[f/n] finished the last retouches of her makeup. In the mirror, [e/c] eyes stared back at her, contoured by a thin line of black eyeliner, the coal like effect somehow bringing light to those orbs, making the color of her irises brighter and somewhat mysterious while shadowed by her eyelashes covered with mascara. As if one could lose himself when looking into those if they weren’t careful enough.
As if. There isn’t someone willing to do such madness. She mocked her reflected image. Besides, I’m not interesting enough for that.
She passed a hand through her hair, the locks falling wildly around her face, framing it in a way that contributed to her previous conclusion, even if she wasn’t inclined to have a high opinion of herself. Smiling ironically, she touched the glass, cool and impassive under her digits, with the tip of her fingers. I have no time for fantasies, or useless reveries, she thought while feeling the warm metal of the pistol she was carrying pressed against her thigh and some other weapons she had hidden on her clothing.
It was time for club patrol.
‘Club Patrol’ meant a very simple thing, but resulted in several troubles.
There were some selected night clubs where the majority of members would be rather magical and not exactly from the human species. Not all of them, naturally, since humans had way too many places to seek fun. But, even in those (if you searched carefully enough, and actually knew what you were looking for) it was still possible to find one or two of the magical folks between them. And that was alright, since a small number of them usually wasn’t (too much) of a problem.
That didn’t mean that normal people wouldn’t be among them on those nightclubs. Of course, those wouldn’t be exactly the expected common population, rather they would be goths or punks or from another movement/fashion that it would be expected to see something not so regular considering appearance of teenagers. So that meant that the ‘dress code’ from the magical beings would be looser when it comes to that type of places. Because the attention of the humans wouldn’t be so sharp on there, since if there wasn’t a way to tell if the feathers and the extravagant clothing wasn’t yet another form of expressing their so said individuality of thinking. If you saw a horn or a wing, well, that could be from the awful illumination, the cheap alcohol or someone who was just wearing something stranger than normal. If they blinked, the weird traits would be gone, and the owner of them would be smirking, while the poor teenagers would walk out confused, without knowing what they had seen at that second. No damages caused, per say. So it was technically perfect.
Put a huge number of different races with a long history of secular fights and try to see if things don’t warm up. Werewolves would most likely try to attack the vampires, or pull pranks on the fairies. The Fay would be most likely trying to charm away every one, intentionally or not, with their enchanted drink and food, or simply their hypnotic dance, creating slaves to their inhumane beauty and malice. And [f/n] didn’t even want to start thinking about the demons. Dirty little guys, the soul eaters. How she hated them, the anger boiling inside her veins and screaming her to take action, like it had before.
“Forget your blood thirst, it’ll only distract you.” Gilbert whispered on her mind and she took a deep breath, calming herself with the memory of the previous hours. Something had changed at the second he had done that with her. She couldn’t place her finger over what it was, or what it meant, but it was there and demanding attention. [f/n] decided she would deal with it later that night, after they returned from the club.
Focus. She ordered to herself, returning to her previous line of thoughts. Yes, club patrol.
So the dispute of egos created a constant challenge of having so many different types of creatures reunited in such a tight space. It was something that generated an enormous amount of tension, since only the younger joined those events. Which meant that the less wise and most explosive member of each supernatural community would be reunited there, with civilians to watch and possibly be hurt by them. Awful combination.
Because of that, the agency was necessary. For the very nature of those nights, they were only allowed from time to time (something like once a week in times of peace), so that they would be patrolled and things never got out of hand. It was also defined that those places would be a neutral zone, so no fights would be tolerated. If blood was shed there, it would be interpreted as a deep offense, and a clear statement of war. So it surged the need to maintain the peace.
That’s where the agents entered the story.
And that was why she was wearing clothes she would rather not; revealing and tight. And those heels. Hell, she would be so much happier if she could be wearing tennis. They would most likely have to separate some fights and throw a few punches themselves. Trying to do that while wearing stilettos was a pain. It became worse if you also had to watch your cleavage at the same time, since there would be plenty of eyes willing to steal a glance or two or even more than that. All in all, a nightmare. An underpaid one, since Romulus had yet to make her salary good enough for all of the times her neck was on the line.
