TITLE: Mon Frere
DISCLAIMER: Not mine.
A/N: Side shot in the Chosen-verse. Takes place between The Chosen One and Aftermath. Shout out to RevDorothyL who was kind enough to point out some rather embarrassing typos :S Thank you!
The glade was sheltered from the midday sun by the leaves of the trees growing over it. A small trickle of water sounded along the far side, the light dappling on the water as it broke through the gaps in the branches.
It was a beautiful day on Gyran.
Shaelyn looked over to where Greta and Maria were throwing dark berries at one another. Carrie stifled a grin at their antics. Becca decided to end things by dumping some of her water on her sister's, making them shout and laugh. They all shared the same slim, willowy body type, all shared the dark blue eyes and brown curls their mother had. The boys in town liked looking at the Ko girls, liked making remarks about them.
Which is why Franklin Ko was always so damn edgy.
Well, that and the fact that the townsfolk hated them.
Shaelyn heard a strange sound and stood, pushing aside one of the branches so she could see the sky.
Her blood ran cold.
Shaelyn ran faster than she'd ever run before. The sight of the barbaric Reaver ship had turned her blood to ice, sending her feet flying back towards the town centre. She held Greta tightly in her arms, pushing herself forward as she clung to her youngest sister. Maria, Becca and Carrie were on her heels, bolting after their older sibling as fast as they could. She would turn her head occasionally, checking to make sure they were following behind her. They had abandoned the baskets of blueberries they had been picking, Shaelyn barking out the order to run as soon as the ship had broken atmo.
As she entered the town square her breath caught in her throat. The entire town was running towards the Hall, the huge building that had been reinforced for just such an occasion. As she pushed herself forward she tried not to think about the recent damage to the building. As if the floods weren't enough, now they were being attacked by Reavers.
The 'verse had become a slightly safer place when the Miranda broadwave had occurred, but the few remaining Reavers were undeterred by their depleted numbers. The attacks were fast, vicious, and survivors often took their own lives rather than remember the horrors they had witnessed. Or worse, become Reavers themselves.
A vile stench hit her nose as they approached the Hall, dried blood and the scent of decay lacing the air like a foul perfume. She turned back, seeing the small army of violent animals running towards her. She kept running until she realized that the massive wooden doors were being shut. She saw her father's horrified face, his screaming voice demanding the doors stay open. Whoever was closing them didn't listen, and Franklin Ko watched as his daughters disappeared from sight, his eyes filled with dread and horror.
Shaelyn cursed as she spun, looking for somewhere, anywhere else they could take cover. The army was getting closer, running faster than Shaelyn or her sisters could, and she looked around in desperation for some kind of weapon to use. She wished she had packed the small pistol her father had gifted her with when her mother had died, knowing that a bullet through the eye was a better death for her sisters than what was likely to happen.
She didn't want to die at 24. Greta was only ten, Maria and Becca 21, and sweet Carrie had just had her 20th birthday only yesterday. And today they would die.
She felt hot tears streaming down her face as she bolted towards the well. She wouldn't have long, would only be able to force their heads underwater for a few moments, but maybe it would be enough. And then she would be left, alone, to be torn to pieces by the hideous monsters approaching.
She quickly kissed her four sisters as she lowered Greta to the well. He voice shook. "I love you. Now put your heads here – we'll hide underwater." The lie felt like poison in her mouth, stinging her tongue and causing her throat to close over. Her sisters all looked at her with the same mix of fear and knowledge. They knew what she was really saying. No matter – she was about to do them a kindness. Tears continued to stream down her face as she told them she loved them.
Suddenly she heard a barrage of rounds being fired off. She looked up. There in the air were five men. Their faces were contorted, their teeth elongated, and massive black wings were sprouting out of their backs, keeping them afloat.
Carrie screamed at the sight of them, momentarily forgetting the Reavers approaching. Shaelyn turned. They weren't firing at her – they were firing at the Reavers.
She heard the guns click to empty, having felled about twenty Reavers, leaving behind at least thirty more. One of the men grinned, whooping loudly as he flew towards the hoards. The other four, who could only be his brothers given their similarity, shouted their own battle cries, diving into the fray.
Shaelyn struggled not to cry. Whatever those things were they were trying to help, and they were about to get torn apart. Only…she looked carefully at the battle. Reavers were being thrown around like rag dolls, vicious blows tearing through their numbers. Swords were produced, slicing through the violent army with ease.
And all throughout she heard that same, maniacal laughter, filled with glee. She crouched down low behind the fountain, dragging her sisters down with her. They formed a protective ball around Greta, who was whimpering. Shaelyn had never been prouder than at that moment. She heard the vicious sounds of battle ringing through the air, the laughter never ceasing, sending shivers up her spine.
Finally the noise stopped.
She Carrie's curious head down as she poked her own over the edge of the fountain. The dust was settling, and her eyes widened as she took in the sight of the massacred army. She heard Carrie gasp at her side and turned, following her sister's eyes.
Two men were crouched down behind them. Both were wearing the clothing of the monsters that had come to their rescue, the same cargo pants and black wife beaters, strapped with bandoliers of ammunition and heavy guns.
