, Valerie sped across the corridor.

"Cristoph!" Said ninja immediately appeared.

"Yes, Lady Valerie?"

"Rhia's up and experiencing a panic attack, I need your help to get her to… calm… down." He was already halfway to the medical ward by the time she had finished. Valerie trotted after him.

He arrived to the sound of Rhia hyperventilating. Rushing over and at a complete loss of what else to do, he hugged her. She stiffened for moment, surprised, but relaxed when she recognized who it was that was hugging her. Gripping his arm hard enough to leave marks behind, she struggled to slow her breathing down. It helped that he was rubbing small circles into her back.

"-istoph?" Rhia's voice was soft, high pitched, and scratchy. He hugged her tighter in response. "Water."

He looked around, but couldn't find anything nearby until he saw Valerie with a paper cup and a pitcher.

"I'll leave you two alone for now. Be careful, she's still on edge from everything." She turned to go with a smile on her face. This was the first bit of definite good news anyone had had in a while.

He handed Rhia the cup and she moved slowly, feeling where the rim of the cup was before taking a swallow.

"Thanks." Her voice was still quiet, but not as scratchy as before. "I still… can't hear-or, or see anything." Cristoph made to sit down on the chair next to the bed. "Stay with me, up here? Please?" He wasn't as reluctant as he thought he'd be when he raised the front half of the bed and got in, placing Rhia in his lap and wrapping his arms around her. She practically melted into the embrace.

"It's quiet. It's so quiet. Can't even hear myself talk. I know am, I can feel it." She shuddered. "Need to say it all now, while I can't hear myself or I won't be able to say it." She curled into herself again, pressing her cheek into Cristoph's shoulder. "She took things away from me little by little. After a couple days it was my voice. Two days of screaming and then I couldn't say a word. Couple more days after that I couldn't hear anything. Then my sight. And it just didn't disappear immediately; it… faded, like a final scene in a movie. Details went fuzzier than ever without my glasses, color grayed out, and then it just kept getting darker and darker on me. Remember staring directly at that light bulb… That light bulb went darker and darker on me like it was on a dimmer and someone kept turning the switch down." She shuddered again.

Rhia went silent, and stayed that way until she fell asleep again.


Rhia woke up the next morning to the slight sound of breathing and the hum of the air running through the vents. She moved, and the bed creaked. She heard the sound her hands made when she clapped them together. She blinked, hard, but no luck. She couldn't see. Still. Darn it.

"Cristoph, you there?" She felt a hand take her right one. She smiled, her first in a while. "I can hear, now. I certainly hear myself talking."

"That's good, milady." His voice was strained.

"It's really nice to hear you."

"Rhia… do you know what she did to make it seem as though you were dead?" The lack of a title surprised Rhia, and her eyebrows shot up in confusion.

"Well, she said she got a clone and killed it… but… you found me so I figured that you knew it was fake." She shrugged and smiled, but that smile disappeared with Cristoph's next few words.

"Oh, Rhia, no, she… it worked. Angels, it worked so well. The lights went out, Marcus and a few others heard you scream, we all ran to the kitchen, and saw what we thought was your body on the floor, throat cut. We didn't know what to think. Least of all to think that it might be a body double. A few suspected Willie, but that didn't wash over well." He hugged her suddenly, she squeaked at just how tightly he was holding her. "We all thought you were gone, in a way we couldn't get you back, we had a wake, and… we heard your will."

Rhia turned red. Didn't matter if she couldn't see, she still went bright as a cherry.

"I, uh… erm, I… that was…"

"Rhiannon." She stopped stammering and froze. He took her chin in his fingers and turned it in the direction of his face. "If you didn't have the courage then, take the courage now, and say it here. You should not have any regrets. Not with that." His voice was low, deep, and full of something that Rhia couldn't quite identify.

She opened her mouth a couple of times and then determinedly shut it. She blinked, and said, "Cristoph Asahina. I love you."

She stopped breathing completely when she felt his lips against hers. Her heart stopped and then went three times faster than normal. Everything else went out the window. All that mattered was then and there and the fact that Cristoph was kissing her.

Cristoph slipped his hands under her and pulled her to him, taking her out of the bed and placing her in his lap. They separated, and Rhia was completely breathless.

"I lost you, and by complete and total luck I have you back. I'm not going to waste it." He kissed her again, this time deeper and longer. At the end, Cristoph rested his forehead on Rhia's.

"That was… really, really nice."

Cristoph smiled, even though she couldn't see it.

"One thing, though."


"Wish I could see you. Would make this much more enjoyable."

Cristoph laughed; one of the rare times Rhia had ever heard him do so. "It won't be too difficult to start this up again, Rhiannon."

"Mmm. Sounds good."

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