Disclaimer: I don't own Worm. Nor do I own worms. Nor do I have worms. I think my dog had worms once. We got some pills from the vet.
/==OOOO== I ==OOOO==\\
Tonight was the night. I'd practised, again and again. I'd gone into the overgrown parks, into the back alleys, even into the ship's graveyard, and pushed myself. I'd gotten better at control. Tonight would not be a repeat of my first night out. Tonight would be flawless.
I chatted with dad over dinner, not paying attention to what I was saying, cleared away the dishes, and retired to my room. I wanted to finish some homework, but my hands shook when I picked up a pen. I went to bed early. Dad walked in, saw me 'sleeping', and closed the door quietly as he left again. I waited for half an hour after I heard his bedroom door click closed, before dressing and slipping out of the house.
/==OOOO== I ==OOOO==\\
It's always struck me as funny, walking down the Boardwalk at night, how much respect a costume can get you. It's not even a good costume. Under the long black coat, I could have been entirely normal. Hell, I could have been any of the cities gothicly inclined teenagers off to a party. It wasn't like I had the spare cash to shop at anywhere but the cheapest of costume shops after all, which led to the dark coat and trousers and the simple white shirt.
But even gothicly inclined teens tend to avoid masks now, and anyone who saw the black and white harlequin mask under the hood quickly looked away again. No one wanted to risk antagonising an unknown cape, and the stern white face with the black lips, arched eyebrows and single, large tear did not exactly inspire a heroic look. In a way, I was glad for it. Two months ago, the feeling of alienation had been stark. When I first went out, I was afraid that I would somehow end up speaking even less in my cape identity than I was in my civilian life, as if that was possible. Now of course, I have-
"Its cold as as the Simurgh's tits out here! Fucking hell, you couldn't have picked a different night, eh Tay-"
I turned quickly, finger raised in warning.
"Erik! In costume, no names!"
"You don't even have a cape name yet. Anyway, you just used mine!"
"But you don't have an identity to protect, do you?"
That was probably unnecessarily harsh. He spat on the floor, yellowed teeth and bloodshot eyes flashing momentarily in the light from a street lamp that had yet to break. He looked ready to make a retort when I muttered "Shut it, Erik." His mouth clacked shut, and he glared at me.
I don't like doing that, but Erik has the unique ability to make me miss the loneliness that Emma, Madison and Sophia inflict on me when I'm out of costume. And he was the only person my age who was speaking to me regularly. It was more than a little pathetic really.
After a few more minutes of walking, which finally took us into the docks, Erik spoke up again.
"What are we even looking for?"
I considered telling him to shut up again, but decided against it. He never listened for more than five minutes at a time anyway.
"Something small, and simple. I've sent the team out to scout for ABB. A mugging would be a good start."
"The little fuckers found anything?"
"I won't know until they come back to report"
Erik lapsed into mutters about "Creepy fucking vermin" and we continued walking in relative peace. Maybe it was because we were just walking down the road. All the gang members could be getting forewarned by other members and just clearing out of the area. At this time of night, ABB territory was usually crawling.
As we passed under another street lamp, this one blown out long ago, I felt a tugging on my coat. The little tugs travelled up my back and onto my shoulder, where they revealed themselves to be one of the scout team. A large, bony rat with only one ear. It chittered softly, and I held out one of my gloved hands for it to climb onto, raising it to eye level.
"You found something?"
The rat nodded, and then leapt from my hand into the darkness.
"Come on Erik. We have a crime to stop."
/==OOOO== I ==OOOO==\\
We followed the rat deeper into ABB territory to the mouth of an alleyway, before it vanished into a sewer grate. I peeked around the corner of the building and had to stifle a gasp. I'd told the rats, with their rather limited understanding, to find a group of people wearing dragons (By showing them some examples). Rats didn't have the colour vision to scout for gang colours. Apparently, they also couldn't count. That was probably why my scout had made the mistake. In the group in the alley there was probably about ten visible dragons. The other dozen people had consented themselves with wearing red and green.
Erik peeked around the building too, and swore.
"What the fuck is your pet doing? That is not a 'little crime'. Shit, that's gotta be twenty ABB."
The babble of voices from the group silenced like a candle before a tsunami. I looked to the source of the sudden quiet.
Erik chipped in in his usual, helpful way.
Lung had stepped out of a door at the other end of the alley and had started speaking. His gang members were all listening intently to what he said. From this distance, I only heard scattered words.
