Warning: Visual gore/blood
AMAZING shoutout to Livvielove who not only has passed me another of her gorgeous characters, but in the start of a beautiful collab worked side by side with me to write the parts involving her character.
From now on whenever you see the lady Niko meets, her scenes are written in collaboration with Livvielove!
“Hey Niki? HEY NIKI?” The voice shouting back through the receiver was so loud I pulled it away from my ear and still heard perfectly fine. “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? I’d punch you if I could! Do it for me will you?! You stupid brat!”
I carefully brought the phone back. “I take it you heard the news already…”
“Yeah from Zac! Yesterday! I’ve been waiting for your call, what took you so long!?” She continued to roast me.
“I’ve been…recovering?” I mumbled out. Can’t really tell her I was avoiding this phone call.
“Niko I’m your sister!”
“Yes, I know. This has been the case for a while now. 17 years if I recall, closing in on 18 now pretty sure.” I said, flicking a piece of dust off the dresser.
She sighed on the other end.
“But I’m calling now?” I tempted.
“I was really worried for you Niko. I’ve been worried for weeks. You finally break out of the Hans and…I just thought I’d be one of the first you’d call. Or at least come to. Zac said you were with our great-grandparents?” She voiced.
A wave of guilt washed over me then. I’ve really been a real jerk to everyone, my sister included. I still am. Too self-absor-
“Yeah. Going back to Ridgevalley was too risky. We’re with Alec, remember him? He’s different than I remember.” I said picking the conversation back up. He’s kind of fun to be around now. Or maybe I was just too judgemental before. My fathers definitely were of him, I wouldn’t be surprised if they biased me.
Oh shit right.
“No, no, whatever pain she’s going through right now is NOT enough.”
Nikita had some very strong opinions last time we talked.
“Niko? Are you still there?”
“Yes, um, Zac didn’t tell you?” I cleared my throat.
“Tell me what?” Worse thing is, he probably had, and my sister was just goading me into telling her myself.
I grimaced, not wanting to get into this right now in any way shape or form.
But if I can’t convince my own judgemental irrational sister that Sal has more than suffered enough for what happened, how can I genuinely claim to have forgiven her? What kind of bullshitting coward does that make me?
“Sal escaped with us.”
“Sal huh, nickname basis with the murderer now.” She coldly replied. I sighed heavily, I shouldn’t have said anything. I did say irrational didn’t I? There’s no point in talking to her about this and I don’t have the strength for it.
“Shortened version more, nickname would be more like Sallie. But if I called her that now I feel she’d throw a…maybe a salad this time.” I messed with radio’s knobs nonchalantly.
“Jeesus you’re insulting.”
“Yes, yes, I know.”
“I’m…I don’t know what to say to you.”
I gaped. “Are you really that pissed at me? Pulling the silent treatment?”
“What am I supposed to say? My brother’s gone off the deep end. Ever since the trial…you’ve done everything you could to stay away from me. I get a few calls here and there forcefully, but everything I learn is through Zac. You have problems Niko, and you won’t talk about them. You won’t talk to me. Our dads are gone, I…It feels like you abandoned me.”
“It’s not all about you Niki.”
“You selfish brat! I’m not the one isolating myself. I’m not the one constantly putting myself in life threatening situations, getting caught, avoiding normal interactions, refusing to speak to anyone.”
“Funny isn’t it?” I snapped loudly. “That I’d rather talk to Salandra than you? You didn’t even blow anything up.”
I didn’t wait for her to get over her shocked silence, I closed the phone and tossed it on the bed.
“Fucking waste of time.” I grumbled. But at least she knows now. I can stop feeling guilty about it.
She must be so pissed. Beyond it, doesn’t matter what I think she’s dead set angry at Salandra for everyone we lost and I just told her she was worse than her.
Seems like I manage to fuck everyone over one way or another. Everyone’s got something against me.
Cause I gave them something to be annoyed about.
Maybe my dad was right.
Somewhere in the foggy tired mess that is my mind these days, I heard the door in the next room open and close.
I opened my door and peeked over and sure enough there was Salandra coming out.
I’m nervous. It’s weird. I don’t know why, I just am.
Hearing my door just as well, she turned towards me and I saw her tired slightly red eyes.
