|Out of the Darkness
Author: Flipper Boid Skua PM
One-Shot. The Lizard and Vermin fight over who gets to call the sewers of New York home. Only one will walk away. Also guest-starring my best friend's OC hero: The Scaled Maiden! Please R&R!Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Tragedy - Curt C./Lizard - Words: 6,371 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Published: 06-07-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8193310
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I don't own Spider-Man or any of its characters.
Another Spider-Man fanfic, inspired by some pictures I drew for deviantART. My best buddy's OC will also be making an appearance in this One-Shot, so credit to her for that. Without further ado, enjoy the story! :)
sssweetsssweet dreams. alwaysss good, alwaysss safe. . . . Vermin thought in his sleep, completely relaxed in a corner of his sewer home, leaning against the wall. Around him were several rats, his friends and only true companions. He was their leader; he fed and protected them and in return, they followed his every whim. Sure, there were occasions when Vermin's temper would make him kill a rat or two by accident, but that didn't hamper the group's overall trust in him. Their bonds were just that powerful.
Cooing softly as he continued his contented dreams, he still kept his senses alert. He couldn't afford any humans finding him, hurting him. His hearing and smell was enhanced greatly from the average person and he certainly knew how to take advantage of that fact. But everything was calm: drops of water dripped from the pipes above; the usual squeaks and chirps from his rodent companions rang through the air; the faint shuffling sound above signaling whenever someone passed by on the surface. Several of the younger rats climbed up onto his chest, grooming the fur on his hand and chin.
Opening his eyes slightly before closing them again, Vermin wasn't too eager to wake completely. Stroking his pets softly, he gave a yawn, flashing his pointed teeth and sending a shudder down his body. Wanting to re-enter his dream, he allowed his thoughts to wander as he began dozing off into a deeper state of rest once again.
hungry. alwaysss hungry. but i'll eat later; ssstill too bright up. up not good when it'sss bright. He remembered the few times he did go out to the surface during the day. It was never pleasant; there was nowhere to hide and everyone could see him, hurt him. A whimper went through his throat and it only got worse when he heard exceptionally loud and clear footsteps from above. No, not from above.
Jolting awake, he sat up so quickly, it threw the rats off of him. Each rodent flew through the air before nimbly landing on its feet, their senses sharp for the source of their leader's sudden distress. Vermin sat completely still, focusing entirely on locating those footsteps. They were from another tunnel, somewhere off to his left. Shifting onto a crouch, the humanoid rat sniffed towards that direction, unable to pick up the expected smell of human. The footsteps stopped.
Cautiously, he took slow strides towards where the sound was coming from, torn between his curiosity and fear. He could hear the soft patter of feet as his friends followed him, but he ignored them as he peeked around the corner. Nothing. Stepping out and continuing further, he felt his fur bristling and he knew something wasn't right.
"Ssspider-man?" he called out shakily. "Captain Flag?" No, it was Captain America; he constantly had to remind himself. But regardless, he had gotten no response whatsoever. This got him even more on edge. He didn't like surprise attacks; he didn't like pain. pleassse don't hitandhurt.
Sniffing the air some more as he got into another large part of the sewers, he picked up an unfamiliar smell. No, wait, he smelled it once before. But from where, he couldn't quite recall. He heard a low growl vibrate through the chamber and he tensed up considerably, instinctively growling back as he looked about. The intruder wasn't human, that he was sure of. Not a small mammal; otherwise, he would've sensed it in his mind. But-
Before he could even begin to finish that last thought, something large crashed into him from above and a horrible pain pierced the nape of his neck. Giving a loud squeal, Vermin pulled away immediately, feeling his skin and fur rip from the action. But no sooner than he pulled away that his attacker struck him back and his rats scattered as he fell amongst them.
Recovering quickly, he looked up with wide eyes full of fear, taking his first look at the intruder. It was a large reptile, wearing human clothes. The Lizard, he recognized. The beast was glaring right back at him, blood –his blood- dripping from its maw. Rolling to his feet, Vermin was ready for his opponent's next move as he couldn't help but recall something that would turn his fear around.
"I know you. You were hurt and I wasss going to eateateat you up!" He hissed at the reptile, that memory boosting his confidence. Now ignoring his pain and disregarding his terror, he snarled and lunged for his prey. The Lizard wasn't at all fazed by this and merely braced himself for the impact, relying on his heavy scales to cushion the blow.
