By HumanX 1 Comments
This fiction will be rated FR21 just incase. Beware sexual content and stuff like that. Readers discretion is advised.
Many of the characters seen are HumanX adaptations of characters from the various DC Comics animated series. HumanX holds no rights to characters such as Red X and Johnny Rancid (he only tweaked them for this story).
Let's get to the story already
"Santa wo shinjite ita kodmo de sugosu ivu wa" I merrily sing as I walk over to the fridge and grab out a bottle of milk tea. "Papa to mama no ai ni mo kizukanaide Hashaida purezento."
"What anime's that from?" Johnny asks me, taking a break from his video games and leaning back on the couch to see me.
"It's Kiyoku Tadashii Christmas from Ranma 1/2." I take a big chug of the milk tea and smile. "Thought I'd buy myself an early Christmas present with a Ranma CD or two and the song got stuck in my head."
Johnny stares at me with an awkward expression.
"What?" I ask him, moving the fluffy white ball of the santa hat I'm wearing out of my face.
"You've just been pretty chipper these past few days. Did they announce an english release of To Love Ru?"
"No, but that would be awesome." I toss the empty milk tea bottle out and wipe my lips. "When I woke up today I just felt a little lighter than normal."
"Well, come back down to earth. You're freaking me out."
"Cut him some slack." Mary tells Johnny as she walks in from another room. "Both Alex and Charlotte where just kidnapped so it's easy to understand how they could feel relieved after escaping. Plus, isn't it normal to feel a little bit happy on Christmas eve?"
"It's just another day." Johnny groans and scratches his head.
"Does someone need a true meaning of Christmas special?" I poke Johnny's cheek. "You should be careful or else you'll get a visit from three spirits."
"The both of you are idiots." Johnny smacks my hand away. "And what's with those stupid outfits?"
"Oh, this?" Mary looks down at the adorable red christmas dress she's wearing. It has a little bow on the front with a bell and holly tied into it and the trim is all white. The whole thing comes together with the red bow tied in her hair. "Alex made me wear this." She sighs. "He said it was part of the Christmas spirit for the loli character to dress up cute."
"You sick ba***rd." Johnny looks at me like a criminal.
"But just look at it." I point at her in my defence. "It's so cute. Don't you just want to eat her up?"
"You're making it sound worse." They both tell me.
"But it's moe." I curl up in a corner, my Christmas spirit crushed by the Scrooge couple. "I just wanted everyone to have a Merry Christmas. Is that so wrong?"
"Liar." Johnny tosses and empty beer can at my head. "You just wanted Mary to cosplay. When are you going to learn that she's not your doll."
When he looks over at me I'm gone and already taking a hundred pictures of Mary's cute outfit. "Now look up and say Merry Christmas."
"Merry Christmas." She smiles.
"If you do what he says he's not going to stop. Whatever." Johnny gets up and grabs some eggnog and apple cider from the fridge. When he flops them on the coffee table and cracks one open he holds it up for me to see. "There. I'm in the Christmas spirit, now stop that before I call the police."
"Did you get anything for Christmas when you where in the Red Claw organization?" Mary asks me.
"The first year I got three hundred soldiers to train from Natalya."
"Oh." She looks concerned. "What about the year after that?"
"I got Natalya."
"You deck her halls?" Johnny asks.
"Let's just say I was especially good that year."
"You two are gross." Mary tells us. "It's Christmas eve. Could you think of something other than getting laid?"
"Does not compute!" I hold my head like I'm malfunctioning. "Exterminate! Exterminate!"
"Who broke the jerk?" Charlotte asks as she walks in the door.
"Must replenish hentai cells!" I crawl to my room.
"Mary told him something a perv of his calibre should never hear." Johnny sighs. "Where'd you go anyway? Isn't school out for holidays?"
"My school runs a program which is a lot like school but it provides lessons for people who want to study even over breaks. The hours are shorter and it's come and go as you please but the professors and students are working there because they want to so it makes studying easier."
"So that's why you've been going to school despite Christmas being so close." Mary realizes. "I thought that was weird."
"Do you even get a break?" Johnny asks, stunned that there are people in the world who not only go to high school but lessons outside of it.
"As I said, it's come and go as you please, but it doesn't run on Christmas itself and it leaves half of summer vacation open." Charlotte drops her books on the counter and grabs a bottle of grape soda from the fridge. "The issue is that it's a lot more work than regular school if you do it and it's pretty unpopular so it might not stay around for much longer. I've made several large donations to the school and program, allowing it to stay open and we have a lot of people whose parents use it as an excuse to get them out of the house around the holidays. Since it's a private school for rich kids we also have a lot of people who are studying to take over big companies and large groups so their parents push for them to keep studying even on these breaks."
"That must be hard." Mary says, noticing how worn Charlotte looks as she gulps down the soda like an addict. "Are you going to be okay?"
"It's all part of keeping up the genius. My big beautiful brain need some stimulation to keep growing." She smirks. "I'm not letting Alex stay ahead of me for long. In our last fight I was made completely aware of my lack of fighting skill. I've gotten better since training with Alex but in the end I'm not that great of a fighter. I can't keep up with metas and my intelligence is only at human genius levels."
"Yeah. But you can't compare yourself to Alex." Johnny snickers. "The guy's a freak of nature. I'm surprised his brain hasn't exploded. On top of all that science and biology and alchemy, or whatever the hell he knows, he also has all that crazy anime stuff locked in his head. Don't know how he keeps it all straight."
"By the way he talks, he probably doesn't." Charlotte sighs.
"You like anime too don't you?" Mary asks.