Had she been crying?
I moved to go to her but she lifted her hand up as she turned back around. “Don’t Niko.”
And with just that, she made her way to the bathroom.
What’s with that? I was just going to offer a friendly ear!
Ho right, she probably thought I was pitying her. I scoffed, only to cringe at myself cause it was true. I…yeah no it’s true.
I went back to my room and got ready for morning jog. I tried not to think about it, but it just kept nagging me.
Had I said something? During my call with Niki? Had Sal even overheard that?
Or maybe it’s just in general, I get the feeling I stress her out a lot, or at least test her patience. Maybe I should lay off and stop trying to talk to her. I guess I just want a friend who gets it.
Or maybe it doesn’t have to be all about me.
“-ok that’s really good to know.” Alec said to someone I couldn’t recognize. He noticed me coming down and flashed me a smile before turning back to his guest. “You’ll keep me updated? I’ll see what I can do here.”
“Definitely, thank you Mr.Whitelight.”
“It’s Alec.” He smiled. “I’ll see you around.”
I watched as the guy left. “What was that about?”
“We’ve got plasma shortage problems. The Hans have shut down a lot of plasma banks with their blockades. I hadn’t realized it was this bad. Most vampires are coming here cause this is one of the last towns with its own independent plasma generation.” He explained.
“Shit, and you’re getting more vampires than you can produce plasma.”
“That’s kind of scary. Are they all going to turn like Zyla did?”
“That’s what I’m hoping to avoid. You’re off to go take a jog again? Before you do, I wanted to show you something.” Alec grinned. “Come here.” He said, dragging me to one of the rooms near the entrance. “You play an instrument right? Well we have a music room.”
With that he opened the door and I was hit with the scent of wood and leather. A music room indeed.
I noticed a distinct lack of a violin, but I didn’t care that much. I can work around that, I think I know a spell. Or at least, clearly I thought I did when Sal and I went through that fake escape.
I’m feeling so weirdly grateful all of a sudden. Alec reminded me of one of my favorite activities. Playing the violin always brings me peace and structure to my thoughts.
“Thank you, Alec.”
“Hey no problem! We’ll see you after your jog. Be careful, there’s rumors that the Hans are sniffing around here. For what? That’s not entirely clear.” He shrugged.
“I’ll try, it’s just a jog.”
Rumors, be careful, that’s putting it lightly!
I was jogging quite normally, trying to practice the spell I’d seamlessly done in Sal and I’s forced mindscape. I’d somehow conjured up my violin with what seemed like a very solid spell at the time. I can barely remember vague parts of that spell now, but I was making headway.
Anyway, I was minding my own business, and I ran across a corner just as men in clear task force gear came out of a building. I don’t remember ever moving this fast to hide.
They were just walking around. I decided to follow them and it gave really mediocre results. I’m so used to seeing the task force shoot first and that’s about it, that seeing them walk around at most asking a few questions here and there was freaky.
If I really do want to change and stop fucking up I guess I should start with not doing risky things like this, but ehhh-oh look at that they turned a corner, I better follow!
They looked really cautious as they went around – and so did everyone else they crossed. There was this notable tension in the air, enough that it made me wonder why they were even here alone so blatantly flashing their Hans allegiance. But I guess when no one is really willing to stand up there’s not much risk for them.
They were asking around about vampires of all things. Also pointing out how easily a vampire could lose control? It was weird, it’s like they were trying to appease to the normals in the town by bringing up fear towards the vampires. The folks here seem too smart to actually mount any kind of attack against the vampires though.
Then again, I suppose…my history lessons came back to me, with mentions of how this town used to be extremely anti-supernatural. Because, as it happens, of my vampire ancestor.
The more I followed them, the more the whispers started to grow. No one was appreciating this visit.
“Tired of harassing children are you?” Someone voiced.
“Staking the place out? We aren’t animals.”
“Go back to your strongholds, we’ve nothing for you here.”
“You’re overstaying your welcome.”
People had started to call them out, and the two men could no longer keep walking, stuck in the middle of the road as the crowd started to grow. My hand twitched as I watched them exchange a look.
“I wonder if the Hans will notice two of their men disappear?”
