Duke Crocker. Nathan Wuornos
307: Magic Hour (1)
Based on your idea about Pyro being unable to lift Haven. It was supposed to be funny, but this is Legacy Virus Pyro, so it got a little angsty.
It was, according to Dominic, a quick-and-easy, in-and-out job. Some fabulously wealthy Indian bird was holed up in one of New York’s luxury hotels, and they were going to ransom her for her family’s considerable wealth. And if the job went south, they’d just snatch up whatever cash and valuables she had in her room – he’d seen her in the papers, her earrings alone were probably worth thousands – and run off. Quick-and-easy was about all St. John could handle these days, but he had still angrily shrugged off Dominic’s “You sure you’re up to this?” because fuck, he wasn’t an invalid yet, was he? So he had lied, grinning with gritted teeth, and claimed that he was just dandy, that today was one of the “good” days.
Of course, there had been complications. Complications in the form of a hulking, muscular brute that claimed to be the rich chick’s brother. And he had powers. At least there were no bloody X-Men in sight. Yet.
“Go up the stairs, Johnny, I’ll handle this,” Avalanche ordered, as they both picked themselves up off the hotel lobby floor. The big guy had knocked them off their feet with a gust of wind, and now a storm was lashing the plate glass windows with rain and hail. It had been a clear sunny day just moments ago.
“You okay on your own?” St. John didn’t want to leave Dominic fighting solo with a guy who appeared to be a male Storm, and he really didn’t want to be ushered away from the “rough stuff,” like some kind of delicate child that needed protection. He tried to ignore the burning in his lungs.
“I got it, man, just finish the job!” Dominic shoved him towards the stairs while sending a seismic wave rippling across the lobby floor, knocking the big guy off his feet.
“Right.” Pyro sprinted up the stairs, letting adrenaline do the work, hoping he could make it to the luxury penthouse suite before he had a chance to feel how very tired he was. He needed to get this done, because it was for Dominic. Or rather, it was for Dominic’s ex-wife, who apparently needed a pot of money for heart surgery. St. John wasn’t entirely sure why Dominic was so hell-bent on helping a woman who had broken his heart, but if it was so important, St. John would have his back. Dominic had stuck his neck out trying to help him find a cure in the Savage Land, and St. John wasn’t going to die owing anyone favors.
There were guards at the door, of course, but a quick blast of flame made them drop their super-heated guns, and then a red bull made of fire chased them down the hall. There had been a red bull in some book he’d read years ago, but damned if he could remember the title now. He grinned as the guards bolted through the emergency exit. He still “had it,” even if using his powers now sent sharp, stabbing pains though his head. The lock on the door quickly melted, and he kicked it open.
The woman did not look surprised. Perhaps her brother had already informed her of the danger. She sat upright on a chaise lounge, with her flowing robes and impossibly long hair pooled around her, hands folded in her lap.
“Did you kill the guards? I hope you didn’t. They are good men, with families.”
“Nah, they…..ran like rabbits….guess you….guess you didn’t pay them enough…..” The run upstairs was catching up with him now, and he couldn’t help gasping for breath.
“I don’t want them to die for me,” said the woman. She hadn’t moved from her position on the couch, one of several scattered around the lavish suite. It was bigger than most apartments St. John had seen, and filled with fine furniture, and what appeared to be Indian artwork, similar to what he’d seen a lifetime ago as a travel writer. Radha Dastoor, the woman who called herself “Haven,” was supposedly some kind of charitable humanitarian, but of course she surrounded herself with luxury, like every other rich fuck Pyro had ever known. Certainly none of them were willing to wear the sackcloth and ashes, in his experience.
“Well, that’s good then. No one needs to die, love. We’ll make this nice and easy, and you won’t even get a scratch on that pretty face of yours.” She was stunningly beautiful, although there was something odd about her eyes, almost unnaturally calm.
“Is this about my message? Or do you simply want money?”
“The latter.” Perhaps in the Brotherhood days it would have been about her message – she was spreading some kind of New Age bullshit about humans and mutants living in harmony. Magneto probably would have wanted her eliminated – or maybe not. He could never keep track of the “Great Leader’s” ideology, and these days it was much harder to keep things straight in his head.
He grinned at her, and sent a jet of fire sweeping around the room. It hovered around the walls, but didn’t actually touch or burn anything. It would be a shame to destroy this swanky stuff, and this was just an intimidation tactic to get her up and out of the room faster. To his surprise, she remained seated, staring at him without a hint of fear.
“Look, darling, we’re not interested in hurting you, okay? It’s very simple. You’ve got money, and we need some. With the fortune you’ve got, you won’t even miss it. Now you just come with me, your lawyers will fork over some cash, and you can enjoy the rest of your day.”