"Yeah, but I'm into mech and some of the things Alex made me watch. It doesn't take a genius to understand that the robot who blew up lost the fight."
"But you still know how to assemble a flying bike equipped with enough gadgets to destroy Tsuname-fune without a sweat." Charlotte mentions.
"I really am the only one here who knows nothing about anime." Mary feels left out for a moment but then perks up. "What are you two planning on getting Alex tomorrow?"
"I got one of those hugging pillow things with the bishojo girls on them." Johnny says. "Figured that'd keep him in his room long enough for me to use the X Box."
"Gross." Mary brushes it off. "How about you Charlotte?"
"Ah-Kur-Ka…Christmas Present-t?" Charlotte drops to the floor. "I forgot."
"Oh…" Mary tries to find something to say. "It's not a big deal."
"But I wanted to buy everyone presents this year!" Charlotte starts crying. "What am I gonna do!?"
"I'm sure he forgot too." Mary tries to console her. "Alex isn't really that reliable with considering others feelings so it's possible that he might have just-"
"Oh, he got you something." Johnny laughs. "And it's real good too."
Charlotte starts crying again and Mary gives Johnny a sharp look. "It might just be something simple. It's not like he would go out and buy a big present with his own money, right?"
Johnny starts laughing more. "At first I didn't get how that little twerp got laid in the first place. I know he can act nice and he's pretty good looking but that many women was just too much, so I didn't believe him. That was before I saw this present. Now I know."
"He'll never let me live it down." Charlotte rocks back and forth. "My life is over."
"I-It's not that big a deal." Mary starts to freak out.
"What's not a big deal?" I ask, walking into the room as I zip up my coat.
"Nothing!" Charlotte stops Mary from telling.
"Okay." I go to put on my boots.
"Where are you going?" Johnny asks me.
"Just out for a bit. I need to go to the mall."
"On Christmas Eve?" Johnny wonders. "You forget to buy a present?"
"I'm just meeting someone."
That comes as a shock to everyone.
"Who would YOU be meeting?" Johnny looks at me with shock written all over his face. "You don't have any friends."
"Doesn't mean I don't socialize." I wave off his insult and open the door to leave.
"This is your chance." Mary whispers to Charlotte. "You can pick up a present while you're out with him."
"Wait." Charlotte stops me. "I'll go too."
"Yeah, sure." I'm about to close the door but it stops on a person's hand.
A man in a big black coat with a friendly grin walks into the room and waves. "Hey. What's up."
"Who are you?" I wonder but Charlotte points at him.
"Romulus?" She stares blankly. "How did you find us?"
"Wolves senses, remember." He points to his nose. "But I'm not alone."
Behind him a group of people push into the living room.
"Wow. Swanky." A blonde chick dressed entirely in white and blue looks around Charlotte apartment from beside Romulus.
A slightly chunky looking guy puts his hands in his pockets and stays silent.
A latin dude walks up behind Romulus and holds his hand out to me. "Greetings my friend." He smiles brightly. "It is a pleasure and thank you for inviting me and my comrades into your home."
"Make yourself at home." I greet them, deciding to just go along with the flow.
"Wait one freaking minute!" Charlotte bursts. "Who the hell are you people!?"
"Me miseret! I have forgotten to introduce myself." The latin man bows. "My name is Adamus. In my home I am also known as El Dorado. My friends areYvette Brawner who is known as Hotwire and Patrick Pandinski who is also called Mr Pandora." He swings an arm around Romulus. "You have already met Anthony. He has told many stories about you to us. It is a pleasure to meet the Red X he has spoken of so highly."
He shakes my arm with the power of a freaking bull. "Always a pleasure to meet a fan."
"Tony's told us plenty, but he seems to have forgotten to mention how cute you are." Yvette smiles as she moves closer to me. "Mmm."
"What I want to know is why you're all here." Charlotte interrupts her. "We're not exactly holding a Christmas party for ex super assassins."
"About that." Anthony gives us an awkward look. "That's why I'm here."
We all group around the coffee table and listen to what Anthony's been up too since we last saw him.
"After you cured me of my Xenothium poisoning I tried to go back to a normal life, but the guilt of what I'd become, even before the werewolf. How I felt about who I was had stayed with me. I realized that being humbled by the curse of my wolf side had changed something about me. I didn't want to be that selfish person who only cared about himself, so I gathered as much knowledge as I could about the Depraved. I tracked them down all over the world. Eventually my searching lead me to Mexico where I confronted their outposts and eventually ran them out."
"That was where we met." El Dorado raises his glass of egg nog with a cheerful smile. "We banned together and defeated all of the Depraved fimus out of my home. You see, I am someone who was also afflicted with Xenothium due to experiments they put me through. It gave me much power but I was dying. Anthony gave me a potion which stabilized my body and made me better."
"It was part of the same serum you made for me." Romulus tells me.
Yvette snuggles in closer to me, her big green eyes batting as she looks up at me. "You're a hero. Not only him. Your serum helped me too. I used to live in France but when I moved to Gotham I was picked up by some goons and put through electroshock crap charged with Xenothium power cores. I was really scared, but then Tony and Adamus came to free me."
"I was in the same facility." Mr Pandora tells us. "But I was put through radiation therapy to enhanced my own mental powers."
"Your serum saved us all. So, if it weren't for you, I wouldn't be alive today." Yvette moves in closer to me, pressing her airbags up against my arm. "I've really wanted to meet you so I could thank you…personally."
"How old are you, by the way?" I ask, completely interested.
"Quinze." She winks playfully.
"Aw, crap. I always get the underaged groupies." I sigh.