Colliding into the reptile, it felt like slamming into a brick wall, but that did little to deter Vermin as his claws began raking at the Lizard. Snarling and shrieking, the two villains rolled about the floor, tearing at each other before the Lizard threw Vermin off and slammed him with his tail. The humanoid rat crashed into the wall before collapsing into the dirtied water of the sewer. The pool was shallow and he stood up, narrowing his eyes as he glared at his enemy.
Other than a few tears in his clothing, the Lizard didn't seem that injured at all, despite the viciousness of that brief confrontation. As he had predicted, his hide protected him from his foe's attacks, and it seems Vermin didn't have that same protection, as the water around the mutant rat began to stain red with blood. Vermin seemed to understand this too and he felt the spike of fear re-emerging from within him.
he can hitandhurt me, but i can't hitandhurt him. not like last time. Came the uneasy thoughts as he evaluated the situation as best he could. Growling, he decided that he'll have to bluff his way out of this mess. "Get out! Get out or- or I'll call my friends!" He warned, trying to keep his voice from squeaking. But things didn't go as he hoped as the Lizard snorted.
"This is my nessst, mammal. If anyone'sss going to leave, whether it be the sssewers or the mortal coil, it'll have to be you!" He snarled, tail swishing in agitation. He had reclaimed his body from the mammal Connors just the other night, and had spent that night beginning to re-establish his territory, only to discover the unwanted scent of mammal. He was tracking Vermin when he heard him coming and leapt up onto the ceiling to set up an ambush. He knew he was getting the upper-hand and he could see right through this pathetic creature's futile attempts at intimidation.
"Your nest?" Vermin exclaimed in both surprise and territorial protectiveness. "This is Vermin'sss home; my home! Mine!" His voice was starting to become high-pitched in rage and what seemed like desperation. "GET OUT!"
Lunging with a shriek, he was aiming for the throat when the Lizard countered with a hard whip of his tail. Grunting as he hit the hard, unforgiving floor, Vermin barely had time to recover when the Lizard pounced onto him. The scaly assailant wasted no time burying his claws and teeth into flesh. Crying out, Vermin thrashed about relentlessly. The pain was adding to his fear, which in turn fueled his rage. Managing to clamp his own teeth into the Lizard's arm, he tried to gnaw his way past the scales, putting all his strength into the bites. It didn't seem to do too much good, but he did feel a few teeth puncture through and draw a bit of blood.
That effort and brief elation at this small accomplishment was short lived as the Lizard retaliated with a brutal swipe at Vermin's face. Yelping, he let go and whimpered, unable to take much more of this pain. Why can't everyone just leave him alone, leave him in peace in the nice, warm sewers? Why must they hurt him so relentlessly? Doing his best to show submission, he stayed down and curled up, hoping the agony would stop.
The Lizard did pause for a brief moment, glaring down at the cowering mammal. He knew Vermin was giving up, and it added to his already strong sense of superiority. This is where all warm-bloods belong, at his feet in fear or in death. He preferred the latter. . . .
Vermin screeched in even more terror and pain as the Lizard clamped his jaws into him again. Struggling instantaneously, he could feel his heart pounding in his chest, his head swimming in panicked thoughts as the true extent of the situation made itself known.
he's going to kill me! KILL me! i can't die! ican'tican'tiCAN'T! His mind screamed at him. "NOOOOOOOO!" He screamed back in response, simultaneously giving out both a mental and hypersonic cry for help, hoping desperately for his friends to reach him in time. Fortunately, his colony was never far behind and they hurried to their leader's rescue as soon as they received the distressed callings. Dozens upon dozens of rats swarmed into the room and pounced onto the Lizard.
Taken by surprise, the reptile diverted his attention from his prey to identify his attackers. Seeing they were nothing more than lowly rats, he began to shake and throw them off in annoyance as Vermin tried to slink off deeper into the tunnels to hide and nurse his wounds. But that retreat wasn't about to be allowed so easily as the Lizard caught sight of him and lunged, now completely ignoring the rodents trying to bite through his skin. Luckily, Vermin saw the attack from the corner of his eyes and his body automatically threw itself out of the way.
