Disclaimer: Nope, nein, no. I don't own!
Looking at my old friends standing in my doorway made me consider a few things. For one, now this means I have to fess up as to why I dragged them all from wherever they were in the world to Russia. Two, the chance of finding Barakov just went up. Three, there's someone missing from this picture. Crock. Usually he's here with us having fun and such. Now I have to find a way to contact him or he'll be bitching about what he missed out on. Great.
Well, off that dreary note, I haven't seen these guys in almost six months if my mental tab is even close to correct. They've changed slightly.
Rabbit was in perfect 5'8" Barbie form. Which means I must've pulled her away from a photo shoot for her side job as a model. We all have side jobs believe it or not. Her dark chocolate colored shoulder blade length hair was straight with her bangs covering her forehead. Blue-grey eyes a bit darker than my own were done up in eyeliner and other makeup, along with the rest of her face. You could tell a layer or twenty of powder was covering her pale skin. (Her pale skin is always a joke with us because supposedly she's part Native American, which makes no sense to us whatsoever considering she also grew up in Russia.) The makeup artists are stupid where she works, I know because I've gone to meet up with her at some shoots. They make her look 27 and older when she's only 17. I'm just glad she didn't bring those hideous clothes and treacherous shoes with her.
Queen looked like she was just dragged away from a fight. Which would precede her reputation perfectly. She's 5'9", but it looks like pressure and stress has been weighing down on her and making her shorter. Her jet black, wavy hair was pulled back into a ponytail with long pieces of hair framing her face. She wore no makeup over her tanned Latina skin. She's never bothered with it because nobody back in Cuba would take her seriously if she started trying to look like a doll; she's already young enough to be treated as a kid, 19 to be exact. Hey, when you're a mob boss in a dangerous country, you do whatcha gotta do. Her eyes looked like pieces of frozen chocolate, cold and brown. I don't worry about her constant glare though, I've just gotten used to it. Hatter says the glare just means she likes you.
Jabberwocky stood in full 6'4" stature. If you didn't know why he was so buff, you would say it was steroids. The real answer is that instead of going full beast in a fight, he actually prefers staying human. Can't blame him at all for that one. All the working out has made his features sharper and more defined then when I last saw. The experiments which gave him his whole beast conundrum also sapped the melanin supplies in his body, so now he's pretty much an albino. His white hair in a military cut, red eyes covered with contacts to make them a muggy brown, and pale skin ignored. From what I've been told and old pictures I've been shown, he used to have shaggy brown hair, green eyes, and surfer standard tanned skin. But that was all back when he was 12. Now he's 18.
Caterpillar still clung on Jabberwocky's back with wiry limbs. It gave him height he didn't have. His actual height minus the muscle man was only 5' 7", one inch taller than me, that's defiantly new. The kid's only a few months younger than me and veritably the only one in the group that can be called a kid. He's adorable as long as you don't give him alcohol. But that's another story for another time. His messy black hair sat funny on his head, like an animal curled up and died there. It didn't help that he had blue streaks running through it. His dark grey eyes gleamed with excitement, I'm not sure if it's from going to a new country or the prospect of seeing Crock. Either way, perky doesn't quite fit here.
I still hadn't replied to Rabbit's comment when she walked in the door, so I took the opportunity to get creative with it. "Would you like the honors?" I asked and pointed to Brick, who was still snoring away. A nuclear bomb wouldn't wake him up.
She turned to the others who were still standing around her, "How about we do it together?"
I didn't quite know what she's planning. Neither did the others. But we all agreed nonetheless.
Rabbit got to work initiating her plan by moving the coffee table away from the couch and towards the far wall. She then walked to the head of the couch and grabbed one end in a lifting position. Okay, now I get it.
Jabberwocky got one end by himself; I helped Rabbit with the other end. We lifted it to where Queen and Caterpillar could get behind. Then we all worked in sync and tipped Hatter right onto the wood floor. That woke his ass up pretty quick.
Brick jumped up and pulled something that looked strangely like chicken wire from his pocket like he could use it against us. We all dropped the couch back in place and faced him.
The first one to break the silence was Jabberwocky, "How was your beauty rest?"
All of us busted up laughing except for Teapot, who didn't see the humor just yet. Maybe later.
"Oh come on, Hatter, we're just messing around," Caterpillar said (with his almost distinguishably foreign accent that none of us can place. Supposedly he was born in the Pacific Islands region and moved to Ireland, both of those dialects color his words to this day) as he wiped his eyes, trying to get away the misting from laughing so hard.
