Friday, April 13, 2012

Another Visitor.

There was a knock on my door; it woke me up from where I fell asleep at the table. Getting up I walked to the back door and glared out the window where a female stood. A familiar female, might I add. It was the officer from Dia's old town. The young woman with bright amber eyes, an inch or two above average height, built for agility, flexibility, and combat by the looks of it. She was trained to enforce damage, that much was clear. A hand was propped on the curve of her hip, gripping it with some impatience and I could see the definition of her muscles clearly. What sort of challenge was I being presented with today?

I unlocked the door and opened it a bit. "Yes?"

Her expression remained stern, the auburn hair framing both sides of her face. The majority of it was pulled back into a ponytail, no doubt if it was down it would reach near her waist. "You're The Shady Lady and you were at the scene where Gallows and Graves murdered my uncle, as well as torched an entire town."

I leaned against the door frame and looked at her dully, "How sure are you that I am who you say I am?"

"Bitch, please." She held up a hand, speaking in light tone as she did so. It wasn't in that sarcastic tone that usually came with the phrase. It was said... Smartly? I guess is the best way to say it. As if some sheltered genius was trying out such lines for the first time. I find it amusing now how true of an example that is, fits her completely. "Don't insult my IQ. I remember your face and every visible birthmark. You also dyed your hair more since the last time." She looked me over. "Your shoes have a few more holes since then too. You only had the four before, there's seven total now. Been having some trouble?"

I scowled at her. "Oh, you're one of those." She looked insulted a moment, I smirked. "What do you want?"

"To come inside would be a nice start."

"I don't let strangers into my house." I went on, taunting her lightly.

She looked frustrated after that. "You know who I am through Blogger."

"Stranger danger! Stranger danger!" I continued, determined to have fun with this one.

"My name is LeCroix." She shot out her hand in greeting.

I opened the door and walked away from her gesture. "Ok." I went back to the dining room and grabbed all the papers and files, throwing them onto my bed briefly. I came back to find frustration still plastered on her face. "You shut the door?"

"Yes." LeCroix answered tersely. I sat down and motioned her to sit across from me. She did so and stared for a few minutes before lifting a finger and to tap her cheek. "You have ink imprinted on your skin."

"I was reading before."

"With your face?" She raised an eyebrow but her expression remained innocently curious.

"No, dumbass. I fell asleep before you so rudely interrupted." I rolled my eyes and licked my thumb, rubbing it against my skin to get off the smudges.

LeCroix folded her hands neatly on the table, sitting straight as a smile came across her face. "Maybe you shouldn't fall asleep on your work." I felt my hand twitch. "You do that when you feel the need to stab something, Shady."

My eyes slid to lock with her own, "Oh?"

"The twitch. I saw the muscles in your upper arm move similar to how someone’s hand twitches. If you want to stab me you can go ahead and try." LeCroix leaned forward an inch, a feral grin replacing the smile. "I already know I'm stronger than you." I leaned back in the chair and just looked at her. "Smarter too. You're losing your edge even if your skills have sharpened, but skills and mental stability are two different knives, Shady. I should kill you before you become a problem." I encouraged her to continue. "I'm really hoping you pull through it. I'd gain a lot of unnecessary enemies if I did it, which is why I'm holding off. You have a lot of information that would die with you, too."

I smirked somewhat amused by her words. "Like where Gallows and Graves are?"

"Yes."

"I have no fucking clue. You wasted time coming here, really." I chuckled. Her face immediately contorted into irritation, hand slamming against the table. "You think I'm lying? I'm not. The deal I struck with Graves ended when they both attacked your hometown. I have barely corresponded with either of them since then, and what has been exchanged is useless to you."

"That Mister Creevey sent you a message, your blog said as much."

I sighed at her, "Because of Josie. They are all tied together for whatever reason. And no, you can't talk to the girl."

"Why?"

I grinned, "Cause you'll break her and she's very fragile." LeCroix was not amused by any means. "Seriously, I have no idea where they are. East Coast, somewhere. How did you lose them?"

LeCroix lifted her hair to show the bruised side of her head. "Graves managed to get me." I winced. "It wasn't pleasant and I was unconscious for hours. " She brushed her hair back down neatly. "There is no chance of getting you to let me talk to her, is there?"


"I would have heard about it if she was being messaged by them. She would have gone crying to Joshua if not me, and he would have informed me."


