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Dark Day

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Dark Day

Post by Shula Brighton on Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:20 am

JAN 5th, 2012

Todtnauberg. A quaint village nestled in the loving, silent depths of the Black Forest that dotted tiny houses inobtrusively into the mountains that divided Amestris and Aerugo. The village had little need of other towns and the larger cities, more than three hours from South City, and could have been farther away for all the people there cared. Todtnauberg was their own and functioned on its own. A home to just a few shy of 600 people, Todtnauberg hardly needed the tourist revenue that came to hike up the mountains and make noise and leave their trash behind. They had little need of anyone outside of their own village, really; their police force was more than enough, and the array that had been so carefully constructed and placed throughout the whole area made keeping everyone safe. And in the dark depths of the black wood, hiding in the mountains, no outside town had heard the cry for help that came as a whole and then suddenly silenced.

In a single night, almost 600 men, women and children had died silently, leaving no traces of how or why. Homes and cars were littered with the dead, all collapsing where they had last breathed in, from all outward appearance no external reason. There was no blood on any of them, no trauma to their bodies. It was as if they'd all simply breathed in their last and died immediately. Death came switfly and silently, without warning, cessation or mercy; as Raistlin had so coldly pointed out to Frederich, all were guilty and to be held accountable. No survivors. No witness. No explanation to ever be provided for what happened to the missing State Alchemists or freelancers, their names merely left to small town rumours that had died before dawn had broke to warm the mountainside. Not even the warmth of dawn could shake the cold off of Shula, the light feeling bleak and austere against her skin.

She was only meant to be gone for a day, two at the most. She'd been missing four days, Frederich holding her in that rotting hell against her will. Torturing her in whatever way seemed most fun, though he'd seemed to love the fact that he'd taken her phone from her and told Spade she was fine and that she'd be home soon; there was nothing to worry about, she just wasn't having much luck in her search. The way he laughed as she silently cried, how he'd stabbed into her body repeatedly and remind her that she would never be found. Never be looked for until it was too late. How she was dying for a greater cause. He hadn't counted on Raistlin coming to her rescue, just as his cancellation array hadn't factored in alkahestry. They had been unable to stop Raistlin; no plea for reason nor offer had appealed to their executioner. And now the only one left to know their names and intention was numb. Shula was still hungry and thirsty, but Raistlin had been oddly caring, or at least attentive to her needs.

Broken bones had been set and mended. Cuts on the delicate flesh inside her arms from steel biting in and leaving her to bleed had been closed. Each cut, stab, bruise and break had been fully healed, leaving no external trace of any human cruelty toward her. The precious life force that had poured from her own body all over had been replenished, "donated" by another from the village and then altered to match Shula's own blood. Her clothes had been ruined beyond repair, and Shula had hesitantly raided one of the town's shops to find clothes she could wear and a shower. The deep brown, red and orange stained the shower she'd been instructed to clean herself in, Shula feeling the blood would never come free from her body. She was caked in it. Days of it. Her own, and the blood of the men who'd held her there painted against her. Someone else's lungs gave her breath, and now someone else's blood gave her life.

Shula had recovered her watch and phone, and externally there was now no trace that anything out of the ordinary had happened to her at all. She was quiet and uneasy as Raistlin instructed her to go home and say nothing, the Ishvallan still baffled as to why he'd saved her and gone to such lengths to repair her. Was it just to cover his own ass and make sure nobody but her was left who could identify him? She was his investment and his tool, yes, but given the amounts of research she'd given him already surely he was close to his goal and could have finished without her. So why...? Shula didn't dare ask his intentions, even though she'd obediently done as he'd told her when it was all over, and thanked him for saving her, even though she'd been unable to raise her eyes to him. The shock hadn't worn off, Shula too numb to even know what else to say or do other than what she was told.

Shula was silent, somewhere between asleep and awake, dazed from a nightmare that now couldn't be proven to be real. The shed that acted as a mass grave had been burnt completely, all of the missing alchemists' bodies burnt inside. Investigators might never find out who all of them were, or why they were all dead and rotting in a ditch in a shed in a rotting yard. The decrepid white farmhouse was gone, too, burnt down to the very foundation. Raistlin had made sure of it. But the bodies of Frederich and his men had remained in there, at the source of the fire. Their warped bones might be blamed on intense heat from leaking chemicals and venemous gasses fueling the fire. Those noxious fumes might have been what killed everyone, and then dissipated as their source ran out and carried away by the mountain breeze. But the cellar remained, and every time Shula closed her eyes she could see it and still feel the handcuffs that bound her to the floor. The massive eye hooks drilled through the cement to hold her in place and remnants of the handcuffs. They might have melted in that hot fire. Shula didn't know. She didn't even know if she cared anymore. She was cold and numb.

She didn't even check her phone as it was given back to her; she knew Spade wouldn't have believed the messages sent to him. She knew he was looking for her. Spade was too smart for Frederich and all of Todtnauberg's dirty little secret. But she didn't check to see just how many messages were left for her. Shula didn't dare even breathe Spade's name in front of her dark master. She knew better than to slip and then try to lie to him, and slipping could mean Spade's death. Her own, she'd stopped caring so much about since she knew Raistlin held all power over that, but the people she loved? That would never cease to be the way to keep her behaving. Clean, dressed and whole, missing nothing at all, Shula quietly drove away from Todtnauberg to go home, shaking in her car and crying as she went.

Unclean. Shula brushed the tears from her cheeks as she drove, trying to blank their faces away from her mind. She couldn't let it show that anything had happened. Too much depended on it. Unclean. The village vanished from her rearview mirror and she was now far enough away from Raistlin. he wouldn't know, would he? The powder blue vintage beetle turned off on the next exit on the backwoods highway, pulling into a town called Minsch. Shaking hands dug into her pocket, dialing Spade, not bothering to see where he was right now. It didn't matter. Just a voice. Something. Anything to say he wasn't going to Todtnauberg to look for a General that wasn't there. It rang once. Twice. Click

"Spade," Shula said, her voice quiet, distant, and very tired-sounding. "Spade... I'm in Minsch. I'm okay. But... can.. Can you come here and get me? Please?" Her body was shaking violently, the shock and reality finally settling in on her as she clung to her phone like a lifeline back to the only safe thing she knew.


Last edited by Shula Brighton on Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Dark Day

Post by Spade Aeries on Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:03 am

If I need help I will call but should be back tomorrow night. Promise I'll be careful. Shu. Shula Brighton and everything that she was could be heard through even a simple text message. Rum and coffee on his breath, he breathed out a smile and sat back in his green cross-stitched chair to admire the tower of unfinished paperwork that was his trademark. A scoff lifted his lips to take a final drag from a month-old pack of cigs he treated himself to occasionally. When she wasn't there, he found himself smoking more often: at work, on the road, and when she was busy. It kept him busy. You know, something to do--something that kept him calm and his mind off...other things. What those other things pertained to was something Spade's heart desired to keep to itself. He was done being out in the open, done handing over his soul on a rusted platter just to watch it be shredded in invisible wind. He was fucking done. So fucking done that this text, although completely typical of his short ishvallan, gave him a bad feeling. So natural--so naive-sounding that it offset the ex-detective and sounded the alarms. The red lights were flashing, but...but how paranoid had he become? Just how paranoid could he be? As the judge of the judged, Spade was running in circles, absentmindedly staring at the reflective screen of his phone, without reading. Without reading it, he felt the vibes running off the pixels into his hands, up his arms, through his stained lungs, down his throat where it was lodged silently, breaching no words through the surface of reason. Reason--what did that even mean? Promise she'll be careful. If she needed help, she'd call. Help. Help. His tongue ran over the backs of his teeth, eyes dragging across the phone and to the window. Distance. If she needed help, there was distance. If she needed help, would she be able to call? Where was she going? Spade made a quick sucking noise in disappointment and stood up to get more rum, but stopped. No. You promised yourself, Aeries. Goddammit. Yeah, he was just being too perceptive--just...he just had to ignore it. Just fucking ignore it.

"General, sir, you're needed in the other room to debrief the Rommington Troop." Fuck that shit they didn't need him there. It was just a pain in the ass. He felt like a teacher in a lecture hall being watched by young eyes, following him, never...leaving...him be for a moment goddammit. The ex-playboy sighed, realizing just how much of an ex-everything he was.

"At least I wasn't a fucking teacher," he muttered.

"What?" The man asked, baffled by the man's behavior. But Spade simply shook his head and hit send, walking out of the room.

Aw and tonight was free movie night on HBO.

Actually, it's kind of New Year's Day, Spade thought a few hours later as he was walking to his car for an early day off. No one worked today except military and...well, if you could call that working. No one really did anything except talk about the office holiday party. Ughhhh... His hair was a mess and he just wanted to go home and sleep. He was too old to do that all-nighter shit anymore...it just hurt. He felt like he had a hangover despite not drinking even a sip on New Year's Eve. On a sane day, Spade would have shot himself at the thought. But really, what could he say, love performed miracles.

His apartment was a wreck by the time January 2nd's night rolled it's sorry ass around. Spade was playing SOLITAIRE on his phone that's how bored he was. No work, nothing to do, couldn't go to bars, gambling alone was a drag... God, he had no friends. Fuck you Apos. And Drachma was the last time he saw Ike. His soldiers were scattered all around for the holiday so FUCK HIM. Couldn't even pick up a pretty lady to spend the evening with, why? Well, because he already had one. He ran out of frozen meals and watched all the Rambo movies consecutively. Life was buzzing, he was starting to see everything wrong with everything and everything in everything else. He found out the coffee he drank last morning was Esparian coffee that was so old it was made just a few years after the war. It was damn good coffee, tasted like ocean and treasure...mix in rum and it was perfection. The beans were roasted at approximately 234 degrees until they make a popping sound, like popcorn. And-- It was midnight. No word from Shu. No call. She wasn't here. Spade lunged across his bed, nearly spilling the opened bag of coffee beans all over his wooden floor. He took up his phone, having not heard it vibrate a text message...

Everything's fine but progress is slow. Staying to look a bit longer.

Wrong. It was wrong. In this state, Spade knew that he was reading the word 'Shu' right at the top. Someone stole her phone. It wasn't her words; it wasn't her. The text seared into his mind, eating away at the fuzz of boredom and sending off every alarm his body had. He was acting before he knew he had the car keys in his hand. Still wearing his Amestrian military uniform adorned with all the ostentatious metals he achieved, the wavy-haired brunette was out the door before one could say 'Monkey'. Not like anyone in their right mind would be standing in Spade's apartment waiting to say the solitary line of 'Monkey' just to prove that statement correct. It was just that, at the time, a documentary on monkeys just happened to be on the discovery channel. He got in the Seven, revved the engine and suddenly remembered that he had no idea where he was going. Where was Shu? Fuck, she didn't tell him. FUCK. Fuckfuckfuck. He knew it. He fucking knew it. But he didn't berate himself, no, his chest was slamming itself into the steering wheel in quenched horror too much for him to think about anything other than Shu. Shu and finding Shu--Shu, and saving Shu. FUCK. Spade took a shuddering breath, telling himself to focus as he just barely managed to park before he was already running.

