|The One Eyed Man: King of the Blind
Author: The Integral of Awesome PM
"I don't want to fight; I just want to talk. After all, a cat may look upon a king." Richie's only question was whether he was the cat or the king.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Richie/Gear & Virgil/Static - Chapters: 13 - Words: 18,405 - Reviews: 53 - Favs: 18 - Follows: 19 - Updated: 10-28-12 - Published: 05-27-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7027378
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
First things first, Richie wiggled around until he could reach the paper clips in his back pocket, which were not waiting in the wings in case any papers needed emergency clipping as Virgil had so rudely mocked. After his third kidnapping, Richie had decided to take up lock picking as a hobby because being the damsel in distress was great and all, but the shackles were starting to chaff. He smirked as he thought of how Virgil always chastised him for being too paranoid.
Hey, Virgil, he thought to himself, wishing his friend was present to be properly mocked, does it count as paranoid if my conspiracy theories are right.
He worked as swiftly as he could, no doubt in his mind that they were watching his every breath, but if he had these weirdos figured out right (and, honestly, when did Richie ever have anything figured out wrong?) then he was playing right into their hands. They had said they were going to test him.
Once his hands were free, Richie went to work on his ankles because, truthfully, the shackles were starting to chaff, and he wanted to be able to make a quick sprint for freedom if the opportunity would be so polite as to present itself. Richie had the beginnings of a plan cultivating in the back of his mind, but he needed to buy himself a little time and distraction. Good news was: Richie had been practicing procrastinating all his life.
Grabbing the paper off the little desk in front of him and waving it around a little for good measure, Richie called out, in the most obnoxious voice he could manage (which was very, very obnoxious), "What do you want me to do? Write you an essay on what I've learned from this whole experience?"
Richie huffed a little, feeling neglected. How dare they ignore his supreme wit! "What? Did your ears get damaged when they clawed out your eyes?"
That didn't go completely unnoticed. Richie saw (or, at least, was 64% sure he saw) a flash of light just to his right.
And then, in a move that Richie thought was the best burn since Brutus stabbed Julius Caesar in the front, Richie snatched up the pencil they'd so graciously provided for him and scribbled two simple words. Deftly folding down and back the sides in a way he'd done a thousand times before, he crafted a small, aerodynamically-fit paper airplane, and he sent his creation flying off, soaring toward that flash Richie was almost 58% sure he'd seen.
Virgil had once challenged him to a paper airplane making competition. Of course, he won. After all, what are mega-brains good for if you can't trounce your friends in a friendly/vicious contest ever now and then? Thus, with that shining glory under his belt, Richie was sure the paper would reach the target he was 47% sure was there.
Practically weightless in the air, the small projectile approached the wall at a rapid pace, and Richie held his breath in anticipation. Just before the plane would have smashed against the side of the room, a small panel slid open in the wall, allowing the note to seamlessly pass through.
Unable to smother the smirk that tugged at his lips, Richie muttered, "Yeah, read that, you eye-less freaks," and somehow, though he'd spoken barely above a whisper, Richie was sure they heard him.
Backpack, Virgil had decided, was not in fact a robot but was actually a dog disguised as a robot.
"Where, exactly, are we headed?"
Once again, Virgil didn't really expect a response, but it made him feel better to speak aloud. It made him feel like he was doing something, and following Backpack aimlessly around like it was Scooby-doo and he was one of the Mystery Gang definitely did not. Virgil was this close to just giving up on the wild goose chase and leaving Backpack to its own devices. After all, the thing could take care of itself, and he needed to find Richie. The sun was already starting to go down, and he knew Richie's dad was expecting him tonight.
Richie'd broken curfew one too many times a few weeks ago, and his dad had been coming down pretty hard. Not that Mr. Foley ever really came down easy. Richie swore his dad was trying to change, but when something runs so deep, change is slow and hard to come by. The reforming racists wasn't too keen on Richie staying out all hours of the night with his "hood" friends.
"This actually is progress, you see," Richie would say, "because before my 'hood' friends were just my black friends, but now my 'hood' friends are all my friends. At least he's being equally hateful."
Suddenly, Backpack's little red sensor perked up, and Virgil viciously fought the urge to say, "Is Richie trapped in the well?" and instead asked, "What is it?"
Backpack once again neglected to respond to Virgil's question, which Virgil supposed had something to do with its lack of vocal chords, and hung a sharp right, picking up pace rapidly. For about three seconds Virgil weighed his options but ultimately yielded that Backpack probably had a lead on Richie and this probably wouldn't be another waste of his time and, if he didn't decide soon, he was definitely going to lose the little creature, so he took off flying after it.
Now Virgil could see why Richie had insisted on attaching those miniature rockets to Backpack, though even the boy genius couldn't have possibly seen this one coming. Except, Richie probably had seen this coming (or something remarkably similar).
Once upon a time, Virgil and Richie hadn't worried about things like emergency-evasive procedures and if-something-happens-to-me protocol. Even after Virgil became Static, all those nasty what-ifs seemed far off in the distance, but as they grew older (and due largely in part to Richie's Big-Bang-Brain explosion of paranoia) the lurking beast of plots and possibilities had gained importance in their eyes.
Richie'd become obsessed with fail-safes and Plan B's, toiling away for hours on alarm systems that would only kick in if every other alarm system failed, and Virgil was more and more hesitant to hand out his trust. Enemies, they were learning, are everywhere, and you can't fight them if you refuse to see that. Seeing just that was one of the things that made Virgil wonder if being superheroes was changing them too much.
But that wasn't totally true. While Virgil had always been easily trusting and unsuspecting, Richie had been prone to over-dramatic, panic-attack-verging reactions, even before all the business with the Bang and the gas, he just hadn't had the motivation and resources to call his psychosis-inspired ideas to life. After all, the two of them had been planning for alien abductions and evil robot world takeovers since they were kids.
Virgil may have mused the rest of the day away on such concerns if Backpack's incessant beeping's hadn't dragged him back into the present, and this time, Virgil couldn't hold back his, "What is it, boy?"
If it was possible, Backpack looked displeased at the joke, but the moment of semi-emotion quickly passed (leaving Virgil with a creeping sensation in his gut and hoping to never spend this much alone time with Backpack again), and Backpack was back full-throttle to beeping and buzzing at Virgil. It popped open a compartment on its back, and Virgil glanced cautiously inside.
"Is that-" he began, feeling excitement start to tingle in his toes as the first real rays of hope that they'd actually be able to find Richie began to shine. "Backpack, I could kiss you."
Backpack's little red eye sensor flash at him, and Virgil could swear the thing was rolling its eye, but he couldn't be bothered to pay any attention to the sinking feeling he got when Backpack displayed any too-human emotion because displayed inside Backpack's compartment was a map with a little red flashing "R" and a little green flashing "V".
"I'll worry later when exactly Richie started tracking my every move," Virgil muttered to himself as Backpack dropped down to clutch onto his board, and the two of them took off in the direction of the flashing "R".