i'm sorry this took so long ;A;
rating: t for swearing.
warning: russian swear words lol.
notes: johntitor has stated in reference to chapter 1, that if you do get raped or someone comes to you directly after a rape, do not take a shower and go straight to police, because then they can use the evidence on your body. thank you for that.
and just. woooooooooooow. how on earth did i manage to pass 100 reviews after just five chapters? BECAUSE OF YOU GUYS OMG THANK YOU SO MUCH EVERYONE!
cameos: belle, main character from beauty and the beast.
chapter six: deal
Humans cry a lot. I make them cry a lot. Death makes them cry a lot too. So does Sadness. And Happiness. And surprise and nervousness and every one of the millions of emotions that humans feel.
Why do they cry? They obstruct their vision with saline liquid, preventing them from seeing the world. It's quite a useless talent, if you ask me. I've watched humans cry for as long as I've been around. Not once have I seen the point of it.
But I suppose you must be human to understand tears. You must be human to understand emotions.
I'm not human. I'm just Loneliness. I'm just your Narrator. I'm just telling a Story.
"Motherfuckers!" North roars through a bloody nose. "Dolbo yeb! Svoloch'! You dirty cowards!"
"Shut the fuck up, North!" Toothiana screams as gunshots are fired, and a bullet explodes a glass chandelier. "Just move!"
The roof has caved in, and Jack doesn't know what happened, except that suddenly there's a gunfight and there's blood and there's chaos, and he's vaguely aware of the wound on his arm opening up again as he's slammed to the ground, and he actually feels at least two ribs crack when a pile of bricks slam onto his chest.
He chokes, gasping for air, and Toothiana is pulling him up, every muscle shrieking its protest. Black spots dances across his vision, and he can feel wetness spreading across his shirt.
Most of the third-in-commands had panicked, more so when nobody knows what is going on, and it's dark, and there are enemies all around. Facilier, the Witch King, is roaring something foul, and Scar is howling in pain as his Hyenas pry a beam off his leg.
Jack spots Anna sprinting across wreckage, second-in-command Hans gripped in vice fingers. And then it clicks, and as he's pulling Toothiana and North out and across the street, where dark figures run amok in confusion, he's dialing a number that Rapunzel had given him, just in case, fingers slippery with blood.
He's silently thanking her now, as a familiar voice picks up the phone.
Several different possibilities had run through his head, but as soon as the girl–Elsa, was it?–had said her sister's name, he knows exactly which option to pick.
When it comes to civilians, always use their loved ones against them, North had once said, because they're too softhearted for their own good.
And he does exactly that.
The first thing Elsa sees when she enters the building opposite Heaven's Gate is a blood trail.
And then the next thing she sees is a woman with purple eyes crouched in the corner over a man whose white tuft of hair is disturbingly familiar.
But the one thing she doesn't see is her sister, and she's staring at them, trying to keep the tears of panic from falling, trying to make sense of this situation.
"Elsa," the woman says, hurrying forwards and pulling her over.
"You," Elsa gapes, staring at the man, who raises his head weakly. "You–I remember you–broke into my apartment–what–?"
"We have you sister," the man croaks, "so if you do me a favour and help me one more time, and I'll let her go."
Jack hopes Elsa won't call his bluff. He's really, really, really hoping she doesn't call his bluff. Because he has no idea where Anna is, and he really doesn't care. All he needs is a medic to check over his ribs, and seeing as gang members probably aren't welcome at hospital and their last medic had been killed two weeks ago, Elsa is the best way to go.
It takes around fifteen minutes to settle Elsa, because she's cautious and trapped, demanding where her sister is being held, asking if her sister's alright, and Jack sees Toothiana slowly figuring out that Elsa has no idea of Anna's involvement with Ange Noir, and she's debating with herself whether she should tell her or not.
Another wave of pain causes a groan of nausea to spill from his lips.
"Listen," Toothiana finally hisses, purple eyes flashing. "Either you help with the Spirit, or we send you on your way and little Anna will be brought back to you black and blue and possibly missing a few teeth, because that's my specialty. I am the Tooth Fairy; I'm sure you've heard of me."
And Elsa isn't stupid, so she drops her medical kit and makes her way over to Jack, while Toothiana hovers by his side. The woman had gotten away from the mess with only a few scratches, and she sent North back to Headquarters with Hook Hand for safety.