[f/n] was still mad with the injustices of that business when the boys showed up in her room. A white headed man peeked from the doorframe and she felt her cheeks become tinted with red, the skin slowly starting to burn.
“Ready, frau?” Gilbert asked, smirking at her. She couldn’t help but to shiver, remembering his words from before. “Just remember I’m not all that patient.” What was her choice, after all? But she quickly shrugged to that thought when others joined them on the hallway.
Ludwig, Feliciano, Lovino, Antonio, Francis and herself. Too many of them for a simple task.
“All of us?” She questioned and Ludwig sighed.
“Originally, it was assigned for me, Feliciano and Lovino. But these two-” He pointed to Francis and Toni. “-overheard when Romulus was designing us the mission. Apparently, they were lacking things to do. Also, they decided to drag you and brother along. The boss thought it was a good idea.”
That actually was much too similar of what happened nearly daily when the missions were being consigned. Even if they had a good leader, things were a bit messy when dealing with those subjects. So they could perfectly have a lack of agents, since those would be taking a siesta (Lovino, Feliciano and the dork Spaniard she dared to call her best friend). Or simply chasing after anything that wore a skirt – or sometimes just the plain presence of legs were enough, not mattering what they would be wearing (Francis, Gilbert and, again, Antonio). Or even giving everything up to cook (they all fit that, aside from Ludwig. Even Gilbert would try his hand at making wurst every once in a while.). But the opposite was also possible, like the current situation.
So there they were now, on their way to the most agitated and crowded nightclub she ever set her feet on.
The problem wasn’t exactly the amount of people (magical beings or not), even if they were especially crumpled inside the tight environment. It was the constant heat generated by all those bodies mingling together. It was the sweat, the constant mixture of perfumes and the breath of dozens of figures swaying back and forth, nearly putting everyone on a trance.
As soon as they got there, they divided themselves to patrol specific areas. She was near the bar, possibly one of the worst places to be around. Magical and drunk? Not a pretty combination, if you ask her.
He appeared before she could notice him.
“Hello, little darling.” He whispered against her ear, his warm breath caressing her skin, and she turned around. The girl did it so she could face him and also to escape his hands, since his palms were sneaking behind her waist with a familiarity she didn’t remember approving. His frighteningly grey eyes greeted her [e/c] ones, a mocking expression tinting the color and swirling inside those orbs. His shadowy locks fell freely around his face, dark arrows spread chaotically while framing his face. There wasn’t a way to forget those inhumanely beautiful features once you had seen them.
“Gwydion, what a surprise.” [f/n] said; receiving a slightly ironical smile in exchange, since both could hear the sarcasm on her acknowledgement. Gwydion was known for being the son of Oberon, king of the Summer court (but it was questioned if he was a bastard or truly his son until that very day), one of the many from his long lineage. Close enough to the succession for not being ignored, not high enough to be imprisoned by manners and bureaucracy.
“Have you ever considered my offer?” He tilted her chin with his index, but she turned her head so that he was no longer touching her. They had the habit of flirting back and forth every time they met; something that unsettled the boys and shocked the fairy court. But that night those easy touches, which she normally used to provoke her friends so she could tease them later about it, were simply wrong. She couldn’t say why, though.
“Which one of them? To be forever one of your slaves or the one you mentioned that I might see sunlight once ever decade?” The girl retorted, remembering the many offers he had made on that sense. None of them were taken seriously, but there was always some truth to every lie. She just didn’t want to risk finding out the right amount. It was dangerous to play with the Fay.
“Your skin is too fair to be exposed to the cruel sun.” Gwydion caressed her cheek with the back of his hand and again she turned the other way. He frowned after that, since that wasn’t too different of what they had done before on their little games.
“You know my answer. I won’t become one of your court nor your concubine.” She told him coldly, taking a step back. He lifted a single eyebrow, making a gesture with his head, so that one of his servants would bring him something ‘suitable’ to drink. [f/n] remembered him doing that whenever he was having one of his business meetings, something too much alike a bad mobster, the kind that would be portrayed on those criminal series. She had told him that once, but he wasn’t too pleased with the comparison. But when he was plain annoyed he also did that.
Careful. You’re making him angry. Her mind warned her.