In his office, his computer did the work, his detective's mind already lost in strings of dialogue and passing details his eyes caught on pieces of paper that passed through his fingertips and into others. His head was spinning, coffee cups piling up that wasn't Esparian coffee, but black Amestrian poison that did its job. He forgot that sleep existed, forgot that he forgot to lock his apartment door, forgot that he didn't tell Aishe where he was... There was nothing--nothing but monitor and a million scrawled man notes all over the desk. When morning came, people came and asked questions. He told them to leave him alone--that Shula was missing. Night again. The archives were half squandered, leaving threadbare traces of activity towards the border near Aerugo. Day. Trees, pine trees, mountains, forlorn, lost towns that the country paid no mind despite it being the country--a place the bombs hadn't reached--a place that no one would look for bones. He was close, on the cusp of finding out what this place was that Shu would be careful in, but wasn't careful enough. Not even thinking about the consequences, instead began ridiculing himself. Sin. When would he ever learn?! The tattoo seared a mark into the depths of his reeling consciousness. Would it have hurt to ask--to pry? Was he so afraid of fucking up again that he fucked up? He turned it over and over in his mind, wishing he hadn't whined about HBO, but instead about her not sharing with him the confidential information that cou-- He phone buzzed loudly, jarring him from his thoughts, making him pause long enough to realize what the tail end of that thought would be. Confidential information that couples share... what just, what? Just-- His eyes found the words.

Think I'm going in circles, going to give it to Friday. You'll see me soon.

That was a pathetic excuse for a Shu. You'll see me soon, really? While he wanted to continue ripping apart every reason why that was wrong, he felt sick enough and dizzy enough to stand up and simply leave. He remembered his keys, his wallet, and his phone, but left the notes and his discovery flashing on his monitor. Just over a week ago, a South City militant, also an alchemist named James Weibe was sent on a simple relay mission. Details were lacking immensely from the Amestrian Military log, most likely deemed unimportant by the sorry sag of a soldier who had signed up looking of action. Spade hissed under his breath, windshield wipers blaring in the silence of a raving mind. He was drenched and shivering by the time he got inside South City Head Quarters. People were giving him looks, whispering questions about why Central's head was in South City so late at night. He ignored them, bursting into Shula's office and demanding the key to her desk. But he was on his last legs, people asking why he looked so haggard. Touching his chin, Spade realized with horror that he hadn't shaved for three days--three days? His sunglasses... at his office? Bewildered jade eyes returned to their normal hue, blaring authority.

"It doesn't fucking matter give me the key. You all already know Shula hasn't been here--hasn't called in sick. She's missing and I'm going to find her." His voice was shaking, he noted. He sounded desperate, afraid, his legs were shaking, he felt the bags under his eyes... The key was in his hand somehow. He forgot who gave it to him or that he had taken it, but he was unlocking her drawer right now. He was taking out files...the one on the top. One word. One name. He read it. Todtnauberg. That was the named of the town. He found it--it wasn't in military records, but he found it... Thank god she was organized...and he knew where she kept...where she kept her....

When Spade woke up, his face was covered in something cold and wet. Muffled voices were murmuring mumbles above him and the world was spinning. Shu. He sat up and was off the couch, halfway across the room and the realized he didn't know where his car keys were. Gone. Gonegonegone! He found the nearest person who was already coming towards him and grabbed their collar. "I order you to give them to me." Fucking bastard idiots stealing his car keys from him. THE CLOCK. It was a little blurry, but seven...seven o'clock in the...morning?!

"Sir, you have a fever," he heard through the haze. "We were debating whether to take you to the hospital. You came in here last night soaking wet..." How long had he been out in the rain? Spade shook his head.

"I'm taking a shower firsst." He stumbling out, down the hall unattended, and found the base shower. He shaved, washed his hair, scrubbed himself and-- Shu. He whisked on a fresh uniform, throwing his metals across it while running back down the hall. He found his car keys hidden in the lackey's drawer when he went to go scan some paperwork.

Timeskipped to him on the road, making him sudden wonder how he got there, but the GPS was telling him where to go. He had already entered in the coordinates. Two hours later, he was jolting awake when the tires screamed at him from the side of the road, constantly straddling consciousness and unconsciousness. Welcome to Todtnauberg, the sign said. Graffiti at the bottom, go AWAY! Well, no, he thought, green eyes narrowed into Xingese slits, I-- Dead body. A dead body. In the middle of the road. Spade threw the car into park. There was another...another... zombie apocalypse-like scenery strewed about the small town. Population 600. From where he stood, there were 15 dead in the street. Into the nearest house, all dead. Dropped dead where they were: no struggle, no blood, not traces. It wasn't a gas leak although it looked it. Asphyxiation. He examined three deceased with an expert eye. This was a set-up by someone good...too good to compete with. Shu...Shu was here...in this. Would her find her body here...too? Spade covered his mouth and took a deep breath. Focus. He had to stay focused...keep hopeful. He couldn't afford to go insane, not now.

He combed through the entire place, finding only misplaced summer flowers alchemically grown by Shula. She had been here for sure. But...the sun was lowering and he hadn't found her body. Only one building showed melding: a farmhouse burnt to it very foundation. He scavenged the premises, sniffing the fragrance of rotting bodies and chipped paint on a cellar door. He kicked it open, wincing at the cacophony of screeching metal. It echoed, his wires ready, eyes adjusting to the singed black that led underground to earth and the images of inside-out bones, twisted painfully in anguish. This...this was a torture scene, melted pocket watches pooling at his boots. Broken pipe, footprints in ashes, sword made out of a spine... What. He felt lost, seeing evidently that the two warped skeletons were certainly male. No Shula. But...she had been here. Five other dead males, one with a bullet hole in his head, fingerprints burned off into steaming hunks of once-human. It reeked, but he was used to it--used to death, and used to facing it. He just...he just wasn't used to facing death when...when it involved... Just what...what was he supposed to...what was he supposed to do now?! There was no leads! Alkahestry was climbing up and down the collapsing walls of this place, but there was no name, no origin to be found--no Shula Brighton. ...

In the emptiness, his phone rang. It rang again before he realized that he needed to return to the world. Return... He picked up silently, trying hard to blink through the blurs gathering in his eyes. Blink fast because... "Spade, Spade... I'm in Minsch. I'm okay. But... can.. Can you come here and get me? Please?" It was a miracle. Did miracles happen? She was alive. He was just happy that she was alive. She...she was alive. Spade made a sound in between a laugh and a sob, sucking in a deep breath to filter out the emotion. He was standing in a cellar surrounded by a town of dead bodies, listening to Shu's voice. Everything was okay. He recovered quickly, surprising himself beyond measure. But really, it was because the only thing he wanted out of life right now was to see her--to touch her--to reassure himself that she was real, alive--that this wasn't just a voice recording of a ghost barking back from the netherworld.

"Where in Minsch?"

"On the back roads, route 1, just after...the turnoff for the town. ...I'm parked on the side of the road in the woods still...I can see a gas station up the r--" That was all he needed. Spade hung up, sprint-climbing out of the basement and into the sunset. The Seven sprung to life, blasting down the road like it was meant to be, leaving the Hollywood rendition of 28 Days Later behind in a cloud of exhaust, causing global warming in style.

He found her; that blue bug was hard to miss. And...he saw her through the window, glass being the only thing separating them, clear, see-through, yet able to be marred--able to be broken... He fly out of the car before it was even in park, not even shutting it off. But before he let himself give in to all the emotions clogging his soul, he held up a hand. "Don't talk." And began stripping her car. He knew all the places things were hidden, stored away by criminals and evil masterminds. He had to become one to know them... Spade knew, not only did he know, but he fucking found one, tearing it out and disconnecting ever damn wire that could be disconnected. Then he spun on her, dropping the equipment, and burring his face into her hair--arms clutching he waist, moving across her back, tangling in the shirt that wasn't hers. "Fuck," he breathed.

.....................................................................................................................................


Fluent in | Amestrian (green) | Xingese (seagreen) | Cretan (yellow) | Ishvallan (orange) | Esparian (royalblue) | Everything has a Xingese accent except Amestrian.

No shit, Spade. B) It's elementary, my dear Shu.
I will not come home drunk.
I will noot come home drunk.
I wi no t comme hom dunk
I wi na dung hum brump
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Re: Dark Day

Post by Shula Brighton on Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:23 pm

Two roads diverged in a black wood that went on for acres, dovering the mountains and seeping down into the valleies of Amestris in that region. One road would lead away from the tiny villages and towns that ditted the mountainsides and hid among the trees, covered from the cares of the rest of the world and lead back to the main highways that led to towns, back to the bigger cities. The other road would drive deeper into the woods and the heart of the mountains, and smaller ones still would diverge like the tiny spreams that springs gave birth to, trickling up over the mountains to the very borders of Aerugo. The vintage, powder-blue bug sat pulled off on the side of that lesser road, hiding in the silent comfort of the dark pine trees. It wasn't a road one would take to avoid traffic, so far from everything, and even the larger road it came from only went through the mountains to connect these forgotten towns together erratically.

The forest was silent around her, eerie in its stillness and reminding Shula of all the dark and blood-drenched fairy tales she'd heard when she lived in Meissan; if she wanted, she could take some of these little roasds away from the mountains and actially get to her childhood home that satin the valley somewhere in this part of the country. Home sounded so good right now, especially since the forest's silence seemed so heavy. The animals in the forest knew. The spirits of the forest and mountains knew, too. So much death in a single night wasn't natural and went against the gentle ebb and flow of life, and it all seemed to stare at the sobbing woman in the car as through waiting for an explanation of why they had all died, and why she alone had lived. The children that had come and watched her demonstrate her flower alchemy; how excited they looked to see the summer flowers bloom so rapidly. The stody old famers and their wives, commenting on hwo alchemy like that could be useful. Even under the guise of being there to look for work to try and draw out the culprit, Shula would have gladly shared that alchemy with them if they had wanted. There was nothing dangerous in it. No ill effects. ...Were there?

Ishvalla forbid alchemy because it changed what he had created in perfection and given wholeness; to change what he had made to provide for you was to spit in his eye and reject his gifts, showing that they weren't good enough. Was this... Was this really proof of that? Todtnauberg was decidedly against alchemy to the point of constructing circles and lacing them through the town in order to render it useless. Those stodgy old farmers and older residents grumbled that they'd never needed alchemy and never would; their way of life was just fine without it; alchemy only brought death. Frederich had told Shula that repeatedly, told her how everything from her glorious fire alchemy down to the holistic beauty of her flower alchemy were all dangerous. All would cause bloodshed and had assisted in ravaging this country for decades. It was only now starting tos ink in with how right he'd been. Shula had come with her alchemy, not meaning any harm and honestly just trying to find answers. Just trying to put something right. And in the end? 600 people had died as a result of her visiting.

Thin arms wrapped around and hugged the equally thin, oversized steering wheel, her face hiding in her arms as she cried. Though all her physical wounds had been healed, she was still exhausted, hungry, and deeply, deeply wounded from being at the eye of tragedy's storm. Her heart beat furiously against her breast with each sob,m reminding her quite bluntly that she was alive and they weren't. Even as the call to Spade had ended abruptly, and she knew he was coming for her, that gave her little comfort. How could she explain what had happened without mentioing Raistlin? It had been made to look like a gas leak, but how had she gotten away? Why didn't she call for help? Would she even be able to defend herself from the military? Hans was a decent man, but Shula did not want to be on the receiving end of his wrath, especially when she wasn't sure how he felt about the death sentence for soldiers. Would her silence end up putting her to death? Why didn't he just kill me then and leave me with the other bodies?!

Bleary red eyes lifted from her arms as a small roar of thunder ripped down the mountain road, destroying the forest's silent mourning with its wake. She'd been so lost in her drowning sea that she had been startled by its sound, and had been oblivious to the car that had passed her on the road into town some time ago. The world had ceased to be and only restared when she heard the beautiful sound of the Seven coming up and parking behind her in the shoulder. Shula was silent and motionless as Spade jumped from the racecar, her windows and top all rolled up and sealing her inside. The effort it took to try and roll the window down felt like she was being asked to lift her entire car, her body shaking violently. She didn't dare look up to Spade's eyes. She couldn't. Shula's mouth opened, trying to find words even though she didn't know what to say. What could she say? Shu looked up just enough to see Spade raise a hand. "Don't talk."