"...Casino... Think they... ABB!.."
I needed to get closer. I looked upwards, counted the floors of the building we were on, and stepped into the nothing.
The nothing wasn't really nothing. In some ways, it was everything, all at once. Every noise that could be made, every colour in every pattern, every smell, taste and texture being rushed at you all at once. The vague impression of a million places, all just a hairs breadth out of reach. You were blinded by Everything. It wasn't a safe place for life. Even if I found it refreshing at first, like cold water on a hot day, it wore at me. I could stay here for a few minutes at a time, at most, before it started to gnaw at me too. Several flies, mosquitoes and microscopic dust mites were torn from me, demolished in an instant.
I exalted in the rush of alien sensation for a moment before forcing my will on the Everything. I sprinted twenty or so feet upwards, to where I judged would be just above the building's flat roof, and then took a few steps forwards so I'd be over the rooftop. I took a breath of the chaotic void, and took the step back to reality. I fell a foot or so, but barley made a noise on the mossy roofing tar. It was always best to overestimate a little than risk reappearing somewhat inside a wall. I took a moment to reorient myself, and stepped away again, running to the rooftop closest to Lung before coming back. It hadn't been strictly necessary, but it kept the sound I made to a minimum, and I was able to just ignore inconveniences like sloping roofs and chimneys. I crouched by the edge closest to the alley to better listen in, and Erik crouched next to me, normally slack jawed expression replaced with a touch of fear. From below, I could hear Lung much better than before, but it seemed I had missed some conversation.
Lung was snarling, "…the children, just shoot. Doesn't matter your aim, just shoot. You see one lying on the ground? Shoot the little bitch twice more to be sure. We give them no chances to be clever or lucky, understand?"
There was a murmur of assent.
I felt a flutter of fear as I processed the words. In the sudden flare of a cigarette lighter below, it was all too easy to make out the dark shapes of guns in hands, waistbands and holsters.
They were going to kill kids?
/==OOOO== I ==OOOO==\\
I really wished that either I or Erik had a cell phone. In the pockets of my coat, I had a baton, two bottles of pepper spray, some twine and a bag of chalk dust. There was plenty of room. If we had, I could have called the real heroes in. The ones who had experience containing Lung. Containing being the key word. You didn't beat Lung. You hoped he got bored and went home. Even with my powers, I wasn't sure I would be able to do anything.
It was well past midnight. Even if I ran for the Boardwalk, nowhere would be willing to let me use their phone, and in the docks the chance of finding a working payphone was only slightly greater than running into patrolling hero, even if I had thought to bring change.
Lung checked the watch of one of the closest gang members, and a car pulled up by the alley entrance I had been stood at before. Another three men got out and walked into the crowd. A minute later and the whole group, twenty five men and a dragon started walking north.
There was no time to think left. Maybe if I could avoid fighting Lung directly, and focus on the normal gang members I could last long enough for someone to notice and call the Protectorate. I shut my eyes, counted to three, and launched myself from the rooftop. I was aiming for the puddle of light under a street lamp, and as I entered the cone of light I heard a gang member shout out. A split second before I would strike the concrete, I flickered into the blinding void. I could imagine the looks on the gang member's faces as I flickered back into the real world, standing on the road as though I has always been there, my coat billowing, helping to disguise the extra inch I fell. I couldn't see the looks though, because the street light was ruining my night vision. Bugger.
I could hear, however, as Lung laughed. I flushed under my mask.
"Bring him to me."
I flushed again, darker. It's true that with my hair hidden by the hood I didn't have many feminine features, but I had made sure that the coat was in a woman's style.
A few ABB stepped into the circle of light, cautiously. It always paid to be cautious of a cape you didn't know the abilities of. Their guns were still holstered, but between the four men I could count two knives and a baseball bat. Four to one were not good odds.
Erik stepped out from behind me, cracking his knuckles, and I could see the confusion in the ABB's eyes now. The rest of my scout team rats crawled over his ankles and hissed. My coat twitched, and twelve black, overlarge, oily rats dropped to the floor. These were not the rats I used for scouting. These rats hungered.
This was more like it. I drew my baton and extended it with a flick. There was a brief flash of light, and the dull orange glow from the lamppost gave out. I could see the outline of Lung, one arm extended towards it. Was it just me, or was he bigger than he had been in the alley?
