Stephanie stepped carefully over what appeared to be the remains of what had once been a desk. The group had headed back to the ruins of the old HQ to poke around and wait for the Finders. She sighed, running her finger along the remnants of a wall. A low whistle behind her alerted her to the small yet somehow imposing presence of Eny Vachir. The youngest Bookwoman leaped over the desk, her eyes widened in some mix of surprise and respect. “He did quite a number on this place,” She said, looking around them in awe, “Our Judas.”
Stephanie sighed, not looking over at the younger girl. “Don’t call him that. Zeren didn’t have any control.” The Exorcist frowned, sitting on a pile of ruble. Eny shrugged, taking another quick glance around, before kneeling beside the desk’s vestiges and trying one of the mostly uncrushed drawers. It jangled, then opened. With a smile, Eny began to rifle through the depths of the drawer.
“It’s a pity, too. I think I almost liked him. He seemed sort of intelligent,” Eny turned to look at the older girl, who smiled wispily.
“Well, be sure to tell him that when we see him next,” She told the young genius, standing and striding to kneel beside her, shifting through the papers in the drawer. “Is any of this important?”
“What makes you think we’ll see him again. He could be dead, for all we know. Either way, if he has any sense he’ll stay away from us. He doesn’t want to kill his friends, of course, so the only logical course of action would be to never see them again,” Eny said blankly, peering at a mostly legible paper and placing it on a pile to her left. Stephanie was silent, a sad look in her eyes. What Eny said was true. Odds were, they’d never see Zeren ever again.
“He’ll be back.” Stephanie jumped. Ying had appeared almost by magic on the other side of the desk. Her arms were filled with what seemed to be a few mostly usable medicines and bandages. “Zeren always comes back.” What seemed like the beginnings of a smile danced on Ying’s usually impassive face for a moment, before reverting to the quiet face that they’d all come to know as Ying’s normal expression. “You two should hurry. The Finders have arrived.”
Stephanie nodded, gathering the papers she and Eny had salvaged. The youngest member of their group stood, her cat leaping atop her head as she grabbed a few more of the papers that had not been destroyed before bounding over the ruined desk. Stephanie followed quickly. The three- four if you count Fermium- headed along the destroyed corridor without speaking.
Once outside, Eny ran to join Amiti and Blade to compare notes of the destruction of the HQ. Stephanie chatted idly with Rinvak, who held nothing but told Stephanie that she had “unloaded all that shit on your boyfriend and the newbie”, and Tabitha, who clasped several torn photographs and a large book on quantum physics. Stephanie wanted to question the younger girl, but the name on the front of the book with not Tabby’s, and though the print had been mostly ripped off, Stephanie caught sight of a large cursive ‘E’ at the start of the owner’s name and knew better then too ask why Tabby had saved her deceased brother’s quantum physics textbook. Ying seemed to disappear, but then again, it was Ying, what did they expect?
Following the Finders, the North American branch of the Black Order looked defeated, Tabitha wearily thought as Stephanie yawned, quietly allowing her head to come to rest on Blade’s shoulder. The Bookman grinned triumphantly, adjusting his pace to keep the Exorcist comfortable. Further on ahead, an indignant Eny was scooped up by Amiti, as the youngest member of their little group was falling asleep on her feet. Amiti seemed almost frightened by the yelling prodigy, but like any spoiled child her spell passed and she fell into sleep, curled into the elder Bookman’s shoulder, Fermy curled up on her stomach. Even further ahead, Lione spoke quietly with one of the Finders. Tabby guessed he was probably worrying about where they were going to stay now, whether anyone had alerted the doctors and desk workers, whether anyone had contacted the European base. Tabby smiled fondly. They were so lucky to have someone like Lione looking after them…
“Watch it,” Rinvak growled as Tabby nodded off, almost falling onto the other Exorcist. Tabitha grinned cheerfully.
“Sorry Rinvak-chan…” She said with a yawn. “I’m just sleeeepppyy….” Again, the younger Exorcist almost fell, but Rinvak roughly held the other girl up.
“Stay awake, cuz I sure as hell am not carrying you,” Rinvak stated. Tabby nodded sleepily. On her other side, Flames caught her as she nearly fell again. He looked at Rinvak, who shrugged and hurried along ahead. Sighing, Flames supported the younger Exorcist, and Daniel rushed forward to support her other side. Ying had appeared almost by magic at Lione’s side, still totting what she had saved of medicines.