"You sure your friend tells you everything?"


"Are you playing dirty with me, LeCroix? Trying to get me to doubt Joshua so you can ask your questions?" I asked, tapping my finger patiently against the table.


Her smile returned. "I'm trying but you're not making it easy."


"Gallows and Graves haven't passed this way. I'm guessing for a very obvious reason." I said the last part slowly, throwing her a knowing look. "They aren't idiots; you should really stop treating them as such." LeCroix returned to looking stern. "Believe me on that one, you won't catch them so easily. You're going to need to find a useful source of information to keep up. They don't have a route, completely lost in this world. Find a tracker or source of information that knows about the duo."


LeCroix leaned back, her fingers curling around her chin thoughtfully. "What about Thy Executor? You have some history with him. Would he be willing?"


I clicked my tongue, "That... Is very dangerous. He no doubt has information and can track them; no doubt he's one of your best bets on tracking them. But the consequences that come with that are many and severe. He's a businessman, strike a deal if you can, and if you do be careful not to leave loopholes. He will exploit everyone."


"Do you know where he is? I haven't seen him post anything lately."


I remained still, my insides shifted uncomfortably for various reasons. "He's everywhere." She tried to ask further but I wouldn't give her an answer. "Email him, he'll answer. He only uses those sites when he needs to. Stir up some fear, create some whispers, get people thinking on something he wants them to think about. If everyone links up to the same thought he can navigate what answers he wants faster." LeCroix looked skeptical a moment, but the surprise by that was evidently stronger. "You don't understand what he is. What he can do."


"You almost sound after of him, Shady." LeCroix said, the surprise on her face turned into curiosity. "I read about the things he has done to you but you've always fought through them."


I felt my hand twitch again, by the quick glance it was obvious she noticed. "He's done more. He has done worse than anything I've written about. It would be smart to try and avoid his gaze while you can. He willingly struck a deal with Gallows and Graves to keep them in line in the city, knowing they couldn't leave on their own. Not like others can. It was to prevent them from finding a way out, too. They are technically his employees still and he's the one throwing proxies their way, trying to eliminate them now that they have left the city." I leaned on the table with a sigh. "He doesn't do things without reason. Every move, every word, it's precise and calculated. To throw you off, to reel you in, every little thing is him influencing you to act. It's a little nudge; he's both the angel and devil on our shoulders. He talks when he has something to say, when we have a part to play. I'm going to tell you very, very bluntly yet again: You would be better off with him not noticing you for as long as possible."


We were both leaning forward on the table, looking directly at one another. I could see her eyes working, absorbing every movement I made while her hidden ears absorbed every detail. "How do you know all of this? You haven't mentioned much about Thy Executor in a while on your blog."


"I don't sleep much for a reason, and when I do it's never for long. My body can't relax itself to return to a full sleep state from the frequent visits. I don't post about it to keep from clogging up things. I have them all written down in a document, though. Maybe sometime I'll upload it, we'll see." I paused. "I know plenty. I can see Executor and he doesn't like it. He leeches off of me, or tries to, and I do it right back. I don't know how. It's not something someone can just up and do to him. He puts nearly everything into trying to break into the vault. We see each other during those times." I rubbed the bridge of my nose, the drowsiness from the short nap still present. "I've survived eight encounters with The Executor, in person. It's usually the periods of time where I don't post or answer much that he's caught me off guard."


"How do you get away from him?"


I shifted, sitting on my knees on the chair and leaned forward under the light more. My arms held out so she could see some faint scars on my upper arms mostly. "I wake myself up. It doesn't always work. Sometimes I have to do it a few times. He comments about how I'm going to bleed out when it doesn't work the first few times. I won't give him what he wants, he can't access my vault so easily, and he knows I'd die before handing over what I know. Sometimes I have to bring it to my breaking point... To the point where he has to release me so I don't off myself." I pulled my arms back and resumed leaning against the table. "I've woken up from our dreams together to find him standing before me in the woods. I run to get back to the mansion and he invades my head again, I can feel my body collapse once more when he recaptures my mind. It's a constant fight to get my body to move, drag itself, to stab itself. Controlling your body while constantly evading or assaulting an enemy in your head isn't easy. Mystery, when she was around, would have to drag me into the bathroom and help with the wounds."


"The damage you must have done to your body is no doubt extensive. All of that muscle and tissue tearing, the ligaments too." LeCroix said as her eyes traveled across my folded arms.