Like a cornered animal, which he might as well be at the moment, Vermin launched himself at the reptile, the force throwing them into the water. The loud splash and ripples began to settle along with bubbles before the two combatants exploded from the surface, Vermin leaping up onto the Lizard and forcing them both back down into the water. Once again, the water began calming when yet another explosion arose on the surface; this time with Vermin clinging on the Lizard's back, trying to bite into his neck. But it wasn't as successful as he would've liked when the reptile's powerful tail wrapped around his neck, strangling him. Clawing at it, he was forced off the Lizard and slammed mercilessly into the wall, the impact spreading a web of cracks along its surface.
Dazed, Vermin barely comprehended as he was thrown from the wall back onto dry land. Whimpering, he forced himself to stand, finding himself unable to move his right arm. And the pain, there was so much of it, he could hardly think straight. He had to get out, while he was still able to! He took off as fast as he could, hearing the Lizard immediately pursue him. Not wanting to get caught again, he gave his friends a strict mental order and the rodents immediately launched themselves at the Lizard's face, trying to reach his eyes.
The reptile screeched in anger, grabbing the rodents and relentlessly tearing them apart for their interference. But by the time he slaughtered the last one cling to him and chased off the rest, Vermin was gone. Hissing as his glaring red eyes swept the now quiet tunnel, he began following the mammal's scent, making sure that the over-grown rat was gone from the sewers completely.
he's chasssing me! he's gonna catch me! gotta runrunrun! Vermin thought as he hurried down a pre-determined direction, several of his rats following him every step of the way. His home wasn't safe anymore and he knew he had to get out. But the outside world was terrifying; where will he go? He'll have to figure that out at a later time; right now, he could only focus on one thing: escape. The closest exit was a large, cavern-like pipe pouring water outside and he made little hesitation in making his way towards it.
Bright light blinded him as he found his destination and he instinctively wanted to draw away from it. Fighting his instincts and fear, he dashed to the very edge of the pipe, water flowing against his legs. Looking about, he saw a deep channel of water below him and dry land about 30 feet away. Whimpering once again, he glanced behind himself, paranoid of a pursuit before weighing his options. He was a strong swimmer, but with an unmoving arm, he wasn't too confident in that course of action, especially since he'll have to climb up the other side. He'll have to jump.
Crouching, he stared at the land ahead, measuring the distance carefully. He should just be able to make it. . . maybe. If he slipped, he'll only have one hand to pull himself back up. i can make it. i can! i. . . i can't.
A low hissing came from behind him and Vermin yelped, wasting no time worrying of the risks and he jumped across. Luckily, he more than made it, but he landed awkwardly. Tumbling over, he whined as his ankle flared out another pain signal. Probably sprained, maybe even broken! Glancing at the tunnel he launched from, he saw the Lizard glaring at him. In a split-second of panic, he thought the reptile would jump for him and finish him off. But, to his immense relief, the Lizard merely gave one more warning growl before turning and heading back into the sewers, vanishing in the darkness.
The darkness that was no longer safe, no longer his. . . .
Noon-time exactly and today was a surprisingly quiet follow-up for such a busy night. The Scaled Maiden was perched atop an apartment, looking down as the various New York humans carried out their daily routines. Normally, this would be the job of Spider-Man, but said hero was out of town for an extended period of time. Worried, he had contacted various other heroes to take his place while he was gone and Maiden was the only one with enough free-time to accept the job.
She wasn't too much of a well-known hero, but she never did went after the lime light. Not too much was known of her history, even amongst her fellow supers. They only knew that she was a reptilian alien that somehow came to Earth, seemingly stranded here and making the best of her situation by helping the Earthly natives.
Her chocolate colored scales and black neck feathers gleamed in the light as she stood up and decided to go on an active patrol. This peace just didn't feel right. Just last night, she had to face the Green Goblin, Venom, The Lizard, and the Hobgoblin one right after the other! Add a brief encounter with a newly resurrected Demogoblin, and it would even make Spider-Man collapse in exhaustion. Maiden was not far from that at all. Maybe her suspicions were simple paranoia; maybe she should take the advantage to rest. Eh, a few more patrols won't hurt. After all, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Moving onwards to the outer reaches of the city, she was about to slowly spiral her way back towards the center when she spotted something strange lingering just outside one of the sewer exits. Narrowing her eyes a bit, she tried to get a closer look. Whatever it was was furry and . . . bloodied? Probably a large injured dog; she should probably take it to the vet, as her protection extended to animals as well as humans. Jumping from her current perch to the ground, she slowly made her way to the poor dog, calling out gently.