If Jack had been a little less in pain, he would have made some stupid joke about how often Elsa comes to his rescue. But unfortunately, he's in a lot of pain, and when Elsa gently nudges his ribs, checking the damage, he just relaxes and passes out into a blissful world of black.
"He needs a hospital. He needs an x-ray scan and he needs a proper doctor," Elsa says urgently to Toothiana.
"Are you crazy?" Toothiana snaps. "We can't just waltz in like any normal person. We're criminals."
Desperately, Elsa says, "I can get you in. I have a friend. Please."
(You might think that Stella Morta hospitals would be free from all the taint that surrounds it. That's not so. Hospitals are just as corrupted as the government, just as in need of money as every other starving skeleton out there.)
With the help of Elsa's doctor friend, Belle, they manage to sneak Jack in, and it's almost too easy. Toothiana is forced to stay outside in the waiting area, and she's completely on edge, eyes flickering this way and that, anyone who looks at her twice gets a cold glare that sends them hurrying on their way.
And after too long, Elsa and Belle finally come out, with a limping Jack between them. Belle, with her mahogany hair frazzled and falling in wisps out of her bun, is said to be a genius, graduating from university with her medical degree three years early, if that's even possible.
"He can't stay here," Belle says quietly, as Toothiana takes Jack's weight. The man is dazed from painkillers, blinking slowly when Toothiana lifts his shirt to reveal clean white bandages. "I've given Elsa some painkillers that'll last him for a while, so just keep him out of action, and his ribs should heal in a few weeks."
"Thank you," Elsa says breathlessly. "I owe you."
And Belle simply smiles tightly at her and says, "Just stay out of trouble, Elsa."
As the three sit in a cab driven by one of their own people, with Jack wedged between them in the back seat, Toothiana glances at Elsa, who's pressed herself against the car door, as if she might be able to meld herself into it. The girl is shy, solitary, but Toothiana can see a strength in her that's driven by her love for her sister. It's a strength that the Red Crowns can use, and her abilities as a basic medic can come in useful.
"So where's my sister?" Elsa asks, and her voice breaks the silence like ice. "I've done exactly what you've wanted, so where is she?"
"Don't know," Toothiana shrugs.
Elsa whips her head towards her, eyes wide. "What do you mean?"
"We don't actually have you sister," Toothiana says carelessly, and she gently pushes a sleeping Jack's head upwards again, so that he doesn't strain his neck. "Jack was bluffing."
"So–my sister is fine?" Elsa whispers. Her face is chalky white, lips bloodless.
"More or less," Toothiana says. She opts not to mention that Anna is part of Ange Noir. Not just yet. She clears her throat. "I have a proposition for you."
But Elsa isn't quite listening. Her head is reeling, and she's mentally punching herself for being so stupid as to believe what the man had said on the phone. Stupid, stupid, stupid. And now she's stuck in a moving cab going to who knows where, with some of the most influential people of Stella Morta's underworld.
And like, fuck, she's screwed.
"Elsa," Toothiana says sharply, "listen to me."
Jerking, Elsa stares at Toothiana like a nervous animal, but she nods once.
"So we've done a basic background check on you," Toothiana says bluntly. "Rapunzel's been keeping tabs on you, ever since we found out you were a medical student. The Red Lily is one of our fronts, and we hired you even though you weren't a member of the Red Crowns, because we believed that your knowledge in medicine would be helpful if we ever needed a medic in an emergency."
"I'm only a medical student–" Elsa says lamely.
"But you have connections," Toothiana says. "Like tonight, with Belle and Jack. So we're offering you to be our emergency medic, and use your network to get our members into hospitals if ever the occasion arises."
Elsa heaves a breath, and she's staring at Toothiana with a mixture of shock and confusion on her face. "What makes you think I'll help you?" she asks finally.
"Money," Toothiana says with a wry smile. "We're aware of your financial situation. You probably don't know this, but hospitals are the one place where gangs, as an unspoken rule, have never tried to get under our control. Hospitals are a neutral zone, but a corrupt government handles them. If you, Elsa Queen, can let us use its resources for our members, we are willing to pay. We are the strongest gang in Stella Morta. Money is not an issue when it comes to things like this."