Spade. Spade was here. In the dead silence of the woods and with horror still clinging to her soul, Spade was here. In uniform. She watched silently in her seat as Spade opened the doors and picked the car apart, searching for something. What was he looking for? And why was he in uniform? Was the military already in Todtnauberg investigating? Was she already being charged with suspicion? Was Spade here to kill her before the Chancellor would? She felt ill, dizzy, breathless and much colder than it really was outside, holding her arms as she shook, the moisture running down her cheeks stinging. Spade was quiet and his focus laced with a deadly resolve as he searched, finally pulling something free from the bottom of her car and disconnecting it, clipping wires connected to the car and itself. Shula blinked as it crashed to the ground. What... What was that? What WAS that, that Spade had found? WHY was it on her car?! Wobbly legs touched the asphalt, the small black shoes being the only part of her clothes that were still her own. She sniffled faintly as Spade spun, grabbing her in one fluid motion that seemed to breathe out a held breath.

Warmth eminated from his chest, even through the uniform covered in medals and ribbons. He bent over, his hot breath burning in her hair against her shoulder, his arms wrapping around and gripping the new shirt. The world spun on an angle, and blackness ate at the corners of her vision. All of the teasing, stabbing, tormenting her and telling her she'd never be found... He'd found her. Shula's small body went limp as she surrendered to the blackness for a moemnt, collapsing against his chest in dizziness and the only thing holding her up was him. It was a moment for her heart's rampant beating to steady out and fight the blackness way, and it seemed to take so much strength to raise her arms and wrap around his back, clinging to the itchy wool of his jacket. But as her fingers gripped, they tightened for fear of letting go. "Spade," Shula finally managed out, her voice a breathy whisper. Her arms moved up higher, her face burying itself against him with a sob. She wanted to try and say something. Tell him how frightened she was, what had happened, how she'd very nearly never come home. But nothing came out but the tense, heaving sobs that ripped from her soul and soaked the dark wool.
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Re: Dark Day

Post by Spade Aeries on Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:38 am

Thrust lips against each other--no thought. Spade was here. Shu was in his arms, against him, breathing, crying, wreck, shaking, cold, skin, warming up... Time passed slowly, his tongue was inside her--inside her, but no he could wait. For once, he could wait--wait and kiss her--just kiss her. Kissing her was enough: dark recesses of mouth, smooth teeth, the texture of tongues flicking, dancing, so good he didn't even know...know anything anymore. In her car, the door wide open, hinges creaking in wind, his foot going numb against pavement outside. He felt himself grow tired and bereft at the same time--reliant--desperate. He yearned for more, hands nearly venturing under her shirt, stopping short just under the wire of her bra, stuck in a stasis so hard that he nearly trembled. Self control--the self control of Spade Aeries hardly existed until now. It was in moments like these that he realized how much...just how much he loved her.

"Shu," he cooed in her ear, lips apart now, wet with her saliva. Green eyes focused dully on her half-image of blurred red eyes--opposites so close they attract forever and a day. Oh no, he'd never let this end. No, he didn't; she was okay, see? Fuck the bodies--fuck whatever the fuck happened. He let out a shaky sigh and glanced quickly behind him at his car. Fuck this shit. He'd ask questions later--oh, would he ask questions. He wanted to demand the answers and explicitly explain just what she had nearly done to him--nearly cost him--nearly cost herself. Life. You couldn't replace life! What was he going to do, sell his soul to go to the gate and request her back!? What--like...what? What would he even do? ... Seriously. Seriously... if he lost her. If Shu...if she had... he would just...just... UGH! He still had no fucking clue what happened, but that was why he was an ex-detective... Hah. Jesus Christ. He...he just wanted to ask. NO. You'll fucking regret it, Aeries. She was crumbling in his grip enough as it was. To open his fat-ass big mouth now really would end it for him. Hell, he'd off himself for-- No, no he really wouldn't.

He was too much of a fucking coward.

"Aight upsy-daisy." He whisked her right out of the pale blue vehicle with a single movement, carrying her like a princess right over to his forest green sports car. "I don't trust that shit. You're not driving it. I'll get it checked out tomorrow and then towed to your place. I'll lock it up for now." Just leaving it there would be fine. It would be fine. He'd have men crawling all over the damn place... But right now, he didn't care about that... Honestly, he wasn't even confident that he could stay awake long enough to get them back home, but he had to do it. For Shu's sake, he'd do it. The car started.

Long-winded silence hurt like a bitch. He tried not to say much, blare the radio, watch Shu watching the window--watch Shu exist there next to him...where she belonged. God, why did he make her Head of South HQ? That has to be one of your stupidest decisions, Aeries. Oh, and getting scammed at that casino in Gelemorté last summer... He shook his head violently, pulling up to park right at her apartment with the millions of fucking locks that annoyed the shit out of him because his apartment was unlocked right now. Goddammit. "Cche..." He shut the door behind his retreating shadow and stole Shu again, ignoring all protests as he carried her allllllllllllllllllllllll the way to her bed where he then collapsed with her on top of him. "At least I remembered to lock the door this time," he murmured under his breath. Head hit the pillow: out.

* * *

Lights flickered on. Wait. Why...why did it hurt? Squinting agonizingly at the source, it wasn't the sun. Florescent bulbs overhead--where was he? "Eh?" His voice sounded groggy, confused him more until he recognized the ceiling. Shu's apartment...but didn't he have work tod-- OH FUCK. He sat up, itching his arm fervently, eyeing the light switch where a hand had to have been. He followed that pale hand until her found her face and smiled. "Mornin', princess."

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Re: Dark Day

Post by Shula Brighton on Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:53 am

Sudden heat breaking into her and invading against the cold of her body. The heat almost hurt inside and out, but at the same time, it was an ache she welcomed. She'd been in endless pain for days, and now it had moved inside far beyond the reaches of medical help and would continue to hurt; this was a pain brought by something more pure that she didn't deserve anymore. Was this how snow felt at the first sudden burst of spring? That melting and anticipation of destruction that rejoiced in the warmth of the light? There had been so many touches that week, so many that hurt her in so many ways, so may that frightened her, and then so many that had just made her ill. Like sunlight melting away the last shadowy grips of a nightmare, Shula's mind fought to tell her that none of those touches had been real; this one was. It was warm and alive, so very real, and just hers.

A dark thought wondered how many were watching her from a distance right now and had already seen Spade here with her. He'd taken something out of her car that obviously didn't belong there, and he must have seen the village. Crumbling and falling apart as she was, her arms moved around his shoulders and clutched his uniform coat with all her stretngth, terrified to let go. Kisses and touches were slow but warming, slowly trying to coax her numb body back to life. When had she moved back down into her car? The universe was spinning around her so quickly and gave her vertigo; the only thing keeping any part of her centered was that she was holding onto someone who meant that she was safe and she was alive.

"Shu." Her name was purred in her ear in a way that somehow calmed her down slightly. Spade wasn't here to kill her. That warmth and affection didn't seem possible from an executioner. Still gripping his coat as though letting go would force her to wake up back in Frederich's gaze, another soft kiss was placed against Spade's skin. "I missed you..." The words were breathed out, so soft they might have been a whisper, or just a thought that seemed too loud in her head, leaving her to wonder if she'd even said anything. Could she even talk anymore? Would she ever speak again and tell him what happened? Would she even live to tell?

Spade moved to stand upright, his arms curling around her tiny body and picking her up effortlessly. "Aight upsy-daisy." Shula fell back into silenceclinging to him and shaking. She hated being picked up, honestly, but right now, this was the safest she'd felt in a week. She glanced at her poor little bug; she'd worked so hard to find one in that condition and learn all its little quirks when driving. It was vintage and a convertible, too. "I don't trust that shit. You're not driving it. I'll get it checked out tomorrow and then towed to your place. I'll lock it up for now." But Shula remained silent and shaking as she was placed in Spade's beloved Seven, Spade locking her beetle before starting Seven back up. The silence was almost painful and Spade seemed to be doing everything he could to detract from that awkward tension. He wanted to know. Shula knew he did, even though he'd spent months not prying into what she'd been researching late into the night that she closed when he passed by, why she'd been learning Aerugese when she'd never had an interest before, why anything. She'd betrayed his trust and abused it, and now he'd been caught up in all that she was trying to protect him from, even though now more than ever the lives of everyone she cared about were in her hands. Raistlin could kill them all, especially now that the nullification array was in his possession.

Silence consumed her, the dark grip returning to frost her heart as Shula watched the world blur by in a trance. Her shaking had lessened, but without that contact she was lost in the dark. The soft forward and back motion of the Seven parking seemed to wake her up slightly, her blinks slow and hazy, Shula still looking lost in a lifeless void as though she were sleepwalking. This wasn't Shu. The only reason she made it up the stairs was the hand holding hers and guiding her, fingers lacing to give her an anchor. Locks undone and relocked as they walked into the dark loft that didn't feel like hers anymore. The tall windows were just ways for them to get in; the eight locks wouldn't save her. Shula backed away from the door, afraid of it, and cast nervous glances at the windows that looked out at the beautiful lake. She stepped further into the shadows of her home, moving away from where anything could possibly see her from the windows, even with her loft above ground as it was. Her body was shaking again and tears began to form as Spade picked her up once more and carried her upstairs. No. This wasn't safe. He needed to leave her alone and never come back. He needed to put as much space between them as possible to give her some hope of keeping him safe sine anything and anyone near her wasn't safe. She'd never be safe again. They collapsed on the bed, not bothering to change or undress, Shula held against Spade's chest tightly as though he were afraid to let her go.

His heartbeat... In and out, in and out, steady as the waves of the sea and constant as the stars. It was here, and hers, and always would be. Shula let the sound consume her soul, letting herself fall asleep for the first time in a week.

* * *

Blackness had subsided, and Shula's body felt so heavy and ill. Raistlin had repaired all the damages and replenished her lost life force, and commanded her to have no weakness nor feebleness, but try as she might, she wasn't that strong. He wanted too much from her, and no amount of commands or hours of torturous training would mold her into the perfect poisoned pawn that he or anyone else wanted. Spade was still sleeping when Shula finally managed to sit up. It was so dark outside, as though a great dragon had swallowed the sun and moon both, the sky black and sunless. She'd somehow managed to make it to her closet to change out of her stolen clothes with scents that weren't hers into a pair of loose shorts and a maroon sweater that was easily almost ten sizes too big, meant for a very tall, very rotund man. It was massive, soft, and safe

Shu's phone was dead, though. The last of its battery had dided somewhere between point A and point B, and though the alarm clock told her how early it still was, it didn't tell her what day it was, or anything to even assure her that she wasn't dead and haunting her loft already.She felt around to try and plug the damn thing in, but she was still so dizzy and having a hard time standing, and the lightswitch finally came on as a last resort to try and get her phone to charge. Her memories were hazy, but she didn't remember much past Spade finding her. Her gun wasn't on her when she woke up; did Spade take it from her and leave it downstairs? Did he hide it? That didn't matter for now; her phone was finally plugged in and gave her a date, and the pale, artificial light washed over her body. In that giant sweater she seemed so much smaller than normal, and her skin was very pale. The light was gone from her eyes, horror still clinging to her eyelashes.

"Mornin', princess." That smile found her, but no returning smile met Spade. The lightswitch returned to off, even though she knew Spade would probably choose talking over sleeping now. She winced slightly. Princess... That name wasn't Spade's to use; it was special and always would be. "...Please... don't call me that," she said, the words coming out as just more than a sad whisper. Slowly, her steps slow and zombie-like, Shula made her way back to the bed and almost crept back into her side of it. Her body seemed to curl up almost immediately, leaving a small gap between the two of them. She was afraid right now. So afraid that this was some lucid dream. Gently her hand reached out to span the ten inch eternity and gaze into emerald absinthe.