At that comment, both the men drew their weapons. They weren’t dart guns this time. They haven’t been dart guns for a long while.
“Was that a threat?” One of them shouted. “You’ve been left alone, don’t test us.”
“Waving guns in front of children?” A woman shouted.
“You better leave before we make you leave.”
“That was a warning shot-” One of the men had declared, firing a shot straight up into the air. Everyone flinched.
However, his gun arm barely had time to come back down as his gun was kicked out of his hand.
A woman had leapt to them and in a second had delivered the kick.
I recognize that tattooed skin…she’s the one I saw in the basement isn’t she?
“Oy, didn’t your mother ever teach ya about how dangerous these things are?” She said, with a confident stance. “You could really hurt-”
I flinched as another shot was fired. I clenched my fist, trying to think of a spell, any kind of helpful offensive spell that could try and contain this.
The shield one maybe? I doubt my levitation is-
“Wha-” She staggered, looking down at her chest where the other man had shot her. “Ye…ye…shot me?”
I watched, feeling helpless, as she clumsily took a step back, putting her hands over her gun wound. She looked mortified…ridiculously so.
“Why…why… why would you…do something like this?” She started to mumble, her voice rising up a few octaves. I know she just got shot, but… “My…my girl at home…she’s blind! Who will take care of her!?”
This is starting to feel like a bit of an extravagant show. I watched as she dramatically fell to her knees. Her hands seem to fumble on the ground a little as the task force men watched a little uncertain.
Yeah she doesn’t look like she’s in actual pain. My hands relaxed, and I watched the scene continue to unfold as she drew her now blood covered hand away from her wound. I mean she clearly did get shot, but…
“Now my wee lass will have no one, and it’s all because of you!” She shouted sharply. Her crouched position tensed. “Plus ye ruined my shirt, you’ll pay for that.”
In another smooth movement, she launched herself from the ground. With one hand covered in blood and the other holding a rock she’d picked up from the street, she assaulted both at once. The man who’d shot her got a sharp sting on his hands from the rock, dropping his gun in the process, and the other received a mouthful of her blood.
Which must’ve be the worst shit he’d ever tasted cause he immediately broke out in a pained scream swatting at his face as if it were on fire.
The shooter, having lost his gun, reached into his belt to pull out another weapon. His chances of actually having time to do that were slim however, as she was already charging towards him.
As the first man started to pass out from the pain, she swung her fist at the surviving one.
He managed to avoid it with a clumsy duck, only for her to grab the back of his jacket. His minor victory was short lived as she slammed her knee into his face.
And in a few seconds, the second one had gone down as well.
The crowd relaxed, shifted confidently and someone whooped.
“Are y’all alright?” She asked as she bent down and started to feel their pockets. “Anyone else got shot?”
As if the questions had officially declared the situation defused, the small crowd immediately began to converge towards her with excited chatter. I found myself heading in as well.
Why wouldn’t I? I want to know more about this.
“Aye, aye, ‘tis nothing at all,” I heard her say as the crowd swarmed her with compliments and praise, “but alas I must leave you gentle-folks. I have business to attend to!” She bowed, hand on the wound still pooling out blood. “Ah, and please mind yer eyes.”
Right afterwards, smoke suddenly filled the area, effectively blocking people’s sight and making others cough. She’d vanished, but I have astral on my side.
It only took a quick jump in to see which direction she’d slithered off to.
I shouldn’t be following. I have to lay low.
Weren’t you going on about this, this morning self? About how you kept fucking up? Isn’t this precisely one of those moves that always leads to people scolding you for it?
Apparently self couldn’t care less.
I want to know how her blood burned that man. And where she learned those quick moves.
I made myself scarce and followed her from a distance.
After a street or two, she turned a corner, rapidly. I sped up to not fall behind, turning the corner and-
She was leaning on the wall, hand still on her wound, knowing grin on her lips.
“What can I do for ye, lad?” She asked, with an amused expression.
My shock only lasted a second. “You smeared blood in that guy’s face and he screamed like you set him on fire.” I spilled out, barely keeping in my desire to know.
Her grin widened. “Aye, that he did. Strange, ain’t it?”
“Hard to find anything strange these days, but definitely curious. Is this a talent that can be taught?” The words came out on their own again. I rapidly recomposed myself before she replied. “I mean first off, that was some nice knock-outs.”