"Hey, little guy. Are you alright there, buddy?"
As the creature snapped its gaze towards her, she knew instantly that this was no dog. It seemed to be a human of some kind, with brown fur and red eyes. She recently read the list Spidey left her of villains she might be facing and she mentally went through the list until she found a match. Vermin; a cannibalistic human rat that occasionally showed his face in the New York sewers. Strange, she recalled reading that this former human feared the outside world, especially in the daylight. What was he doing out here? And how did he get in such a horrible condition?
Vermin saw Maiden approaching him and he growled as viciously as he could muster. He never seen her before and he knew that she wasn't one of those silly humans, despite her black and pink blouse and skirt. She looked almost like the Lizard, and so no good can come of her being here. He was in no mood to fight, but he was prepared to defend himself if necessary. But it seems his threats weren't working as she was still coming closer and he yelled out, voice heavy in fear.
"Go away! I WILL send my little friendsss on you!"
Maiden paused for a moment, evaluating the situation. Spidey had written that this was a dangerous creature capable of controlling rats and dogs. He also unwittingly lets out a psychic taint that can bring out the worse in people. But Spidey also emphasized that the mutant was a fearful creature, with the mind-set almost like that of a child. She didn't want a confrontation, but she can't just leave him here.
"Shhh, it's okay." She reassured as she took a few steps closer, but it fell into deaf ears as Vermin once more cried out, much more desperately.
"You're NOT going to hitandhurt me! No more hurtandhitandhurtandHURT!" He screeched, standing to run but fell back down when his injured ankle and body refused to cooperate. The five rats accompanying him began to get agitated, baring their teeth at Maiden and ready to attack when their leader gave the order.
Maiden paused again, feeling a wave of sympathy at this poor critter's predicament. Putting on her most gentle face, she slowly sat herself down as she spoke in a tone one would make to a frightened child. "I'm not going to hurt you. I promise."
"E-Everyone hurtsss me," Vermin muttered, calming down a bit when Maiden sat down a good distance from him. "Even when they sssay they won't, they ssstill hurt me."
"Well, I'm not like everyone else." Maiden told him, slowly inching her way closer, trying to keep the movement inconspicuous so as not to frighten him anymore. "When I make a promise, I keep it. I won't hurt you and I won't let anyone else hurt you. Doesn't that sound good?"
There was a moment of silence as Vermin stared at her with worried, yet suspicious, eyes. She resembled the Lizard too closely, but. . . but she did seem nice. . . He nodded softly as the rats around him calmed down, feeling their leader's uneasiness subside just a bit.
Maiden smiled as she scooted just a bit closer. "Why don't you tell me what happened? How'd you get all cut up?"
"A-a monssster," Vermin squeaked to her, curling up in an upright fetal position and nudging his un-moving arm onto his lap with a whimper. "Ssscaly like you. He hurt me and took my home, took my nice sssafe darknessss. . . ."
The Lizard, Maiden thought to herself. Just last night, she confronted him about slaughtering several humans and although the two reptiles eventually reached a sort of understanding, they couldn't exactly be called friends quite yet. But Maiden was intending to befriend the Lizard and talk him out of his rather ambitious goal of killing off mammals and taking their place. But at the time, she was unaware that anyone else was living in the sewers and if she could've stopped Liz and Vermin from fighting in the first place, she would have.
But she can't change what has already happened and she focused on the most important thing. "Why don't we take a little trip to the doctors, get those nasty wounds looked at?" She suggested, noticing how swollen his left ankle was getting and how limp his right arm was. But her suggestion brought a fervent shake of his head.
"No! No more doctorsss! They wanna kill Vermin! Poke me with needlesss and make me sssleep! No!" A snarl was rising from his throat and Maiden quickly raised her hands up protectively, wanting to calm him before he snapped.
"Okay, okay. No doctors. But you still need to get looked at. I don't know too much in the medical field, but I can try to help, if you want."
The snarls slowly died down and Vermin's face returned to its meek and uncertain look. He looked down at his body before beginning to lick his wounds gently. Maiden wasn't too sure what to do, seeing how Vermin didn't reply, but she did move even closer and before either of them knew it, she was just a couple of feet from him.