"You always have us." Mary pats my shoulder to comfort me.
"I'm more likely to get arrested if I do anything to you." I mumble.
"Ca alors." Yvette smirks. "Did I make your little sister jealous?"
"I'm not his sister and I'm thirty." Mary grunts. "You should respect your elders, brat."
"What was that, enfants?" Yvette pushes up against me as I run the number fifteen through my head to keep myself behaved. "Then you shouldn't be so clingy."
"I'm clingy?" Mary asks. "You're the one pressing those half formed milk sacks into him. Some people just don't know a thing about seduction."
"You really have no right to talk about that." I tell her.
"Shut it." She tells me. "We're talking."
"I'd like to share the information I've gathered with you." Romulus offers, getting back to topic and avoiding the continuation of Mary and Yvette's fight. "The only thing I ask is that you hear me out before making your decisions."
"Then shoot." I tell him.
"As it turns out the Depraved is not one organization with one all powerful ruler as I once thought, but in fact it is made of multiple layers and factions. There are the every day people who work for the Depraved as common thugs and use the Xenothium drugs to gain super human abilities for a short while and then there are the second class who are long time users of the drugs. They have survived the effects of Xenothium and have gained stronger abilities the longer they survive with it."
"We know all this already." Johnny interrupts. "Then there are the business groups who avoid Xenothium all together to keep up an appearance, the scientists who work on Xenothium purification and the beasts which result from overdosing, which they keep for experimentation and defence of major facilities. Anyone could learn that much by working for them like I did."
"Yes." Romulus returns to the spotlight. "But what you don't know is that Crispin is not the only leader. There are multiple ones."
"Of course." I butt in. "To have an organization this big multiple head must be used to keep track and make certain that no bugs crawl into the works. In other words, it has to have a leadership system, and not only that, each leader must have some way of keeping control over those under him."
"Exactly." Romulus tells us, knowing I'd figured out this much. "All I know so far is that Crispin is the leader of Oscura and he is at the top of the chain alongside several others. Those ones I have not been able to find the identities of. But I have figured out where Crispin's base is and that due to your last encounter he has only a hand full of maybe ten to fifteen hundred people, give or take."
"It's that creepy club down on Rose ave." I point out. "It's the only base left around here occupied by the Depraved since I cleaned out both the church and the slums yesterday. The only place he has left to hide is in the business district, but it would be too easy to find him and he's better off hiding in plain sight with his army assembled than being on his own with only a suit and tie to guard him."
"Clever as always." Romulus tries to resist the urge to clap. "I should have known you'd already be on this. What I really wanted to say was that we are a special team I've brought together to take down the Depraved before they can use Xenothium to hurt anyone else."
"We're going to crush each head until they disband." Yvette tells me.
"We came here to do just that and attack Crispin while the iron's hot." Romulus stands up in a heroic pose. "We will become allies of justice and take down the evil of the Depraved to prevent them from reaching their ultimate goal of sending the world into chaos. We are the freedom fighters who will protect this earth and those in it from Crispin and the other heads. We have banned together for this cause and will soon make this dream of a safe world a reality. Will you join us in our fight?"
"Naw." I reject them outright.
"B-But why?" Romulus asks me, almost falling over from the blunt rejection. "With your power and brains we could easily crush them."
"Because I don't wanna." I tell him. "Look, I just got back from two exasperating battle and three days of confinement with a hottie soldier girl I couldn't touche and a chubby anti-socialist who hated my cute nicknames. I'm just getting used to living the way I am now and I don't want to change it now."
I get up and swing my coat back on. "I just remembered, I have a date to go on. Feel free to stick around though. I don't mind you using my apartment as your home base."
"It's my apartment." Charlotte chases after me. "And wait up." She turns to apologize to everyone. "I'm sorry for leaving so abruptly but the invitation to use this as your base is for real." The she leaves.
"Didn't think he'd reject ya." Johnny snickers. "Thought the kid'd love a chance ta break some skulls."
Romulus sits down and smiles a deep somber smile. "He's changed a lot hasn't he?"
"You noticed?" Johnny asks. "I guess you would. They say you really get to know a person when you've fought with them in a life or death battle. Or maybe it's your animal senses."
"No." Romulus tells him. "In human form I have no power. I just notice he's different. Did anything happen?"
"Don't ask me. The only person who could tell ya is Charlotte. He was like that when he came home with her last night."
"No way!" Yvette stands up with an angered grimace. "You mean those two are dating!?"
"Eh, no." Johnny looks up at her surprised.
"But it's possible they have feelings for each other?"
"That does it! I'm fallowing them!" She grabs her coat and boots and storms to the door.
"Wait a minute!" Mary stops her. "You can't just spy on them."
"And what if that hussy with the overstuffed boobs puts a move on him!? I just met my steamy dreamboat and I'm not letting him go so easily!"
"Are you five!?" Mary asks. "You can't fall in love so easily."
"Haven't you ever head of love at first sight?"
"Have you ever heard of a mental institution?"
"Will you both shut up?" Johnny asks them.
"But they do raise a point." El Dorado butts in. "A man and a woman alone on the holy night of Christmas Eve, surrounded by the light and glimmer of the holidays. It is easy to loos oneself in the moment as your heart begins to race. The man takes the woman in his arms and pulls her close. As the snowflakes caress their cheeks the lovers share a passionate kiss under the mistletoe. Ah, a beautiful holiday romance."
"…What?" Johnny has no idea how to respond to that.
"The likelihood of Alex putting a move on Charlotte is-" Mary starts.