“You’re being more emphatic on your answer.” He scratched his chin, as if considering the matter while comparing with his previous memories. “Hm, every time you’d flirt back. Have you forgotten about the times we’ve spent together?” He told her, bearing in mind what was happening at the current moment. The fairy that brought him a glass, filled with something strangely purple, smirked at [f/n]. Her angelic blond hair and crystal blue eyes suddenly became very macabre when the girl realized that the inside of her mouth was covered with something black, tinting her sharp teeth, or maybe they were fangs, some of it sliding down her chin and neck, creating a very strange sight. Shivering, the girl looked away, instead focusing on how the liquid inside Gwydion’s glass reflected the lights from the nightclub, white, blue, red, green, while giving off a glow of its own. Weird.
“It’s past.” She retorted simply and he shook his head, like they were having a political conversation in which she and him supported different parties, something much more complicate than what they were actually doing.
“So cold. You do have someone, don’t you?” He smirked, swirling the content of his glass with a single hand in short movements of his wrist.
Something agitated on her mind, impeding her from giving him a plain ‘no’ for answer, so that she stuttered a little when saying the next words.
“N-no, I don’t.” [f/n] cursed internally for that demonstration of weakness. That could cost a high price for her later.
Gilbert was the closest to the little scene and her look was invariable attracted to his white head, only for a split second so that Gwydion wouldn’t notice her shifting of attention. But the vision of him only made her heart start to throb on her chest, so the problem was only worsened.
“Hesitation, interesting.” He enlaced her by the waist with his free arm, but this time his grip was too strong for her to come out of it so easily like the previous time. The girl squirmed because of that awkward and unwanted hug.
“Get your hands off me.” [f/n] hissed at him, what only made his smile larger, even sickening just as amused as it was. Things were beginning to become rather risky. She needed to get out of there. But how to do that and not break the pact? To break free would involve using her elbow to smash his nose. And there couldn’t be any amount of blood involved.
“Now, now, no need to get frisky.” He tried to appease her when she started to struggle even more, not that it had any effect on her. From the distance, her eyes met with Gilbert’s. His bloody irises were filled with rage from the scene. If she didn’t free herself quickly, things were bound to become even more complicated. [f/n] couldn’t allow that. Gwydion followed the direction of her gaze, then leaned forward so he could whisper on her ear. “Oh, that is the one you traded me for? Shall we test his love for you?”
“I’ll show you frisky.” She murmured back, ignoring the last part of his speech, ready to break his arm.
“No, you won’t.” He grinned at her, pulling her towards him. Her torso and his were now glued and this time he was using too much of his force for her to be able to come out of his grasp. It expelled the air from her lungs so harshly that she gasped. He drank some of the content of his chalice and then drawing her close so he could press his lips against hers. She tried to resist, but he forced the liquid on her mouth until she swallowed it.
The world started to look blurry after that.
It was too sudden.
Before any of them could do anything, [f/n] was being kissed, and forced to swallow whatever the guy had on his mouth. The effect was nearly instantaneous, since she wobbled on her place, as if trying to get her balance back. The man proceeded then to touch her, his hands sliding down her waits and making their way to her hips. The girl shook her head weakly, like even that small gesture was difficult to her, trying to shake him off. That vision alone made Ludwig curl his hands into fists, and he started to push people so he could come closer to them. How dared that idiot to attack his little girl!
He had seen [f/n] as a kid, he was the first to welcome her to the agency, when Romulus had brought her, the huge man seeming even bigger compared to the child that he was holding hands with. He was the one who woke her up from her nightmares and he was there when her eyes started to look like there was a soul behind them and not merely a pretty mirror to reflect the color.
Think about it later! He ordered himself when he reached them.
Gilbert, being the closest to the scene, was the first to make contact to [f/n]. Ludwig came right after him. His brother took the girl from the fairy, up close he looked like an elf from old tales, passing her unconscious body to Ludwig. He picked her up easily.
Gilbert used the second that Ludwig was maneuvering the girl more properly on her arms to punch the guy. It took both sides by surprise, and everything seemed to freeze as the German kept socking the now not so perfect features, his pale knuckles tinted with blood. Under the black lights, his brother’s fingers seemed dirtied with China ink, spreading the rich color over his skin more and more as he kept coming back at it, each blow less controlled than the previous. While holding [f/n], Ludwig was unable to do anything. But if he was free, he didn’t know if he’d help Gilbert or stop him.
