Characters: Zero, Cass, Wyatt and Jeb Cain and a OC.
Rating : PG13-16
Disclaimer: I don't claim to own anything.
Summary: Things go from bad to worse.
Table of Contents
Zero nodded to himself. "That should do it," he told Jeb with a smile. "We're ready. Zero to Cass." There was no response. "Cass? Respond please. Burke, do you read? Amaro!" The two barely exchanged a look before racing for the door.
"Amaro," Zero whispered, the man was clutching his stomach beside his sister who was unconscious. They moved beside him, Jeb checking Cass' pulse. A quick nod told him that she was alive.
"He's out there..." Amaro managed to breathe.
"Easy, buddy. Who's out there?"
"Cain..." They exchanged a confused look. "He... stabbed me." It was the last thing he said, did.
Zero scanned the room. "Dad..." Jeb whispered. "The blue! He touched the blue stuff... it must have..."
Zero nodded, pulling up his rifle. "Come on. He might still be close by..."
"What about your sister?"
Zero looked down at her, torn. "Too easy. He'll wanna enjoy it." He glanced over at Jeb who nodded anxiously. Covering their progress, Zero led Jeb into the closest defensible position. As one, they exited into the next room, sweeping the room with their rifles. Satisfied that Cain wasn't nearby they returned to where Cass lay and blocked the door.
"He's coming after us," Jeb whispered. "Isn't he?"
"Maybe... maybe we could reason with him," Jeb whispered desperately. "Make him understand that magic's affecting him."
Zero look was not unsympathetic. "You saw what he did to Amaro. He's not going to listen to us."
"There must be something."
Zero shook his head. "Wyatt was right. We've should have gone after those Longcoats from the very beginning. You don't wait for the enemy to come to you, you go to them." Jeb saw how angry Zero was with himself and the decision that followed that epiphany. What was horrible was that the tactician in him was agreeing. "We're going after him."
"You mean... to kill him."
"If that's what it takes to stop him. Yes," he confirmed, unwilling to lie to the boy, man, after all he's done.
"I know you're hiding somewhere..." Wyatt searched through the tools. "Ah! There you are, darlin'!" He picked up the screwdriver and fiddled with the TSEDPHTL he'd found. The image flickered to like. He pulled out the phone. "Wyatt to Zero. You'll never
guess what I've found... You! Or rather an image of you. At your prime. I guess The Sorceress got off watching this, you reckon?"
Zero and Jeb paused, TSEDPHTL were in the archive area. They'd stumbled across an archive earlier. They started to run. "You know, I can't help but think about your career is a perfect metaphor for our current situation. You must miss it, two real players, two minds. Two strategies. Each trying to outmaneouvre the other... testing the enemy's defences... advancing... retreating
." As they appproached the archives, they split up, taking one door each. "Life is more interesting that way, don't ya think
?" Jeb waited by the door, waiting for Zero's signal. "I haven't had this much fun in years. My heart's
pounding." Zero took up his own position. "The blood is
racing through my veins... I feel
so alive! And I bet
you do too
." Zero send the minute signal to Jeb's phone. Jeb reacted immediately, swinging the door open. He moved inside. Zero did the same. But there was no sign of Wyatt.
Jeb swept his side of the room too, his mind racing with the thought that he may have to shoot his father, worse, shoot to kill him. A light nearby swept beside him and he whirled to see Zero. He looked back at him, an expression of confusion on his face. Where was Wyatt?
Jeb glanced over at the holograph. Zero was executing and torturing some guy. The man was begging for mercy in silence. Before Zero could respond, glass partition fell between them and they were separated. Others were slamming down in front of the other exists, but Zero didn't care about that.
Though the glass he saw Wyatt move up to his son, grabbing him in a choke hold. Zero fired at the glass but it only cracked slightly. "Looks like I've captured your last piece, Zero. Want it back?
Take it from me
"Dammit, Cain! He's your son
." Cain just smirked back and yanked Jeb out of sight. Zero grabbed a nearby pipe and started smashing at the glass, making the cracks grow larger each time. Eventually, the glass cracked enough that the shards fell to the floor. Confronted again with the holograph of himself, he swung his pipe and smashed the TSEDPHTL off its mounting.
"It's your move, Zero
," Wyatt's voice reemerged from his phone. "What are you going to do? Attack? Retreat? Surrender
Zero swallowed. "Wyatt, listen to me. It's magic... it's affecting you. You have to fight it."
Wyatt, standing by a bound Jeb, smirked at the phone. "Fight
it? But I'm enjoying myself. This is the most
exciting game I've played in years!"