I felt something whistle past my face, and I started. I was in a fight. Don't get distracted Taylor! I took two quick steps towards the gang member who had just swung the bat at me, and he raised it defensively. Two steps more though the void and back, and I was behind him, my own baton swinging into the back of his head. He staggered and fell to his hands and knees, and I was already running to the first knife man.
I shouted "Swarm him!" and my rats obliged. Rats are not very heavy, and not very strong. Twelve of them cannonballing into your back at once is, however, enough to send you forwards into a heavily swung baton. He folded up without much noise, and the rats vanished into the dark, tripping and nipping at the two men Erik was brawling with. He was already bleeding heavily from a cut above his eyes, and wasn't moving his left arm much.
There was a crunch, and the vague connection to one of the rats vanished. I flung out my left arm, and another came barrelling out of my sleeve onto the neck of the unarmed gang member. It was a rat, and it was both disoriented, and pissed. After a few seconds of rodeo style gripping, it recovered enough to act. Before I could give it any instructions, it had bitten heavily into the back of the ganger's neck, and the man collapsed like a puppet with its strings cut. I stared in horror at the rat with it's now dripping maw, until I heard Erik give a rather wet sounding grunt.
His opponent had been trying to take advantage of my distraction, and Erik had gotten in the way. There was a knife hilt sticking out of his ribs. His retaliatory punch laid the ganger out, and he looked down at the knife in his side with more anger than anything else.
He keeled over with a thud. I looked down at him in shock. Despite his appalling vocabulary, social skills and hygiene, I knew Erik liked me well enough. But to take a knife for me was impressive, it must have hurt.
There was a slow clapping noise, and I looked up. I had forgotten about the other twenty gang members. Lung was smirking. It wasn't a pleasant look. When he spoke, his voice sounded deeper than when he was making his speech, and tiny embers were flickering into existence above his head.
"Such a good friend, to take a knife for you. But now whooo-" his voice slurred, and his skin seemed to sheen slightly, "-wiilll yoou hide behiind?"
The only thing running through my head could be summed up as 'ohfuckohfuckohfuck'. I hadn't known Lung could power up from being near a fight. I backed up, slowly, as he and his gang advanced. Far too quickly, I felt the hard surface of a dumpster.
It would be so easy to run. One step, and I would be untouchable. But I hadn't even delayed Lung by five minutes, and he still had plenty of guns available to kill the kids that were his original targets. If I could just keep him delayed...
He was at the front of his group now, barely ten feet from me. I could feel the heat now. His skin looked like it was rippling, and even as I watched the skin on his chest pinched and pulled as a hundred tiny silver spikes forced themselves out. I thought back to the foetid darkness of that warehouse where I had found Erik. I could practically smell the stink of urine and stagnated water as we had rolled though the muck, his hands reaching for my throat as I tried to escape.
I slowly reached into my pockets as he stomped forwards.
"Youu caan go joiin youur frieend nooww," he growled, reaching a hand towards me. I could see in excruciating detail the talons that had pushed from his fingertips. He stopped, however, when a voice came from behind him.
"Down not out, bitchsucker!" and Erik slammed a length of pipe into Lung's head. The force of the blow sent it tumbling from Erik's grasp, but it did the job and distracted Lung for a second. I brought my arms up and when Lung looked back to me, he got two canisters of pepper spray to the face. The cloud of chemicals expanded into one of the embers orbiting Lung, and there was another rush of heat as they back ignited. Lung bellowed in pain, and swung a clawed arm at me, but I took a step into the void, a step forward, and a step downward. I swung the baton upwards, and stepped back into the world, with my calves buried in the floor.
I hadn't taken physics as an elective, but I knew the basics. If two objects collide, they bounce off. A small object hitting a big one would go further than the big object that his the small one. Take a tennis ball. When it hits a swung racket, the racket is slowed slightly, and the ball flies off. When it hits a wall, the wall doesn't move, and the tennis ball goes back the way it came.
This wasn't a case of a tennis ball and a wall. This was a case of Taylor Hebert and the American continental plate. Whatever function that allowed me to step back and forth from the void had a useful inbuilt safety feature. My legs, and thus the rest of me, went rocketing upwards as a good few metres per second rather than remain in the same space as the floor. This paired well with the momentum of the swung baton, and the hard steal tip collided with Lung's 'little dragon' with enough force to lift all 150 kilograms of draconic, muscle bound Asian onto his toes, and then send him to his knees. The baton was torn from my grasp and my wrist gave a flare of pain. By the time I had found my balance again Lung had recovered enough to talk from his kneeling position, and the pain in my wrist had diffused to a weak, body wide ache.