Noticing this, Vermin stopped his nursing and tensed up, whimpering as she began to reach out slowly. Maiden was muttering gentle words as she did so, trying to soothe him. The large mutant flinched as she touched his injured shoulder, her claws softly petting his fur reassuringly.
"There we go. You're such a good boy, Vermin." Said 'good boy' flinched again when the reptilian alien examined his shoulder, whining as pain jolted through him. "Your shoulder's dislocated. We're gonna have to pop it back into place."
"It'll hurt. . . ." Vermin muttered softly.
"Yes, it will. But it'll get better."
Without waiting, so as not to stress him out, she forced the shoulder joint back into place, earning a cry from her 'patient' before he lashed out at her. It was only her swift instincts that allowed her to duck in time and throw herself a safe distance as he tried to strike at her again. Then there was stillness as Vermin's growls died down to whimpers as he nursed his shoulder, his rat companions grooming his fur in an attempt to make him feel better.
Maiden slowly inched close again, reaching out once more. But the moment she brushed his fur, he growled at her, not wanting contact with her at the moment. Wisely, she pulled her hand away before looking to the tunnel across the channel. She knew she should probably turn Vermin to the authorities, but on what grounds? He's not doing anything particularly illegal at the moment. Besides, if she does decide to take that route, she'll have to earn his trust.
"Listen, I think I can get your home back." She told him. Vermin looked at her in surprise before a hopeful look spread across his features.
"You can?" he asked, feeling his heart rise. "That would be niccce. . . ." He took a moment to think, the unpleasant image of the Lizard flashing in his mind and he became crestfallen, his body shuddering in his still-strong pain. "But-"
"Don't worry about the Lizard. I'll talk to him." Seeing his confused face, she explained. "We're on good terms, kinda. I'll talk to him and he'll listen. I'll convince him to let you come back home. After all, the sewers are plenty big enough for the both of you." Giving him the kindest smile she could manage, she stood up and turned to the sewer entrance. "Just stay here and don't eat anybody. I'll be back with good news."
Watching her leap easily across the water and into the tunnel, Vermin gave a soft purr as he looked down at his friends, muttering to himself softly. "Back in the darknessss. . . . Oh, that would be sssoooo niccce. . . ."
Chewing on the crunchy remains of a rat, the Lizard settled in a snug corner of his nest, curling up as he finished up his snack in another crushing snap of his jaws. He should probably get some rest; tonight would bring about another hunting trip for more . . . substantial mammalian prey. Plus, he needed to gather more supplies to fix his newest device, one that'll ensure his victory over the humans.
His mind inevitably wandered as he began relaxing completely. That mammal, that Vermin was only one of many victims to suffer his wrath. He contemplated whether to hunt down the mutant when night fell, finish him off and put him out of his misery. Eh, doesn't matter at the moment. That weakling creature was probably dead of his wounds by now. Such a thought brought a smirk on his snout and curled his tail tighter around himself as he began dozing.
There was a soft splashing sound of water before there was the sound of footsteps on the dry concrete. His eyes opened with a snarl before his mind woke enough to identify a familiar link. Maiden. Lifting his head, he watched as she emerged from the shadows of a tunnel into his nest and his tail flicked in irritation.
"I thought I told you I don't appreciate unexpected visitorsss," he told her sharply. "What do you want?"
"That's a great hello, Lizard. Keep up your amazing social skills." She joked a bit, trying to lighten the tension between them. It earned her a huff, but at least he wasn't snapping at her. She knew it was because she was a fellow reptile; if she had been a mammal, he would've lashed out at her mockery. "Anyway, Liz, I saw a certain someone on my way here. Does the name 'Vermin' ring a bell?"
At this, the Lizard snarled; he knew that no good warm-blood was still hanging around. But as for the conversation at hand. "He wasss intruding my nessst. I merely chased him off."
"That's the understatement of the year. He looks like he got into a fight to a giant lawn mower and lost." Maiden stated, but she could tell her Earthly counterpart wasn't caring as he laid his head back down to sleep. "Liz, the sewers under New York is at least 500 miles of tunnels. That's enough to share, ya know."
This earned another snarl as the Lizard knew immediately what she was here for. Standing up, he strode to her, glaring down at her in a dominating fashion. "I'm not allowing that fur-covered pest into my territory!"
