Saturday, March 4, 2006
It's technically Saturday morning!
And here's the next chapter. ^_~ Thank you all for commenting and making me so happy! (And Mimmi? Don't worry, I have not yet begun to develop Tobias! *bwahaha*
By the way, you all should check this out: http://www.deviantart.com/view/29819929/
One of my friends was awesome and drew a cast picture for me, and it's gorgeous, so bask in the beauty. *__*
"What the hell was that?" Aidan yelped as he stuck his head out the supply room door.
"Welcome parade in our honor?" Tobias said as he followed suit.
Aidan paled at the faint glow at the end of the hallway, jumping slightly when the sprinklers jerked on. "Now would be the time to get that thing open."
"Right!" Tobias sprinted back across the closet, bending over the padlock and jiggling the paper clip.
"Do you really know how to do this?" Aidan moaned. To his dismay, Tobias simply shrugged jovially.
Aidan leaned further out of the closet to get a better look. Despite the sprinklers pouring relentlessly, the orange blaze at the end of the hallway wasn't dimming; it seemed to be growing. The explosion jerked the hospital to life: wild footsteps reverberated from the ceiling, and Aidan heard snatches of frantic voices from above him.
"I'll be right back," Aidan muttered, starting for the stairwell a few doors down.
"Hold it, hold it." Tobias didn't look up from his work. "They found their way in, they can get out."
"That's different! They might not know where the emergency exits are!"
"Well, the glowing red exit signs are kind of a giveaway," Tobias chuckled.
"Spare me the sarcasm!" Aidan growled. "This is serious!"
"You know what your problem is, Aidan Connors?"
"No, but please tell me."
"You have to concentrate on one thing at a time," Tobias said with a nod. "Slow down a bit, even! And besides, I'm sure those people are perfectly capable of getting out on their own."
"Capable, sure." Aidan glowered. "Any capable person would have left the city."
"Well, you're here, aren't you?"
Unable to think of a retort, Aidan simply turned on his heel and marched out of the room, striding towards the stairwell. It sounded like there was a large group on the second floor. 'Probably in the break room,' he thought, quickening his pace.
"Don't move." Aidan froze at the growling voice behind him, followed by an almost inaudible click.
Loki couldn't move his legs.
Every inch of him wanted to step forward, to grab Lily by the arm and get them both as far away from this room as possible, but as a slender figure slid from behind the door, Loki's feet were glued to the tile.
"M-Mister Hawthorne?" Lily whispered. Her demeanor changed almost instantly; the air of rushed confidence melted into tension and nervousness, and she took a tentative step backwards as the color drained from her face.
"My, my, it's been too long, Princess." Hawthorne tucked his blond hair behind one ear, looking Lily up and down critically. "Although I must say, you haven't grown much."
"Not that long," Lily mumbled. "Less than a month."
"Ahh, is that so?" Hawthorne smiled. "I guess the time just passes more slowly without you around… well, that's a lie. Although I suppose it's not the same when you're gone… for one, I wouldn't have to watch his property so closely." He waved the notebook in front of her face.
"That's mine," Lily said weakly, taking a step forward and grabbing for it.
"Is it now?" Hawthorne lifted the notebook over his head. "I guess you'll have to jump for it."
Before he knew what he was doing, Loki strode over to Lily's side, pulling her back. He started to growl a threat, but as the silvery-gray eyes fixed themselves on Loki, his voice died in his throat.
"You have a bodyguard now, Princess?" Hawthorne laughed softly. "Cute. So tell me, Sir Freckles, how well do you know Miss Connors?" When Loki didn't answer, Hawthorne shook his head and sighed. "This is what happens when you don't read the fine print, Sir Freckles."
"Get away from her," Loki spat out.
Hawthorne laughed a bit louder. "Well, aren't you just darling."
"He's not part of this." Lily tried to duck out from under Loki's arm, but he pushed her back.