"Yeah, 'cause anyone just finds it hilarious when they're dumped off a couch in the middle of an awesome dream," He put his wire away and crossed his arms.
"What were you dreaming about?" Queen asked with less than innocent curiosity coloring her tone.
Teapot's face went into full blush mode as he tried to stammer out an answer, "I-It was a dream like any other," He finally decided on.
Rabbit nodded as the information soaked in, "So basically you dreamed about a girl, most likely naked and in a compromising situation."
Brick glared Rabbit down before finally cracking, "How'd you know?"
"Two words: Teenage boy," Rabbit said slowly as if speaking to small children.
Jabberwock followed Rabbit's train of thought and nodded thoughtfully. That's when he used his words in response (the guy's quiet, what can I say), "It was Barakova, wasn't it?"
I whipped around to look at Jabberwock with the best what the hell expression I could muster. Sure, Hatter had a crush on me, that's obvious considering how many times he's asked me out and such. But dreaming about me naked? No thanks. At least I can control my actions in real life. Like perhaps kicking Hatter where it hurts for dreaming about that.
Brick's almost silent reply made me turn towards him, "Yup." He said it so casually, even popping the p at the end.
"You just have a death wish, huh?" I pondered.
He shrugged, "I answered honestly. Would you rather I lied and you find out about it later?"
Okay, he actually thought that through. I crossed my arms and let out a huff. No use in killing him now, dream or not.
Queen interrupted the glaring contest I was having with the King of Idiots, "No bloodshed? That's a new one."
"Violence isn't the answer!" Caterpillar piped up from his hiding spot behind Jabberwock.
"No it isn't," I agreed. Before he could respond I continued, "Violence is the question, the answer is yes." I snapped into action and caught Hatter with an uppercut punch. The Misfits backed away to give us space. It was our fight to start and finish on our own and they realized that.
He stumbled back before giving a toothy, although slightly bloody, grin. Um, what? That's when he yanked his hand back and something pulled on my right ankle. It made me fall and gravity was merciless, along with the bruising on my back from Scarlett knocking me down and the gun that was still in my waistband. While holding back a yelp of pain a realization hit me, he used that stupid chicken wire. When he looped it around my ankle, I didn't know.
A quick move and I had three kunai knives in my left hand and two in my right. In a single flourish one knife from my left hand cut the wire and the ones remaining went straight into the right sleeve of his jacket, pinning his arm to the wall. Unlike me, he isn't ambidextrous, so now he won't be able to do anything. Well, at least not well.
Hatter was trying vigorously to get one of the knives out of his sleeve when he noticed me getting up. When I was fully standing I just stood there, waiting for him to do something. He finally did by slipping one arm out of his jacket and then the other, presto he was free. Guess I didn't catch his long sleeve shirt with the knives. Hmm, try harder next time I guess.
He charged me empty handed. He isn't the King of Idiots for nothing. I stepped aside and he brushed against me. When I turned to face him, he had a gun pointed at my head. My gun.
We were both breathing hard. I could feel my heart beating in my ears as I challenged him, "Do it. See if you even have the guts to take off the safety and pull the damn trigger."
Hatter was the only one of us that hasn't killed a single person to this day, besides Caterpillar. He always went for injuring instead of striking the final blow. Teapot made sure that even in the mob he didn't have to be the one doing the dirtiest work of them all. I guess he just isn't wired with the same kill-or-be-killed instinct the rest of us have.
With no surprise to me, he lowered the gun; albeit a bit shakily. His hands unclenched from the grip and my Browning fell to the floor.
"One day, Hatter, you're going to have to stop being so weak," I spat. Maybe it was from blind rage, maybe from Barakov finally getting to me after all these years. But I don't know what possessed me to say that.
He spit a bit of blood from his mouth onto the floor and smirked, "I'm not weak, just positively mad. We're all mad here."
"Not me," I defended.
"That's why you're Alice, my dear. An outsider looking in to a Wonderland, although ours is more gruesome than your average fairytale," Teapot wasn't mocking, no. The tone in his voice was gentle, almost guiding. It made me even angrier.
"What happened to the Cheshire Cat?" I asked as I took a few steps closer to Hatter, this fight wasn't over yet after all.
He waved my comment off easily, "That was just about as much of an illusion as the cat itself."
"Well that's comforting," The sarcasm easily rolled off my tongue.
"Isn't it always?" He mocked and charged me.
In one swift, continuous move, I grabbed his arm and swung my left leg up to his neck, using both to pull him to the ground with myself. It ended with his neck resting on my calf, my thigh on his throat, his arm locked in my grip, and his other stuck under his back. I kneeled on my right knee to keep myself balanced.