The sounds of the electronic beat was suddenly so overbearing, drowning them in a sea of noise when Francis and Antonio grabbed Gilbert by his arms, pulling him away from the little prince. The others from his court took the fairy away, since he was clearly knocked out by his opponent. Ludwig felt that things would become out of hand in no time if he didn’t do something fast. He made a head gesture, indicating one of the farthest corner of that crowded place, or as far as they could get, where the music wouldn’t be so oppressive. In his arms, [f/n] seemed out of herself, somewhere along dreaming and plain drunk, sometime mumbling things under her breath. But the cacophony never let him know the words she said in her delirium.
“Shit!” Gilbert said, passing a hand through his white hair, nearly pulling the messy locks by the roots, just as roughly as he did spreading some of the clogged blood over them and ruining its color.
Everyone seemed to be as distressed as him. Even Ludwig felt tempted to fall into the despair of the moment, since all efforts seemed pointless at the time. Hitting one insurgent or two wasn’t a problem. But blood had been spilled. That had more implications than what he wished. Yet, oddly, that was what made him to calm down, his soldier instincts pushing him to take the lead and think rationally about the situation, taking command when no one else did. They would deal with the causalities later. It was almost natural to him. He would feel later. He would be awake, staring at the ceiling of his bedroom, imagining that body that for him was so light, once again against him. He would dream with the texture of her skin and the sound of her heartbeats. He would blame himself for ever allowing her to be there alone.
But not now.
“Someone must stay and keep peace. The last thing we need is that a war falls over our laps.” Ludwig told them; already knowing that at least two should stay to actually patrol the place and guarantee that nothing else happened. “At least two of us.”
“I’ll take [f/n] home. You guys can stay.” Lovino offered, surprising many of them. However, that was one of the rare moments where the angry Italian didn’t see it as a provocation. Instead, all his attention was focused on the girl Ludwig held in his arms, a worried scowl forming on his face. His face was lacking the usual barriers he put around his expression, carelessly exposing the obvious emotions behind it. That, for itself, was very rare. But what really surprised Ludwig was the way his insides contorted in irritation at the sight. It was very… Confusing.
“But outside…” Feliciano started, but his brother cut him with an impatient hand gesture.
“This is neutral territory, you idiot, do you really think that they would go as far as making a clear invitation for a vendetta? Right under the Agency’s nose?” Lovino had a point. Throwing a prank, maybe even a broken bone or two, wasn’t such a huge problem. But actually incapacitating several agents? That was a clear declaration against all humans. No one would be that stupid. But the neutrality had been broken already by Gilbert, so they should be careful.
“They could. Gilbert smashed the nose of one of Oberon’s sons. He has means to make it all pass by unnoticed.” Antonio said, looking nervous and desolate at the same time, examining the girl with his emerald eyes, almost as if she was his lover. Again, he contained a foreign impulse to tackle the Spaniard down and break his nose. Or to steal [f/n] from all of them and their hungry eyes.
“But even the Fay won’t go as far as attacking us after we’re away from this nightclub. They can say that it was in their right while we’re here, but things become messy after we step into the grey zone.” Gilbert interjected, glancing at the dancing bodies to check if there was someone too interested on their conversation. His cold glare dismissed the lingering attention they could have.
The grey zone meant the place where there were too many humans. There, surrounded by iron and little faith, fairies lost their power and even the strongest would be cautious to walk on such places. They needed more buildings and less green to keep the girl safe.
“So the plan is take her out of here the fastest we can, oui?” Francis said, taking a drag of his cigarette. Though the action seemed absentminded, the shaking of his hands showed clearly that it was no more than a façade full of cracks.
“But how?” Feliciano questioned and Ludwig felt that once more he should start to order things.
“We divide our forces. Obviously they will leave some rioters behind, so that if we all leave they’ll start to cause problems and break the pact. We can’t let that happen. So two of us should escort [f/n] to the grey zone, and possibly back to the agency, since they wouldn’t directly attack us. Two others stay, watching the club. And the remaining will try to delay the persecutors that will leave the club after her.” He instructed and all of them heard in an ominous silence.