His voice was even less human than before as he ground out "Iiiii'mm goonnnaaaa keeellll yuuu". Despite the tears from the pepper spray and the blow to his manhood, I could see his power speeding up, forcing the spikes into small, scale like coverings over his chest and head.
The rush of exhilaration I had felt at landing a blow on Lung vanished, replaced with a cold kernel of terror. That wasn't the mocking voice of earlier. That was rage. I had just pissed off a dragon. I looked up into the faces of the ABB members. They were looking somewhat shocked, but they had guns and I didn't. The rats were still nipping at heels and getting stepped on at the back of the crowd, so that left only one thing.
Some of the gang members drew their guns as a buzzing started emanating from my coat. They didn't shoot however, distracted as they were scant seconds later by the cloud of insects that erupted from my sleeves, hood and pockets. The insects had been collected over dozens of trips into the void, unable to survive the chaotic pressure. They stung, bit, choked and blinded the gang members who hadn't run at this latest bag of weirdness the unknown cape fighting them had dished out.
Erik was everywhere with a stolen baseball bat, sending gangers to the floor with heavy strikes to the jaw and face. I picked up the pipe and joined him, aiming more for the gut. I felt sick to the stomach, but it was this or let Lung lead his rampage to the children. I had to disperse his men.
I was rather preoccupied, and so was Erik. I don't think he noticed that Lung had recovered, even after I was picked up by the neck. I choked from the pressure and the burning heat, but froze when I found myself looking into the silvery balls of metal that were now Lung's eyes. There was no noticeable human emotion there, except an all consuming rage. He squeezed, and I heard something pop. My vision started to go black. Lung twitched his arm, shaking me like a ragdoll, and then he dropped me to the floor.
There was a roar of frustration and I looked up to see Lung spasming as he was trying to reach for me. Every time he would stretch out his arm, a leg would buckle, or his elbow would contract. I wondered what was happening in a slightly detached manner as my head swam.
With another bellow, Lung bent double, and then stood again in an explosion of fire. I felt much of my swarm wither and die, and my own skin was starting to cook. Lung reached for me again, and although I couldn't be sure through my wavering vision and the heat as I sat helpless, he looked a good foot taller than he had been when he dropped me, and his scales were each the size of a hand. He picked me up again and his claws bit into flesh. I cried out, desperate to be free, and my power answered. I pulled Lung into the chaos.
Immediately, the pressure on me vanished. I breathed carefully as my injures were soothed away by the randomness, and then I saw Lung.
He was writhing in front of me, chunks flaking off and being swallowed by the void. Like someone was slowly grating him away from every direction at once. I felt fear once more. This couldn't happen again! I wouldn't let it happen again!
Lung seemed to be fighting his destruction, though. His natural regeneration against the utter nothingness that was all could exist here. I pushed forwards and grabbed him by his arm, even as it fell apart horribly under my fingers, and stepped again. We slammed into the floor with a crack that rang like a gunshot. He had immediately started spurting blood from hundreds of cuts, lacerations and holes gouged into him. It drenched my legs as I knelt in the expanding puddle of life that slowly cut off as he ran out of blood to give.
I was exhausted. I wasn't feeling any of the individual injuries I had taken, but they had all diffused into a single wall of discomfort that assaulted me from all sides. I heard footsteps, and Erik pulled me to my feet. He was surprisingly gentle.
"Common Tay- uh, capey girl... We need to get th' fuck outta here."
We had made it maybe four steps when something huge and quadruped landed in front of us. A second later, and two more joined it. My vision was still blurred, but they looked like someone had mated a lizard with a tiger, and then skinned the result. Four people slid off the two later arrivals, and I could feel Erik tense as one of them walked over to us. He was tall, and dressed in black leathers with a motorcycle helmet shaped like a skull as a mask. Erik stopped him advancing with his usual tact and diplomacy.
"Don't come no closer, cockslime!"
The man stopped, and swung his arms back and forth a few times.
"You really saved us a lot of trouble". His voice was deep, slightly distorted by the helmet. I was too tired to respond, so after a few seconds of looking between Erik and I, the man in black continued, "When we got word Lung was aiming to come after us tonight, we were pretty freaked. We were arguing strategy for the better part of the day. We eventually decided, fuck it, we'd meet him halfway. Wing it. Not my usual way of doing things, but yeah."
