First of all, I would like to wish one of my readers, Fireball107, a very Happy Belated Birthday! Sorry that this is late! I hope that you had a AMAZING birthday and hope that you have a wonderful year! :)
A/N: I do not own Phoenix Wright or Miles Edgeworth; they belong to CAPCOM. Dr. Elizabeth Partridge, the headless man and the plot, however, are mine.
Kaine and Umbrae are up to no good and plotting their latest version of hellery while Miles tries to cope with conflicting feelings, fear at Phoenix's continuing imprisonment by his psychotic captors and the mystery of who the headless man is. This is only the beginning and a diversionary tactic is in the works that doesn't bode well for Miles and company...
Chapter 13! Sorry that I'm so late coming out with this!
I'm leaving Phoenix behind for the time being-although I will touch on him briefly again in the next chapter-and going to concentrate on Kaine and Umbrae for the next few chapters and the new hellery that those terrible two are going to unleash on the world. Those two are sexual sadists and get off on causing pain; they're dangerous and very, very twisted individuals! Kaine is the leader and Umbrae the follower of this twisted twosome and, while it is true that they are in the ascent for now, their day of reckoning will come eventually. The hunters will become the hunted, as it were and this is the reason for the chapter title. I also have capitalized the "h" on the word "Hunt" since it's referring to their hunting of people specifically much like "English Hunt" is for fox hunting which various websites dealing with it is what showed up when I Googled it.
The poor teenaged girl that Umbrae 'procurred' for their sick amusement-and that I will go into further detail about in the next chapter since I only touch on it briefly here-is going to be the diversion that will throw Miles and company into a tailspin, further complicating an already complicated situation! It's getting pretty intense, to say the least, and things are going to go from bad to worse before this ride is over!
There will be at least one more chapter, possibly two, featuring events in the past-which I italicized to distinguish the events that had happened from those that were happening-before coming back to the present.
Hope you enjoy! :)
Thanks to my readers and all those who have favourited, reviewed, story alerted, favourite author or author alerted me. I appreciate it more than I can say! :)
Thank you to my beta reader, Pearls1990, for amazing beta reading! Much appreciated! :)
Special thanks to my beloved husband, DezoPenguin, for all his help, support, advice, nagging (when necessary), for helping me out of a plot hole I'd written myself into which turned it into a fresh, new direction (I was stuck for awhile trying to think of where to take the chapter since it really was simply a case of "Phoenix is out for awhile and unconscious. He really isn't doing anything central to the plot except lying there!"), for the chapter title and encouragement! Thanks, Sweetie! I appreciate it more than I can say! Love you!:)
Comments are appreciated and welcome! :) I'll probably change some things at some point; always room for improvement! :)
Rated T, Suspense/Romance, male/male relationships, Phoenix x Edgeworth
Kaine and Umbrae watched Phoenix sleeping soundly, their faces matching grim masks. For some reason that they couldn't fathom, they felt restless and cagey and couldn't really make head or tail of the reason why.
It all came back to the slumbering man that lay chained to the back wall, of that they were sure of. Kaine's eyes narrowed.
"Something's wrong," he said tersely and Umbrae looked up at him in surprise at the venom in his words. They had been standing here for some time in silence, listening to the raspy breathing of their prisoner. He'd been unconscious for some time after they'd given him his last dose but at least he wasn't giving them any trouble which left them free to indulge themselves in other activities as they chose.
"Wrong?" Umbrae echoed, his brow creasing in puzzlement at his lover's words. "How could anything be wrong?"
"I don't know," Kaine admitted, his eyes flickering to the shadows flitting across the walls of the oubliette, "but I have the feeling that we're being... watched."
"Watched? By whom?" Umbrae's mood abruptly switched, his eyes glittering dangerously in the gloomy confines. "Do you think that those fools managed to infiltrate this place without us knowing it?" His hand tightened into a fist, his nails digging into his palms. "If they did, then..."
Kaine raised a hand, interrupting him in mid-thought. He could see that Umbrae was beginning to work himself into a frenzy and there was no telling what he would do once he lost control of his emotions. For all that he loved him, Umbrae's emotional instability and abrupt mood changes made him something of a liability.
