Hi everyone! Just a quick few words - if no one has read the warnings and just clicked in randomly, this story contains cursing and long chapters. There will be two more after this and they will be up either by the time I get bumped off the front page or in three or four days of each other. It is set during the episode "See Me Feel Me Gnomey" and will focus on the villains in said episode. It's been a while since I've dabbled in the fandom and I'm probably rusty. That being said, critique is encouraged and greatly appreciated.
Thank you and please enjoy :D
"Hear me Elders from the Earth, hear me Elders from the Sea! Help me rid this city of its villainous treachery! Reunite above me, reunite above me fathers! Reunite above and send to me a chant to set them free!"
"Chia Li Luf Te Da Ta Sum Tra Mech Eto!"
Ace vomited in the gutter.
Generally he'd wake up in a bitter mood, but this was pushing it. Even hangovers weren't this bad. Hell even coming down off spray paint high and a massive bender didn't feel half this shitty. It felt like something had ripped his insides out through his eyes and mouth and throat and shoved them back in up his ass. Ace was damn near wiling to bet he'd never felt so bad in his life ever, even after a beating from the Powerpukes. Whatever made him hurt this much, he'd never do it again – that was for damn sure.
He heaved, finally out of food and bile to expel, just coughing weakly into the curb. He sniffed, pawing around blindly. It was bright outside. His shades were gone. He couldn't think and barely knew where he was. Last thing he remembered was messing up Townsville. His gang seemed to be on the same wavelength with the other villains. Everyone was busting up everything and having a damn good time about it. He thought he remembered singing – but he was sure that was just his brain fucking with his memory. He also recalled actually beating the Powerpuffs – actually winning for once! Then there was more singing and rain or some shit and then…
Wow this… this was weird.
Ace groaned, covering his eyes, piecing the jumbled mass of the previous events together while he stumbled among rumble. He found a dark spot and collapsed into the dirt, coughing and lurching again. He whined pitifully and curled into a ball, hoping if he made himself smaller there'd be less pain to go around. He remembered more. There was a flower. A red one, and it floated. Had this weird little guy in it. Popped up out of nowhere. Started chanting and saying weird shit. Then this white light came out of nowhere and hit everyone. They screamed. Oh shit they screamed and writhed and were wrenched around in mid-fuckin air. He remembered being scared shitless and running for his damn life.
Ace sneered at himself and tried to stand, gripping the bits of building and hauling himself up. He heaved and spat on the ground, the entirety of him trembling. He couldn't outrun it. He remembered that light hitting him and being in awful pain. He couldn't even make a noise it hurt so badly. Ace tried to breathe and once more opened his eyes, hissing at the light. Why was everything so goddamn bright? The city was a mess- why were people happy? Why were they singing about sunshine and flowers?
Where was everyone?
Ace rubbed his face, wiping his mouth on his sleeve and trying to quell the panic that threatened to make him puke again. He had abandoned them. He had run. Now everyone was gone and he was by himself and lost and shit this sucked so bad he almost heaved again. The thought passed that maybe he was dead and this was hell but he'd never done anything that bad, had he? He never killed nobody or even hurt nobody all that bad. He stole and stuff but that was only to get by and maybe he made a little mischief but he was a kid – when else could he get away with it? And besides - hell was supposed to be all fire and brimstone. This couldn't be hell. Heaven, even if he thought that it might be possible to get in there, wouldn't hurt this much.
"Gotta be alive." Ace murmured, testing his voice. He sounded the same, but his throat hurt enough to get him to clam up a while longer. He tried opening his eyes again, squinting in the bright lights. It was daylight, but even then it was eerily bright. He raised his hands, pressing the heels of his palm into his eyes, rubbing them slowly. Distantly he recognized he didn't have to lift up his shades, and figured that's why it was so bight outside. He'd find them later. There were more… compelling things to investigate. Like where everyone had gone and why it was so damn sunny and bright
And why his hands were pale.
