Did my wittle fans miss my wittle Van Caesar fics? I thought so. *pats fans on heads* Never fear, Solora is here! My series of VC fics continues with a plot-filled little Twoshot. Enjoy!
Van Kleiss looked at his army with an expression of pride and bloodlust on his face. "Perfect..." He whispered, carefully analyzing each Evo in front of him.
He had taken full advantage of the mass migration of various birds that happened during the late fall. Now, there were hundreds of winged creatures that resembled everything from pterodactyls to phoenixes.
The ground troops consisted entirely of a warren of rabbits Biowulf had happened upon. Quick breeding ensured massive numbers. They hardly resembled bunnies anymore as they snarled and scratched at the sparse grass under their paws.
The time to attack Providence was now.
"Breach, prepare a portal." Van Kleiss glanced over his shoulder at the twenty-foot hole in space and time that Breach was opening. "Biowulf, are the troops ready?"
"Yes, Master." Biowulf bowed his head. "We will send in half of the birds first to draw the fire. Then, we'll release the ground troops. The second half of the aerial force will then come in to clean up whatever is left.
"Very good." Van Kleiss nodded approvingly.
"Master...?" Skalamander hesitantly spoke up.
"Um...well...isn't Caesar going to be there?"
The three subordinate members of the Pack exchanged millisecond-long glances at this statement. It was no secret that the Latino Providence scientist was a frequent nightly visitor. Nor was it a secret how much Van Kleiss enjoyed these little...what would they be called? Dates? That didn't seem right for some reason.
The red eyes of the Pack's leader glittered for a moment before dimming once more. Their bearer smiled calmly. "Caesar is a scientist, not a soldier. He will not be on the battlefield. The building will be overrun and anyone inside will be blockaded. Then, we will give those people a chance to escape death, an open invitation to join us. We could always use more intellectuals working on our side." His mind decisively shut down the obvious probability that Caesar would have nothing to do with him after this. 'He will understand. We are on opposing sides of a war. He will understand and maybe, in time, I can sway him toward the right path. Being trapped in a building for a few weeks always serves to change one's thinking. He's a smart boy. He'll come around.'
"Master?" Breach spoke up, her chartreuse eyes shining hopefully. "After we win, can I keep Rex?"
Van Kleiss allowed an indulging smile to come to his face. "As long as he doesn't distract you from your duties." 'I suppose it's only fair, considering the fact that I intend to keep his brother. Caesar will be happy knowing that Rex will be taken care of, I'm sure.' He turned to his waiting lieutenant. "Proceed, Biowulf. Remember: I want prisoners this time around. Don't kill unless you have to." He flexed his golden glove with a smirk. It would be much more enjoyable to approach the weak, mutilated bodies of various Providence soldiers and revive them as members of his army. Many new faces would join his ranks today. He could feel it!
With a bloodthirsty roar, Biowulf shot through the portal, followed by a flock of five hundred mutated birds. Their cries were nearly deafening, but Van Kleiss smiled. This was music to his ears!
"Beautiful!" Caesar watched as the sample of DNA sickened and shriveled into a lifeless state. "You are working like a charm, my friend!" He caressed the test tube in his hand. "You will revolutionize Evo-fighting weaponry for sure. Good job. Now, let's see how you do when loaded into capsules."
"Talking to your equipment again? Man, you seriously need a date."
"Hey, mijo!" The Latino scientist put down the glass container and turned toward the door. "What's happening?"
Rex pouted. "I've been demoted to errand-boy, since there's nothing else to do. Holiday wants to know how your Matter-Whatever is doing."
"Organic-Matter-Dissolving-Apparatus. OMDA, I'm calling it." Caesar grinned. "This latest test was a success!"
"What does it do?" Rex asked. He held up a hand as his older brother opened his mouth. "And please explain it in English."
A chuckle escaped Caesar's throat. "Very well. Basically, this chemical dissolves organic matter. So, if loaded into a capsule and fired at an incurable Evo..."
"It'll be like dumping salt on a slug!" Rex finished, his eyes shining. "Sweet!"
"Of course, it would only be used as a last resort: if you couldn't cure the Evo and there was no way to contain it without endangering anyone."
Rex nodded, boosting himself up to sit on one of the empty tables. "So..." He raised his eyebrows, grinning.