“Did ye like the show? It was a rather spectacular one, if I do say so meself. As for the teachin’, well, it depends on who’s askin’, now, don’t it?”
Yes, I guess, you’d want to know what kind of student you’d be getting. Is this the part where I reveal that every teacher I’ve ever had hated my guts at the end? I really want to say I’d be the best student she’d ever had, but I’m hesitating. They certainly don’t think I’m a good student. I might just be way too greedy.
But she doesn’t need to know that.
Isn’t that the opposite of trying to do things right though?
I internally cringed at this repetitive and annoying cycle. Fucking up, not fucking up, I can’t tell what’s up and down on that and I’m really getting annoyed with it.
I smiled. “Nikolas Whitelight. From a long line of powerful witches, I’m sure you’ve heard of the name.” I tried to joke, but now I wish I’d choked on my own words. Yeah, the only witch anyone knows with that name is Xavier. I don’t want to encourage people in associating me with him.
She pursed her lips and looked at the sky, visibly thinking. “Whitelight… Whitelight… Whitelight…Hmmm, nope, can’t say it’s familiar,” She said, with a smile that said she did know the name. “but Nikolas seems a right nice name. That your name then, lad?”
I snorted. “Yeah, Niko’s less of a mouthful though. What’s yours?” Maybe I know hers, maybe it would explain why she’s raiding my great-grandpa’s basement and beating up task force in the street.
“Don’t got one, but you can call me Kit.” She said, her grin unwavering.
“I’d shake your hand lad, but I don’t feel that’d be the wisest idea.” She glanced down at her bloody wound. Oh god yeah, she may be good at faking it, but she still got shot. “Say, would ye be up for an adventure?”
I stared a bit longer than I should, at this woman leaning on the side of a wall, bleeding out, asking me if I wanted to go on an adventure like I’m in sort of fairytale –
No scratch that. Somebody with blood that burns people, who got shot but can still walk around like it’s hardly a thing, who freely robs my ancestor’s basement and has no problem fucking with the oppressive task force is giving me an invitation to – I don’t know, but whatever it is, it’s got to be cool.
I let out a short incredulous laugh. “Yeah, why not! It involves helping you with that wound doesn’t it?” I said, moving forwards in case, I don’t know, she needs help to walk or something. What do I know about gunshots really?
She looked down again, confused. “Wound? Oh! Right! I suppose I am a wee bit banged up, eh?”
Wait, she forgot?
She laughed. “Nah, I’ll slap a Band-Aid on it and we’ll be set, just need to find a seat for about…35 seconds. Come, let’s walk, ye can tell me more about your fancy witchery.”
We found a picnic table in the yard of a deserted dinner. We sat down and I watched as she proceeded to dig the bullet out of her wound.
“Are you sure I can’t do anything to help?” I asked, leaning over to see, but at the same time not really wanting to see.
“Nah, lad, you’re great help as ye are.” She sucked in a breath as she pulled out the bullet, placing it on the table. “Well that woke me right on up, nothin’ like bein’ shot first thing in the morning.” She laughed, digging out some bandages from her bag. “So, care to tell me ‘bout your great affections for our lords and saviors, the Hans?” She asked as she wrapped herself up.
I scoffed. “I am forever grateful to them for locking me up and killing most of my family.” I said pressing my palms together. “I’d just love to return the favor you know. Spread the love.”
“Aye, you and everyone else who’s lost someone to them.” She eyed me a little more curiously then. “Shame no one ever wants to actually do something besides pay them lip-service, no?”
Fucking right? “Fucking right?” I repeated aloud. “I was in Ridgevalley for the last year and all anyone did was stay low. Keep safe. Don’t do anything extravagant. Everyday people get hurt or sometimes even killed by the task force, but no, we couldn’t patrol the streets to protect people. We had to peacefully support in the background. Fighting back was a stupid move.” I vented. “I know it doesn’t seem like much, but a punch here and there still does a lot more than hiding.” I drifted off into an angry mumble, the voices of the Dragons coming back and calling me reckless, selfish, careless and dumb. Yeah like that’s what it was all about.