Ace stared at his hands. They weren't pale green pale. He'd been sick and had them go a thin green before. But that wasn't this. They weren't blue like when he got those ice powers, neither. They were pale. Normal. Human peachy pale. Ace shook them, bent his fingers, made sure they were his. His wristbands were still there, he could still do that thing with his thumb and forefinger. He rest of his arms were pale and normally toned, too. He cold only assume the rest of him was – though there was no way to check without stumbling around looking for some non-smashed reflective surface.
This was exceedingly weird.
He had to find someone. Ace couldn't be by himself, not for too long. There were too many questions, too much quiet and alone for him to handle. There had to be someone around here, anyone to talk to – just to let him know he wasn't alone wherever he was. Hell, he wasn't even sure where in the city he was. He needed to find someone, anyone – hopefully someone alive.
Something made a shifting noise behind him. Ace, despite being disoriented and alone and half-horrified and looking for company of any kind, he knew better than to be out in the open. Ace scrambled for cover, hiding lamely behind a pile of rubble and peeking around the side. There was more movement, a soft shuffling. Canvas sneakers came into his field of vision, followed by skinny legs and striped shorts and a tank top on a nervous, overly cautious person. Even in the haze of whatever curse or drug he was coming off of, that grin, that stance, that guy was unmistakable.
Snake dashed over to him, stopping just short of launching himself onto his esteemed leader and clinging to him like a desperate child. The lanky Gangreen wasn't so much a Gangreen anymore. He was peach colored too, though a lot paler than Ace was. The curve in his spine was gone - he stood straight. Same stance and stupid hat and greasy hair hanging in his face. Still skinny as a rail and nervous as all hell but that sure as hell didn't stop him from smiling that giant smile of his and fidgeting like mad. Ace found it in him to smile.
"Boss, boss I'm so glad you're alright." Snake said, nearly trembling as he spoke "I woke up and I couldn't find anyone and then I… found these." He stuck his skinny hand into his pocket and pulled out Ace's shades, folded up carefully and looking no worse for wear. Ace gladly snatched them up out of his hand and slipped them on. "I'm glad you're alright"
"Glad you ain't dead neither. " Ace muttered, feeling marginally better "You see anyone else?"
"No. Just you." Ace eyed him for a moment, which made Snake shift uncomfortably "It's… I…My lisp is gone. I can't hiss like I used to."
"Sucks for you I guess." Ace murmured "Gotta think of a different nickname now."
"Snake will do just fine." He muttered quickly "You're alright, right Ace?"
"Yeah. Just peachy. What, do I look messed up?"
"No worse than a normal. You look the same, really. Just no fangs and no green. You look… human."
Ace nodded thoughtfully and watched his follower. Funny how having one doting lackie made him feel so much better. Snake shifted his feet and waited for orders, looking around occasionally. He seemed a lot better off too, Ace noticed. Maybe, just maybe, things were turning around. Maybe this wasn't hell after all.
Then came the crashing.
The first thunderous noise startled Snake so bad he launched toward Ace, grabbing his arm. He let go a moment later, scared off by his leaders sudden glare. The two gangsters looked around, trying to find the source of the noise.
Snake found it first, pointing upwards, shrinking down and shaking like he'd spotted the Powerpuffs.
Above them, hanging between the buildings, was a great stalk of a rose. It was lined with thorns, all at least twice their size. Between some of the thorns there were large leaves, at least the size of a city bus, its edges serrated like saw blades. A great red rose sat perched at the end of it, its petals shivering in the updraft. It creaked slowly, hanging high above them. Neither boy knew quite how to react, so they stood as still as they could manage.
Finally the plant moved, it's thorn digging into the side of a skyscraper, carving out a large enough gash to send shrapnel hurtling toward the ground – though most of it didn't crash. Rather, in the wake of the rose's thorn, great sprawls of ivy that seemed to leak from the thorn itself caught up the damage. Holding it like a net, it pulled it back toward the building, making quick patchwork of the ruined steel and glass and metal. Some of it still fell, but it was minimal enough to be ignored.