"I wouldn't be so sure." Johnny stops her. "If we put Alex's changes into the mix and agree that Charlotte was or was involved with the cause of his change then we could easily see Alex having developed feelings for her."
"Okay, but it's Alex." Mary tries to bring up a point.
"Which is exactly why we must worry." Johnny notes. "Not much is known about Alex's true self but we know that he is a pervert who likes big breasts and anime. Now, if we assume that the events none of us know anything about had opened his eyes to our well endowed Charlotte who also has a bit of an anime thing we could see something starting. Also, Charlotte has spent two years before now looking for him before we all met. There has to be a little something there."
"They hate each other."
"Do they? Or are they simply falling into the category of tsundere. Starting out hostile and eventually becoming loving. Alex has opening admitted to liking those types in anime as well as real life. If we put this together with the gilt Charlotte feels for not getting him a present, the pull of Christmas Eve and Alex's overall perviness we get a recipe for disaster."
"Alex may get a chance to play Santa," Johnny's face goes evil as he grabs his drink and brings it to his lips. "And stuff her stocking. If you get my meaning."
A shock runs through both Mary and Yvette.
"N-N-N-N-N-N-No way." Mary stands in place, completely petrified. "He's gonna…no way."
"I can't let this happen!" Yvette's hands spark with electricity. "There's no way I'm loosing my newfound romance before it can even begin!"
"I have a suggestion!" El Dorado stands up enthusiastically. "Let us fallow them and act as protectors!"
"You're just butting in." Romulus sighs. "This guy's a major sucker for romance and crap. He's addicted to TV dramas and stuff like that."
"Now is not the tie to draw attention to my hobbies." El Dorado pushes both Yvette and Mary out the door. "We must hurry! The steamy love triangle is about to hit its climax! We must observe so that no one is harmed."
"Who could get harmed in-" The door slams before Romulus can finish his sentence.
"And that's how you get a Merry Christmas." Johnny grabs the remote and flicks on the TV, his plan complete.
"All that just for the remote?" Romulus asks him.
"If I didn't do that I'd end up having to sit here while Mary and Charlotte cry over some sappy Hugh Grant Christmas special about a guy grieving over a dead cat or something." Johnny tells him with a satisfied grin.
The bright Christmas decorations they've had up months in advance spread their multi coloured radiance forth as Charlotte and I walk down the snow covered streets of down town. The heat from people moving around the streets, going about their last minute Christmas Eve preparations, brings a breeze of warm air and a feeling as if it may be Summer again sooner than expected. Then again, after the blizzard from back then we've had no snowfall. That could be the cause of this smouldering heat.
The left over snow from days ago sloshes under our feet as I notice Charlotte's eyes darting through window after window.
"You forget to buy someone a present?" I ask her.
"Why would you say that?" Charlotte decides to change the subject. "Maybe I should be asking you who this mystery girl is."
"When did I say it was a girl?" I smirk confidently, allowing her attempt at subject swapping to pass. "I could be meeting a friend from college or a relative."
"Then who is it?"
"So, a friend who isn't from college and is not a relative…I'm still trying to get over the fact that you have friends." She gives me a bratty look. "Is it a she?"
"Is she pretty?"
"Just wondering…What the hell does nymphtastic mean?"
"Alright query queen." I've had a little too much of her questions. Time for some of my own. "Riddle me this. Why are you here today? Meeting up with Donnie for a secret romantic getaway? Don't tell me you're going to leave us all alone on Christmas so the two of you can snuggle under the mistletoe."
"For the last time, his name is Donald and we are not dating." She thugs on my ear, completely annoyed.
"Then why are you here?"
"I-" She can't think of any lie to tell me so she comes out with it. "I forgot to buy someone a present and now-"
"Good luck with that." I snicker at her misfortunes. "Christmas is the number one shopping day around here if you haven't noticed. I remember trying to buy myself a candy bar on Christmas Eve the first year I moved here and I had to wait in line for like, six hours." I feel a vibration in my pant! So I take out my cell phone and answer it. "Hy-ellow?"
From behind a trash can two sets of eyes watch Charlotte and I carefully.
"Ah. To be young and in love." El Dorado sighs happily. "Magnifico!"
"I knew it." Yvette bites the sleeve of her jacket as an aura of fury surrounds her body. "That little coquine is definitely trying to take my love away from me."
Mary watches from where she's standing, trying not to look like she's involved with the odd looking couple crouching by the trash can. She steps back when sparks start flying from Yvette's body. "You guys look like idiots. This is so immature. Alex is just meeting a friend and Charlotte is just out shopping."
"Enfant Stupide." Yvette stands up and makes a spark covered fist. "Those where clearly lies to deceive us!"
"Huh?" Mary feels like just leaving them and going home.
"How can you be so blind!?" Yvette points towards Charlotte and I as we're walking away. "Telling us that they coincidentally have plans at the same time is just a well orchestrated plan by that sneaky blonde witch! They leave the house together and when they know we're not around they go out and have a date while we get left out! C'est une conspiration!"
"Anyone ever tell you, you're nuts?" Mary asks.
"No, my small friend." El Dorado tries to convince her. "This is a common occurrence among secret couples. I have seen it in my favourite television program Love my Dearly…I think that is the translation."
"Is that an anime?" Mary asks, thinking that will fill in the blanks about why these two act so weird.
"It is not. But it is the greatest television program in the world." El Dorado smiles. "But the issue at hand is our real live drama which begins right now. You see, there is a way of knowing if what Yvette has said is true."
"The fact is that if they do have two separate plans then they have to leave each other at some point. We fallow them and if they don't split up we have our proof."
I put my phone back in my pocket and sigh. "She cancelled on me."