"So what?" Caesar replied.
"So, when are you gonna tell me her name?"
"I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about." Caesar promptly replied, pretending to busy himself with another test tube.
"Come on, bro! I'm not an idiot! Last week, you had a big red mark on your neck."
"And fell on your neck?"
"The statistics of such things happening have been getting higher over the past few years..."
Rex smirked. "Okay, man. Keep it a secret if you want, but I have my sources. I'll find out who she is sooner or later." With that, he strode out of the room.
Caesar whispered, in a voice that was too quiet for Rex to hear, "I hope not..."
The best part of any attack is when the enemy first realizes what is happening. They get a fearful gleam in their eyes and the whole area seems to let out a collective gasp of terror. For an instant, it is obvious that they are doomed and that they know it. No matter how many times Van Kleiss staged such an occurrence, this part never got old.
He smiled serenely as the alarms in the great white building started going off. Faintly, like the hum of a mosquito, people were shouting orders to their subordinates. There was still a twinge of anxiety left over from the initial shock. There was always a period of time between the fear at the beginning and the stoic determination afterward that was a mixture of both. This was also entertaining.
Sadly, this piece of fancy faded as the scared response changed to an all-out resistance. 'Ah well.' Van Kleiss mentally shrugged. 'Nothing lasts forever.' Pausing to absorb some nanites from an unfortunate rabbit, he raised his hands, sending thorned vines to wrap around his approaching human opponents.
Meanwhile, Biowulf was leaping into the fray, allowing his mind and soul to be engulfed with the joy of the hunt. His eyes flashed with excitement as he ran from person to person, slashing and throwing human bodies as he went. He sniffed the coppery aroma of blood and let out a joyful howl. This was what he was meant to do. He didn't care that he wasn't allowed to finish anyone off. There would be time for that in the future. For now, the feeling of claws sinking into soft flesh, the fear in the eyes of those he tore down...it was simply beautiful!
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
Caesar pressed a finger to his communicator. "Sir?"
White Knight's voice was urgent. "Caesar, get those capsules you've been working on. We need all the help we can get."
"Where should I bring them?"
"I can't spare any transports to take them from you. You'll have to go out and take them to the back ranks. Afterward, get back inside and see if you can make any more. Don't stay out there a second longer than necessary. White out." Click.
The young scientist nodded once, even though he knew White couldn't see him, and began gathering his supplies. 'Van Kleiss...' His eyes narrowed as he rushed toward the door. 'You won't get away with this!'
The wails of the sirens were adding to the symphony of screams, gunshots, and gnashing teeth. Still, Van Kleiss frowned: Providence was getting better at responding to attacks. Despite the Pack's close proximity, they still hadn't secured the great white building. A barrier of tanks stood between them and their quarry. 'We'll have to sneak Biowulf, Skalamander, and Breach behind the ranks a little earlier than I had intended...'
Nodding once to his waiting subordinate, he watched Breach jump down from her position on one of the giant Evos' heads and shoot her portals out toward the fighting Skalamander and Biowulf before leaping through one herself.
"Here you go!" Caesar handed the case up to one of the grunts before starting back toward the doors. Then, he stopped. 'It...would be pretty nice to see my invention in action...' Slowly, promising himself to run indoors directly after he watched one shot, he turned around and looked up at the tank.
Then, everything went black.
Biowulf's eyes widened. His bloodlust was replaced with horror. 'He wasn't supposed to be out here...' He jumped back, snarling in disgust at the blood on his claws. "Breach!" He called over his shoulder. "Take us back to Van Kleiss!" He backed away as a pair of Providence grunts ran forward to stand over their fallen comrade.
"What? Why-Oh!" Breach froze as she saw the bleeding form on the ground. "Oh no..." An anguished howl combined with an angry shout caused her to snap her head back up. "Biowulf!" The wolf Evo was being crushed underneath Rex's Smack Hands.
Immediately, she held out her large hands and portalled herself, Biowulf, and Skalamander back to their master's side.
Van Kleiss spun around. "What is the meaning of-?" He froze at the sight of his lieutenant. Biowulf had fallen in a crumpled heap on the ground. A quick word from Breach caused his eyes to widen even more. After a moment of indecision, looking at Biowulf's battered form and digesting the new information he had been given, he nodded his head. "Take us back to Abysus." He glanced toward his army. "This attack is over..."