It was quite a sight to see, had either one not been terrified of the large thorns that went through tempered steel so easily falling on top of them. Ace swallowed thickly, staring up at the giant thorns. As if shit hadn't already hit the fan – now they were a short gravity aided drop form certain death. Snake suddenly grabbed his leader around the waist and launched them both into a nearby pile of garbage, compressing them into it, hopefully making themselves seem small and uninteresting.
Despite all this – the fury he should be feeling at his subordinate for shoving him around him like that and the fear of that giant motherfucking plant - Ace could only focus on how Snake was actually taller than him without the curved spine and terrible posture.
The plant creaked above them, swaying in the wind. It paused, hovering, rustling in the air. Nearby noise grew louder, and the plant trembled, dropping slowly toward the earth. Snake pressed closer, willing them into smaller space. Ace tried to hold his breath, tried to keep from noticing that Snake was shaking so bad.
There was more creaking, the wind shuffling through its leaves and thorns, making a low whistle of warning. The wind also carried a different noise, almost a low hum, dragged along half-gone. Ace could make out bits and pieces, sounds of letters, maybe a word. It got louder, overtaking the steady creak and groan of the branch above them. Chanting, growing louder and louder, ever steady like a heartbeat. The creak was mere background. Steady marching, and swishing cloth overtaking it. The chant was clear now.
Snake pulled back as much as he dared, risking the branch's thorns to peek over the rubble. Ace glanced up at him, shifting as much as he could without making noise. Snake glanced down at him, letting him up a little more. Ace could see them. A line. A congregation of what looked like every man, woman, and child in Townsville, dressed in red cloak and pointy red hat. They chanted, "Live my life for the rose," clutching said flower in their hand, their heads bowed in reverence as they stepped along one at a time. It was more than a little unnerving, and the two changed gangsters exchanged glances. What would happen if they were found?
Snake pressed is hand to Ace's shoulder, signaling him to look up and to the right. An alley. They could make a run for it, maybe. The group was getting closer, moving step by step. The stalk of the flower shifted, moving away from the two Gangreen's hiding spot, coming to rest on the street. The asphalt gave way it its wake, splintering under a thorn as if it was no more than paper. Ace gulped in spite of himself, Snake's hand on his shoulder steadying him somewhat. The boss Gangreen looked over his shoulder to the black, welcoming mouth of the alley. They had to make a run for it, before the group got to them. Neither boy knew what they were capable of, or even if they would react – but they'd seen movies. In the movies everyone who was part of a cult, no matter how benevolent seeming, was capable of vicious, messy, painful murder.
Ace went first.
He hadn't so much volunteered as been pushed through a week spot in the refuse, but he ran like hell all the same. He kept running, just in case anyone was on his tail. Snake would be all right. He was faster than him, anyway – and if he wasn't so damn sure why the hell did he push him to go first, anyway?
Ace recognized the bricks, the graffiti, or a least he convinced himself he did. A few turns and he was far enough from the chanting it became muted and choppy. He slowed, bit by bit, until he convinced himself he was far enough away there was enough danger to catch his breath. He gripped the scratchy wall and looked around – everything was doubly dark and he could normally navigate like this, but after being in bright for so long he couldn't see right. He tried walking a little more, and then paused.
Then Snake banged into him and he tripped. Over Lil' Arturo.
"Leader! Estas okay!" The Hispanic chattered happily, crawling out from under his boss.
Ace lifted his head and shook it, focusing his vision. Arturo looked like Arturo, though with the addition of more human skin tone, though he looked to be a bit darker. His under bite had been reduced to near non-existence and his nose went from looking like an outlet to being a bit on the upturned side. He still had the hair-over-the eye thing going on and he was still damn short, and he still chattered away at a million miles a minute. In Spanish no less.