"You get dumped?" Charlotte asks.
"The person I'm supposed to meet had to cancel because of business." I toss my arms behind my head and think. "What am I gonna do now?"
Charlotte gets a terrible feeling and starts to walk off.
"I got an idea." I grab her collar from behind. "Why don't I hang out with you for a bit."
"Eh…" She can't even think of a way out of it.
"You don't want me around?" I ask with my 100% fake but 100% cute please face. I want you to get a good idea of what Charlotte is up against. Think of taking the finer points of both puppies, kittens, human babies, all manner of adorable woodland creatures and combine them into one being. Now combined them with the power of the moe force and let stew in happiness and rainbows for about twenty minutes on the night of a full moon. Anyone who sees my face while I use this technique will literally kick that creature aside if I ask. Few have survived this frightening technique.
"O-Okay." Charlotte drops, utterly defeated by my Kawairashi-sa no shinsen (this means cuteness gaze by the way).
"You see?" Yvette asks. "Isn't this where they're supposed to go their separate ways?"
"You're right." Mary watches with them. "The meeting place is to the left but they're going straight on."
"To be young and in love!" El Dorado stands up and flexes his massive muscles. "And a secret love is the most alluring of them all!"
"If you're going to try and spy on someone wouldn't using a little more subtlety be a better plan?" Mary pushes on. "Never mind. Let's keep going."
Charlotte sits across from me in a tinsel covered restaurant. An upbeat Christmas melody plays in the background and around us couples and families talk causally about their yearly news.
Charlotte looks across the table at me with a disappointed stare.
"This is where you where going to take her?" She asks me. "I feel sorry for the poor girl. If it where me, nothing but the finest restaurant would do."
"Unlike you, the girl I was going to meet isn't picky." I take a huge chomp out of the burger I ordered and eye the massive float with whipped cream I've been waiting for. "She's also easy going and pretty calm minded…So, you're exact opposite."
"Why aren't you saying her name?"
"Because I know it's bugging you." I smirk with a charming but bratty smile.
"Are you trying to flirt with me?" She asks, suspiciously. "You've been eerily nice to everyone today. And you haven't made a pass at a single one of the overstressed chicks we've passed walking around today."
"That's insulting. If I was flirting you'd be upside down with your pants around your ankles right now."
"Charming." She sighs and smiles, glad everything is alright. "But I guess it's good to see that you're still yourself. I thought that there might be some awkwardness between us after last night."
"Like I'm gonna let a little mental breakdown and attempted murder get between us." I tell her, making her blush. "But even I'm still surprised things ended up the way they did. I didn't think I'd end up promising not to kill people unless necessary."
"You scared me for a bit back there." She admits. "I've never seen you so angry."
"It's been an issue I've had since I was a kid. Since I'm so idealistic about things I have a hard time with things I consider injustices."
"You mind warning me before I end up stepping on a land mine?"
"You probably can't. My ideals about rape are mostly prejudice against men. If a girl rapes a girl I don't really care."
"Also, if a girl rapes an adult male it's just funny."
"But for some reason if a girl or child is raped on a show or anime I can't get over it."
"You have some messed up ideology. And what kind of anime have you been watching?"
"I know. But it all depends on your idea of what right ad wrong is."
"You lost me."
"What is right and wrong?" I jump into lecture mode. "To some people, breaking into a store and taking their stuff is wrong but downloading a series online is okay. Both of these are stealing and both of them have negative consequences. The only difference is the level of acceptance in modern culture. Some people say that if they aren't hurting anyone or causing people a problem then it's okay to do whatever they want. The ends justify the means and so on. Religious people believe that going against their deity or god is the only evil. Others believe in necessary evil, such as war and think that if they can relate what they're doing to a higher cause then they can be as cruel or merciless as they want. In my opinion war is just an excuse for mass murder and it only starts when our government is too stupid to keep itself out of trouble. Speaking of which there are people who believe that patriotism gives them the right to everything. These people all have their own ideas of right and wrong and so do I. My ideals are my version of right and wrong and they just don't match modern society. I wont hold it against the police if they try to catch me for the things I do because they are simply fallowing their ideals."
"That's a pretty selfish way of looking at it." Charlotte stirs the coffee she has out in front of her. "If we all think like that then the system doesn't work. Unless we all start from equal footing then it's unfair for others and causes problems like bugs in computer software."
"That's what I'm saying. The system only works if there are no bugs. But since the human mind, due to its nature and the nature of the system itself, is something which falls under the category of bug then human's simply don't work in society. Of course there are some who do, such as the rich and the highly intellectual who are capable of working the system to their own advantage. They can be considered hackers."
"Those would be people like you and me. Someone who has beauty, brains or money."
"Exactly. People like us have a free ticket. The rich get schooling and job opportunities before al others and the smart are capable of manipulating the rich into giving them money (by legal means or otherwise), and the beautiful simply have people wanting to do things for them. Why do you think ads for starving children all have cute kids on them instead of ugly ones."
"That makes sense." Charlotte raises her spoon along with a point. "But didn't you say before that the beautiful have a harder time than the ugly?"
"I wouldn't use ugly but those with moderate facial features."
"Well, aren't you all conscientious all of a sudden." She glares. "Trying to make me look bad?"
"What I mean is that it's more people who have particularly good looks who encounter this problem. It's the question "Does my partner love me for me and not how I look". This is an issue for the well off in the looks department which shouldn't be a big deal for those without good looks."
"Do you have that problem."