"It has taken its toll, yes. It's mainly the reason I have such trouble in combat at times. Technique is one thing but the damage has been done. It's like people with arthritis that have trouble grasping things. It's all in my arms, parts of my legs, hindering my combat. That's why I'm usually putting myself on defense and take the hit or block it, aim for placing my opponents in submission, or kill them quickly when I have to. My attacks aren't at one-hundred percent anymore because of my body's condition." I lifted a finger and tapped the side of my head. "It's why I rely on tactics to save my life over blind actions. I've got the endurance and the pain tolerance on my side."


LeCroix chuckled at the last part. "I've noticed that. Do you like pain or does it just not bother you?"


"Little things don't bother me. Hit my funny bone, cut myself open, depending on stab locations too. Bullet wounds, not as bad as expected, course the type of bullet matters more. Haven't been shot enough to say much there. Being impaled on a pipe sucked, that was the worst thing. That was worse than Thuggee breaking all those bones." I chuckled.


Her faced hardened a moment, "Should I ask the Advocate you think?"


"And owe him something? He'd make you work a lot to get any information, even the smallest detail. If not at first then later." I tapped my finger against the table, she looked down watching. Probably noticing the irritation. "There are better sources out there, trust me on that one. It's not worth the hell you'll be dragged through for a scrap of information you could probably just read about on the blog site."


LeCroix pulled out a small notepad and jotted down some things, "Alright. What about the young woman named Dia? She's close to you and Gallows, from what I hear they had an affair." I stared at her evenly. "I need to know where she is as she seems closest to Gallows and Graves than any other."


I sat back with a firm frown, "I'm sorry but I can't release any information about her current whereabouts."


An eyebrow rose, "This is very important. I'm hunting down two mass murderers."


"And I understand that, I really do. But some things take priority, and this is one of those things. I'm sorry, LeCroix."


Her brows furrowed in frustration as she let out a sigh, "I really don't want this to turn into an interrogation, Shady." She said, her amber eyes boring into mine. Her hand reached into her leather air force jacket and pulled out a gun, one she laid out on the table beside her. Casually she returned her hands to being neatly folded, only slightly tenser. "I'm trying not to stray far from the law unless it's necessary, but this information is vital. I need it one way or another, please tell me what you know."


"Again, I understand that, but some things take priority." Her jaw clenched by a fraction. "If you want to try and turn this into an interrogation, go ahead and try. You won't win." I tapped my foot loudly three times; a chair from the dining room table shoved out and Mr. Sunshine emerged. His face was contorted into a sneer as he growled loudly. He took up standing beside my chair, ready for my say so. I leaned forward a briefly to say, "I know he's stronger than you, faster, and a hell of a lot more clever too."


LeCroix stared hard a moment before she relaxed, she grabbed the gun and placed it back into her jacket before lifting her hands in defeat. "You got me, alright. I'll play fair, but she will slip up, Shady, and when she does I'll track her down." I placed my hand in Mr. Sunshine's, easing him slightly with a small squeeze. "What can you tell me about Dia?"


I smirked at her question, "Define Dia? I might be unstable but I'm not insane, deary. Defining Dia would take hours. She's quite the complex woman."


"Like yourself. You two get along based on your similarities."


"And our differences." I said with a raised finger, tsking her slightly when I pointed it at her. "She's a smart woman, and clever too. Knows what buttons to press most of the time, that, and sometimes her curiosity, can get her into trouble though. She means well with all the things she does. Helping people has always been her priority. It's what Mystery and I saw first in her. The attitude was a bonus." I grinned; amused by the thoughts that were coming forth on how Dia and I first met. "She values honesty, and to her it's expressed through actions more than words. Does what she can to comprehend everything. I think that's what Gallows enjoys, besides her attitude. She accepts him as is, even if he is a dick. Sure, Dia is a bit fearful when he starts swinging away with his blades, but that's still him being openly honest about who he is. She doesn't shy away from it." I paused, resting my head back against the chair. "She's not... Prey. She just is, to him at least."

LeCroix stared at me like I was crazy; I gave her a lazy shrug. "Ok. What is Graves to him?"

"His everything, probably." I scoffed. "She's his guardian, his gravedigger, his tool. A doll. They are more in sync than he is with his scythe. I think you've seen by now, she's a tank. A fast tank. The moment you threaten Gallows it's over, LeCroix. Graves can crush your skull beneath her shovel, boot, or between her hands. She's a fearless, emotionless proxy. Intelligent, acknowledges emotions but does not have any equipped to her persona. Have you seen her stare?"