"Lil' Arturo!" Ace snapped, shutting him up quick "Shut the fuck up and breathe. I'm alive so shuddap."
Boss Gangreen sat up, dusting off his shirt. Snake slid of his back belatedly, fidgeting and muttering an apology. Arturo continued to cahtter, pausing every so often to get breath. Ace only half paid attention, looking around for his other two lackies. Just two more and everything would be fine. They'd just have to come up with a different name for their gang.
"Leader." Arturo said quickly, bouncing on the balls of his feet "We found others."
"We?" Ace asked, getting to his feet finally "Who's 'we'?"
"Si. Me and Big Billy. We found some others. Oh you not gonna like dis, Ace."
Ace followed him anyway. He wasn't curious so much as looking for ways to shut the short Hispanic up for a few minutes. Snake fell into step behind him, peeking over his shoulder. Arturo stopped his talking just long enough to knock squeeze through a fence and tell the other two to climb over. So they did.
Arturo had been right – Ace didn't like what he saw.
Sitting in a vacant lot were the remaining villains in Townsville – or so they reported. Big Billy, Sedusa, Princess, and Mojo Jojo were all there, but altered. Big Billy was still massive and dumb as a box of bricks, but he was no longer green and now sported two eyes instead of his large blue Cyclops eye. Sedusa was restively the same; though instead of her hair twisting and squirming like snakes it lay flat on her head, shiny and black and altogether uninteresting. Princess, for her part, was basically the same, though she ranted and raved, stamping her feet and complaining about her suit being a piece of junk. The most severely changed, however, was Mojo. The super genius chimp had been reduced to normal chimp, skittering about all over the place. Currently Big Billy had a firm hold on him, and Mojo chattered happily, attempting to clamber over his large back.
"Where's Grubber?" Ace asked, largely unimpressed with their ramblings and stories about how they found each other.
"We eh… We though 'e was wit you." Arturo mumbled, shrinking back towards Big Billy to avoid being hit.
"We ain't seen him." Ace snapped.
"Well he's not the only one missing." Sedusa pointed out, playing with a dead lock "Him and Fuzzy are gone too."
"And the Ameoba boys." Snake mentioned
"Who cares about them?" Princess cried, "Why isn't my suit working! If one of you messed it up you are SO going to be sued!"
"So they're just… gone." Ace snarled, ignoring the little girl "Is that what you're telling me? 'Cause that sounds like a bunch of bullsh-"
"Ace, dear, watch you mouth." Sedusa cooed, stopping him mid sentence "There are children present."
"Ask me if I care." He growled, daring her.
Snake broke the stare down, slithering between them. He swallowed, hoping he wouldn't be hit or smacked for interrupting. He wrung his hands and hung his head a bit, reminding them about the flower and the gnome and the possible cult genocide that could maybe take place if they were to stick around for much longer. This, aside from frightening the not so villainous villains who had no idea about the newly founded cult, made the situation seem bleak and terrible. The lot of them fell silent – even Mojo, who had been nearly shrieking the entire time, perched quietly on Big Billy's shoulder.
"So… where can we go?" Princess asked, looking around at the adults she, under any other circumstances, could have brought and sold twenty seven times over. Each.
Again there was silence. They shifted and looked around, hoping someone would come up with a plan. No one wanted to speak. They all hoped someone, anyone, would be able to think up something to keep them safe, even if it was just for the night. Somewhere safer than this vacant lot.
"Home?" Snake said finally, out of the blue.
The group turned its attention to Snake suddenly. The quick shift made him twitch, but he stood in place, shifting his weight. Maybe talking had been a bad idea. Everyone was looking at him like he'd grown an extra head. Ace too. His brow was raised above a shade but that was it. Snake cringed again and wrung his hands. This was a bad idea. Why did he have to open his big mouth-?
"C'mon." Ace said finally, turning on his heel "It's this way."
Thanks for reading! Again, criticism and reviews are greatly appreciated. Also, if you spot any disruptions in coding feel free to call me on that as well.