"No. Bit there's always room for error. Because I'm smarter than the people around me I can see what they see in me and react accordingly. But for a sweet teenage girl who happens to be a few centimetres bigger than her classmates in certain areas and is accompanied by awesome looks, it can be hard to tell which guys like her because they like who she is instead of how she looks."
"I'm not sure it's that simple. Good looking people always seem in control."
"Could you honestly say with one hundred percent of your mind that a guy you're going out with would be dating you for you and there's no way he wants your body more than who you are? I give you a hard time but you are a babe and I know that there are guys who, just like I do with regular people, pretend to be the nice guys so they can get what they want and get out."
She thinks it over and realizes that what I'm saying makes sense.
"Aside from looks you also have money. Even if the guy doesn't love you he could easily pretend with your face and body and since you have the money and status to back it up, it's almost too good of a deal."
"How come your compliments sound like insults?" She asks me.
"I'm not insulting you. I'm just saying that it's entirely possible for someone to pretend to love you simply to get at your money, looks and genius."
"I get what you're saying." She takes a sip of her coffee before continuing. "But I think that the average person would be a little more honest than that."
I smirk. "Do you even know what the average person is or are you simply basing that on everyday encounters with strangers? Maybe you're still holding onto that Sesame Street fantasy that all people are generally good."
"But didn't you just say that people try to hold onto a belief system? Wouldn't these same people believe that doing something like that is wrong?"
"And that my dear," I raise a finger. "is the bug in the system."
Mary, Yvette and El Dorado watch us from another table, hidden by potted plants.
"This is it!" Yvette sparks with jealousy. "The legendary secret love dinner. They snuck out to enjoy a candle lit dinner at a restaurant."
"Kind of a lame place for a romantic dinner." Mary tells her. "Also, it's early in the morning and there are no candles on that table."
"Amor my dear is something which can even make a cheap dinner at a fast food restaurant feel like a five star reservation." El Dorado sighs. "What we have here is unmistakably the frolicking of young lovers."
"Looks more like a regular conversation to me."
"I wouldn't expect a child to know about love." Yvette chuckles.
"I'm old enough to be your mother, brat." Mary boosts herself up to see better. "I still think they're just hanging out."
"Then why make up fake plans and escape to this place?" Yvette asks.
Mary has nothing to say to that.
"So beauty can be a double edged sword. Helping you when you need something from someone and being a hinderance when trying to be close to someone."
"Exactly." I smile, finally getting it through to her. "You're not as dumb as you look Blondie."
"My hair is dyed." She runs her hand through it with a confident smile. "I'm actually a brunette."
"Me too." I tell her. "But of course, I'm much better at dying it than you are. The way I did it looks natural."
"What's wrong with how I did it?" She asks, looking at her fools gold locks.
I reach out and run my fingers through some of her hair, holding it up to show her. "Right here you have damage from the chemicals which shouldn't be there. You should use less or you'll end up with harsh hair and loose your colour all together."
"Look!" Yvette nearly gives away her position, pointing out at us. "He's touching her hair! That's totally flirting!"
"No way." Mary looks at us in shock. "If it was her boobs or butt I'd say it was just him acting normal but something like this is too tame for him to be messing around. This might actually be…"
"Look!" Yvette tells Mary. "He's giving her a Christmas present!"
"So, if I use this brand it'll work better with my type of hair?" Charlotte looks at the bottle.
"Yeah. Since I made it out of natural stuff with as little harmful additives as possible it'll give your hair a more born with it kind of look. I use it to change appearance when I need too. It's nice too since it makes my hair smell good."
"I was wondering why your hair smelled like strawberries. I just thought…Did you say you made this?!" She just now realizes. "That's amazing!"
"I kill, like, a hundred super powered killers and cure a werewolf but cosmetics make me amazing?" I ask with a grumble.
"Can you make me one that smells like peaches?"
"No." I refuse. "I only make cosmetics which smell like watermelon or strawberries. No inferior fruits allowed."
"You even look own on fruit…" Charlotte sighs but looks at the bottle. "But you really are amazing."
"What was that?" I ask her but get a frightened jolt as a reaction.
"Nothing!" She shoves the bottle into her bag.
I look at her and smile. "You know something."
"I think you'd look better as a brunette anyway."
"Really?" She grabs a piece of her hair and looks at it.
"I've never really had that much of a thing for blondes. I'm more of a dark colour person."
"I can tell." She snickers. "You're so weird today."
"What do you mean?" I ask her.
"Compliments, random gifts, taking me out for no reason and your general mood. It's like you're…I don't know…uncomfortable. Like you're trying to make a good impression. Maybe that's not it. You seem like you're not in control like you usually are. More like a normal person."
I wonder about what she said for a moment before chuckling at the thought of it.
"Whatever." She says as she brings her cup up to her lips. "I like this you a lot too."
"Ah, so the big confession has finally arrived." I joke. "Is this the part where you confess your true feelings to me?"
"Now there's the regular you." She giggles and flicks up some of the whipped cream on my float, dabbing it onto my nose. "A know it all pain in the a**."
"I guess I just came to a decision." I tell her.
A warm smile takes to my face. "That I like you. And that you're a special person to me."
She blushes with a face full of coffee. "Don't say stuff like that just to embarrass me."
"I'm being honest."
"That in itself is suspicious!" She stands up. "I'm going to the bathroom."
