Author's Note:

Gah. I'm sorry doesn't really cut it. I've left this far too long to update. But, I do have reasons. My best friend has only recently come out of hospital after having been in intensive care for three weeks with a brain virus. I honestly had no incentive to write at all during that time. But here I am. Back again. I cannot promise that the updates will be frequent until just after January, since I have big exams coming up that month and I have to use this month to revise. Fun fun fun, as our good old friend Rebecca Black would say. Anyway, my lovelies. Read on. Again, I'm sorry for the delay. And for those who are loyal still to my blog on tumblr, I apologise for the lack of MCR. It's not that I don't still love them to bits I'm just way more into blogging about Supernatural now xD PS. Props to those who spot the Supernatural reference I make in this chapter ;D

By now, the route to Battery City was scarily familiar to all of them. They knew that roughly three hours into their journey they would enter the first sign of the past world - a desolate town with ruins similar to that of Ghost Town, but Cherri had told them before that there was no use stopping for supplies from here on in - everything was empty. Nothing left in any house on any shelf whatsoever. Grit and desert sand washed into lower floor windows which had been smashed to the wooden frames; shells of cars which had sunken into the ground and had begun corrode from old acid rain. They drove through in silence, merely staring into the broken homes and trying not to think about the people who had refused to leave when others fled for the city - the skeletons of rotting souls draped over couches, or tucked under moth-eaten blankets in their beds. When they passed through to the other side, they could see the next town in the distance, breaking jaggedly on the horizon. The breath they hadn't realised they'd been holding let out as they reached the other side of that, greeted by open road and an empty skyline which would continue on for a while. Poison stared at the disappearing town in the wing mirror of the Trans-Am whilst chewing the inside of his cheek.

This was his past once. With bustling people hurrying to their jobs, kids playing on the sidewalk, the elderly taking strolls in the park.

This was his present. Right now in this car. Surrounded by echoes of death and destruction. But that was going to change now. It was all going to change now.

This was all his future. One day he would go through this all again - move to Battery City, become a Draculoid, meet Party Poison; help save the world.

The world was pretty fucked up.

But he'd be the one to put it right.

When the mountains which hid Battery City appeared on the horizon, Ghoul put his foot down harder on the accelerator. Cherri had begrudgingly allowed him to drive the last leg of the journey, whilst she sat wearily in the seat beside him. She squinted when colourful, moving dots became visible by the gate.
"We didn't even have to ask them," Cherri escalated with a small smile. "But they stayed anyway."
"Some of the killjoys. They're patrolling the gates. They must have been there since we closed them." The admiration in her voice was clear. The Trans-Am screeched to a halt beside a loudly painted van, and Cherri snapped at Ghoul about ruining tires and such whilst the others opened the door of the other recently parked van which held Static and the rest. Cherri greeted the patrol killjoys who had walked over.
"We've had no trouble," a blue-haired man answered. He gave off an exceptional air of authority which made him quite intimidating. He was handsome and huge - thick with muscle and about a head over Jet's height, which was saying something. Yet his eyes looked weakened as he gazed upon Cherri and the others. "It's been quiet."
"Good. Well, we've given them enough time to wake up out of their drug state." The male killjoy shifted from foot to foot.
"What if they all have drug supplies?" Cherri shook her head.
"They probably do. But from what I've gathered from the city's Transmissions in the past is that they have to be told to take the drugs via Transmission every day. Seems like there must still be a part of their subconscious still fighting the drug, if they aren't willing to take the drugs without being told." The killjoy nodded and beckoned his group over. Other groups followed.
"We'll stay with you. Act as your back up."
"Are you sure?" Cherri asked, and let out a gasp when he dropped to one knee and bowed his head. "What are you doing?" He lifted his head, face serious.
"You - all of you," he began, looking past Cherri to the Killjoys behind her, "have our upmost and complete respect." The other groups dropped to their knees on cue. It was indescribable. It felt so humbling, that some of them almost had to look away. The blue-haired male stood once more and shook Cherri's hand. "My name is Finch. It truly is an honour to meet you." Cherri blushed deeper but reclaimed her own composure and authority quickly.
"We need to move now, and get in there and be settled before sun down tonight. How are we going to open the gates?"
A blonde female killjoy with an aged scar cutting across her cheek spoke up.
"A lot of us have rope in our cars. We can tie our vehicles to the bars and try it that way?"