“I’m afraid I can’t do that. I’ve got a speech to give this evening. And I’m not going to let myself be kidnapped. It won’t end well for any of us. Please put the fire out. People will get hurt if it spreads.”
“You seem to be confused, love. You don’t get a choice in this.” Pyro strode across the room, somewhere between amused and annoyed. These rich types always thought the universe would somehow bend to their will, even if there was someone literally pointing a weapon at their faces. He grabbed her wrist and attempted to pull her to her feet. She yanked her hand back, stronger than he expected.
“C’mon now, don’t struggle. That’s how people get hurt. I’m tryin’ to be gentle about this.” Haven was looking up at him, eyebrows pursed together in what appeared to be concern.
“You’re very thin,” she said.
“Yeah, no shit, love. I’ve always been a beanpole.” He gritted his teeth, blinking away sweat that dripped down into his eyes. The flame wall was lopsided and ragged at the edges, nowhere near his usual precision, and he wasn’t sure how long he could maintain it with the pounding in his head. He leaned in, and she shrank away, probably getting entirely the wrong idea as he wrapped his arms around her, taking care not to put his hands anywhere inappropriate. Pyro was known as a terrorist, thief, murderer and all-around criminal, but he wasn’t known as a rapist, and he didn’t want that on his reputation. He tried to lift her from the couch, while she pushed against him and kicked.
“C’mon, don’t….” He gasped, his breath starting to catch in his throat as burning pain shot through his chest. “Don’t make this…..I won’t hurt you, just…..just give me a bloody break, love!” Why was she so unnaturally heavy? And so freakishly tall? Or had his arms really gotten that weak? His grip slipped as she shoved him backwards, and he staggered, unable to stop the coughing fit that tore out of him. He dropped to his knees, shoulders shaking. For fucks sake, could he not hold it together long enough to pull off one easy job for Dominic?
Suddenly, he felt a strong pair of arms wrap around his chest from behind. Before he could struggle, he was being lifted up onto the couch, leaning back against the cushion as he wheezed. The flame wall, which had mostly been maintained by his own concentration, had largely evaporated, and he waved a hand to extinguish the remnants that had fallen to the floor. This didn’t need to get any more out of control than it already was.
“You are extremely ill.” Haven was now hovering over him, putting her hands on his cheeks and turning his head to peer into his eyes. The mask hid the worst of the lesions, but he couldn’t really hide how sharp his cheekbones had become, jutting out of a gaunt face. “You should be in a hospital. I will arrange for –“
“No, no hospital!” Pyro snarled, although it came out as more of a croak. Once he went into a hospital, he was never coming out. They’d jam him full of tubes and keep him breathing long after he devolved into an incoherent, drooling, shitting sack of flesh. And that was the best case scenario – if they recognized him and called the authorities, he’d breathe his last strapped down in a SHIELD holding cell. He was going to die anyway, at least at his apartment he had booze and porn and some god-damned privacy. And he had everything he needed to end things on his own terms, when it came to that.
“They can’t help me,” he continued. “It’s…..” He couldn’t quite bring himself to say the word “terminal,” even though it hung in his mind like a black flag. “There’s no cure.”
“I’m sorry,” said Haven, and the look of compassion on her face seemed to indicate that she actually meant it. Usually people didn’t. “I’m sorry” was usually such bullshit, better translated to, “Better you than me, mate.”
“Perhaps I could…..” Haven stopped and trailed off, her head cocked to one side, as if listening to something Pyro could not hear. “No? No, it seems it is not the right time. I’m sorry. I don’t always understand the workings of the divine, but I most obey.” She reached out and clutched his hand in hers.
Pyro shrugged as his breathing gradually came back under control, although it was still a painful wheeze. Today had really not been one of the “good” days. And obviously this woman was crazy. A lot of rich types were, especially if they got religion. But at least she appeared to be genuinely nice. He felt oddly comforted sitting on the couch, holding her hand, even though either the police or some do-gooder X-Team was probably on their way.
“Are you for real? Most people aren’t this nice during a robbery.”
“I try to see the world with compassion. I want to ease suffering, and you are suffering. Is that why you need money? For treatment?”
“Not treatment for me. There’s no treatment for me. A friend needs help. He’s down there with your brother, probably getting’ his bell rung.”
“Monsoon can be very….overenthusiastic, but he only wants to protect me. I will contact him, and perhaps we can work this out peacefully.”