A part of Elsa is violently refusing the Tooth Fairy's deal. It's crazy, it's suicidal, and it's completely and utterly insane. Elsa has never broken any laws before; she's never had to do anything illegal to get money. And what if the Tooth Fairy breaks her word? There's no contract to sign, nothing legitimate so that if the Tooth Fairy doesn't give payment when it's due, Elsa has no way of legally getting it.
But another part of her is considering it, because she desperately needs the money. Working three jobs hasn't given her enough time to study, and when she's constantly worrying about how she's going to get the next meal on the table, her grades have dropped, and she's struggling to pay the fees.
One day, she's going to crack, and she can't afford to crack. Not now. Not ever.
"We'll give you three days to think about it," Toothiana says, and the car slows to a stop. With numb surprise, Elsa realises that they are outside her apartment, and she gets out, about as fast as a zombie, and watches as the cab turns around the corner and disappears.
And she almost collapses right then and there on the footpath, because she has no idea what's just happened, and her life has turned upside down, and she really, really, really needs to talk to Anna.
When Elsa opens the door ten minutes later, knees weak from fatigue, she sees Anna sitting in the middle of the living room with a pile of bandages around her and blood leaking from her right temple. Her clothes are soiled, and when Anna raises her eyes to meet with Elsa's horrified ones, she smiles gently, and the smile looks so painful that Elsa is rushing forwards immediately and cradling her sister as Anna leans onto her shoulder.
"Okay, it's okay," Elsa whispers. "Anna, just lie down here, okay? Just lie down and stay still. I'll be right back."
She runs to the kitchen and washes her hands before pulling on some latex gloves. When she returns, Anna has closed her eyes, and she's gripping the hem of her shirt, knuckles pale.
"This will hurt, but just bear with it," Elsa murmurs, and she presses gauze against the injury.
"Relax, Elsa," Anna breathes, eyes still closed. "It's not deep, just a scratch. It should stop bleeding after a bit. Please don't cry."
"I'm not crying," Elsa says, as tears drip from her face. "I just–seriously, Anna. What happened?"
"I tripped and fell," Anna says.
Elsa almost whacks her sister for her stupid lie, but refrains herself.
"I got a call," Elsa says, and she's trying to keep her voice even, but it just keeps cracking. "From the Red Crowns. They said they had you. I had to help them; it was the same boy from a few nights ago. He was hurt–something dumb like my connections or something–I just–don't know what to do–they offered me money–"
"Wait, what?" Anna gapes, eyes flying open. She tries to sit up, but Elsa pushes her back down. "They offered you money?"
"To use my connections to give them access to hospitals," Elsa nods. "Which is just plain stupid because the only connection I have is to Belle, you know, the genius doctor? And she's still pretty unwilling to do much to help."
"No," Anna says firmly, "no way. Do not accept the deal, you understand? It's a bad idea."
"But we need the money," Elsa says quietly. She locks eyes with her younger sister. "We need the money, really. I can't pay my university fees, and rent money is starting to slip back. I can't handle it by myself, Anna."
And Anna is on the verge of crying, and Elsa mistakes this for pain. She gently brushes Anna's hair out of her face, and adjusts the pressure on the wound.
"It's stopped bleeding," Elsa says after conversation has faded into nothing. She peers into Anna's eyes and checks her pupils, makes sure she isn't feeling dizzy, asking basic questions in case Anna has a concussion.
"Really, Elsa, I'm fine," Anna says, and she squeezes her sister's hands once.
Both of them don't sleep that night, just huddling together in front of the television, watching late night shows and drinking hot chocolate because hot chocolate heals a little of the scars and it's a sort of warmth that can be mistaken for love.
Anna in particular just stares blankly at her mug, because she doesn't know what to do.
The only reason Anna joined Ange Noir was because of the money. Spending her teenage years in Stella Morta, she's heard whispers.
You get rich if you join a gang, they say. You don't even need to find a job, just get initiated into a gang. The more powerful, the better.
So at fifteen, she seeks out a member of Ange Noir and, without hesitation, asks to join. And three years later, she's promoted to third-in-command because she had saved Facilier's life one time, pulling him out of the way from a sniper as the bullet explodes into the wall. It had truly been an accident, beginner's luck, but she had impressed Facilier, and her position changed.