It's true that not only Charlotte, but Mary and Johnny have all taken very important roles in my life. I don't know why it comes as a shock to me. I didn't see this coming. Maybe I was just too content where I was. Johnny's the kind of person I've always liked in manga. He reminds me of Jack Rakan from Negima, or Jane from that show Firefly (not an anime but still awesome). I like Mary too. She's honest and kind even if she isn't that confident. She knows her limits and works within her boundaries. I like to dress her up and she goes along with it even though I know it annoys her. I guess that makes her self sacrificing. She's the opposite of Charlotte who is your average rich brat. She nags, she's selfish and needy. She complains and gets everything she wants. I guess she's kind of like a little sister. She'll never give an inch and no matter what she wants she'll get it. She's kind of like me in that regard. MAybe that's why I like her so much. She's confident on the outside and insecure on the inside, but she doesn't let her insecurity keep her from taking what she wants. When did I become the kind of guy who hangs around with these people? When did I go from a deadly killer to a guy who bends his ideals for one scrawny fake blonde with a bad attitude?
As I rest my head between my arms on the restaurant table I can't help but laugh softly as I think about what I've become.
I don't really look forward to Christmas, but now I feel like I really want to celebrate it with them. Why have these people…people I would normally view as worms in comparison to my intellect…become such powerful forces in my life? I've always looked down on people. My dad, mom, the kids in school and the teachers. When I was a kid the Asylum was like a paradise. The entire world outside felt like a binding trap. Like I was being suppressed. Maybe that's just something geniuses go through. But inside that place I found a playground. I could spend hours trading laughs with the Joker and Professor Crane was an inspiration with the subject of fear. Harley was always fun too. I really loved it there. When my dad went nuts and turned into the Black Mask I felt a bit of relief. As if I was thinking, "Good for you dad. You've finally become what you wanted to be"…This is so annoying. How can someone like me, who can know how a person's mind works after only minutes of knowing them, not understand my own mind? I guess it really did begin with Charlotte. She gave me a choice. I could let her fall or stay where I was and not ever know what could come of us joining up together. It was curiosity that really got me. I was so interested as to why this girl would go so far and have so much faith in me, a person she didn't know. But know I know she had no plan. She was just doing what ever she wanted like usual. Whatever reason it was that made me reach out for her hand, it doesn't really matter now. All I know is as of last night I'd choose her over my system. She's more important to me than my own morals.
I know all that but I still have a question. So, what happens now? Do I continue on this road which will eventually tether me down to these people or do I leave and try again with someone who I don't feel a connection too? I left the Red Claw organization because I didn't agree with what they where doing. I didn't want to use terrorism to make the world continue as is, so I left. Being the king of the world isn't as fun as those Saturday morning cartoon villains think. But I'm just rambling on. I don't have a choice in this matter. Congratulations Charlotte. You're the second person in this world who could get under my skin, pass all my defences and find the real me…and after all that make me want to be your friend. Somewhere along the line you became important to me, and I'm not going to let you go. From now on we're friends. And for some reason I'm okay with that.
"May I sit down?" A man asks as he already plops down in the seat across from me.
"So you're Crispin." I say as I look up at him.
"I heard my boy gave you quite a bit of trouble last night." Crispin smiles as his hand reaches over the table for a shake.
"It was no trouble at all." I tell him with my fake smile. "He went through so much trouble to make it easy for me. I felt bad."
"That sharp tongue. I heard about it but hearing it in person. I've been waiting for this." He tells me and reaches out for my float. "Do you mind?"
"Just leave me half. I really like the floats here." I tell him. "So, what brings you to see little old me?"
"Just a proposal." He tells me after taking a big slurp of my float. "You left my Agent in pretty bad shape but didn't finish him off for some reason. I'd also like to know why."
"I only kill who I feel like killing, but what's your proposal?" I try to skip to the point.
"I'm sorry." He apologizes with a debonaire feel of refinement about him. The man has a way of talking and gestures which suggest that he is polite and laid back. He seems like the kind of man who has life under his thumb because he has no cares in the world, but he's nice and the kind of person you'd want as a friend. To most people he seems like that but I can feel the venom on his tongue. He is definitely a cruel person. The laid back smile and cold cut warmth is the same as my own. He's not as good as I am, but it's similar. He is a cruel, sadistic and disturbed man. I know for certain that he is someone to take very seriously. "I didn't mean to interrupt your date."
"She's just a friend." I tell him.
"If I had friends like her…" He laughs. "But seriously, I want to ask something of you."
"Ask away." I kick my feet up on the table and cross them. My eyes train on his.
"I don't mean to be rude but I'd like you to stay out of our business form now on." He tells me. "You see, vigilante heroes tend to cause problems for people like us. I know we've had our differences but if you are willing to look the other way on matters of the Depraved then we are willing to forget your existence entirely."
"Sounds good." I tell him. "I wasn't really planning on getting in your way particularly. I just do what I want. If I see your people committing a crime I don't like, or if I'm just bored I stop them."
"I knew I'd like you." He tells me. "You're free. You'd be a perfect follower of Shekari."
"At least that what I would have said three days ago." I tell him as my kind smile seems to take on a cruel, cold hatred. "But your people tried to hurt someone important to me. It'll be hard to overlook that. I'm a pretty bad sport when it comes to things like that."
"You have to admit, you've caused me quite a bit of grief." He chuckles and rubs the back of his neck. "I admit that I wouldn't have done things the way Agent did, but you could understand."
"I understand completely. You're trying to run a business."
"Not a business." He tells me. "A family. The followers of Shekari, the god of destruction."
"You lost me there."
"Anytime I can inform others of my master is a pleasure to me. My lord Shekari is a great demonic god who will bring about the destruction of the earth. He comes to me through xenothium induced visions and tells me his will. He is the one who decides who lives and who gains power. He will one day bring his rule to the earth, using the Depraved as his messengers, and all will know his way of life."
