As the Black Order walked towards the place that the directions in Zane’s hands told them, a large building could be seen towering over the rest. Madeline pointed to the big grey building. “That must be it.” It looked bleak against the bright blue sky. The eager younger set- including Ellie, Ewan, Tabby, Riena, and Eny- ran towards the new base, Lyra and Ty racing after them, just as joyful. The rest of the group pretended not to know them.
“It’s so big!”
“I want that room!”
“Daddy Daddy look!”
“I see, Ellie, Daddy has eyes too.”
“What the hell does that mean?”
Zane sighed. “Sheesh, I hate kids.”
They reached the doorsteps and the doors swung open, a tall, thin, red-haired man coming out. “Could you kids keep it the hell down, we’re workin’ in here!?!” Tabby, Eny, Ellie, Ewan, Riena, Lyra and Ty halted, blinking. Annoyed, the man twisted the silver ring on his index finger. “Clear out, would ya?”
“ZANE!” Tabby burst out, shocking the man in the door. He jumped. “ZANE, ARE YOU SURE THIS IS THE RIGHT PLACE?”
Zane groaned. “Yes!”
“Are you sure? You wouldn’t even ask for directions!” Tabby shouted back.
“No real man asks for directions!”
“Listen,” The redhead sighed. “I can give you directions so we can get some goddamn work done in here. Where are you nut jobs headed?”
“The North American Black Order Branch Headquarters!” Eny piped up, pushing between Lyra and Ellie to stand before the man. He was quiet for a second, rolling his eyes.
Everyone jumped back, including Rin, Zane, Ying and Maddy, who had just caught up. The man turned around and shouted into the building.
“THEY’RE HERE! You guys better come in.” The group realized he was addressing them and walked inside.
People were running around, wearing suits, checking clipboards. Tabby raised an eyebrow. “You sure this is the place?” She asked Rinvak. She shrugged her shoulders and looked over at the red-haired man.
“Doesn’t look like a Black Order Headquarters to me,” She said.
“The good stuff’s upstairs; Renee had this wackjob idea for some sort of engineering company front to bled in or whatever. Here, card keys,” The man stopped before a locked door. He tossed each person a small plastic card. “Lose these and you lose your head.” Tabby giggled a bit, turning the card over. “I’m serious, little girl.” He swiped his own card and entered the stairway. “Follow me,” He mumbled.
The group came to the second floor landing. “I’ll take you all to Renee and she can deal with you. There’s her office over there,” He pointed to a door with the name ‘Renee Epstein’ on it. “She’ll figure out where you’re gonna bunk and all that crap. THEY’RE COMING IN!”
The group jumped a bit as the man shouted through the door. It opened, and he shuffled the group through it. “You could always knock,” A female voice said.
“Thanks for bringin’ ‘em, Maniac!” The woman called cheerfully as the door closed. The group stepped forward. A woman sat behind the desk before them. “Hmm…” She looked them over, her eyes lingering on each of them enough to make them uncomfortable before looking at the next person. “So, you’re my Branch,” she said finally. “I’m your new leader, Renee Epstein. And you all are…?”
“Zane,” The man offered.
“Lyra. It’s a pleasure!”
“I’m Ty, and these two beautiful children are my babies, Ellie and Ewan!”
“Enpitsu Vachir, child prodigy, youngest Bookwoman!”
“Sister Madeline Price, at your service.”
“Holy crap, there’s a lot of you!” Renee said with a laugh. “Ya’ll are gonna have to share rooms and stuff. Sorry. Anyway, you can get settled. We can talk later. SAM! SHAWN! MANIAC!”
The group jumped. Renee smiled. “These three will bring you to the rooms you can use.” The man from earlier appeared, along with a small girl with dark red hair and a tall man with silver hair. “Sam, you take the girls to the hallway upstairs; Shawn, Maniac, you take the guys.”
Tabby and Eny exchanged glances. “Um,” Madeline spoke up. “Is it quite proper for him to go to the girl’s rooms?”
There was a small silence. “Sam’s a girl.”
“I-I’m sorry!” Madeline apologized to muscular girl.
“Hurry up,” Was all she said as she left. The girls hurried after. Maniac motioned for Ty, Zane, and Ewan to follow him and Shawn. They set off to the men’s dorms.
“Alright,” Sam said as the reached the next floor. “Go choose rooms.”
“Okay!” Eny said cheerfully, sprint down the hallway, Tabby right behind. Rinvak rolled her eyes, slipping into the nearest room. Ying had already disappeared into one of the rooms. Madeline carefully chose one, and Riena joined her. Lyra was already leading Ellie into one of the shared rooms.
“I want this one!” Eny shouted, leaping onto the window seat.
“C’mon! I was here first!” Tabby retaliated.
“No, you ignoramus, that was I!”
“You guys could share,” Madeline suggested, poking her head into the room.
Eny and Tabby looked at her like she had two heads. “NO!” They both cried at the same time, before returning to their arguing. Madeline sweatdropped. She headed back to her own room.
The guys went down another hallway, following behind Maniac, who looked annoyed, and Shawn, who Ewan was cheerfully talking to. “And then my daddy and my sister and me ended up here!” He ended a story. Shawn was silent. “You’re kinda pretty,” Ewan said shyly.
“Shawn is a boy,” Maniac said, glaring at the other young boy.
“Are you sure…?”
“That’s what that she-male Renee keeps around says,” He said with a shrug.
“You mean that Sam lady?”
“Yeah. Anyway kid, we’re here. Knock yourself out,” Maniac said, motioning to Zane and Ty that they could go. Zane calmly picked the nearest room. Ty and Ewan, however, bolted for the ‘perfect’ room.
“I like this one, Daddy!” Ewan called.
“I like this one too, son! It shall be ours!” Ty said, lifting his hands in a sign of victory. The Jamaican pair proceeded to dance around the perimeter of the room. Maniac and Shawn peered in.
“What the hell?” Maniac asked. Shawn didn’t answer, of course.
It was dinner time, and the Order was enjoying their first meal in the new headquarters. “This food is so much better than that old stuff!” Lyra said cheerfully, prodding Riena to make her eat.
Rinvak swallowed her food quickly, and sat bored at the table. At another table, Renee, their new leader, sat, cheerfully bickering with the redheaded man- Maniac- as Sam and Shawn looked on. She couldn’t quite tell which was which.
She stood, taking her empty plate to the kitchen. As she did so, Renee did the same. The pair met at the kitchen door. Without speaking, they placed their plates on the belt.
“Do you think this is going to work out?” Renee said randomly. Rinvak looked at her.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, us, y’know? Not just me,” She said. “Maniac, Shawn, and Sam have… trouble fitting in places.”
“I can see that,” Rinvak said automatically. Renee looked saddened. “But,” she said quickly as she looked at the silent boy-or was he a she- and the militant woman-or man?- and the brash, rude redhead. “I think we’ll fit in with you guys just fine.”
Oh yeah, new chapter. Nice one ^.~
And I haver the same question. Who is rooming with whom? Kinda confusing in the end. ^^
Since the exorcist and bookman seem to entered the new HQ in Washington D.C. already, I guess snooge's and mine chapter will deal with the way and the trouble they had to go through in order to reach it.