Two of the other riders, a girl in lilac and a, presumably, boy walked over to Lung's body. The last rider stayed with the giant beasts.
"Wouldn't you know, his flunky Lee is there with a half dozen guys, but Lung and the rest of his gang are nowhere to be found," he laughed, a surprisingly normal sound for someone wearing a mask with a skull on it.
"Lee's no slouch in a fight, but there's a reason he's not leader of the ABB. He got spooked without his boss there and ran. I guess you're responsible for that?"
Here, the man spared a look over his shoulder at Lung's form, and then looked back at me appraisingly.
"I saw you get grabbed, and then you vanish for a good ten seconds. You come back, and he looks like that. What did you do to him?"
When he got nothing but silence from me and mouthed obscenities from Erik, he turned to the girl in lilac.
"Tattle? What you got?"
The girl sounded like she was frowning when she responded with "Nothing."
The other three new arrivals stared at her in shock, and she threw up her hands. "Nothing! Nada, zilch, zero and nothing! All I have is a slowly building headache that gets worse every time I try and get a read on her." and she pointed at me. This seemed to disquiet the man, who took a step backwards, apparently shaken that 'Tattle' couldn't read me. I for one was quite pleased, in a detached and pained sort of way, by this turn of events. These did not seem like heroes, and that left only one real option in Brockton Bay.
There were a few seconds of tense silence, and then Tattle looked up from the body of Lung.
"Heads up, we've gotta scram"
The girl by the monstrous creatures nodded, and climbed up onto the closest of them.
The man in black turned towards me. I was still supported mostly be Erik. "Hey, want a ride?"
I looked at the creatures. They were bloodied, snarling creatures out of a nightmare. I shook my head and he shrugged.
"Hey," Tattle said to me, as she climbed on behind the other girl, "What's your name?"
I stared at her. My voice was unsure and weak, "I don't… I haven't picked one yet."
"Well, scary dissolvey girl, a cape is gonna show up in less than a minute. You did us a solid by dealing with Lung, so take my advice. Someone from the Protectorate shows up, finds two bad guys duking it out, they're not going to let one walk away. You should get out of here,"
With that, and a sharp whistle, the three creatures leapt into the air and disappeared over the rooftops. With what had been said by the man in black, it wasn't hard to work out what had happened, and I could feel tears beginning to form. Those teenage villains had been who Lung had been after. Who I had almost died for. Who I had, once more, killed for. Villains.
And worse, they thought I was one too.
/==OOOO== I ==OOOO==\\
Erik set me down at the side of the road, at my insistence. I was too tired to go anywhere, and I didn't want to be found running from a crime scene and labelled a villain by the people who were likely to do something about it. I could hear the steady thrum of some kind of vehicle on approach. My coat and trousers were still soaked with Lung's blood.
"Erik, you'd best go. I don't want to have to explain you as well as everything else."
Uncharacteristically, Erik obeyed me without question. He pulled up his hood and took a turn into another alley. Pretty soon, he'd just be another undesirable skulking in the docks after dark.
I quietly called my three surviving rats from the dark, and sent them into the sewers. The insects were mostly little specks of ash from Lung, and the few that remained were hardly suspicious. Maybe I was being paranoid. These were the heroes. I wanted to be a hero, eventually. Didn't I? But powers that messed with death were more villain territory. Powers that required you actually commit painful murder to use? I would have some trouble justifying using that. And there was something just wrong about not using it. It felt too much like hobbling myself. Too much like teleporting slowly was just a secondary aspect of my power. An enabler. The ability to kill anyone I could lay my hands on, and it just so happened to allow me to bypass walls. I giggled to myself. I was sure I could make a lot of money by hiring myself out as an assassin. Maybe I would even make a killing. I giggled again, and then stopped. That was a somewhat worrying thought.
Being a hero was my dream. It had been, ever since my first pair of Armsmaster underwear. Getting powers, even if the actual event hadn't been pleasant, had been an answer to everything. Except I couldn't use it in school to escape my bullies. Someone would see, or worse, get taken with me. I couldn't use it to help dad pay the bills that were slowly piling up around the kitchen, where he thought they weren't obvious. I apparently couldn't even go out and save anyone worth saving, without getting my ass burnt by a dragon and labelled a villain by a second villain group.
The vehicle was getting closer. I was still soaked in blood. Lung's body had mostly shrunk back to human proportions, although it to was caked in gore. Some of the gang members were starting to moan and twitch as they woke up, and some of them would never wake up again. I considered hitting the moving ones again, just to be safe, but headlights illuminating the next street over told me I wouldn't really have time.