"It's not a game
, it is! And the best
thing about it, is that it brings out the player's true
"Where are you, Wyatt
"I saw the look in your eyes when I took Jeb away from you. Did you have that look when you found the charred remains of your 'sister', huh? You wanted to kill me... you wanted to squeeze the life out of me with your bare hands."
"I just wanna make sure your son's ok, that's all
"You're a killer, Zero! You were a killer even before you thought your sister dead. You haven't changed, behind that facade you put up for the princesses! A predator, just. Like. Me."
"I'm nothing like you
"Oh, but you are. You've proved that during The Sorceress' reign. How many resistance members have
you killed? Of your own men
"I don't remember...
"But you remember how it felt
. The Resistance were killing your men. Hurting women, like your sister, hmm? You had to make them pay
. For all the pain they've caused. You enjoyed it, didn't you? You enjoyed watching their life draining from their eyes."
"You want to finish this
game, Wyatt? Fine! Let's finish it. You and me. Face to face."
"I'd like nothing better. We'll meet in the main hall."
"No weapons," Wyatt confirmed. He closed the phone and looked over at his son, tied up against a pillar in the main hall. He held up his rifle to his head. "You have no idea how hard
it is to keep myself from pulling the trigger," he confessed. "But I need you alive."
Zero entered the main hall, rifle at the ready, scanning the place in case Wyatt had some trap set up. He jumped when a heavy body was suddenly beside
him. Looking at it, he realised it was Stolzoff, hung up against the wall, as if a spectator to the proceedings. Down along the walls the others had joined them, including his sister. She was hung by the torso and Zero checked the pulse. It was still there.
"They've come to cheer you on, Zero," Wyatt's voice rang out. Zero stepped towards the source and found him, his rifle pointed at Jeb. "Your loyal team. Guess they've forgiven you for getting all of them killed. Except your sister, but leave the best to last, my mother always said." Wyatt's arm gestured to the other side of the hallway to the two Longcoats. "My
supporters aren't that big of a group, I guess. But they're sure as loyal." Wyatt smiled at Zero's look. "I thought we agreed, no weapons."
Zero gestured with his chin. "What's that?
Wyatt looked down at his own hands. "How did this get here!?" He smiled. "We won't need these," he indicated his rifle. "Put yours down."
"Put it down, or say goodbye to the boy."
"Don't do it, Zero!" Jeb called out.
"He has nothing to worry about," Wyatt told him. "I'm not gonna shoot an unarmed
man. What fun
would that be?" His eyes never wavering from Wyatt, Zero bend and gently put his rifle on the ground. Wyatt smiled. "You wouldn't have another weapon on ya, would ya?" Zero reached behind his back pulling out a charm and a grenade. Wyatt shook his head, feigning disappointment. "Naughty, naughty." Zero placed the grenade on the floor, the charm on top.
"Your turn," Zero spoke quietly, straightening.
Wyatt hesitated. "I admit. I'm a bit tempted to finish this now..." He lowered his weapon, tossing it aside. "But I can almost hear my mother saying 'A meal eaten hastily is a meal not eaten'." He shook his head with a smile. "An' people wonder why I don't talk about my family."
He stepped forward, his fists raised. Zero just managed to get out of the way. Wyatt had his academy training and a serious boost from the curse where Zero had a long military service and a vicious temper. They were almost a match but in the end Wyatt won out. He began to pound away viciously at Zero, Zero barely warding him off. Wyatt clipped the back of his head, sending Zero sprawling. Wyatt stopped, wanting to further play with his prey.
"I'm disappointed, Zero," Wyatt remarked. "I expected to see bloodlust, but all I see is fear
." He went for him again. Zero tried to get away, but Wyatt caught him with a feral blow to the back. Zero was reduced to crawling for his escape but Wyatt kicked him the ribs, the impact sending him against the wall. Wyatt closed in. "Maybe it's true," he admitted. "Maybe you're just not a soldier anymore."
Zero nodded. "Maybe you're right," he whispered. "Maybe... I'm an engineer." He in one motion tapped a charm and jumped behind some crates. Wyatt was about to follow him when he noticed the great heat in front of him. The explosion tossed him back, throwing him hard against a wall.
Wincing from the damage done to him, Zero pulled himself up. "Jeb, you ok?"
"Yes," Jeb voice was quiet, subdued. Zero moved towards Wyatt, checking for a pulse. "Is he dead? Did you kill him?" he asked, not sure he wanted the answer.
Zero shook his head. "No," he said, relieved. "I didn't kill him." He looked over at Jeb, who was looking relieved. He looked over at his sister, still hanging. "We're gonna need to wake her up."Recovery