"Was... was I really out for almost three days?" Even her voice sounded almost afraid to be heard as her tiny, cold hand cupped the warmth that was Spade's cheek. All the cruel things Frederich had said every time he stabbed her body. Every taunt how anyone who loved her would never see her again. He'd been wrong. She was here, now, and she had been found. Shula seemed to relax slightly, her body still far too tired even to shake at this point; starved and tortured for five days, and asleep for nearly three. "Have you been with me, watching... the whole time I was sleeping?" Surely Raistlin knew, by now. And surely by now a lot of Amestris had been made aware of the tragedy of Todtnauberg. Mahogany eyes closed, Shula's hand not leaving Spade's cheek as she tried to sort her mind.Her eyes squeezed shut tightly as her body curled into itself more, trying to wash away the scenes that were still far too fresh for comfort.
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Re: Dark Day

Post by Spade Aeries on Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:41 am

"...Please... don't call me that," she whispered, sadness burning the tide sideways--a leaky facet breathing sense into the foggy misconceptions of happiness. Happiness that she was still alive. Princess. He didn't even think about it...Spade was being himself, but that whisper sucked out all the air left in his lungs, steadying jaded eyes on his hands, gripped together. Together. That was okay. He didn't have to call her that--that name he used to call any other girl he woke up beside. No, it was wrong. And for a reason that he could not explain, that realization chipped at something inside him, causing a spark to rise to the surface of his throat, mouth clamped shut to hold it in. I'm sorry. His eyes said it all, the silence choking all the awards on his uniform around his neck. There was a gap between them. Air--a space to be filled. He took a breath then, forgetting when he had chosen to hold it in. Smoke-coated lungs burned to their capacity until finally releasing...everything--everything into that terrifying gap. And then...

He was back at the cliff, looking down--looking up. He couldn't tell which, but regardless, he stood on the edge. About to fly--about to fall there was no direction but forward. Hands in pockets, pack of cigs in lips, he had no shadow, but stomping feet, kicking up dust like breath on a winter day. Winter... just passed, but he was still barren--still here, alone. Bodies were below--above, he was in the middle of it all, watching, witnessing as they smiled, rolling in their graves and nicking bony fingers against one another as they reached mindlessly into everything left undone. Piles of paperwork and empty beer cans were scattered across his chest, digging their weight into that small, vast gap. It was an expanse, shadows of clouds across the desert in a thin line without perception. But Spade was sitting there seeing it as she curled up--fell into herself while falling apart. Crossing the cliff...flying from the edge. "Was... was I really out for almost three days?"

Cold, clammy, Shu. It touched his cheek and it all vanished, dust in the wind. It fit there, perfectly. It made Spade almost want to superglue it there, but that might make things like going to the bathroom difficult... "Yeah," he murmured, voice deep with morning fuzz. The truth was, that was news to him; he hadn't bothered to care. Fuck the date. Fuck work. Fuck saving the world. Flip off the dead; they were fucking dead.

"Have you been with me, watching... the whole time I was sleeping?" A faint smile splayed across his lips like slanting sunshine. Shu wasn't. She wasn't dead at all.

"If you count snoring as watching, sure," he cooed, voice edging into his usual slur. He laid back down, flopping an arm over his forehead and taking her hand with him as a souvenir. "Hey Shu," he paused, turning his head flatly to look at her. With his free hand, he nudged her gently to look back. "What would you say to coming to Central to live with me...?"

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Re: Dark Day

Post by Shula Brighton on Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:47 pm

Spade was quiet, and the room was cold. Was the room cold? Surely the heat was on and the bed was warm. Maybe it was just Shula that was cold. She was freezing still, the cold that choked her soul exuding out to chill the air around them and trap her in the innermost frozen layer of Hell. She'd never be warm again. It was still so early, Spade could still make it to work since this was close to his normal leaving time... But right now being alone was the last thing Shula wanted. Alone in the giant coffin that was her home, aviding her windows and door, hiding from the light and water she loved so much. No, she couldn't be alone.

The warmth of Spade's cheek burned against her hand as he laid back down slowly, medals on his chest clinking gently in the dark. His uniform. He hadn't taken it off at all? Or was he just already dressed for work? No, no. He'd never go to all that trouble for the sensational world of paperwork that awaited him. Her hand was kept as Spade laid back down and got comfy again, Shula's arm still stretched out across to him. Even in the minimal light that the hours of pre-dawn brought, Shula could still tell Spade was smiling; she could hear it, and feel it. It was warm, just like him. Shula remained at that distance, her hand connected to his body existing as her only connection out of her nightmares.

"If you count snoring as watching, sure." Sleepiness hung on the ends of Spade's words like the dew on flowers before dawn. But there was something else in the soft heaviness of the sleepy tone. There was a warmth and relief that was audible and even tangible. In the dark of the room and the cold of the netherwold Shula still felt trapped in, Spade was bringing her sunlight. Sunlight for the damned of Erishkigal; warmth and beauty she would reach out through the dark to touch and hold once more and let it burn her apart and take her to nothingness.

Nearly three days of sleep, but she was still so tired and cold. Shu closed her eyes for a moment. Maybe... he wouldn't say anything else just yet. Maybe she could just go back to sleep for now. Shula let ouf a soft, tired breath, trying to relax. A flash erupted from the back of her mind to behind her eyes, illuminated bright as the lightning that had been ripping across the sky all that last night she remembered. Behind her eyelids, so bright and fresh and red, there was blood. It clung to every inch of the cellar, her body... her soul. before her heart could finish a solid beat, their faces all flashed to where she couldn't look away. The men who'd held her there, their faces contorted and sceaming as they died. The spray of blood as they were impaled, inverted, and painted the walls with their lives. Their faces were the same as the rotting corpses in the mass grave. Twisted, flesh melting from the bone, freelancers and soldiers... one of her own soldiers that she was responsible for. Their sightless eyes all had looked at Shula and begged for help and for justice that she herself denied them in order to save her own life. Shula's heart beat, and her body jerked hard as her eyes snapped open; that single heartbeat was only a moment in time, and yet, it had paused time around Shula and foced several moments together all at once, playing and merging them in a flash simply by trying to escape.

"Hey Shu." One hand raised above his hand and held onto hers, keeping it with him and keeping her grounded. His other hand reached back across to herhis fingers catching under her chin and gently urging it up to look at him. She resisted for a moment only before looking up, slowly letting her eyes meet his own, hoping in the dark of the pre-dawn hours and sleepy haze there were details that the great detective wouldn't pick up on. "What would you say to coming to Central to live with me...?" Fear rose up behind eyes that matched all the blood she'd been drenched in. Leave South to stay in Central with Spade. It would be so easy, and so like when Spade and Aishe had been staying there at the loft before Spade got his apartment in Central. But now.... She couldn't, even if she wanted to. Then it wouldn't just be South in danger.

"I'd say... I'd go broke commuting daily and be late a lot." Shula tried to put some lightness in the jest, hoping that for now that would be reason enough even though they both knew it wasn't. But after watching 600 people die in just a few hours, she couldn't. Staying that close to Spade, Aishe, Csilla and even the Chancellor? That close and she wouldn't be able to protect them, especially now after everything that had happened. She knew she was being watchd before, but Spade had pulled something from her car that didn't belong and he'd known it was bad, which only made her wonder what else she didn't know about. Raistlin had given back her phone... Her phone. Shula's heart froze. The General of Aerugo had had Shula's personal phone. The phone that had personal phone numbers for the other Generals of Amestris for emergencies. Contacts. Private memos. Appointment dates, times and phone numbers for the Chancellor. Raistlin had been given easy access to sensitive, confidential information that helped keep Amestris safe and Shula had given it to him, too shaken and confused to be fully aware of much of anything at the time. Aerugo now had so many trump cards, whether they used them or not, and because of it, far more people than just Shula herself were in danger and they didn't even know it. Shula fought to not start trembling as the realizations piled up, her terror breathing out in a faint, shaking whisper. "I can't..."
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Re: Dark Day

Post by Spade Aeries on Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:39 am

Something in her eyes--something he could just barely describe. They resembled those of a murderer. People--people who had taken the lives of other people whether they regretted it or not all had the same eyes. Staring back at him behind bars, their empty handcuffs hung uselessly from Spade's hands once scarless. Caught. The eyes of a murderer, huh. Certainly didn't fit the description for Shula Brighton, and yet? Why was she looking at him like that--communicating something silently, fogging it over with wishes for it to be lost in translation? Through the fuzzy dawn, he blinked, pupils screaming as they chugged down the green sea around them and choked. He really needed a beer right about now, but his vision wasn't improving any; it simply got lost further in the rusty wasteland of red that stared back. How many people had she killed? All those dead bodies... Spade already knew the impossibility of her being the one to do all that, but at the same time, he had to wonder how. There was no one else there; everyone was dead. He could smell the reverie dripping from her dry eyelashes each time she blinked, and could only wish she would stop hiding it before he had to ask.

"That's not--" what he meant... Something was happening there, in the red. Her light words were just another cover over the truth she knew he would be able to see otherwise. Words--no, questions on the tip of his tongue began to sear holes in his mind, eating away at what he wanted--needed to say. Come to Central with me--no, run Central with me, together. Fuck the questions. If she just murdered a bunch of people in cold blood, so what! That didn't mean he would love her any less. Spade had already accepted this fact. Hell, he apparently loved a criminal before, right? He seemed to have a habit of that in the love department. But really, he knew that wasn't the case. They all died, yes, but Shu wasn't the one to kill them. That pain in her eyes, it wasn't remorse; it was powerlessness. She couldn't prevent that. That means...something held her back. She couldn't call for help, but still had her phone. He was missing pieces to the puzzle-- many pieces, but she better believe it, he'd fucking solve it if only to keep her safe. Something was chasing her, and god forbid he crossed roads with it because, trust me, more than an entire town would be dead in his fucking wake.

She started trembling. He could feel it because the bed started shaking slightly and her fingers clutched his harder. Then, her eyes filled with tears. God, those tears. Why was it that whenever a woman cried he wanted to cease to exist? Why was he even here if he could do nothing to stop just that? Why was he here...in this dark room whose seldom sunlight felt cold? He shut his eyes. What could he do? What could he do?! The thoughts raged, threw themselves against each other, but he was frozen stiff like one of those corpses. Maybe it was because somewhere inside of him he knew...he knew history was about to repeat itself.

"I can't..."

"I... I can't..."

Fuck. That feeling. It was like swallowing a butterfly, injecting vinegar into your veins, the drop during the climax of a roller coaster. Please, no. Just please no. This was just some nightmare he could laugh off later, right? Right? Silence. It was so heavy, he forgot to check if his heart was still beating because this had to be hell. Wait, what was this? His cheeks were wet. Spade turned his head away, staring instead at the wall. It was so mauve, pale like the ghost of a rose, brandishing thorns all over the meaning of his life. It wasn't some sick joke. She--Alisa forgot all about those words she said that day, but...he didn't. Spade would never forget because he took that memory from her...just like he could so easily do now. Markus came back to him then--a hand on his shoulder. Oh, it was so lonely. It should have been fun, that ferris wheel. Who knew it could kill. Who knew...that his best friend would fall to his death. Or that Josef would be shot. Who knew...that the two women he loved would say the same damn thing. And who knew...that this time, Spade couldn't erase it. He just couldn't do it anymore. Maybe he was a selfish bastard, but...she had Shirley's picture for a reason.