"But he's here anyway, isn't he?" Hawthorne leered. "You seem to be quite good at that, Princess… dragging people down with you." He gazed around the room, as if looking for something. "Speaking of, I don't see your brother here."
Lily tensed. "You told me you'd leave Aidan alone."
Hawthorne looked thoughtful for a moment. "Did I really say that?" He leaned in closer to her, and Loki pushed her back further. "Besides," Hawthorne purred. "I've been wanting to talk to him for the longest time-"
Pushing Loki aside, Lily snatched the switchblade out of her pocket, flipped it open, and swung wildly at Hawthorne's face. "You said you were going to leave him alone!"
The room crashed into silence. Hawthorne covered the left side of his face with his hand, his expression hidden. Lily's arms slowly fell to her side, the blade still clutched in her right hand. Loki stood pressed against the wall, afraid that moving even slightly would draw Hawthorne's attention to him.
Finally, Hawthorne's hand fell away from his face. The gash extended from just below his left eye to his chin, and the taunting smile had disappeared. In its place was a wide, cracked grin that stretched his face like a melting wax figure.
"Have you forgotten already?" Hawthorne ran a bloody finger down Lily's cheek with a soft chuckle. "No… I didn't think so." He shoved the notebook into her arms so roughly that it threw her off balance. "Remember, Princess…" He pressed the finger to her lips. "Not a word."
Lily backed away slowly, as if from a dangerous animal, and murmured to Loki, "We're running now."
"Glad to have your permission!" Loki shrieked, grabbing her arm and bolting down the white hallway.
"Well, this is my lucky day… Bill Connors' son." The rioter smirked at Aidan, keeping the gun trained on him. "I thought your kind would be long gone by now."
Aidan held his hands up, trying to pull off a calm, soothing expression. "Mr. Porter? What are you doing here?"
"Just enjoyin' myself, Connors." Porter grinned. "Your old man was never this much fun."
"Mr. Porter…" Aidan smiled weakly. "We’re friends, right? Put the gun down."
"Friends?" Porter snorted. "Must be nice, Connors, ignorin' everything you don't like," Porter growled. "You think just 'cause you work here, you're suddenly a saint?" He glared at Aidan. "We ain't friends. Never have been. And if you think-"
With a loud crack, Porter hit the wall and slid across the wet floor. Theo stood behind him, holding a piece of driftwood like a baseball bat. Dropping it with a loud clatter, she punched both fists in the air. "Strike!"
Anton seemed to materialize behind her, shaking his head. "Theo, a strike is when you miss the ball."
Silas followed, with a placating smile. "That was a line drive to right field, at least."
"Only a line drive?" Theo deflated. "I'm losing my touch."
"Excuse me," Aidan said weakly. "What are you…?"
They only just seemed to notice Aidan then; Theo flashed a contrite smile, Silas looked sympathetic, and Anton remained unaffected. "Sorry," Theo laughed. "You okay?"
"Where's Tobias, kid?" Silas asked.
"Here, right here!" Tobias slid down the hallway, pushing the cart and beaming. "I told you I'd get it open, Aidan, but you…" He trailed off as he took in the scene, his eyes lingering on the motionless figure on the floor, and on his three crewmembers. "When did you get here?"
"Just now!" Theo said.
"We'd been following them," Anton jerked his head at Porter, "for a while now. And when they torched the place…" He shrugged.
"Thought we'd check up on you two," Silas finished cheerfully.
"You didn't have to…" Aidan muttered, gesturing towards Porter.
"Hm?" Theo glanced at him. "You say something, hon'?"
Aidan opened his mouth to finish the sentence… but as he looked over Theo's shoulder, he forgot exactly what they didn't have to do. Soundlessly, he pointed at the end of the hallway.
At least two-dozen men stood behind them, all armed, and all looking very, very irritated. Theo, Anton, and Silas didn't turn around; the group stood perfectly still, as if moving would aggravate the insurgents further.