A red glow appeared over Providence. Then, Van Kleiss's army was gone, as if they had never been there.
Caesar groaned as his eyes opened. It felt as if his eyelids were superglued together. Every limb ached and he was aware of a wet sensation where the worst of the pain resided. It made him sick to his stomach, but he was too weak to double over and vomit. Come to think of it, there wasn't anything in his stomach to eject.
"Caesar?" An anxious voice sounded in his ear. A slight pressure became apparent on his uninjured shoulder. "Are you okay?"
At first, all he could see was white light and shadows. Then, as he squinted, the shadows took shape. Then, the shapes were given individual form. He finally realized that his brother was sitting next to him in one of the Providence hospital beds. A smile spread across his face, quickly disappearing as the action caused his chapped lips to bleed. "Hey, mijo." He whispered. "What happened?"
Rex grinned, relief bright on his face. "Van Kleiss snuck the Pack into the back ranks with Breach's portals while his army tore up the front. Biowulf mauled you pretty badly. Don't worry, though." He held up a fist. "I returned the favor tenfold!"
'Biowulf.' Caesar turned away and stared down at the ghostly sheets. A quick self-check told him that his right arm was heavily bandaged, there was a large piece of gauze taped over his left cheek, his left leg was tightly bound, and his back was completely numb. "How badly did we fare?"
Rex smiled comfortingly. "No one died this time, thankfully. After I pummeled Biowulf, he retreated. Then, VK just withdrew everyone. Good thing too. Any longer and we would've been in serious trouble."
"Yeah..." Caesar forced himself to smile as he ruffled his brother's hair with his unbandaged left hand. "Great job, mijo."
"I was pretty awesome, huh?" Rex laughed before standing up. "You should get some more sleep, okay? I'll check on you later. I think Holiday needs to re-bandage a few of those gashes."
"How bad is it?"
"Eh..." Rex rubbed the back of his neck. "Holiday explained it in medical terms, so I'm not really sure... I think you have a slashed up arm, leg, face, and back. Your back got the worst of it. Nothing was broken, just a heck of a lot of skin and muscle." He winced a little at the thought. "Well, the chick's will dig the scars anyway."
Caesar had to chuckle at this statement. "I'm sure they will." After Rex left, however, his face grew grave. 'Van Kleiss organized that attack.' He scrunched his eyes shut. 'He could have killed my coworkers. My friends.'
Biowulf let out a yelp as Breach tightened the rough material around his arms. At the same time, Van Kleiss was carefully gluing together the rips in the wolf Evo's metal armor. He fell back to the ground as soon as his treatment was done, his red eyes dim against the gray blankets of his bed. "I will be fit to serve you once more in a few days, Master..." He rasped.
Van Kleiss's scarlet eyes flashed. "I'll be the judge of when you are fit to serve. You will stay in your room until told otherwise." He turned away, scolding himself as he had when he had first returned to Abysus. 'I'm going soft... An opportunity for an attack like that won't come again. They will certainly up security before I can build up my army once more...'
But, imagining Caesar in a bloody heap on the ground... 'No!' Van Kleiss shook his head impatiently and walked toward the door.
"Master?" Biowulf called hesitantly. "I stopped when I saw who it was. I made sure to not hurt him anymore. His wounds shouldn't be life-threatening."
At this, Van Kleiss had to turn around to face his second in command. His eyes were filled with pain. "Right now, you are my first concern. Rest well and do not do any training until you are fully recovered." He schooled his expression back to its usual cold, commanding appearance. "That is an order."
"Yes, Master." Biowulf curled up on the blankets and allowed sleep to take him.
Van Kleiss stared at the wolf for a moment before turning to Breach. "You are dismissed."
Breach nodded wordlessly and took her leave.
"I can't see. How does it look?" Caesar looked over his bare shoulder at Holiday as she changed his bandages. He had been bedridden for three days. The other day, he had finally been allowed to rest in his own room.