"T-take this," he said, blindly reaching into his pocket and yanking out his old zippo. She wasn't fast enough so he tossed it over into the corner, hands shaking so much he nearly broke a lamp in the process of throwing. Jangling to the floor, the cacophony broke his eardrums just enough to break the spell. Voice so soft, he felt he had to strangle himself to get anything out ever again. The low rumble of words cracked, leaking a terror he himself could never express in any other words aside from the ones he was speaking. "Who the fuck did this to you. What the fuck happened. Why are you saying that...How...h-how could you...say that?" He was shaking--shaking in rage--shaking because he couldn't find the pieces of himself that scattered all over the floor at the sound of those two words. "You can. You fucking can, Shu. So why won't you?" Why? Why?! He couldn't even look at her--couldn't move because he felt frozen. He really was a corpse. What more was there in this life anymore? Seeing so many people die in so many horrible ways... Markus' smile...the fireworks...the gunshot...intestines piling out into the snow...screams...tears...tears that weren't stopping. If he...If he lost her... As long as she was happy--he couldn't fucking say that shit. If he lost her, what was he going to do with himself?

He turned around, a fiery green pit of sheer pain glaring back into whatever expression she dared adorn. His hands were on her shoulders, his heart in his throat, and his voice a million times more passionate than it had ever been before. "I love you. I will protect you. Don't you dare underestimate me. You haven't even seen half of what I can do." A dark look crossed his eyes, ethereal power slithering to the surface of Xingese jade. "And to those that mess with you, I can do much more."

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Re: Dark Day

Post by Shula Brighton on Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:26 pm

The world was crumbling through her fingers and all around her, like fine sand packed together into a castle and disturbed by poking your fingers straight in. Oh God, she'd hurt him. The lake outside her window was calm, but inside the loft a raging battle of waves crashed down, soaking and breaking things as they went and splashed across Spade's face to catch reflections of the eerie morning light. As he turned away from her, her hand was released suddenly, severing the connection and leaving her to the cold and dark. Oh no, no please.. PLEASE don't shut me out! It might as well have been storming again like it had been the night Raistlin came to save her for all the knotted fear biting into her heart. Why didnt he just kill her with everyone else that died gasping for air when the toxin sucked the life from their bodies? Hell, why hadn't she done the right ting and done it herself when she'd stopped the car outside of Minsch?! Raistlin had given her back her gun, and even though she was being watched, even ninjas weren't that fast.

But Shula knew why she hadn't. It was the same reason she had been fighting this long, and why she'd even agreed to the Aerugese General's terms in the first place. She was weak, she knew, and sold her soul just in the hopes of undoing the despair brewing in the hospital room that day; of making Spade un-cry the tears that fell onto her scalp as he held her there with the understanding that it would be the last time. She'd been told she was free to live her life as she pleased, but that only when and how she died was Raistlin's to decide. But somewhere along the line, the rules seemed to have changed and the wire around her throat only got tighter as she rose in rank and responsibility. More became accessable to her, and more was surrendered in hopes of earning her freedom. Do as she was told, give him research, and when he had what he wanted he'd let her go; that had been the hope since the start, even though the frozen alkahestrist had given her no affirmative when she'd asked that very question.

Shula sniffled, wiping her face as Spade sat up. His shoulders were shaking, the brave detective who saw everything trying to catch his breath again. She knew he saw the missing pieces and that he couldn't take not having a reason. But oh, let her wake up already! Watching Spade, the most solid person she knew, fall to pieces in front of her was just as cruel to listen to Frederich say that she'd never be found or missed. Every time he'd stabbed her and she'd screamed Spade's name in that cellar, there had only been laughter echoing off hanging watches of her fallen, murdered brothers. Shaking hands reached into the depths of hi pocket, hurriedely pulling out the zippo that could change so many things. It was halfhazardly flung at Shu and missed, hitting the lamp with a loud PLINK! before clattering to the wooden floor. Low and strained, Spade's voice was a litmus test that showed clearly just how much more he could take, the clear blue answer making Shula bury her face in her hands as she cried. "Who the fuck did this to you. What the fuck happened. Why are you saying that...How...h-how could you...say that?"

He was right. How could she say that, when for months, she'd said nothing? Shula had justified her silence this long as protection; she'd been pushing away her closest friends and the people she loved and trusted so much, who meant so much to her, all in hopes of keeping them from finding out; the fewer people who knew, the fewer people would be at risk if she was caught one way or the other. But love doesn't work that way, she told herself as she struggled to not sob into her pillow. They say that when you love something you need to be able to let it go, but the more she was around people, the more Shula felt this was a lie. You don't let go of them, EVER. You fight and do anything and everything to stay by them and in their lives. Spade had been so patient with her over the months and moved at her pace, only advanced in tiny increments when she'd made it clear that it was okay. He saw so much, and even after all the "training" she'd been through to hide things better, she knew she wasn't able to hide everything from the man who saw everything. How long had he known something was up and that there were things she wasn't telling him? She knew she hadn't told him just how she'd gotten better or when, but he'd never brought it up again to ask; maybe all this time he was waiting on her to come to him, go at her pace like she had been. Slowly Shula turned away and leaned over the bed, reaching to pick up the cold zippo, cold, bony fingers tracing the metal as she cried. "Oh, Spade..."

An oversized sleeve rose up to try and wipe her face dry, Shula still staring blankly at the zippo as she gently opened it, her finger turning the flint wheel too slowly to make a spark, the stone grinding softly against the flint itself. Spade was still turned away from her as she sat with her knees curled to her chest, trying to summopn the words- trying to find the strength to tell him. "You can. You fucking can, Shu. So why won't you?" Again... he was right, and pointing out the truth that she was ignoring. She very well could go back to Central and stay there; she was allowed to live as she pleased. Hell, Raistlin might have very well told her to do just that if he'd known it were an option since it would put her right at the heart of the country and its resources. But the risk.... Before she'd left the mass grave that was Todtnauberg, Raistlin had told her to go straight home to South and not call anyone, make up a story to explain her absence, and leave no hint that she was involved in the massacre. He'd told her quite honestly she'd be followed, that she was to check in when and where asked, and what her orders were. But she'd failed to do that, hadn't she? She'd only made it a little ways away and hid in the mountains to cry her heart out before calling the one person she knew she could. And he'd come for her immediately, no questions or hesitations. He'd come and taken her away to home; he'd stayed with her the whole time, never once calling the police or the Chancellor. She'd called him in a panic, but she'd called him becase she trusted him to be able to help her. God, why was she fighting with herself to trust him now, when he was pointing it out so plainly that she needed it most?

Hazy green and gray moved to shades of dusty purple slowly before finally slipping into shades of pale gold, the sun starting to rise like a candle melting in reverse. It was funny how the light and shadows changed the colours and feeling of things; under the cold, clean light of the moon red was gray, and yellow, white. But at dawn those colours transformed to something that was labled as correct, but leaving the question of which was right and which was an illusion. The sleeves of Shula's sweater were dark from her soul leaking out and being absorbed by the knitted yarn, her body shaking still, freezing even as daylight began to burst in and swallow the darkness. Finally Spade turned around to look at her, grabbing her shoulders firmly. That look in his eyes... Oh, that killed her. That look of pure anguish cut through her every remaining, crumbling defense, a hundred times sharper and more lethal than every time she'd been stabbed. "I love you. I will protect you. Don't you dare underestimate me. You haven't even seen half of what I can do. And to those that mess with you, I can do much more." Like the thinnest sheet of sugar glass, all it took was a little pressure to make the first crack, through her soul and upward, veining out to all of her being as she cracked, broke and shattered there in Spade's arms. Raistlin had warned her that should she be caught, she'd be dead before they had a chance to be interrogated; he'd even seen her as a fragile-enough liability that he'd kept her there at his lab longer to "train" her to stay quiet under pressure. But no amounts of physical or psychological torture could keep her shatterproof forever, especially not now.

The zippo in her fingers dropped to the bed as Shula's arms shot out, grappling tightly around Spade's neck and shoulders once more, half-sobbing and half-screaming apologies as she buried her face into his neck. It wasn't fair. For all her hard work and as far as she'd come, her own strength was still so limited, and now she was paying for it. Shula clung to Spade, shaking and crying, not pausing to sit more comfortably and not even thinking that the odd angle might be cramping the man who hated tears more than anything. But she held onto him and cried, purging out everything she'd been holding in for so much more than the last week. Warm, molten gold pooled in through the windows and threatened to drown the occupants of the room by the time Shula finally let go with a hard sniffle, choking and wiping her face with her sleeve before lifting her head just enough to kiss Spade's chin as faintly as a butterfly kissed a flower petal. Spent, Shula pulled away from Spade to lay back down against her pillow, fingers dragging and tugging at him to lay down as well. Despair and guilt were eating at her, the truth begged and gasped for air like a dying fish, and more than anything right now, Shula wanted to be held. Just in case Raistlin chose that moment to send his agents after her and silence her, she wanted to be held again.

She pulled herself close, not caring about the medals that clinked each other or the itchiness of this coat as opposed to his other one that he so rarely took off. "Spade," she said, her voice soft, tired, uncertain, and not bothering to mask the fear that was still poisoning her veins. Shula took a deep, shuddering breath in, keeping herself close and moving her fingers to lightly hold the lapel of the coat; the only way she'd move away from him right now was if Spade pushed her away himself. "I have.... a lot to tell you. But I don't know how... I'm afraid to." Another heavy breath as she tried to swallow her fears; what did it matter if she told Spade now when he knew so much already? Surely Raistlin was already more than aware that she'd failed to follow his very clear and simple orders. But... Spade's done all but beg you to let him in to help you get out of this alive... Rust-coloured eyes closed as she paused, breathing in his scent deeply as she worked herself up to finding the key and unlocking her door to open it more than just the cracks and peeks he'd been given, and instead open fully for him to see and decide for himself.

"When we took back South from Aerugo, I got separated from the rest of my unit and lost radio contact, so I kept pushing into where the Aerugese had been, south of the crater. While I was waiting to be picked up... someone... found me." Shula's fingers clenched a little tighter as she licked her lips, her voice dropping to an almost inaudible whisper. "...General Raistlin killed me, Spade. He killed me and gave me a few days in the hospital to die, and a choice. Raistlin told me I could either accept my death, or... or his help." Shula went quiet for just a moment, her mind drifting back to how he'd found her hiding behind the rocks, praying for the helicopter, how he'd taken her tags and undone her coat and killed her right there. Those days of endless testing and confusion, pain, and how the military doctors were planning to keep her nearly sedated by painkkillers until the moment of death so they could rush her out of the room to harvest what still worked in her body. "I was going to call a specialty doctor in to help me, but then... Then I made a promise. Remember? I promised I'd fight to keep living. So I left with an escort to see him."

Fear knotted in her heart and stomach and froze her, even as she clinged to Spade to warmth. What she was admitting was more than dangerous and from more than one side. She'd been taken as a prisoner and released as a poisoned pawn that became a bishop, lying baited to either move and cause the fall of her own king. Shula's tiny, cold hand moved to Spade's and pulled it up to her chest, pressing his palm to her heart through the giant sweater. Another deep breath sucked in through her lips as Shula pushed away the memories of waking alone in the lab, dying and sitting in a chair covered in straps. "He changed me..inside, Spade. He cured me and gave me new lungs, but my body isn't mine anymore. It's his. Raistlin has complete power over my body, and... a-and it's only immune to everything because he needs it to be. I can't get sick because he says so. I can't get drunk, and I could drink a gallon of cyanide and just get heartburn from it. But... but it also means that when I'm in pain, nothing touches me. He's the only one who can turn the pain off, and he doesn't have to touch me to do whatever he wants. And in exchange for my life... I'm his."