“Has anyone sent a message to Lengo?” The Finders raised an eyebrow. “He’s on a mission, is he not?” Ying clarified. Lione nodded, rubbing his temples.
“Yeah, I forgot. Thanks, could someone do that for me?” A Finder rushed off to do as he said. Lione sighed. This stress was going to take ten years off his life by the time this whole Zeren mess was cleaned up. “Could you please kill me?” He asked Ying idly. The younger girl raised a bemused eyebrow.
“I’m afraid not,” She answered impassively, hiking her shoulders to keep some of her burden from falling. Lione smiled wearily, picking a few of rolls of bandages off of Ying’s pile, lightening her load. Ying had the common sense to forget her pride. “Where are we headed?” Ying spoke suddenly. Lione raised a surprised eyebrow. Did Ying sound… worried? That certainly wasn’t the pokerfaced Ying he knew.
“We’re getting on a train, and heading north. Where, even I don’t know,” He took a glance back at the group, dropping like flies into sleep. “But the sooner we get there, the better.”
Quietly, the North American Black Order filed onto the train that had pulled into the station. It was nearly three in the morn now, and the likes of Eny and Tabby had not been aroused after their first fall into sleep mode. The group had no energy for talking; they merely collapsed into their seats. Eny slept across two chairs, and Tabby was leaned against the window. The rest of their number soon fell, too, into sleep but for a frazzled looking Lione who murmured random phases along the lines of “Well, at least I don’t have to do any paperwork” and “Did I get in touch with Eny’s father?”- it was well known that Eny’s father was incredibly overprotective- and Amiti, who sati quietly in the same compartment as the sleeping Eny and petted Fermy blankly, staring out the window. Beside him, Rinvak, too, sat awake, idly looking at the blanket that covered Eny.
“So, um… Miss Rinvak, right?” Amiti seemed to want to start a conversation to fill up the silence. Rinvak only gave a grunt that he interpreted as a yes. “Where do you think we’re headed?” She let her shoulders rise and fall. Amiti sweatdropped. This girl was kind of hard to talk to… “So, uh…”
“Could you not talk?” Rinvak said gruffly. Amiti shut up. Their compartment fell into silence.
“Where are we going?” Blade asked Lione within the confines of the compartment. Stephanie had, as usual, fallen asleep almost the moment the train had started, this time collapsing onto Blade. Beside the drained Lione, Ying sat quietly, peering at the other, awaiting the answer to Blade’s question. Lione sighed.
“There’s a back-up base up in Boston. It’s even more low-tech then our old one, but it’ll do,” He answered, his eyes trained on the window. “We should be almost there.”
“Finally, we’ve been on this thing for hours!” Blade whined, leaning his head back. Ying smiled bemusedly. Lione just grinned, standing and bustling out of the compartment, saying something about telling the others they’d be arriving soon.
The rise and fall of Stephanie’s rhythmic breathing, the shouts of “Boston?!?” from the nearby compartments, the wordless amusement written on Ying’s face made Blade think, maybe tragedy should strike them more often. It seemed to bring them all closer together.
Eny and Tabby awoke as they approached the station, Tabitha growing quieter and quieter as they drew closer. The bustle from the cubicles drowned out all other noise, before the train stopped moving and the North American Black Order unloaded, taking what they had salvaged from their own base- Amiti, who seemed to think that as the newest member needed to prove himself, took both his and Rinvak’s fair share, despite Rinvak’s protests.
As the train drew away from the station, leaving the group on the platform, a red sun began its rise over the Charles. A new day had come.
Gah, couldn’t help myself. xDDD DJ and I are from near Boston, and it’s a very historic city, and I love it. If I screwed anything, don’t kill me. My life insurance sucks. You can hit me with veggies and fish, though.
You wrote the characters perfectly! The character development was good and I could imagine the interaction in my head. I always envision Amiti as a meek, shy boy so bravo! Are you shipping Amiti/Rinvak or Amiti/Eny? He's 16 btw.
And when I was reading this, I couldn't help but think of the song "Boston" which suits this chapter very well. The lyrics (in particular "I'm think I'm going to Boston; I think I'll start a new life") was stuck in my head. I'm guessing that the artifact that provides HQ protection was brought to Boston as well bc if it wasn't, my chapter is.... screwed. lol