"Oh, stop being so selfish!" Maiden growled back. "Besides, you can't possibly own every inch of these tunnels. Maybe he could live on the other side of the sewers; it's not like it'll matter!"
"It will matter. Even if I don't sssee that mammal'sss ugly face again, I will ssstill have the memory that I'm allowing him to reside here. In fact, he'sss lucky I let him live in the first place."
Maiden sighed in frustration. Why did the Lizard have to be so friggin' stubborn? Why can't he be like one of her race, reasonable and understanding? But, no; he had the primal traits of the Earthly reptiles. But she wasn't going to give up; Vermin's fate rested in her claws. "Come on, Liz. He's got nowhere else to go." She trailed off as the Lizard rudely turned away and walked back to his corner. Voice getting edgy with irritation, she nevertheless remained cool as she continued. "At least talk to him. Show me you can be a little civilized."
Silence as the Lizard glared back at her, hissing under his breath. "Fine. Bring that warm-blood here and I'll show you how civilized I can be."
Well, at least that's a glimmer of hope. She knew that despite his coldness, the Lizard was human once. All she had to do was reach that shred of humanity and maybe this was the first step. The Lizard was the closest physical representation to her species on this planet; he makes her feel the most at home. If she could just ease him, mold him into the ideals of her race, then everything will be perfect.
Smiling softly, she turned and hurried to return to Vermin, eager to set her ambitions into motion with this small step. The Lizard watched her leave with a scowl, wondering why she was siding with these mammals instead of him. She had the physical appearance of a reptile, but possesses the mind of a warm-blood. Maybe he should just kill her, destroy this obvious taint.
No. He'll mold her to his ideals, whether she wants him to or not. . . .
Vermin licked the last trace of blood from his fur, soft whimpers still coming from his throat as his friends tenderly licked his injuries. He didn't like being here, but he knew he had nowhere else to go, not in this condition. He just hoped Maiden was coming back soon, as the sun was rather unpleasant to him on multiple levels.
Hearing a splashing sound behind him, he picked up Maiden's scent even before he turned his head to look back at her. The female alien grinned at him as she leapt across, landing smoothly beside him.
"Lizzie isn't too happy, but he's willing to talk to you, at least." She told him.
Upon hearing that, Vermin felt a stab of panic. He was now thoroughly afraid of the Lizard; he nearly killed him! Just like Spider-Man (Technically it was Kraven dressed as Spidey, but try convincing him of that!). Giving a terrified squeak, he focused on the rat resting on his lap, petting it with a clawed finger. Maiden sensed his unease and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder.
"It'll be okay. I'll be there. He won't hurt you, I promise. And what did I say about my promises?" She gently prompted.
"You alwaysss keep it." Vermin whispered before hesitantly nodding, trying to stand. He instinctively growled as Maiden helped him, but he made no further protest to her contact. Maiden gently wrapped his arm around her shoulder to support him, turning him towards the sewer entrance.
"Hang on tight." And with that, she leapt, safely transporting Vermin back into the tunnel. Pulling away from her, the humanoid rat looked back as his rodent friends began swimming and climbing up after him. Gulping down his fear, telling himself that he wasn't afraid of anything, he limped onwards into the sewers, refusing help from his newfound companion.
Maiden watched him carefully, in case his ankle will give out, ready to catch him should he trip. But he ignored the pain as best he could. Yes, pain scared him and hell, the Lizard terrified him, but being out of the sewers forever was one of the worst things he could imagine. He has to do this, and whenever he does falter his steps, Maiden would give him a reassuring smile and pat.
Eventually, after it felt like forever, they reached the chamber Vermin previously made every effort to escape from. He spotted the Lizard resting in the corner and it took every bit of his will power not to turn and run, especially when the reptile sensed them and hissed at them. When the Lizard stood and hurried towards them, Vermin mentally informed his friends to stay alert and be ready, just in case. In response, the rats flocked around him, baring their teeth in warning at the giant reptile.
The Lizard was unfazed by this show and bared his own teeth right back, shifting his attention to Maiden as she spoke up.
"Alright, Liz. Show me how civilized you can be." She challenged with a smirk. The Lizard merely gave a malicious smirk in return, his words dripping with venom.
"Watch carefully, then."
Within the next instant, the Lizard struck out at her, smashing her aside before she even knew what happened. Slamming into the wall and sliding down to the floor, she was dazed for a moment before opening her blurry eyes. But it was already too late, as her worst fears came true.