Shula looked up at Spade slowly, waiting for him to push her away, leave and never come back. She'd just admitted that she was Raistlin's. Not a lover by any means, but knowing that an enemy General had power over another General was a dangerous thing any way you cut it. "He's been making me give him research to make a philosopher's stone and human transmutation.... I haven't finished, but he knows so much, now, and I'm getting closer to being done." Admitting all of this made her feel ill, and she shut her eyes tightly as she pulled herself even closer to Spade, almost trying to hide under him. Her throat tightened, threatening to choke her as she tried to force out the words, and right now Shu could only wonder if Raistlin wasn't watching right now and killing her slowly in Spade's arms. Another faint apology ghosted from her lips. "After Major Weibe went missing, I decided to look into it myself. I didn't know, Spade. I dodn't know it'd be some cult! But they'd been doing it for months- trapping alchemists and murdering them. They had some array that neutralizes alchemy. They killed Weibe, and at least a dozen other State Alchemists... kept all their watches as trophies. They tried to poison me, but because of Raistlin's array, I survided.... And then they figured out who I was, so Frederich kept me in the cellar."

The freshness of it all climbed up and down her body, Shula not looking at Spade but not daring to close her eyes again, fighting to no break down then and there. "I tried to get away. After the fourth time, they installed hooks and handcuffed me to the floor so I couldn't move. My arm was broke. He kept stabbing me, and laughing. Telling me such... horrible things, how I was part of the problem, how I was hurting people with my alchemy! He told me how you'd never find me, and how the world was better off without me... Read my saved texts to me, showed me the pictures of us on my phone... and then he'd stab me again. I nearly bled to death." Involuntary tears seeped down from the corners of her eyes and into the deep blue of the wool coat, Shu's voice sinking down into a hoarse, trembling whisper. "Friday he was going broadcast killing me and show the array to everyone, but... but I missed a dropoff with the ninja, so Raistlin tracked me down, and... and they all...he...

"After they were gone, Raistlin...put me back together. He made me help burn the house down and the shed where the alchemists were. And he called in his special forces, and they released a gas. ...Nobody got away. I stole some clothes and I smuggled one of the arrays and he finally let me go. He let me live because I'm still useful and giving him what he wants, but I broke the rules, Spade! I couldn't make it all the way home, and I called you... and sleeping three days means I missed my check-in. He knows, by now. ...I'm not as strong as you are, Spade.. Oh Spade, I'm sorry!" Even if she ran away, nowhere felt safe, and it was only a matter of time before the Ishvallan woman, shaking and now curling into herself once more to cry heavily, ceased to be useful to the Aerugese General who commanded her.
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Re: Dark Day

Post by Spade Aeries on Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:48 am

It groaned, his lighter, under the feeble pressure of Shula's thin fingers. He couldn't help but feast his eyes on the bent piece of shit, his own digits itching with power that could--could be used. She knew, and he saw that she knew. The dragon's pulse was curling under him, digging at every sinew in his body until he could just barely breathe enough to keep living. When had he ever had so much power at his disposal? The beady eyes of life itself was staring straight at him, ushering him on, irking him, shoving him until he stumbled right to the very edge of the cliff and almost fell. What would happen if he fell? Oh hello world. Spread out before him on a plate of royalty were buildings built by man--were trees constructed by time, all connected by a single strand of Shula's hair. He felt it. In that turning of a wheel, stone against flint; Spade felt everything. His eyes slid shut, smells of fog and dust rising through his lungs like the tide drowning him in each wave that kept pouring over him as white as spilled milk. Ah, it was just that. He could turn away--pay it no mind like the relentless ticking of a sullen face waiting till the day when its batteries ran out. Hah! Too bad he had no spares.

When he finally managed to open his eyes, his cheeks cracked, salt dusting the craters of dried feelings stomped out by something he could not contain. The ringing of alkahestry deafened his thoughts, casting them away and duct taping the ruins of his control. Don't forget. Tumbled through sea spray like wild seaweed, Spade resurfaced only to see the zippo drop from her hands into his reach. On the bed, right before him, was a choice he had already made. The searing power cramped within him tugging against the core of his soul came from that decision. "No one should have go through that." His own words: an echo of the lies construed by himself to pretend love was a mistake. He made Alisa forget him, but when she remembered, he fell into his own trap, chained to the belief that he could play pool with a pretend partner. Each moment broke his eyelids open like throwing eggshells against the hospital walls. Chased out by an orderly, he left her running, finding Shu in the doorway. In the doorway. His words forever leaving a sour taste smeared across Shirley's name. "There--there's someone I can't let go of...in both the past and the present." Someone he couldn't let go of? "Here, I'll give this to you." Wasn't it already gone? She was already let go of, Shirley--her image locked away with a girl named Shula Brighton. He reached for the lighter, the cold meeting his sweaty palms the same moment that arms sealed around him, special arms: arms that belonged there. Why hadn't he trusted himself? Sin, when will you ever learn? Wasn't now the time? This was it. He found his pocket, replacing the lighter.

The smell of wetness, drenched his heart in a sewered emotion. Was...it raining inside? Yeah, it was a flood. But somehow it was different than all the other tears. He hated when women cried. He hated tears. Whoever invented them should be shot. But now... Now, he clutched each one, making sure his military uniform was put to use if only to turn a darker shade. If she said anything, he didn't hear it--he didn't hear anything apart from her heart pressed up against his, their chests moving simultaneously in an effort to dispel the very definition of distance. That was all he knew. And it soon stopped, wiped away by bursting rays of morning that ate away the doubt, making night seem like it would never come again if not spent together. Like the Seven after a long road trip, she was empty in his arms, lifting her face just enough to reach the stumble on his chin that probably tasted just as bad as it looked. Chipped wings like an old teacup beside his mother's bed, soared into a pillow to stay, but he didn't move.

"Spade," Here it was: the answer to the age-old question he'd carried long enough to grow fed up with. Here it was: the cardboard piece with a pretty little picture painted on it that fit. He grew tense, feeling the energy of the pulse sift under his veins. And then... he just listened, unable to tell the difference between what was the past's and what was now's.

"She's safe, but something happened to her."

"...General Raistlin killed me, Spade."

"So Konrad told me...you got on the helicopter okay?"

"He killed me and gave me a few days in the hospital to die..."

"Your dog tags are missing."

"I could either accept my death, or... or his help."

"You're hiding something...so hide it better."

"Then I made a promise. Remember?"

"I..I will. I promise, I'll stay."

His hand was on her chest, his mind lost, gone. So absolutely gone that he forgot that he was himself and not watching a dream. Yes, she was alive. She was alive. That promise...

"He changed me..inside, Spade."

"I will never be sick again."

"I'm his."

"I'm his."

"I'm his."

"I'm his."

Raistlin Ambros.

"Josef Draper is dead." A bullet. A bullet. An arm. Spade took his arm, but an arm could never measure up to a person. Josef. One of his ghosts... A single man.

"She's alive."

Everything else became a transient blur: her eyes as she carefully looked up, waiting...waiting almost for him to vanish--her words muffled against the hammering of his heart against the fucking wall. "I'm his." Human transmutation. Philosopher's stone. Almost done. Blasphemy. Forbidden. Emerald blazing to life with horror upon shock, bleary beyond countenance. He knew all along, didn't he. It wasn't a question. He had the pieces, but never the image. That day: the day Apos left, the day Josef died, the day Amestris was bombed...was also the day that Shula was captured under his breath. He knew she was dying--he knew she was miraculously saved, but he never questioned it.

"I came really close to vanishing with everyone else..."

"But you didn't."

It was easy to think that way. As long as she was alive, it was okay, right? Forty hours, three minutes, and twenty-three seconds was the time Spade spent thinking she was dead. But she called...that same day Alisa was forced to forget who he was. Funny how fate worked, right? He looked the other way because Spade Aeries stopped asking questions after he pulled the trigger. That life was over; he was an ex-detective for a reason; he drank for a reason, and he stopped drinking for a reason. But now he was seeing it again--the everything. Details...so many details in everything...he couldn't overlook it anymore. He...he...loved her too much to take it away--to even... If she couldn't, he would still love her. If she couldn't, he had to know why. He had to know. To know... He asked. He asked her. Why?--"why won't you?" And for the first time since killing Shirley, he asked that question.

"...they installed hooks...handcuffed me to the floor...arm was broke...kept stabbing me...laughing...telling me...horrible things...part of the problem...hurting people...alchemy...you'd never find me...the world was better off without me...read my saved texts to me, showed me the pictures of us on my phone... and then he'd stab me again. I nearly bled to death." Sometimes Spade wondered if he was really ever alive at all. Sometimes, he felt...that maybe life wasn't really life at all--that life was a mistake: a nightmare that one day he'd wake up from. But in the end, all he seemed to do was toss and turn, staring the past in the face while the present struggled to catch up to the hooves of a million racehorses in his chest. It was fiction, what he was hearing. All he could grasp was that these words couldn't be real. What she was telling him... He had no suspicions--no assumptions; he had accepted her life as it was regardless of what she kept from him, but this...this. "...I'm not as strong as you are, Spade.."

...Strong? Strength. Yeah, he felt it... it was burning him alive. No longer was he drowning, but burning without even screaming for salvation. It was okay...if he burned. If something...something like that was able to happen to her, then let him burn. Please. It was better to blow away as ashes than to listen to anymore. He was lost, gone and gone again. She was someone else's, tortured... it was a blur. Tortured. Like an animal. Under his watch. No amount of research could save her. ...Just.......FUCK. He couldn't...he couldn't...it was... His eyes, filled with tears, filled also with raw, blood-thirsty rage. Coursing through his veins, he knew, was the DNA of the Xingese Emperor--the spirit of the Dragon's Pulse itself. Reverberating now, a ethereal glow leaked forth with the neglect, spilling out into the dawn of a new day he wished wouldn't come. For this day...this day was the day Spade Aeries was no longer an ex-detective.

He slammed his fist into the wall next to his head without blinking. It cracked along with his hand, that same blood of his father oozing down his flexed forearm to drip onto his pants. Eyes alight with silent fury, he sucked in a staggering breath, but could say nothing except a single, whispered line, dripping at the seams as it dropped from the cliff and into her lap like a falling star.

"Marry me, Shu and I'll teach you how to be strong."

.....................................................................................................................................


Fluent in | Amestrian (green) | Xingese (seagreen) | Cretan (yellow) | Ishvallan (orange) | Esparian (royalblue) | Everything has a Xingese accent except Amestrian.

No shit, Spade. B) It's elementary, my dear Shu.
I will not come home drunk.
I will noot come home drunk.
I wi no t comme hom dunk
I wi na dung hum brump
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Re: Dark Day

Post by Shula Brighton on Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:32 am

Alkahestric energy dripped off Spade's being like an aura, the energy around his body tingling and making the hairs on Shula's arm prickle from the discharge. She could feel the vehement anger growing in his silence; every word was hurting him, she knew, just as he was surely realizing that each soft word breathed out was another nail in her own coffin. Even as the sunlight's warmth filled the room with brightening hues of red and gold and chased away the cold darkness, Shula could almost feel the heavy wood of the lid coming down to seal her in to sleep forever. Even if her house wasn't bugged and Raistlin wasn't watching or listening right now, Shula knew she'd screwed up badly and sealed her own fate when she turned off the highway to hide in the mountains for the better part of the day to cry and call for help.

She watched him as she spoke, trying to read his face, almost hoping to read his thoughts. She almost didn't need to, the truth bringing out emotions far too big to hide behind Spade's shades and signature lopsided grin. That horrified look as it became clear how deep she was involved with human transmutation; she'd gotten a similar look from Acra about it, once. Her flower alchemy. Simple and innocent, and with results that helped save Amestris from having a food shortage and hunger issues after the bombs wrecked the country. That had been developed by Shula on her own skirting too close to dangerous subject matter when she was trying to reverse cellular damage and the effects of time itself, bringing new life to dying cells. Long before she'd ever come back to South to fight to take it back and been caught by Raistlin, before she was drowning in this nightmare, in the quiet of her living room her best friend had warned her that her work was skirting too close of an uncomfortable but undefined edge. None of them could have known the black irony of her abandoning her search then as opposed to just how much she knew about that unholy topic now.