There was one thing that he could count on from Umbrae and that was his emotions made him a weaker target; if he got angry or under the influence of some other strong emotion, he lost the ability to think rationally and simply reacted, usually with his fists or, occasionally, a blade.
"I don't think so, little Shadow," he said with a mix of tenderness and steel. "If they had, we would have known before long that this was so and made Mr. Wright here pay the penalty for their treacherous actions." He gestured to the sleeping Phoenix. "He hasn't moved in some time and we've been standing here watching him for over an hour so I doubt that anyone could have broken in without us knowing it."
Umbrae's eyes narrowed once again, digesting this information slowly and methodically in silence. Kaine stood there and waited until he'd finished.
"Then," he mused slowly, choosing his words carefully, "what exactly are you feeling?" He searched his lover's face in minute detail, his brow furrowing. "And why do you think that you are feeling it?"
Kaine pursed his lips.
"I just have the feeling that we're being watched by something," he explained after a few moments, "and I really can't explain it more than that."
He closed his eyes briefly before opening them again. "I can't shake the feeling that we're being observed even though I know that there's no one present here except the three of us." He grinned at the muffled squeal that came from over the left corner of the room, just beyond where the unconscious Mr. Wright resided. "Or, should I say, the four of us?"
Umbrae nodded, a savage grin slowly spreading over his face, his eyes glittering with insane glee. "That is indeed strange," he conceded, his hand stealing into his pocket and fingering the knife he carried on his person, "but I don't think that you should worry about it too much right now since we have other pressing matters that should concern us more at the present."
Kaine chuckled, nodding his head in agreement, his eyes flickering over to where the bound teenager lay propped up against the wall, her eyes wide with terror.
"Indeed we do, little Shadow," he replied, reaching for Umbrae and drawing him into his arms for a passionate kiss, the younger man melting into his arms and moaning softly under his onslaught for some time.
They parted rather reluctantly after a few minutes with Umbrae's arms wrapped firmly around Kaine's neck and the other man's arms wrapped about the younger man's waist, pressing him rather possessively against his own body. Kaine breathed in Umbrae's spicy, musky scent with relish, nuzzling him on top of his head with the tip of his nose.
"Still," Kaine continued, holding him closer, "we need to make sure that no one is here that shouldn't be and, if we should find anyone lurking about..." He left the rest of the sentence unsaid but Umbrae knew exactly what he was driving at and he couldn't repress a thrill at the thought of being able to Hunt again.
"...Then we'll deal with them first and then Mr. Wright afterward," he finished smoothly, his voice husky with passion. "Perhaps we'll kill him or her in front of him as slowly and painfully as possible and let him burn with guilt knowing that he is the one responsible for their death." He crowed with delight, his arms tightening around his lover. "What a wonderfully malevolent thought, Kaine!"
He chuckled softly at Umbrae's passionate enthusiasm.
"What a wonderful way to make Mr. Edgeworth pay for his crimes against my brother," he said dreamily, almost to himself, his fingers starting to slowly roam up and down Umbrae's back, "than the knowledge that he was the one responsible for the death of the intruder and his lover, too, both at one fell swoop."
He chuckled nastily. "I can only hope that we do manage to find someone snooping around here; its been far too long since we Hunted last, my love, and I hunger to do so again..." His left hand slowly traveled upward over Umbrae's shoulder, his fingertips trailing over his flushed skin as he cupped the side of his face. "Oh, my little Shadow, how I long to Hunt again!"
"Then why don't we, Kaine?" Umbrae asked breathlessly, his heart beginning to beat faster, feeling pleasure flowing though his body at the thought. "Why don't we Hunt?"
"We must be careful not to play our hand too soon, my little Shadow," he replied in a quiet voice, his lips trailing over Umbrae's jawline, nibbling and licking his way up to his mouth and pressing it against his once more, drawing a kiss that lasted some time and left Umbrae breathless when they at last parted. "I'm sure that the police are aware that we're here somewhere in the city," he continued, "we can assume that much. We don't want to do anything that draws their attention to us before we're ready to move. Besides," he added blithely, the corners of his mouth twitching, "we already have a nice little morsel to amuse ourselves with until the proper time arrives when we can Hunt."