"Okay… here's what we're going to do," whispered Tobias. "I'm going to call Loki, tell him to bring the van around… you three, deal with them for now, I'll be with you in a sec… Aidan, why don't you take the cart and get outside?"
"But the people upstairs…" Aidan began.
"I'll go," Silas interjected. "Can you two deal with them in the meantime?"
"Sure!" Theo said cheerfully.
Anton frowned. "Long as you hurry it up."
Tobias tilted his head to one side. "Should we draw a diagram or something?"
"Mr. Locke, they're getting closer," Aidan moaned.
"On the count of three, then?" Tobias mused.
"Just go!" hissed Silas.
"Okay!" Tobias chirped. "Go!"
Loki slammed his foot down on the gas, the tires screeching across the pavement as he floored Blue Heaven away from the marble house. Lily was huddled in her seat, curled around her notebook as if expecting someone to take it again.
A few miles later, Loki's cell phone rang, causing both teenagers to jump. Loki pulled into an alleyway, still breathing heavily.
"Hello?" he squeaked. "Oh, Tobias! No, I'm fine! I was just… exercising! …Yeah, running laps! … No, really, I'm good, I'm just… the hospital? Yeah, I can see it from here… now? … No, it's not a problem! … yeah, I'll be there in a second! … Good luck to you too." He clicked the phone off.
Putting it in his pocket, he turned to Lily. "Back there… who the hell was that?"
"An… an associate of my boss'…" Lily mumbled. "I'm sorry… I didn't expect him to be there."
"'I'm sorry?'" Loki echoed. "That man could've hurt you, girly. What am I supposed to tell your brother then?"
"He wouldn't have," she replied. "It's… not really his style."
Loki was about to reply scathingly, but faltered at her expression. "…what's in the notebook?" he asked.
Lily clutched it tighter. "Nothing."
"C'mon, girly, you said you'd show me."
"It's not important!"
"Back there you said it was!"
The notebook slithered from her hands, falling open as it hit the floor of the van. Loki leaned over and grabbed it, scanning the page… and his eyes widened as he realized what was written there. "…math problems?"
Every inch of the paper was covered with graphs, functions, and numbers; each problem was so overlapped with another that Loki couldn't see how she could differentiate one from the other. He looked up from the page at her, eyebrows raised. "What is this?"
Lily snatched it from his hands, closing it. "It's just so I remember everything," she said quietly.
"It… doesn't matter, really," Loki said with a shrug, putting the van in gear again. "You got it back, right? You don't have to explain anything."
Of course, Loki wanted that explanation… but every answer he'd gotten from this girl so far was something vague and nonsensical. He chewed on her reaction the whole drive to the hospital, wondering how a series of math problems would help someone's memory. 'Maybe it's code,' he thought as they drove up the hospital's driveway. 'She could be a spy or something… or an assassin! The way she handled that knife, she totally coulda been an assassin! Either way… this chick's definitely not norm-'
Loki was jerked out of his thoughts as a body crashed into the windshield, just as they pulled up behind the hospital. "Christ!" he yelped, swerving out of the way and barely missing running over the person. Quickly examining the windshield for damage, he grinned weakly at Lily. "See what I tell you?" he said. "Indestructible."
"Sorry 'bout that, kid!" Tobias waved from the broken window. "Didn't see you down there!"
Shaking, Loki clambered out of Blue Heaven, taking a quick look around. The fire had spread throughout much of the first floor, but from what Loki could see, Tobias and the others looked unperturbed by it. Aidan sat a ways from the building, surrounded by a ragged-looking group of people and resting one arm on a cart piled with medical supplies.
"That you, Loki?" Theo shoved Tobias from the window, sticking her head as far out as she could without cutting herself. "Could use some help in here!" she yelped as she was dragged away from the window.
Lily climbed out of the van. "Are they all right?" she asked.
"Oh, yeah, definitely!" Loki patted her shoulder awkwardly. "I'll be right back, okay? I just have to…" He turned to the burning building with a sigh. "…work."
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