Vermin was only aware of even more pain as the Lizard pounced on him and clamped his jaws into his throat. Swarms of rats leapt at the reptile, but he ignored them as their bites did little to harm him. Blinded with bloodlust, he was only focused on his prey. The unfortunate mammal in his grasp struggled with everything he had, his sense of self-preservation pounding at his mind. He couldn't breathe, and blood was everywhere as the Lizard's jaws steadily tightened.
Clawing in a last burst of desperation, Vermin couldn't even squeeze out a whimpering squeak as the Lizard gave a vicious shake, determined to end this pathetic creature. But this wasn't going to be without intervention as Maiden finally recovered enough to lunge and tackle the Lizard away from the defenseless critter, which fell limp upon being freed.
Enraged, the Lizard shoved her off roughly, snarling at her to re-establish his dominance. However, Maiden wasn't having it and she snarled right back, tail swishing in her own rage.
"How could you do this! I thought we had an understanding!" She screeched angrily, feeling her rage skyrocket when the Lizard gave another of his malicious smirks.
"We do. Or we will. You care too much for these ssstupid warm-bloodsss, and I will change that. The killing of this ugly creature," –he nodded in the direction of the motionless Vermin- "will be the first ssstep in teaching you how this world really worksss. The mammals will fall and I will rise!"
"You're insane." Were the only two words that she managed to squeeze out of her throat. But she kept herself from launching a full-on attack, knowing the larger reptile could overpower her easily. So instead she took a few steps back, emphasizing her position between the Lizard and Vermin. "Just stay away from him."
The Lizard just snorted and glared over at the bloodied form of his prey, allowing a satisfied growl to issue from his throat. "Very well. I believe my point'sss already been made."
At those words, Maiden felt her heart skip a beat and she couldn't help but turn around and dash towards her charge, rats scurrying out of her way as they stayed by their leader, licking his fur. Maiden knelt by him and looked him over, immediately seeing that he was bleeding profusely from his throat, and that kind of bleeding couldn't be stopped.
Leaning over, she placed her ear on his chest, hearing a very faint, irregular heartbeat. He's still alive! Shifting him into her arms, she gave him a gentle shake. "Vermin! Vermin, can you hear me? Wake up! You have to open your eyes!" She called to him, hoping and praying that she wasn't too late. Maybe if she woke him up, he'll be able to stay awake long enough for her to get help.
A soft gurgle came from the poor unconscious soul as he began coughing up even more blood, struggling to force words out even now. "I. . . I c-can't . . . br. . . breathe. . . ."
"Shhh. Don't talk, it'll only make it worse. Focus on getting breath after breath, and please open your eyes." She told him, trying her best to recall any method to extend survival time. Vermin managed a whimper, unable to gather the strength to do as she asked.
". . .He. . .hitandhurt . . .me. . . You. . . you pro. . . mised. . ." He choked out before a long shaky breath left his bloodied mouth. Maiden, feeling a horrible wave of guilt wash over her at those words, waited for him to replace that breath, but he didn't. Feeling a spike of panic, she checked for a heartbeat again and heard nothing. . .
She failed him, failed the responsibility she bestowed upon herself when meeting him. She. . . Glaring over her shoulder at the Lizard, it took everything she had not to do anything rash before gathering the body in her arms and moving to leave the room. The rats, although no longer controlled by their leader, followed nonetheless, still loyal even without the mental connection. Pausing for just a second to look back at the Lizard, she spoke, her words dripping with her own venom.
"You're even more of a rat than Vermin ever was." Maiden said nothing else as she resumed her solemn walk out the chamber. She made no sound, no further acknowledgement of the Lizard, the atmosphere emphasis enough to communicate how betrayed she felt.
Unfortunately, the Lizard didn't seem to care. His smirk still strong on his face, he returned to his corner to resume his resting. That mammal-loving female will get over it, and then he can take the next step in converting her. Then, he'll have a valued ally in his plans for conquest.
Growling pleasantly at the thought, he fell into a content state of unconsciousness, his mind swimming in sweet, sweet dreams. . . .
R.I.P Vermin. :(
Every hero makes a mistake, and sometimes those mistakes can prove fatal to someone who doesn't deserve it. I feel bad now. Anyway, I hope you liked what you read enough to review.