In the time that followed, eight trucks and three cars were fastened by their bumpers to the gate via long lengths of thick rope. The drivers revved their engines, a few sharing competitive looks. Upon Kobra's signal, wheels squealed and the vehicles tore away, sand and dust flying up in their wake. When they reached their maximum point when the rope wouldn't stretch any further, the creak from the gates was almost deafening. They both bent drastically as they slowly opened outwards, and by the time there was enough space for the largest vehicle to get through, it all stopped. The killjoys congratulated one another accordingly. With two groups offering to stay keeping watch at the gates, Cherri lead the way in the Trans-Am, and one by one they disappeared into the darkness of the tunnel.

The drive through the tunnel was done with bated breath - no one knew what havoc was taking place on the other side. Had the Draculoids gone rogue in their transformation back to humanity and killed the innocent people in the city? Had their whole attack on Battery City been in vain?

When they finally passed out of the tunnel, bright sunlight hit their eyes, reflecting off of the gleaming white buildings that towered around them. The highway snaked between them, high above the suburbs below. There was no sign of life in the skyscrapers. No movement. Poison inhaled slowly. The headquarters was growing ever closer. They had so many things to do here. So many places to go.

Vehicles parked on the other side of the bridge, the killjoys stood before the headquarters and stared.

The courtyard was empty.

Too empty.

When they had left, blood from the dead killjoys who had been pulled out had been splattered across the ground. Now it was spotless. As though no fight had even taken place.
"I...just...what?" Ghoul began.
"We cleaned up," came a deep voice from their right, and they all turned to see a group of men in Draculoid attire standing holding mops and brooms. The top of their white overalls hung around their waists, and their masks were gone altogether.
"I don't...quite know what to say?" Cherri managed, stepping forwards ever so slightly. The Drac who had spoken before shook his head.
"Of course you don't. This is the least we could do after what happened."
Gerard started walking towards them, ignoring Static's quiet pleas for him to stay still.
"You all remember?" he asked in awe, stopping a few metres from the group. The Drac nodded.
"We all remember. The last few years. The fight. The...the blood." They all tensed noticeably. "I...we...can't even begin with how sorry we all are."
"Don't be sorry," Cherri sighed, walking past Gerard and holding her hand out to the Drac. "You had no idea what was happening. Hell, we hardly did not so long ago. You aren't to blame for your actions." The Drac smirked at her hand that waited open in front of him, and shook it.
"I take it you're the people to help sort this shit hole out?" Cherri nodded. Their hands remained linked, but Cherri suddenly gasped in pain as his hand crushed down on hers. He yanked her closer so he could talk straight into her face. The angry click of ray guns filled the air. "A warning, lady," he hissed, his face full of rage, "if you try to take control of us just like that company did, we will ALL join forces and KILL you." Cherri growled and snatched her hand back, whipping her gun out and pointing it at his face.
"You think that after all these years fighting what BL/ind stood for, we will do it to you again? After losing our brothers and sisters in that fight, you think we'll just forget those people DIED to save YOU, and put you back on the drugs? IS THAT WHAT YOU THINK?" By now the other Draculoids had backed away, but Cherri had her gun pressed into the dip of his throat.
"I'm sorry! But don't you think we'd be a bit afraid of this sort of thing?" The fear in his face was almost laughable. Taking a deep breath, Cherri pulled her gun away.
"I promise you we are only trying to put right what BL/ind made wrong. You have nothing to fear. Life will be better now." The Drac rubbed his neck, but his glare broke and what replaced it was a look of acceptance.
"We need guidance," he admitted. "But not control."
"Guidance is what we're offering. And protection."
The Draculoids exchanged glances.
"My name is Benjamin Novak," the Drac said, turning back to the killjoys. "We will tell you what you need to know, and help you in any way we can."