He rubbed the tip of his nose against his lover's, his lips twisting into a ghastly parody of a smile, Umbrae's eyes flickering over to the bound teenager, a satisfied smile on his face. He was pleased that Kaine was happy with the little morsel he'd captured a few hours earlier on his usual rounds. "After all, we can't kill Mr. Wright outright-that isn't in keeping with the rules of the game. However-" his eyes glinted with malevolent intent -"that isn't to say that we can't keep our eyes on them and take a little pleasure in Mr. Wright's suffering. He does deserve it, after all, being that bastard's lover, so let's take a what pleasure we can from it for now and, when the time is right, we can strike at Mr. Edgeworth's heart. We'll give him a diversion that will him him busy for awhile... and off our backs."
Umbrae fairly purred with excitement at the thought and the two men kissed again, not noticing the soft, white light that moved quietly past them to the place where the sleeping Mr. Wright lay, lost in uneasy dreams or the terrified teenager that lay half prone looking at them with wide open violet eyes, struggling in vain to free herself.
They parted after some time, rather reluctantly, and half turned to look at the teenager who struggled to free herself from her bonds. Kaine smiled as he took Umbrae's hand and began slowly walking over to where their victim lay half prone on the floor.
Her eyes widened as they slowly rose up out of the gloom, her struggles increasing, muffled squeals of pure terror coming from behind her gagged mouth.
"You have done well, little Shadow," Kaine said softly, his eyes glinting with a mad light, "she's the perfect morsel for our little diversion." He kissed him soundly again. "Well then... shall we play with our little captive here for awhile?"
Umbrae's maniacal grin said it all. Without another word being spoken, the two men bent down swiftly, swooping down on their helpless victim, glints of steel ricocheting off the knives that sprang to their hands, the girl's muffled, agonized screams the only sound in the stillness as they set to work.
L.A. County Coroner's Office Morgue
Los Angeles, CA
I walked quickly in through the door, nearly breathless with excitement and dread in equal measure. I'd dropped everything that I had been doing this morning when Dr. Partridge had called, saying that she was done with the autopsy and that she had information to share with me; she'd refused to give any details over the phone but that wasn't an unusual occurrence: it was, in fact, her modus operandi since she preferred to talk face-to-face.
My mouth twisted into a sour smirk as I wound my way through the seemingly endless, bustling corridors, nodding in acknowledgement of people I knew who worked there.
I can't imagine what she has to tell me in person that she couldn't tell me over the phone. I hope that it is good news, however; lately, we haven't had much of that!
I at last arrived at the morgue, practically yanking open the door and hurrying in. Dr. Partridge was putting the finishing touches on her autopsy report, the corpse still lying on the metal table covered by a white sheet. I was grateful for her consideration since dead bodies tended to make me feel a bit queasy.
You'd think that I would have been used to it by now, I reflected sourly as I walked over to where she stood, the scratching of pen against paper the only sound in the silent room, I guess some things never change.
"I'll be with you in a moment, Miles," she said, "I just need to finish this report up so I can file it at the end of the day."
"I'm not in any particular hurry, Dr. Partridge," I replied casually, "I can wait until you're done." I may have looked cool outwardly but inwardly I was fair dancing with impatience and I also had no doubt that she would probably pick up on that fact sooner or later.
The corners of her mouth twitched with amusement, her eyes flickering over in my direction briefly before returning to look at the file she held in her hand.
"I know that you're just itching to get started, Miles... I can feel it." She chuckled, her rich, throaty voice thick with amusement. "I'll be with you in a few shakes; just be patient."
I winced noticeably as I walked over to the opposite side of the room, leaning against the wall and crossing my arms over my chest, my index finger tapping against the inside of my arm. Am I that transparent?
She kept her promise; five minutes later, she wrapped up her report, clicking the pen and putting it in the pocket of her white lab coat and snapping the file shut before putting it on the top of her desk for my perusal later. She walked over to the table and turned, beckoning me to come over to where she was standing which I did, standing on the other side from her.
"Can you give me the basics, Dr. Partridge?" I asked.
She nodded. "Yes, I can, Miles and for heaven's sake please call me Elizabeth. You know I don't stand on ceremony."
I chuckled softly. "All right... Elizabeth." She smiled warmly at me. "Can you tell me what killed this poor chap?"
She nodded, her jaw set.
"He died of blunt force trauma due to beheading." She looked at me squarely. "He was alive when his head was taken off..." She paused for a moment, taking a deep breath before continuing, "and it wasn't a very expert beheading, at that."