Rage and shock mingled and mixed in the morning light, the golden fire of the sun burning almost darkly in the deep emerald that seethed silently. Spade sat on the bed beside her, silent and unmoving as Shula's slow stream of tears sluggishly dampened her pillow. Even though the falling of her tears were much slower than they had been when she'd clung to Spade to soak his uniform, her sobs were still deep and pain-filled, the torrent of emotion fighting against her body's exhaustion already. Wiping her face, Shula let out a deep, shuddering sigh as she tried once more to pull the threads of her soul together to keep the fraying seams from ripping entirely. She felt like one of the cushions customers would bring to her father to reupholster, the fabric worn through and frayed away, threadbare and exposing all the stuffing, and completely beyond saving. Slowly she pushed herself upright, sitting propped against her headboard and hugging her knees to her chest, constantly wiping her face. Her sniffles had been the only thing to interrupt the dark, enraged quiet of Spade for a moment that felt like forever, the energy dancing off of his body and making Shula anxious. She'd given him back his lighter, and he'd pocketed it. But now would he rescind on that choice to try and make the truth easier to bear?

Shula looked up at Spade's face, the tears shining in his eyes as he turned his body, his arm pulling back and shooting froward to punch a hard, fist-shaped hole in the wall above the bed. A mix of emotions slurried together and ran down Spade's arm, dripping onto his thigh. The Ishvallan beside him was so far gone and out of it that she nearly didn't yelp or jump from the sudden burst of violent motion. She sat quiet, wide-eyed and unsure of what to do or if she should move or touch him even, opting instead to stay still and wait for just a moment as he sucked a ragged breath in, letting his voice almost hiss out as light as the sheer curtains that tramed her window. "Marry me, Shu, and I'll teach you how to be strong." ................ Of all the things Spade had ever said to her, of all the things she would have anticipated he say right now, THAT was not even in the running. Red eyes went as wide as dinner plates, and if they grew any larger they might have fallen off her face.

Winking smiles behind his shades. Cheesy lines about falling from Heaven and stars in your eyes. That lopsided grin. Those were all things that had been etched into Spade's image that was known around the country, and yet, since she'd started working for him and over the last several months especially, that image had changed even if peoples' perceptions of him hadn't. Spade was so different now than who he was when she'd started in Central and from the man that groused and made snarky comments at the press when they bugged him. This was Spade at his most honest. In the heat of emotion and never once calling Shula his girlfriend to her face; no flowers, dinner, awkward conversation to lead into it, and no pre-planning. All of this told her just how sincere Spade was right now. Even after just learning that she could die soon, it still came out like rolling thunder echoing from distant lands. Sakuya had asked her, leaving Shula stunned beyond words and for that moment forgetting the entirety of every language she knew. How.... was she even supposed to answer? Was she even meant to hear that thought that escaped?

Words failed, but her body moved on its own as she rose up onto her knees, her hands very gently pulling Spade's fist from the wall, wiping the blood with the sleeve of her sweater. For the last week she'd seen and been covered in enough blood to make her never want to watch another horror movie ever again, but this was different. This wouldn't bother her. Cold, trembling fingers slipped around his wrist and held it down at her lap for a moment, wrapping some of the excess sweater around his bleeding hand; he'd probably cracked a finger or his knuckle under the broken skin. Raw and sincere under something that was broken. Yeah, that was them in a nutshell, wasn't it? Her pale, tearstained face looked up slowly at Spade, watching him and waiting just a moment before letting herself smile faintly. It was small, but it was the first time she had smiled since he'd found her, and the first time all week since New Year's Eve when he saw her last. "...Spade.." Her voice was soft and uncertain as her hands move up and cupped both of his bestubbled cheeks, pulling herself up a little higher and closer.

Lips pressed together in a motion soft as linen, her answer breathing out aginst Spade's lips. Words had failed her to answer. Words had hurt him by putting voice to the truth. Words were easy to misuse or say wrong and screw up. Movement and emotion were pure, though, and she lingered for a long moment to make certain nothing was lost in the translation or fogged under words that could be misunderstood. Slowly she pulled away, dotting his lips with two smaller kisses, like a wax drip and seal. Shula's smile was lost somewhere between happy and still slightly scared of so much blinding truth as she lowered herself back down, her hands remaining on his cheeks, not daring to voice the condition they both knew was hanging in the midst. If I live through this. A tiny, shy and almost invisible nod tried to confirm her smile and her kiss. "When this is over." "If" was the hardest word in the dictionary, and right now, Shula didn't have the strength to face those two tiny letters. Instead, 'if' became 'when'; 'if' became more optimistic.
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Re: Dark Day

Post by Spade Aeries on Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:32 am

Fresh laces of pain grittingly clung to each arm hair, incessant like the pond in the Imperial Gardens from when he was a kid. Reflection balancing on jagged rocks, standing taller than others who admired the prestige of his calculations. Sent away by burly men paid more than a boy's comprehension...sixteen. So many years ago, why now? Why of all times? That fear...ah, yes. It was because he was afraid. The doubt in his mind blindsided his world famous Shakespearean lines crossed with mentions of all the wonders of the universe, but this... This, was something entirely unexpected. He never would have guessed he would say it now. If he tore himself apart--read himself like a book as he saw most others as, Spade Aeries never would have guessed he would say it--say what he had been keeping locked away under watch and key. But her eyes--just her eyes...were the key. And her tears...blinded the security guard. Ah, he was probably on a coffee break anyway. He broke a smile, eyes slanting at the pull of his lips in tune with Shula's. Yet, he winced, feeling the numb fury tapper off into the cold grasp of quaking fingers. His eyes followed their pale length to the rounded nails, trimmed but flecked with minutes of blood. One look: it was her own, no doubt from an injury no longer present. Alkahestry. Raistlin Ambros: a worthy foe--a man who dared try to repeat history. No. No. No.

Sweaty, tear-stained wool, lathered bleeding cuts with tiny strings that trailed carelessly along as distractions from her smile. He looked up, eyes peaked with the bursting of realization. He just broke his entire hand. For. No. Reason. He needed that hand--he needed it to bash in that bastard's face. But...he also needed it to release all this before it ate his mind alive. Wild--it was going so wild it was all he could do to stop himself from entering that world. Please, not now. Just say something. Booze and Shula's voice were the same in that they silenced it. It just...stopped. And when it stopped, he stayed sane; he saw simply what was in front of him, give or take. She was his weakness (so was Gin). "...Spade.." He jerked his eyes straight into hers, blinking fervently to see through the distraction she gripped in her hands. But that grip loosened, the pressure gone and moving to cup his face as if to keep him from ever looking away again. No, she had his full attention. But she looked cautious, afraid to say the wrong thing--afraid...of what he was capable of. That's right. He had it in his pocket now: an easy way out--a way for them both to escape the truth and run away. Run away? But this was Spade Aeries. Didn't he mention he was done running away?

A fresh look launched itself into his eyes, communicating levels of complex thought. He was serious. For the first time since Shirley's death, Spade opened a door. Before, it was just a crack, but Shu held the key now--that key...existing simply in that look of hers. It was open, bursting from the refuse of darkness and into that curtain-covered sunset. "When this is over." Spade looked down and to the side, catching thoughts like a dream catcher of happily-ever-afters. If she said yes, he would have left. If she said yes, she wouldn't be Shula Brighton.

"If we survive this, right?" He flipped his working hand through his brown hair, narrowing emerald eyes at her which still glimmered with unfounded energy. "But that's my job." He stood up from the bed, clutching one bloodied hand in another quivering. He left the room, heading straight to the nearest bathroom and fumbled immediately for the strongest painkillers in sight. Spade swallowed three dry, not tempted to overdose on regular-strength tylenol. Then, he swallowed also his inclination not to do what he was about to do, and plunged his hand into scalding water. While his head swam and lights dotted his vision, he focused dully on the pieces of drywall that left his skin and was sucked into the abyss of drain. It passed, and the nausea settled, his eyes back to full alert, alone and in his own presence.

So that's where that tie went. It was hanging on the back of the door--a tie his father gave him before his death. He hated that tie. Damn it all! So organized, each individual thing having its place in the giant scheme of things: morning preparation. Towels under the sink, color coordinated; tooth brush standing solitary without bent bristles. How, how could a person like this fall into a trap drawn by the charcoaled hands of a devil? White tile, blue delft pattern, trickled by a few stray hairs, but pristine. It was new--everything was new. This feeling... Was he rejected or accepted? He was here. Spade was here. Still here, needed... "When this is over." When this was all over was an opinion-based result, certainly relying solely on her own depiction of the end. 'Okay it's over' could never come. Did it really ever end? 'This', what was 'this'? This. He felt himself smile, grazing the frazzled reflection in the mirror as he ruined on of those towels under the sink, towering in a stack over various cleaning supplies and...a plunger.

Ah yes, a plunger, invented in 1932 by Jeffrey Gunderson, the same year that zippo lighters were first developed. His lighter...now a heavy weight in his pocket: a decision he made and would always stick by, but felt the scale of. His thoughts were interrupted by himself, not naturally transgressing as they usually did. He detoured to the kitchen--new addiction: coffee. Making it with one hand wrapped swelling in a towel proved a feat, but he ignored the stench. Cabinet over the counter was there the mugs resided. He grabbed one, two, filled them, and left everything all over the place...too strenuous.

"You know our names together spell out Spadula, yet you have no spatula in your kitchen?" He handed her a steaming cup with a crooked grin and flopped back on the bed. His was already half empty...and half full, nearly precisely so: about 50.33%. He took another sip. 43.62%. He shook his head, tightening his grip on the ceramic. "You are not his and you never will be. I can make him forget who you are. Have you forgotten...what I am capable of?"

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Fluent in | Amestrian (green) | Xingese (seagreen) | Cretan (yellow) | Ishvallan (orange) | Esparian (royalblue) | Everything has a Xingese accent except Amestrian.

No shit, Spade. B) It's elementary, my dear Shu.
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I will noot come home drunk.
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Re: Dark Day

Post by Shula Brighton on Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:58 pm

The questione Shula would have never expected was the same that all of Amestris would have never suspected, though her answer probably would have puzzled everyone, too, even if they understood what she'd meant. He hadn't really asked a yes or no question; it was a statement, and she'd answered a statement with a statement. But the look he was giving her, trying to read her as though he were questioning and searching for a definitive answer. But Shula had already given it, and the one thing that would make her pause; even with that in place, though, her answer was still the same. "If we survive this, right?" She blinked. We? We who? Me and the mouse in my pocket? But any form of protest ended there; this had become Spade's problem, too, as soon as she called him for help. It became their problem as soon as she'd said yes to there being a them. "But that's my job."

A tired sigh escaped Shula's lips as she watched Spade head into the bathroom. Dear Ishvalla, was it time for bed yet? This morning had been a rollercoaster, leaving Shula drained emotionally and trudging through waist-deep thoughts. Part of her was very surprised Raistlin hadn't killed her already; surely whoever had been watching her saw Spade, and it's not like he would have been hard to recognize. Maybe he was waiting to see... just what she'd do. Just what Spade would do. She knew Raistlin only had to tug the wires around her throat and she would yield, but Spade was not such an easy man to take down. Soft brown hands moved up to rub her face as her head lightly bonked the headboard, the tiny woman groaning faintly. Raistlin was far too complicated, and told her so little. He only gave her his orders and the expectation that she would comply to them exactly or else, and the Aerugese General knew exactly how to make that or else something Shula would do her damndest to avoid.