“More people need your attitude, lad. If more people had that approach, the Hans never would’ve become a problem in the first place.” She said, leaning onto the table.
“If you don’t mind me asking, why didn’t ye step in earlier when ye saw them waving their guns about?”
Oh. Cause I was telling myself I needed to stop being reckless and fucking it all up. I felt shame start to climb. And because of what, the fact that a few people don’t want to fight and they pick on me for wanting to?
“I’m-I would’ve-I don’t know a lot of offensive spells-um,” My words painfully reflected the shame that was building up now. Shame over letting other people decide what I should believe in.
“Aye, it’s ok lad, I’m just yanking your chain. We’re all programmed with a bit of caution, and ye be a wee lad, after all. Perhaps there is something important about that self-preservation they always say, no?” She gave that polite end of conversation kind of smile, and got up, bag on her back.
Then she left and walked away, leaving wee lad on the bench.
Wee lad? Really?
Wait, wait, wait-
I got up and caught up to her. “Wait, wait, I’m not some coward. I want to do something about all this shit. I don’t care about self-preservation! Okay that came out wrong, but ‘self-preservation’ is synonym to selfish coward these days.” I rapidly said, trying not to let this opportunity pass me by. “I want to do something, I just don’t know how or what. And you look like you do.”
She stopped walking and grinned, looking me over. “Now you’re speaking my language.” I couldn’t help the relieved grin. “I do suppose I handle meself pretty well. So tell me…Mr.Whitelight what do you hope to get from wee, no-name me?”
“A full membership to your gym would be the best.” I shrugged with a chuckle. “If you could teach me what you know, well if you’d have me as a student, maybe I could actually figure out what I can do. Plus I’m really curious on how you got that smoke bomb. It’s a flashy exit and it lets for some badass one-liners.” I laughed.
A complicit smile made its way on her face. “Hm, a gym membership, eh? I think I can swing that…especially considering ye didn’t squeal on me for robbin’ your relatives blind beneath their noses,” My eyebrows lifted slightly. How did she know that? I saw her in astral and told no one. I really do have more to learn. “but I have a condition-”
Her face became more serious and she shifted, smearing her still slightly bloody hand on her clothes till most of the remaining blood had been wiped off.
“If ye agree to be trained by me, that’s it: there’s no take-backsies. You’re stuck with me ‘til your training is complete – no matter ‘ow long and brutal it is. There’s no callin’ it quits on me, ye hear, so think carefully ‘fore ye decide.” She declared, sticking her hand out.
Maybe I should ponder it more, sounds like a pretty risky engagement if you ask me. I internally snorted at myself, precisely. Man, I haven’t been this pumped in a while. Sign me the fuck up. I grasped her hand and shook it.
“If you’re willing to teach me, I’m willing to learn. Plus, I think I could take your worst.” I added with a smirk. I felt a minor burn from the tiny amount of blood she hadn’t managed to wipe off. Man I can’t wait to know more about that.
She snorted, in a bit of worrying way I have to say. “I certainly hope so lad, for your sake.” She let go of my hand. “So, ‘bout that adventure. Ye up for it?”
“I mean, are the Hans dead men? Yeah, I’m up for it! Where to?”
“Hazelwood. I’ve got me some news to drop off there and a bone to pick with one of those self-preservation favorers. Ye afraid of planes?” She asked.
Hazelwood….Hazelwood, that’s some town on the other continent isn’t it. There’s barely any Hans over there though, would that really be the first place to go? I did just agree to trust her though, so I better make good on that.
“Nope, I don’t think so. Though I’ve never actually been on one. It can’t be much different from a car going over some bumps I bet though.” I shrugged.
“Aye, precisely! Only the one we’d be takin’ is more like a lawnmower with wings, but at least it’s a great reminder if why living is exciting!” She grinned. “Do ye need to stop and get ye a bag for the road?”
I opened my mouth to say no and then closed it. I don’t, but I can’t quite just up and leave right this second. “I don’t really have any belongings,” Not here anyway. “but there are people I want to warn. They offered me sanctuary, it’s the least I can do.”
Not that I didn’t appreciate the big mansion I was allowed to live in, but this, it feels like I’ve been waiting forever for this kind of opportunity.
I’d be a darn fool to pass it up to go sit on my ass some more.