I swallowed hard, feeling my knees getting weak and I closed my eyes until the moment passed. That poor soul... what a horrible way to die.
She reached down, pulling a corner of the white sheet upward and motioned to me to look. I swallowed hard but did as asked, looking down and recoiling at the sour smell. She pointed to the jagged edges of skin and bone around the cut edges of the neck and I hard a hard time looking at it since my eyes were beginning to water.
"You see that?" she asked, taking pity on me and dropping the sheet back down over the corpse. "Those jagged edges reveal that his head was removed using a dull and rusty blade."
"How do you know that?" I moved quickly away from the table and toward an open window, drawing in deep gulps of breath from the relatively fresh air from outside, willing my queasy stomach to settle down. I knew that it would be unpleasant but I hadn't expected it to be this difficult. Add to that my growing concern about Phoenix's wellbeing in the hands of his twisted captors and I suppose that I could be forgiven for nearly being driven past the limit of my endurance.
"We found chips of rust and removed some small pieces of the blade that were left behind embedded in his skin after his head was removed," she explained, her tone flat but I knew that she was disturbed and, truth be told, so was I, "and it wasn't an accident. Someone deliberately tortured that poor man until they beheaded him."
I felt sick. "Are you sure that there's two involved?"
"Perfectly. There were two sets of footprints leading away from the wall in Mount Carmel cemetery where the body had been flung down from after he was beheaded."
"As I said before, Miles, you're dealing with two very sick individuals here."
"Tell me something I don't know," I muttered mostly under my breath as I looked out of the open window, hoping that Elizabeth's eagle ears wouldn't pick up on it, "I know...only too well what we're up against here."
I knew, more than anyone else, exactly who and what I was dealing with and how far they would go to get back at me, Kaine especially. He'd never forgiven me for his incompetence all those years ago and continued to believe that I was the one who'd killed his brother, despite evidence to the contrary.
How do you reason with a madman hellbent on revenge? I thought, chewing on my lower lip, my hands slowly clenching into fists at my side. He'll never believe that he was the one responsible for Neill's death and will go to his grave blaming me; I suppose it makes his guilt easier to deal with by projecting his failure onto me.
For once, luck was with me since she gave no indication that she'd heard my muttered comment as she continued with her report. I listened with one ear on the information she imparted and one eye on the outside world, my hair blowing gently back from my forehead as a slight breeze blew through the room.
How am I going to fight this man when I don't know where he is or even how he knows what I'm doing? There has to be some way he's keeping tabs on my activities and it's up to us to try and find out exactly how he's doing this.
I nodded absently as Elizabeth made a few more comments about the state of the deceased and reiterated her findings that the corpse had once been an elderly man of about eighty years of age or so at the time of his death which was the result of blunt force trauma due to beheading.
I swallowed again as she finished, her expression stony.
"You'd best find these people quickly, Miles," she said quietly, her agate eyes boring into mine. "They're dangerous to have running around loose out there and heaven help you if they feel they've been cornered."
I shuddered at the thought.
"I'm doing my best, Elizabeth," I replied, taking another deep breath and slowly walking back to where she stood, "and I am under absolutely no illusions about just how dangerous these two individuals are." I squared my shoulders. "I'm making it my personal mission to root them out and put them in a cage where they won't be able to hurt anyone else ever again."
Her eyebrow raised at the "hurt anyone else ever again" line but I was too distraught to really care about linguistic slips; all I could think about was Phoenix and how the danger to him increased every moment that Kaine had him imprisoned.
I could feel my hands start to shake and I stilled them forcefully.
"Is there anything else you would like to add or need to tell me?" I asked.
"Just one more thing, really," she remarked, walking over to her desk and picking up the file that lay on top of it and holding it out to me, "make sure that you read this. It may be useful to you at some point in your investigation."
Her eyes flickered over to the sheet shrouded corpse that lay on the table and her expression softened. "Find the animals that are responsible for this and make damned sure that you take them off the streets for good."
"I aim to do just that," I replied as I took the file from her and turned to leave. I paused, my fingers resting on the knob of the door and looked her straight in the eye, my jaw tightening. "Believe me, I'm going to be making damned sure of it."
And hope that this all works out and I can save him before its too late.