A black van turned the corner, and slid to a stop. The headlights illuminated the scene in excruciating, blue hued detail. Twenty men lying on the ground, guns, knives and baseball bats scattered around them. One man lying in a puddle of blood that looked almost black. One person of intermediate gender, sat on the curb, coated in blood, with no visible weapons and a mask.
A door opened, and someone stepped out, although I couldn't see who. I raised my hands like they do in cop shows, and there was a slight rustle and a threatening whir. A small red dot rested on my chest.
"No powers, or I will be forced to shoot. Keep your hands pointed away from the van!"
Oh shit. Yeah. Unknown cape, covered in blood.
I followed the local cape scene obsessively, even before I had powers myself. Everyone did. Ms Militia was one of the most famous of the Brockton Bay Protectorate. Charming, patriotic and good with any gun she wanted. Also, hopefully, reasonable. And speaking again.
"Stand up slowly and turn around. Let's keep this peaceful,".
"I'm not a villain," I blurted out, "I'm a hero,"
"Never the less, stand up, turn around."
There didn't seem to be much point resisting. If I could get everything sorted out, then I could deal with being a little arrested. If not, I haven't found anything yet that I couldn't simply step away from. I stood up, and turned around, my hands still in the air.
There were a few noises from behind me, and then Ms Militia spoke again.
"Answer truthfully. Are you a villain?"
There was a seconds pause and then another voice, slightly tinny but recognisable as Armsmaster, current leader of the local Protectorate, came from what was obviously a phone speaker of some kind.
"Truth. Seventy eight percent chance that they do not see themselves as villainous, based on camera quality,"
Ms Militia's voice was much warmer, and much closer as she disconnected the call with a "Thank you Armsmaster,", and then "You can turn back around, and put your hands down,", as the blinding headlights from the van turned off.
I turned to find her only ten feet away from me, and walking forwards. She stopped just out of arms reach. "Are you hurt? Not many survive a fight with Lung unscathed."
I shrugged, and my shoulders protested loudly. A moment later and the sharp pain had dissolved over everything again. "I got a few burns, but I'm fine,".
Ms Militia nodded, smiling behind the flag that served as her face mask. "Would you be agreeable to come in for questioning? Or," and she glanced at a small, rugged watch, "Is it a school night?". I flushed again, and she inferred the answer from my silence. She continued "I would advise taking tomorrow off. Most capes still need to sleep and only heal at normal rates. I assume that your legal guardian doesn't know about your activities, so I should tell you that joining the Wards scheme is a great choice for a newly triggered hero. You will receive training, equipment and a modest contribution for collage payments, as well of course as our guarantee of your safety to your guardian," Here she paused for a second, and then continued.
"Even if you do not wish to join the Wards, and I must stress how much such a step would help you, you will be required to come in to the PRT building to be registered, and to schedule a powers test along with giving us an account of what happened here tonight."
I nodded. I was still pretty calm, considering I'd just sat and watched while Lung bled out.
"Finally, I would consider getting your costume washed, but I don't think you can walk into a dry cleaner, even in the docks, with a coat covered in blood and walk away with no questions asked. If you want to wait here until someone arrives to take in Lung and his men, I'll ask them to bring you a spare costume. It will be pretty bland, but also clean, and you can exchange it for your own one when you come in for questioning. It will have been cleaned by then."
I considered just leaving, but the blood was starting to dry on the extremities of the jacket, and it was going stiff. I nodded, then something Ms Militia had said hit me.
"Take in? He isn't dead?"
"Dead? No, it would take an awful lot to put down Lung for good. And if you had, I'm afraid I would have had to be rather more insistent that you came in tonight. We can take on Wards with criminal records, but killing someone with your power, even in self defence would look bad and you would most probably have been on probation for your entire Wards career. Good thing he survived, really. His gang members look like non lethal injuries too."
She kept on talking about bringing him to justice for his crimes and punishment in the eyes of the law, but a pit had opened beneath me and I was in free fall. I had killed before, after all.
/==OOOO== I ==OOOO==\\
A/N: OK, so here we go. Altpower Taylor Wormfic. Now, technically, this is a crossover because of Taylor's power, but a rather obscure one, I think (Or perhaps not, depending on how well I researched what this thing can do, and how well I conveyed that). If you can guess what power/s she has, kudos.