She's earning money now, more than she's ever hoped for. And she's been planning on telling Elsa for a long time, but had never really found the right words. Elsa had always been working, or staying out late, and Anna, alone in their apartment, had drowned in feelings of bitterness. Because Elsa is free, and Anna is insanely jealous of that. Anna has done things that she hopes her sister will never know of, has the burden of staying alive on her shoulders.
People will kill for such a high-ranked position, and Anna trusts no one in her gang, not even Hans. Hans, who's always trying to tell her to leave gang life, that she can do something better with her skills. She dates him because she needs to keep an eye on him; she dates him because he is an anomaly, and there's something different about him that Anna needs to figure out.
(You have no idea how much Anna regrets it now. She regrets everything, I know. Sometimes, she curls up in her room and she cries, because that's what humans do when they're afraid.
Anna doesn't know if she's made the right choice; she had done what she thought was best. She had been desperate to help her sister, but she hadn't counted on how long it would take to climb ranks and earn enough money to truly make a difference to their miserable lives.
And with Elsa gone most of the time, Anna had been craving some sort of companionship, somewhere she would belong. She had been terribly lonely, always watching Elsa's back as her older sister disappears out the doorway, and sometimes it felt as if Elsa was disappearing forever.
You must understand, no matter how illogical this may seem, she was only fifteen.)
A sigh peels out, and Anna rests her head on Elsa's shoulder. And to her delight, Elsa doesn't wriggle away, but seeks out of her hand under the blanket and clasps it tight.
Anna wants to cry now, but for an entirely different reason.
"You–what?" Jack says blankly.
Toothiana rolls her eyes. "I said," she repeats impatiently, "that I invited the kid to be our medic."
"Elsa?" Jack says.
"Yes, you dumbfuck," Bunnymund groans. "She's said it five times already."
"But–why? What makes you think she's even going to say yes?" Jack says. "And you told her my name?"
"Yes, I did, and yes, she will," Toothiana says confidently. "I know she will. People like her are predictable."
"North say it was okay?"
"He's approved of it," Toothiana nods. "Says it's a good idea."
Bunnymund sighs and rolls onto his feet. The Crimson Rose is closed tonight, so the silence is slightly unnerving, when they are so used to having their conversations punctured by heavy bass and loud music.
"Moreover," Bunnymund says darkly, "what happened tonight at the Assemblea. That was Pitch's doing for sure."
"All the other gangs agree," Jack says, and winces when he tries to sit up. "I got into contact with Merida from Ange Noir, a Hyena from the Pride, and a couple of other associates, and they're all pressed pissed at him."
"The lunatic," Toothiana hisses. "We lost three men in that roof collapse. He's going to pay."
Text message from: the Red King
We will take Pitch Black's territory
from him. Battle stations. Details
Pitch has only a small territory in the middle of Stella Morta, but in a way, it's the most powerful piece of land in the city. Central Stella Morta holds two casinos whose income is worth the same as the Red Crown's and Ange Noir's entire territory.
Text message from: the Witch King
We will take Pitch Black's territory
from him. Get ready for more
details to come.
And whichever of the two gangs manage to seize it will become the strongest gang in Stella Morta.
this was a terrible chapter and i'm really sorry.
so, here is anna's side of the story. elsa is jealous of anna because she thinks anna is free. and anna is jealous of elsa because she thinks elsa is free. but their definition of freedom is very, very different to each other's. how ironic, huh? in this way, anna and jack are quite similar to each other, in that they joined gangs because they thought it would help their respective siblings.
usually i don't reply to anonymous reviews via a/n, because i hate taking up space here because it annoys the fuck out of me (like u know those a/n that are just this huge 2 metre block of bold text that is all just replies to reviews?). however, i will make a special exception this one time, and therefore annoy the fuck out of myself lol.
to anonymous reviewer intrigue: NO WAIT, I DO HAVE A TUMBLR! (if anyone else cares; it's an exo blog though and it's boring) it's: baozisareexolicious. this is really weird because i've found a few of my jelsa readers on tumblr too lol. and thank you so much for your kind words ^3^ lemme hug you! /cannot believe you reread my fanfics omg/ i'm not actually as brilliant as you make me out to be; i just have a lot of time on my hands and 24239563 years of fanfic writing practice hehehe.
also, to anon reviewer kkaebsong. r u exo fan? :3
updated: 23 march 2014