"Destruction. Mayhem. Unbridled passion. There will be no room for structures and systems. No countries or races or conflicting wills. Only destruction and carnal chaos. That it true freedom. That is the way of Shekari."
"Sounds like a load of s**t." I tell him with an uncharacteristic grin. "You've got to admit your god sounds more like a demon. That's what I hate about the mythological gods and these new religions which come out of nowhere. They where just a bunch of super powered pricks with longevity. Wouldn't it be better to fallow a deity who doesn't want to spread hate and malice? That's why I like stuff like the ten commandments. That way you can tell who's a real follower and who's just using the guise of a religion to get their own way. Even if your god exists if he's evil isn't it best not to believe in him? I'm sorry. I'm moving to a difficult subject."
"Not at all." Crispin tells me. "Your opinions are your own. In the end all shall see the truth. My Depraved shall bring the world to chaos and ruin." He gets up to leave.
"Now, you almost convinced me." I sigh and grab my float. "I don't care if you believe in your little hallucination or atheism or some sort of religion. Hell, you could be a jetai for all I care. But if you put the world into chaos then that means a lot of people are going to get hurt. That means people I like might get hurt. In that case I need to take you down before that happens. But that's not a decision I can make on my own. I have some obligations now."
"I overestimated you." He looks back at me with pitiful eyes. "I thought you where above human ties."
"Sticks and stones. Whatever limitations I've given myself are my business alone."
He looks at his watch and bows before leaving. "Then whatever path you choose I'll be waiting. I'll take your absence on the battlefield as the sign of our treaty and your presence as a declaration of war against my lord Shekari."
I grab up my float and go to take a bite but drop the spoon back into the cup and let it clank against the table. "B****d." I groan. "He ate it all. I'm going to have to get him back for that."
Charlotte comes back from the bathroom a little bit later and plops back down in her seat.
"What's up with you?" She asks me.
"I just had a conversation with someone I want to hurt." I inform her. "Crispin decided to show up with a stupid deal. I'm not sure what to do with that right now."
"What was the deal?"
"He pretty much told me to stay out of his business and he wont come after us." I'm pretty unsure about my next move. No amount of intelligence can make up for a lack of information. If it where me alone I wouldn't even have let him leave the table alive. I would kill him quickly and silently, before he could lift a finger against me. The problem isn't my own safety however. "So, what do you think I should do?"
She tilts her head and gives me a concerned look. "Isn't it obvious? We can't let this guy get away with what he's doing. A lot of people get hurt because of the Depraved. You said yourself that Xenothium is dangerous."
"And what about you?" I ask. "If you don't care about your own safety then what about Johnny and Mary. I'll be fine but with you gu-"
I'm cut off by the feeling of her fingers flicking my forehead.
"You are one stupid genius." She shakes her head like she's disappointed in me. "Considering how these evil organizations work, they probably have something like global conquest planned."
"They want to send the world into chaos, it seems."
"You see? Bad. There's no way we can live our lives normally like that anyway. In the end, allowing evil to continue screws us no matter what deal we make with them." She shrugs the discussion off and decides to move straight to her point. "But in the end the decision's up to you. I have no intension of persuading you to do anything. Just make up your mind and the rest of us will make up our own."
"Then I think we should go home. We've been wandering around town all day. It's getting pretty late." I get up and prepare to leave.
"Holy crap." She just now notices the time. "You're right."
As we're leaving she giggles and I can't help but ask.
"Nothing really." She smiles awkwardly. "It's just that we've never really talked alone like this before. I didn't even notice the time pass. It was nice."
"Yeah?" I have to agree. This has been a pretty enjoyable day. "But we're not exactly alone."
I toss a shuriken into a group of potted plants. Mary, Yvette and El Dorado fall back from the shock, revealing their presence.
"H-Hey." Mary says squeamishly. "What a coincidence."
"It seems we where found out." El Dorado laughs. "How long did it take you to find out?"
"I knew the whole time." I bend down to be on eye level with them. "You all suck a spying."
"I didn't even notice." Charlotte sighs in disappointment. "Man, I suck."
When we get back to the apartment we clear up the misunderstanding Yvette and the others had about me and Charlotte. I decided not to tell the rest about my conversation with Crispin. Johnny would just tell me he doesn't care and Mary would decide to fight and protect people from danger.
The rest of the day goes on and Romulus' group stays the night. He stays up late making battle plans.
"You know they'll see that coming." I tell him, dressed up in my pyjama's with little kittens on them. Just so everyone knows, I love kittens. "You're hitting all the major points but spreading yourself too thin. By the end you'll all be too exhausted to fight."
"What would you suggest?" He asks me without any hint of annoyance, only honest willingness to learn.
"For one thing you've left me out of the equation. That's the difference between victory and death."
"Aren't you confident."
"You should be too. With me at your side, you're invincible."
"Then should I take this as you officially joining the team?"
"No way in hell." I turn him down instantly and with no reservation. "This is just a temporary alliance since it'll be easier to take out our common enemy together. Once Crispin is gone I'll go back to my regular life."
"That's cool." Romulus holds up his hand. "Then to our alliance."
"Right." I shake his hand and the final battle is set.
Back in Charlotte's room she shoots straight up in bed. "Aw crap! I forgot to buy the present!"
El Dorado: "In the next chapter! Blood reaches its boiling point as the final stage comes into play and the combined forces of justice meet the jaws of evil! Can victory prevail!? Will evil triumph!?"
Romulus: "Basically, what he's saying is that the final battle starts in the next chapter, Red X Oscura. Team Arkham Advance, Beware my Superior Mind."
Alex: "Why are you guys doing Preview Time?"