"If looks could kill, stare?"

I nodded. "That's just how it is. All. The. Time. Silent, staring, you don't hear her breathing. She holds up deals when she finds it necessary to compromise. Saved my life from Ferus with one I made with her." I pretended to wipe sweat from my forehead with a chuckle. "Graves labels Dia a distraction, rather keep Gallows away or else he will get too caught up to look out for danger. And they've got plenty of it. But his attention is on her, they've had their private time together. So she does make a good candidate to talk to. I suggest leaving her a message." I said, glaring sternly at the last part.


"You can't read people through emails as you can in person, Shady." She frowned. "Dia is my top priority to speak to. What about Ferus, he has had some contact."


I opened my mouth then promptly shut it a moment later. "Well... That can go good or bad. Good luck!" I gave her a double thumbs up.


LeCroix frowned further, "What about Mister Creevey?"


"Don't." I leaned on the table again. "Seriously, don't. If Graves backs off from danger you don't want to go tangoing with it. Even I know that guy is bad shit and I haven't met him... Yet. Not looking forward to it if I do."


"What is he?"


"Complicated."


Her brows furrowed again. "The people you're giving the ok to approach aren't present, while all the rest you suggest to stay away from. You call that complicated?"


"It's an understatement." I grinned. "It's your choice what to do, I'm just telling you it's going to be a pain in your tight ass. Just keep reading the damn blogs, they'll tell you plenty." Her face scrunched up at my comment and I laughed. "LeCroix, you've entered a world unlike any other. I'm sorry about your uncle but your path for revenge is going to lead you through hell and test your limits."


The corners of her lips quirked up into a slight smile, "You're trying to kill a woman named Lenore for setting a stage that got your brethren, Billy, killed. We both want revenge for something, looking at you I know what to expect and how to avoid becoming insane because of it."


"Lovely." I replied, "I can't wait to see how that works out for you." LeCroix frowned again before getting up, she tossed a piece of paper on the table. I snatched it and read what it contained, a phone number. "You always carry pieces of paper with your number on them?"


"I knew I was coming here today. In case you kicked me out I wanted it ready." She commented offhandedly.

I walked her to the door, we exchanged goodbyes.






LeCroix is not someone I hope to see again soon. No offense, deary. I remember when Mystery spoke to me about E-Bear and Executor. LeCroix, and the level of intensity she gives off as a hunter is double that. She's sheltered, I can tell as much, despite being an officer previously. That brief form of innocence still shows. But it's rare. I gave her tips, warnings, gave her the option to contact me in return. I’m not going to turn away people who want help, but I’m cutting it off at certain things.


On the upside, Josie nearly cried with joy that I defended her from that "Scary lady". Seems to be a bit less... Timid around me again. Wonder how long that will last till she's back to sobbing every time I look at her. Sigh.


I've got some things to do, that's what happened yesterday.
And Mr. Sunshine says hi... I think? Or maybe he's just hungry. Ughs.

Stay safe,
-Shady

9 comments:

  1. Pissy, brainy guest huh? I can sympathize. I had one of those. He has yet to leave.

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    1. Your situation with said person, I do not envy it. LeCroix was enough to handle for a day, even Joshua isn't as pissy as that.

      My face... It needs a brick wall.

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  2. I'm sorry for panicking, Shady. I just.. I'm afraid she'll find me. I know MASC and Joshua covered my tracks (thank you for that), but.. there's always that slim chance. That scares me. I LIKE my new life.

    Thank you for protecting me, for covering my ass. I appreciate it.

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    1. Hon, don't worry about it. You have every reason to panic. I understand how that slim chance can drive you up the wall. But I'm like, you personal cockblock.

      ...wow, Joshua, really? Personal cockblock?

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    2. I've never been so happy to be cockblocked in my life.

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  3. Shady, I've got some papers I've got to show you sometime. When do you think you have time to look over them?

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    1. Anytime, Doc. I'll swing by this morning.

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  4. An interesting visitor, she decided not to heed your advice and messaged me. A strange interruption but enough to catch my attention. You should have tried harder.

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    1. Please, leave her be. She tried. There was little she could have done to stop her once LeCroix left her home.

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