But their faces looked so normal, almost…handsome. A few feet away she could see the other three men. They were all tall, heavily built, their exposed arms thick with muscle. Various tattoos adorned said muscle, their piercing blue eyes staring at the bundle of girls.
Shaelyn stood slowly. She felt another burst of pride when Carrie, Becca and Maria did the same, pushing Greta behind them, a wall of protection. Shaelyn felt her blue eyes blazing as she stared up at the man on the left. He looked to be the oldest of the group, although it was hard to guess their real ages.
She narrowed her eyes. "What do you what?" Her voice was venomous. The man standing closest to her chuckled darkly. "She's an' angry one, ain't she?"
The man next to him nodded, his eyes serious. "That she is Thomas, must be thinkin' we're somethin' worse than them Reavers." Shaelyn sneered at him with more bravado than she felt. She had seen their eyes rake over her and her sisters with undisguised interest, and knew enough about fighters who demanded payment. "Whatever you want you can take from me – just leave my sisters out of this, dong ma?"
The one called Thomas raised an eyebrow. "An' now she reckons we're after some trim? Honestly Marcus, it's gettin' ta be that ya can't help folk out no more."
A voice sounded from behind them. "Naw, she's jus' worried. Seein' monsters'd set a body on edge, right girlie?"
The man was perched on the edge of the fountain. Greta was walking forward towards him, only to be snatched back by Carrie. Maria snarled at the man. "If you don't want payment what're you after?"
The man behind them chuckled. "Nuthin' darlin', jus' makin' sure y'all're alright." Becca took a step towards the man by the fountain. Shaelyn watched his eyes rake over her sister's slim form. Becca's voice was very quiet. "You looked different before."
The man nodded warily, his eyes narrowing, like he was waiting for an attack. Becca was standing right in front of him now. "What's your name?" The man cast a quick glance to the one named Marcus, who nodded carefully. He looked back at Becca. "I'm Lucas."
She smiled at him as she held out a hand. "Thank you for saving us Lucas – I'm Becca." Lucas' eyes were sparkling as he took her hand, grinning widely. "Pleased ta meet ya Becca."
Shaelyn felt the air behind her move and was surprised when she turned straight into the chest of the one they called Marcus. When she looked up his blue eyes were serious, they looked angry about something, and Shaelyn fought the urge to flinch. His voice was low and harsh. "Why were y'all out here? Rest o' yer town's in that big Hall."
Shaelyn held her head up defiantly. "They locked us out. Pa tried to stop them, but Lord Merchant has been waiting for a chance to get rid of us." Another man stepped forward. "Why?"
Shaelyn was silent but Greta piped up. "Ma and Pa weren't married – townsfolk didn't like it. Then when Shae said she didn't want to marry Damien Carlson they all got mad."
Marcus turned. "Kale, Lucius, scout that Hall." The one named Thomas stepped forward as the other two ran towards the building. "Don't you worry – we know what it feels like ta not fit in."
Marcus grunted once, obviously to silence his brother, and Shaelyn looked at him closely. Those serious eyes were filled with sadness, as Thomas' had been. She looked back to where Becca was still standing next to Lucas, who was giving her a brilliant smile, kissing her hand and tucking a stray curl behind her ear. The one called Thomas was moving to stand next to Maria, giving the same charming smile as his brother had. Shaelyn thought she caught a flash of red in his eyes as he grinned at her sister.
Shaelyn looked back to Marcus. "What are you?" He stared at her evenly. "Somethin' even Reavers are afraid of." Shaelyn couldn't help herself. She thought of what had almost happened today, how close she'd come to losing the four people most important in the whole world to her. The expression was completely involuntary. She smiled. "Well then I guess we owe you some thanks."
Marcus shook his head, turning to where Kale and Lucius were running back. Shaelyn could have sworn she saw the big man blush. Lucius nodded once at Marcus, who nodded in return, whatever they were communicating was unspoken. He turned back to Shaelyn. "We're gonna go check on yer people in the hall. Glad yer alright."
He turned to go and Shaelyn grabbed his thick arm. She gave him a grateful smile. "Thank you – we never…nobody has ever…just…thank you." Marcus nodded once, briefly placing one hand over the one Shaelyn still had on his arm. She would never know why she did what she did next, but Shaelyn Ko quickly rose to her tiptoes and planted a kiss on his cheek. Marcus was definitely blushing now, and she could hear his brother's sniggering around him. A ghost of a smile twitched at his lips. Then he turned to his brothers. "Let's go."
One by one they leapt to the sky, huge wings spreading out, flying towards the townhall.
Shaelyn turned to her sisters. Becca had a shy smile on her face, and Maria was watching their saviours exit with interest. Carrie grinned at Shaelyn. "Well, that was weird." Shaelyn nodded. "Still, better than what could have happened."
They looked up to see their father bolting towards them, tears streaming down his face, laughing with joy and relief as he tumbled into his daughters, kissing and hugging them as if his life depended on it.
Shaelyn would later wonder exactly what 'checking' on the townsfolk those strange men actually did. Things went back to normal, lives went on unhindered, nobody said anything about what had happened that day.
But never again was an ill word spoken about the Ko sisters.
A/N: No point really, just wanted to see our lovely boys in action.