“I’ll go with fratello.” Feliciano said and the childlike appearance he always had gave way to a more serious expression. It was almost unsettling, as if he had aged over the few seconds of that discussion.
“We’ll stay back and guard the club.” Antonio said, smirking darkly. “All this conversation is making my fists itch.”
Francis nodded distractedly, though the light coming from the half smoked cigarette told them a different story as it illuminated his expression, making it almost sinister.
“Alright.” They all agreed, taking their positions.
There were days that Ludwig didn’t know if he believed on God. The idea was too imprecise and it mocked far too much of the pasts that they all had. What kind of God would do that to little children?
Still, while leaving the heated nightclub to be greeted by the cold winter wind that was being blown on the empty street, he couldn’t help it, a small pray made way through his mind to whatever could hear him at that time.
It happened too fast.
As soon as they left the club, they appeared, smiling like maniacs, surrounding them before they could actually make a proper formation to protect the girl. Lovino was carrying her, so he had the most problems to dodge the blows, both magic and physical. Feliciano had gone out first, so he could bring the car to that street. Ludwig could already see the silvered metal of the modern vehicle, shining under the dim illumination of the alley. Still, the Italian couldn’t bring the car directly to the back door. They had a small distance to walk. A dozen of meters, perhaps, maybe even less than that. But, when under attack, that distance could be literally what would separate salvation from a very painful death.
Gilbert turned to Ludwig, shouting that he should protect [f/n] and leave him to take care of the rest of them. Seeing no other option, he left his brother to face them, while fighting off other two that were pestering around Lovino. Eventually, though, he managed to make sure that they were inside the car, Feliciano quickly stepping on the gas and leaving the place.
That was when he heard the scream.
Ludwig turned around. Gilbert had taken many of them; dancing around the fairies like one of the many combat exercises they often had. The magical creatures were more and more frustrated as they only received punches and kicks, but never accomplished any onto the sly pale figure. That was when the little prince, Gwydion, stepped forward with a dagger on his hands. His face was not handsome as before, with the broken nose and the clogged blood covering his features. That gave Ludwig a strange satisfaction, even if that was obviously the wrong time to be proud of his brother. They exchanged positions many times, and among the blows he could hear the malice and the amusement that coated the voice of the fay, even if the agent never replied to it. Whatever it was, it managed to make Gilbert angry, what created an opening.
Never let yourself be led by anger! That would be what Ludwig would always yell to him, but at that instant he only wished that the mistake didn’t cost his brother’s life. Gwydion made a quick hand gesture, and Ludwig saw his brother receiving a strange golden dust thrown towards him, a deep howl of agony leaving Gilbert’s mouth as he fell onto his knees.
The world stopped at that second.
Ludwig ran towards the scene, somehow feeling that his legs were made of sand, since he couldn’t get there fast enough. The fairies ran once they realized he was pointing his gun at them (when did he pull it out of his holster?). They knew iron bullets better than anyone and could smell them even from that distance. Since fairies had no soul, death was a definitive state. And he wasn’t feeling too inclined to be merciful at that moment, not with his brother screaming in pain.
Ludwig grabbed Gilbert by the shoulders, yanking him up roughly, checking his face and body, anything that could tell him what had just happened. His mind shrieked at him, at how he could be so stupid and let something like that happens, but despite the cuts and bruises, his brother was alive and breathing. Gilbert raised a single hand, as if to grab Ludwig’s arm and make him stop shaking his pale figure, but he instead passed a single hand in front of his eyes as if to test how many fingers he could see. Maybe the strange dust had messed with his perception? It wouldn’t be a surprise if he started to hallucinate, since the fairies were known for their trickery.
“Bruther,” Gilbert called, his voice sounding shocked, coated with disbelief and a hint of despair. Ludwig sucked his breath between his gritted teeth once he looked at him; he suspected that would snap the bone due to the pressure of his clenched jaw. There was something primarily wrong with that scene.
Gilbert’s eyes had always been the most outstanding trait of his face. Red as blood, those irises could be compared to a thirsty demon, bright and filled with mockery.
Where was the ever so bright scarlet of those orbs?