"I've been wanting to try that move out for a while, thanks," I chided.
His response was a wheeze as my thigh was on his larynx, cutting off his air.
Before he started changing colors like a faulty mood ring I straightened my left leg out and got off his airway. As I stood up he stayed down with his hands in a "T" symbol.
"Time out," He coughed out.
"Fine with me," I muttered and rolled my eyes, backing away from him slightly.
The audience spoke up at that point. Rabbit specifically, "Is that what they're teaching you at Interpol?"
I scoffed, "As if, I came up with that on my own a week ago when I couldn't sleep." Wow, only a week ago my life was normal. Well, my definition of normal. Hell, only three days ago really.
Queen gave Hatter a hand up, along with some commentary. "That's what? The sixteenth time she's kicked your ass?"
"This year," He muttered.
"Get your act together, gringo," She looked like she was trying to add the sixteen to previous totals.
"Later," He protested. "For now Clo has some explaining to do," Hatter sure knew how to change a topic.
"You mean for why we're in Mother Russia?" Caterpillar pondered aloud. And that boy never just calls it Russia, it's always Mother Russia, and he's not even from here. I'm pretty sure this is his first visit too.
"Da," Hatter mocked, full accent and all laced into that one word.
"This is just a quick revenge for getting your ass kicked, huh?" I asked Teapot.
"Da," He repeated.
Let the explaining begin I guess. "Bottom line, I need your guys' help to get Barakov back, he's been kidnapped."
"Okay, that seems a little too simple to bring all of us in on," Rabbit started off, "So that's just the bottom line, but what's the top and in between?"
Leave it to Rabbit to ask that. "Ah, you see, that might be a little harder to explain and follow along logically."
Queen was handing me back my pistol, "The butterfly wing is missing. Does it have something to do with that?"
Firearms expert looking a bit too closely at my gun, should've seen that coming. "Yes and no. You know the charm was given to me by my parents. Well, I meet them about two, three days ago and took it off."
"Why?" Jabberwocky hashed out.
"It didn't seem like it meant anything after I met them. So I gave it back to them."
Caterpillar hopped over to my side, "Well what are they like? Huh?"
"Dad's a mute ninja and Mom's a stubborn ginger," I condensed it as much as possible.
"Anything else?" Caterpillar edged forward in anticipation.
"Uh," I blanked for a moment, "My former teacher Storm Shadow is apparently my uncle on my dad's side."
Rabbit tilted her head in concentration, "That guy who taught you how to kill everything with sharp objects?"
"That's the one," I clicked my tongue against the roof of my mouth. They were all taking this pretty well, surprisingly. "Oh," I added on, "I also now know my birth name is Alexandria, Alex for short."
Queen scrutinized the information closely, "Correct me otherwise, but there seems to be something important missing from this information."
"You're right. My parents are both on some kickass-mystery squad that also wants to find Barakov. They seem to all have good intentions, but they didn't take kindly to me suggesting I go out to find him by myself when I was declined from helping them."
Caterpillar, being the little dork he is (some of the dorkiness is from Crock's influence) said the following, "So our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to go up against unknown kidnappers to save Barakov while also having to deal with avoiding the kickass-mystery squad?"
"Ten points for Caterpillar," Sarcasm just helps during stressful moments. That's my only excuse.
"I'm in," The kid stated almost immediately.
"Same here," Rabbit announced, "Who else would I steal vodka from if Barakov disappears from the planet?"
Jabberwocky looked a little hesitant, but didn't want to split from Rabbit's choice. "I'll help," He finally decided on.
Queen had been hashing it out with a thoughtful expression. Probably going through all the pros and cons individually, twice. "You have my assistance."
Everyone turned to Hatter, who was rinsing out his bloody mouth in the kitchen sink. "Yeah, sure," He managed through a mouthful of water.
A smirk fell right in place on my face, "Perfect."
A/N: Quick update for the win! This chapter is pretty long, almost three thousand words. Don't get used to it. But hey, I had a good flow going into this chapter and I went with it. But don't expect another quick update, I have a shitload of school work to get through now. Two projects, an essay, and all the regular homework on top. Kill me now. *head desk*
Two quick thingamajigs. When Queen called Hatter "gringo", that essentially meant "white boy". Also, I'm going to start asking what your favorite characters are from each chapter besides Chloe. So out of the Misfits, who's your favorite? I like seeing your guys' opinions!
Well you know the drill. Review and all that. Please!