Weighty and worrisome thought about Raistlin and the fear and uncertainty of if she would survive were dotted and mingled with the sharp brightness of what she'd just agreed to, still not sure how to process it herself. Her mind was like a kaleidoscope, the bits of coloured glass reflecting in the mirrors and blossoming into strange flowers at a neck-breaking speed that made her dizzy. At the moment the schock hadn't worn off, and Shula didn't know what to be more stunned about; that she'd just confessed everything to Spade, that she was still alive, that he hadn't run off, that he'd asked her or that she'd said yes. Dizzying colours, dizzying thoughts, elation twining with fear. It really was too much for so early in the morning, even if somewhere in the back of her mind Shula was loving that they were actually both awake to watch what was left of the dawn together. Usually by now Spade was gone and almost at Central, or sleeping. So even if Raistlin caught her off-guard and killed her today, she could at least smile that she'd had one more dawn to enjoy together.

His arm wrapped in a towel, Spade exited Shula's bathroom and made a beeline out her room and down the stairs. Shula held her breath for a moment, listening carefully for the jingle of car keys, the unlatching of her eight useless locks, or the opening and closing the front door; anything that would tell Shula if Spade was staying or not. He'd said we. Sure they'd both said the word before, but usually in a much more generalized sense... not that kind of we.But instead of any of the sounds she was worried about, Shula heard... running water. The cabinet doors opening, ceramic mugs clinking. A very happy thought ran through Shula's very tired mind, making a happy squee as the realization that coffee was being made hit her. Even if she couldn't enjoy the satisfaction that caffiene brought, she could still enjoy the taste and warmth. As Spade reappeared in the bedroom and offered her a mug, the look was that of love and perhaps the kind of enchanted look one might have seeing a unicorn.

Burning warmth spread through Shula's fingers almost to the point of aching, making her realize just how corpse-cold she had been. She only blew on it enough to take the first grateful swallow, the liquid almost bringing her to life as it went down, her body starting up and begging for more. Shula hadn't had anything to eat or drink since she got to Todtnauberg a week ago. One small streudel and a diet soda from the Todtnauberg Inn's lobby as she left to start her search for Major Weibe; she'd been so busy poking around that she hadn't stopped for a proper meal, and then once she was caught in that house and she kept fighting to get out, everything was denied. This coffee was an angel's blessing as she took another, larger sip."You know our names together spell out Spadula, yet you have no spatula in your kitchen?" What had been just the tiny ghost of a smile began to reanimate as it warmed, letting out the faint, breathy echo of a laugh. Very slowly, the light and life were returning to Shula and hinting that maybe she would come back from all this. But Spade was right. She didn't have a spatula in her utensil drawer anymore, except for the kind used to scrape bowls free of batter. Her cooking spatula had broke making snacks for the New Year's party.

"So we do... Just think, armed with our mighty spatula, we're prepared to take on the infinite legions of Bed Bath & Beyond." The absurd image of them both armed with pan lids and cooking utensils and battling through the rediculously tall aisles of the store was silly as all hell, but at this point anything that could amuse her more than distraught mind was a good thing. She sighed tiredly, leaning against Spade's side as he resumed sitting with her, emptying his own cup of all that was good and right with the world sip by sip.

"You are not his and you never will be. I can make him forget who you are. Have you forgotten...what I am capable of?" Oh yeah. The crisis at hand. Dammit. Part of Shula really was hoping they could both just walk away from it, but she knew better; Spade had made this his problem too, and was probably very aware of how dangerous her situation really was. Slowly Shula shook her head. Really, at the moment she didn't want to think about anything other than coffee, breakfast, and the longest, hottest bath in the history of mankind in hopes of feeling clean again. Spade said she wasn't Raistlin's; somehow she rather doubted the austere alkahestrist would agree with that statement, and Raistlin was rather persuasive when it came to reminding Shula and anyone else where they stood with him.

"I haven't. But I also know what he can do, too. I don't know how much of what you've seen him do or what you know about him, but... it's horrible." No scary movie could compare the the horrors she'd been witness to, the sudden flash of the man's spine pulled free of his body as a sword to ram through Frederich's hand and the man whose bones spiked in all directions to impale his friend causing Shula's body to give a hard twitch. "You could make him forget me, but he would kill me as soon as he got word you were coming near... As it is, I know I'm in hot water with him. I said, I missed my "check-in," and I called you for help when he told me not to..." She took two more long sips, trying to organize her mind that felt so scattered and broken still, feeling that she was just a small push away from rolling on the bathroom floor and laughing like a hyena. "I need to find something really good for him as soon as I can to try and move back into tolerable graces. And then I need to start raiding the archives of research from as far back as I can, just to stall him for now and buy myself some time."

Her head leaning on Spade's upper arm, Shula looked up at him, trying to think of possible solutions while silently begging for help, even though she wasn't really sure what he or anyone could do to help her. She knew that her mistakes would cost her, and even if Raistlin waited to kill her, she knew she'd be watched even more now. She couldn't just run to Central or do anything sudden or drastic; nothing that would give him a reason to suspect her more. He was too careful, too distrusting. Shu bit her lip a moment in thought. "I don't even know where his laboratory is; he's never let me see where I was going on the occasions I've met with him there."
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Re: Dark Day

Post by Spade Aeries on Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:00 am

"Not Bed Bath & Beyond!? A-anything but that!! ...You're serious? That's like asking me to shave with a chainsaw. Gawd, Shu, you're killin' me man." He cringed, merely thinking about that god-awful store. It was like...it was like a female's torture paradise. HE'D NEVER GO IN. EVER. Over his dead body. He'd rather sleep on the floor. Sure, it was hard...and uncomfortable...and made his neck stiff, but--but... Who needed a bed anyway? Screw baths; showers were good enough--manly, yes! As for beyond... Beyond? Well, here was good enough. Being with Shu right now, leaning into him, regardless of what happened, was good enough. Fuck beyond.

But at the same time... running around a department store with spatulas instead of guns was a fun reprieve from what they were used to. The smile on his face explained it all, eyes smoldering like the coffee in their mugs. It burned going down, but he swallowed it for the warmth. If only for a moment, imagination was better than reality--reality where Shu was subjected as a victim to the hands of the man who killed Josef Draper. The more he thought about it, the further imagination got--the further anything even relatively...

He was going to get married.

Fuck everything else. Nothing was going to stop him--nothing was going to stop them. Nothing ever. Stall him? Sure, like he fucking cared. As long as a bastard like Raistlin didn't get anywhere near a real Philosopher Stone, everything was cool. She could stall him for time, continue trying to convince Spade that he was oh-so scary, BUT, in the end, Spade was going to turn his little world topsy-turvy. Say good-fucking-bye Aerugese bastard because your end is so eminent it hurts to picture your mind when I'm done. Spade found himself grinning callously, trying to look perfectly innocent as he nodded. Yep, yep, keep thinking that I'll sit here forever and take this shit without a sip of vodka. Tooootally cool. Spade grit his teeth and took a deep breath, flipping the sunglasses that were on top of his head over his eyes.

"He's the commander of Aerugo; he's not hard to find. And he can't kill you...if we go together."

[EXIT THREAD]

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Fluent in | Amestrian (green) | Xingese (seagreen) | Cretan (yellow) | Ishvallan (orange) | Esparian (royalblue) | Everything has a Xingese accent except Amestrian.

No shit, Spade. B) It's elementary, my dear Shu.
I will not come home drunk.
I will noot come home drunk.
I wi no t comme hom dunk
I wi na dung hum brump
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Re: Dark Day

Post by Shula Brighton on Sat Apr 28, 2012 3:54 pm

Goofy and overly-dramatic in the randomest places. Sometimes he was so serious about the most hilarious things, making it hard to tell where Spade was joking or if he was just mad, or both. But it was that balance of loving insanity, of saying something as absurd as protesting a single store so much just to make her laugh a little when she was like this... It told Shula so much about them without saying anything outloud or pointing things out specifically to ruin them with names and definitions. And that... was perfect by her. Shula remained meaning against Spade's side, drinking her coffee and the closeness, hoping that she didn't sleep at all today until she stopped seeing horrible flashes every time she closed her eyes. "First we'll conquer the Bed Bath & Beyond. Then, the Kay-Bee Toys. After that, the world."

Her body twitched again, the nerves forcing her left eye to suddenly scrunch shut as her shoulder jerked without Shula's control or ability to stop it. Ohhh goody. As if she didn't already know that what she'd just woke up from was enough to mess her up, now there was something physical to tell everyone else. Shula sighed inwardly, taking another long, loving sip of the coffee.Somewhere along the line, the world felt like it had been turned on its head, and Shula was still relling from everything, trying to catch her breath. There was so much to take in, and just as much that Shula didn't want to think about.

Distant, blurred eyes trailed slowly from Spade's face down to his pocket. The lighter... That was in there. She'd given the power back to him, and if she asked him... would he? Twitch. Shula knew how pwerful Spade's alkahestry was, even if she hadn't seen its affects in person; there was a vast difference between reading on something massive and seeing personally what it does and how it works, like the difference between reading about how stars are formed and actually being in the gassy nebulae to watch their birth. Spade could take away just specific memories, right? Or at least dull them to make them hurt less? Their faces... Would she always see the rotting faces of the murdered soldiers in that shack when she closed her eyes, or would erasing them from her memory be the only way to ever sleep again. And if she forgot about telling Spade everything, then if Raistlin caught her she wouldn't be lying if she said she didn't know if Spade knew anything.

But... Twitch. Their faces. Even sightless, they'd seen her, just as she'd seen them. One of them was one of her own soldiers. Todtnauberg was only a ghost now, and the coroners would find nothing to prove that it wasn't just that rogue group whose gas exploded and wiped out the area. Nothing. The only one left who knew the truth firsthand in Amestris was Shula herself. She took another sip, debating silently. It would be so easy to ask Spade to let her forget and walk away from the pain of knowing. So easy, and so very tempting. But it would be wrong, and you know it. Shula chided herself, even as the memories looped through her brain like a horrific carousel whose menacing music made her dizzy. Forcing yourself to forget each of those people that died would be to insult them. You were the last person to see any of that village alive. Those soldiers, all those people and their families...

No. Shula closed her eyes, looking away from the temptation of an easy freedom, instead tilting her head to kiss Spade's shoulder before laying her head there once more. No, she'd remember the truth and keep it with her always. [i]Twitch.
But she was still alive for now, and that meant she still had time to try and find something to keep Raistlin busy for a little while. Some offering to prove her usefulness. Shula knew she needed to tread carefully and that Raistlin would be watching her even more closely now. She had to be careful in what she did, and not let on that Spade knew or was involved, and try to make sure that Spade would be safe in all this. Safe. That was almost funny, given how grim the odds were. But... "He's the commander of Aerugo; he's not hard to find. And he can't kill you...if we go together."

Together. Ideas and thoughts were broken and scattered in Shula's mind right now, but one word seemed to shine through the dissonant fog and haze. Together. He would go to Aerugo with her, together? The idea sounded nuts, everything in her mind screaming no. It was too risky.But maybe right now Spade was just trying to offer some comfort to keep Shula calm, give her things to think about that didn't feel quite so ominous. Something would be figured out eventually; even if the feelings and odds seemed to state that her fate was pretty much sealed, some tiny spark of light shined in the back of her mind, giving hope. Spade would help her find a way to live, somehow. She would live. They would live. Together.

A small smile tugged at her mouth, urging Shula to sit up a little higher for a moment, pressing a lingering kiss to Spade's cheek. Right now Shula seemed more like the fair Ophelia after she'd lost her mind, the smile absent and her moves uncertain. For now, one shimmering thought like a grain of silver stardust was giving her something to hold onto. "...Thank you.."


{END THREAD}
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Re: Dark Day

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