"Like a giant cat decided to use you as a scratching post." She replied frankly, tightening the new wraps and standing up straight. "Now, let's take a look at your arm." Holiday carefully undid the bandages and nodded in approval. The large scabs over the scratches were turning a darker shade of brown, a sign of improvement underneath. "As long as you don't do any heavy lifting, these should heal completely."
"Aw. No scars?" Caesar grinned jokingly.
Holiday rolled her eyes as she took the gauze from his face. "You should get away with at least two on your back. I'm sure that'll be more than enough for your man-pride." She looked at him for a moment before nodding and putting the cloth into the garbage. "Well, at least your face is all better."
"What about my leg?" Caesar glanced down at his left leg. "What's your verdict there?"
"Your leg got off easy." Holiday replied, packing up her equipment. "Biowulf's attack was focused on your torso. His strategy isn't usually to disable, but to kill."
"Yeah..." Caesar stared fixedly at his hands, his face turning grim.
Holiday, mistaking her patient's expression for one of contemplation of his close encounter with death, patted him on the shoulder. "Don't think too much about it, okay?"
Caesar forced a smile and nodded. "Okay." 'Fat chance...'
"You can run two laps around the castle, but that's it. Do you understand?" Van Kleiss glared down at the recovering Biowulf.
"Yes, Master." His voice was disgruntled but obedient.
"And you are to go to sleep right afterward."
"You may go now."
"Yes, Master." Biowulf started toward the door, hesitated, and turned back. "Master...have you been to see Caesar yet?"
Van Kleiss narrowed his eyes for a moment before turning away. "You may go now, Biowulf." He repeated.
"Yes, Master." The wolf Evo bowed his head before exiting.
It was a difficult decision. For a moment, Caesar was positive that he wouldn't be able to go through with it. Then, thinking about what could have happened during that battle, he hardened his reserve and did it.
Whenever Van Kleiss came to him, the portal always appeared in the same spot: right next to the headboard of Caesar's bed, where the Evo man could immediately bend down to plant a kiss on his neck.
It was at this moment when he was greeted with a face full of chemicals.
Caesar's eyes were hardened as he sat up and, with one swift move, uncorked the vial that he had hidden under his pillow and threw its contents upon his visitor as he came through a red and black portal. "I was beginning to wonder if you'd come." He snarled.
Van Kleiss winced at the venom in the younger man's voice. Of course, he had been expecting it. It still hurt... Then, a whole new pain overtook him. His face was burning! 'That liquid he threw on me!' Stuffing his right hand into his mouth to muffle a scream, he fell to his knees.
The young scientist left Van Kleiss writhing on the floor and walked toward his desk, making sure to take his time though the Evo's whimpers made him want to weep. He walked back over, holding a tube in his hand. He knelt down and began to spread the contents over Van Kleiss's rapidly-deepening burns. "That was a warning." His voice was cold as he applied the antidote to his chemical on the older man's pale skin. He had been working in his lab developing the substance for this purpose. "Next time, I won't use a drop of this. You will slowly be eaten away until there is nothing left." He placed the tube on his bed and stood up.
"I suppose I deserved that..." Van Kleiss's voice broke. His face was still throbbing, though the pain was beginning to numb. He managed a weak chuckle. "Was this your concoction? Aren't you the clever boy?"
"I don't want to make small talk. I want you to leave and never come back." Caesar turned away so he didn't have to look into those ruby eyes. "I no longer wish to be your plaything. Go back to Abysus and prepare your next plan. When we meet next time, I will stand with my comrades. I will fight you."
Holding his one human hand to his face, Van Kleiss stood up. He regarded Caesar for a moment before closing his eyes. "You are much stronger and smarter than I am, my dear boy. I came with the naïve hope that you would forgive me and that we could keep what we had intact." He breathed a sigh. "That is clearly impossible. I will go now, Caesar. Farewell." He turned toward the portal and paused. He glanced over his shoulder, trying to decide whether or not to speak the words that were on the very tip of his tongue, begging to be said. After a moment's thought, he decided against it and exited the room.
The portal closed. On either side of where it had once been, there was only silence.
This was originally intended as an emotional, fluffy, adorable piece... What happened? Ah well. There will be more in the next chapter. Or should I make this the end...? *ponders* Please review! Flames throw acid on VK and put more scratches on Caesar.
Wow. This was kinda violent compared to my other stuff... '^_^