Dominic, with his face pressed against the shattered rubble of the hotel lobby, and a 200 lb man sitting on his back, reflected that this job had been a complete shit-show. All the rich socialite “humanitarians” in New York city, and he had tried to rob and kidnap the woman with a mutant for a brother. Above him, Monsoon shifted his weight, and Avalanche winced at the pressure on his ribs. Maybe it was closer to 300 lbs? Worse, he had dragged Johnny out into this, and the man was in no condition to be running around, no matter how many times he said he was “fine.” He seemed to be running on pure, stubborn pride these days.
“Look, fella, my partner is up there with your sister, so unless you want him to torch her, you’d better let me up,” he tried. He could, of course, shake the entire building off its foundations. And that would kill everyone inside, including him, Johnny, and the spoiled rich bitch they were here to rob. Monsoon stared down at him, contemptuous and silent. Then his phone chirped.
“Yes? Are you okay? Understood.” He snapped the phone closed, and hauled Avalanche up to his feet, with one arm twisted around his back.
“It’s over,” Monsoon said simply. “She wants to talk to you.” And he began to drag Avalanche over to the elevator.
“Wait, what’s over? What happened? Is Pyro….” He trailed off. Haven had a team of bodyguards with her, and they had probably been posted at her room. Bodyguards with guns, and Johnny was off his game these days. Dominic would never be able to forgive himself if he’d gotten his best friend killed, even if it was the kind of death he might prefer over slowly wasting away. Monsoon was frustratingly silent as the elevator took them up.
“Look, this is on
me, okay? This was my job, I pushed him
into it. You can have me, but let Pyro
go, okay?” The only thing worse than
Johnny getting gunned down while doing him a favor would be Johnny dying in
jail. Dominic was ready to do anything
to keep that from happening. But he was
met with only silence while being dragged down the hallway towards the room. There were scorch marks on the carpet, but no
blood, which made him sigh with relief. He
wasn’t entirely sure what he expected to see when he was pushed through the
doorway into Radha Dastoor’s suite, but he still stopped short in surprise.
Pyro was sitting on the sofa next to the woman who called herself Haven, both looking up as Avalanche came through the door. Pyro had a blanket draped around his shoulders, and was clutching a steaming mug of something that smelled like spice. He looked vaguely guilty behind his mask, while her face was a perfect picture of calm.
“What….what the hell, man?” Avalanche spluttered.
“I’m sorry, Dom,” Pyro shrugged, using one hand to gesture helplessly at Haven. “She’s just…too nice. I can’t do it, mate. She’s too nice.”
“Too nice? Are you kidding me?!” Monsoon let a heavy hand fall upon his
shoulders, forcing Dominic to his knees while Haven glided over to him. And as she knelt and began to coo over the
bruises that her brother had left on his face, he realized exactly what Pyro
Notes: Haven is probably going to write a check for Dominic’s wife’s treatment, and then let them go. I realized I needed a reason why Haven wouldn’t attempt to heal Pyro like she tried with Jamie, so I’m thinking the Adversary told her “No,” because it didn’t want her to fail (and possibly destroy the faith she had in her cause).
audrey and duke testing nathan’s coffee to make sure it isn’t too hot genuinely slays me every time
It’s just full of revisits this month, ain’t it? Befitting since it’s the new year xD
Anyways, here’s a revisit to one of my old drawings (holy hell, that’s back in 2018!). This time (and essentially the few pieces before this), I was less strict to myself about following the rules and just went with the flow, which makes things much easier for me :D
Y'all better bet I’m gonna take as much chance and time to say it as I need when it comes to Crocker business.
There’s no need to have Duke put through so much shit. Nowhere near the amount he went through. Sure fine, make life a challenge to conquer, but you C A N N O T make it unconquerable. It has to have payoff in the end that he’s definitely earned. Haven is supposed to be a fucking love story.
Omnia Vincit Amor
That’s literally engraved in the silver box that belongs to his family. But somehow he loses too many loved ones. More than anyone else did/does. How the fuck is that fair? This man has done more than anyone else to keep Haven safe, to keep the people safe. Then shit goes south every time he tries to do something good.
Man might not be perfect, like he could have handled everything with Wade better, but good gods he did so much right. He’s the only one I can put all my faith into other than fucking Dwight.
307: Magic Hour (1)
Yooo these are my characters, Renna on the left and Haven on the right. Will I ever have a nice drawing of them that’s completed? Who knows. Def not me.
Here, have a few shots from last night’s game session, where I learnt how to play with the Flycam for the first time, while Kita explored Haven and got to know her new allies…
“Pardon me luv, could you please lend me some of that soap? I’d like to cleanse my eyeballs and brain thoroughly of the filth that I had just witnessed.”
307: Magic Hour (1)
Duke Crocker. Nathan Wuornos