Amato let out a huff and glared at his daughter's limping form, displeased with her injury. She knew what to do when fighting against demons unarmed, and yet she still managed to get herself injured.
The teenagers of the New York Institute were all seated in the dining room, lining one side of the table. He and Lucinda sat on the other side, staring down their daughter when she took the only available seat with the other teens. She held in her hand a menu for the local Chinese take out - House of Khong, if he recalled.
"Dinner is on its way," Liz announced, settling into her seat with a smug grin on her face. She'd inherited that grin from Amato himself, who in turn inherited it from his uncle. Amato knew Liz would've loved to meet Elia; it was a shame that he'd been turned into a vampire against his will, only to suffer a death by sunlight the very next day.
Come to think of it, that incident probably set off the hatred that Amato and Liz felt toward daylight every morning.
A loud ding caught everyone's attention, surprising even Jade Clavell, the youngest Shadowhunter present in the Institute. Before long, the sounds of footsteps filled the halls outside the dining room.
"I didn't know the wolves were hiring Shadowhunters to do deliveries," Blake remarked, leaning forward in hopes of seeing what was happening. It didn't seem to help that he was the furthest away from the dining room door, seated at the far end of the line of teens. "Do you know what's going on?" he asked, directing his question to Amato.
Before he could reply, Amato gave himself only time to grin in triumph. It seemed that the children had forgotten who was coming to visit, especially Liz and Corbin. His daughter stared at him with a frown and a glare for a moment, peeking at him out of the corner of her eye. She was trying to figure out what Amato knew, but it was only a matter of time before the surprise arrived.
Her glare intensified, this time sending a demand with it: What did you do?
The visitor finally came to a stop at the dining room door, a duffel bag slung over his shoulder and a smirk lining his features. His rust-coloured hair was messy and a slight stubble lined his jaw, his brown eyes narrowing at Liz and Corbin in amusement. It seemed to finally click in Liz's head, and she slowly began to rise from her seat dramatically.
"Bastardo," she announced slowly, drawing out the word in shock.
George grinned back at her, and replied, "Crazy European."
The night of the charity event rolled around, the trio dressed in their classy clothes as they strutted towards the building confidentally. Jacks had gone to the trouble of making fake identities for them: Sylvester was a famous Russian boxer than had recently won the Moscow title, also known as Gedeon Vasilyev; Beverly had been turned into Alana Pierce, the senior high school student with the highest score in the district (the woman may have been almost thirty, but she sure as hell pulled off seventeen like it was her real age); finally, and funnily enough, Patrick ended up as the son of an Irish duke, who, in his poor health, could not attend the event.
It was a wonder they even got past the first set of security guards...
So now Patrick stood on his own, holding a glass of champagne in one hand and keeping the other in his pocket, a grip on his phone should he geta vibrate out of it. That was how it was planned - if one of them spotted a security guard checking them out, keeping them on their watch list, they'd get a vibration from their phone: One for Sylvester, two for Beverly, and three for Patrick.
Not wanting to finish his drink, Patrick set it aside on one of the circular tables provided to the guests, knowing that some champagne-loving snob would probably come over and take it five minutes later. It was nearing the time that the founder of this event and cause would start a presentation and speech, explaining how he'd come across this "sickness" and why he was so adamant in "curing" it. Patrick found himself believing it was all bullshit - nothing but a publicity stunt. For all anyone knew, these tattooed people that saw demons and claimed the existence of vampires and werewolves were people in a gang that dabbled in drugs. How else would they all have similar tattoos and share similar hallucinations? Patrick resisted the urge to shake his head in disappointment. Utter bullshit, especially if he could rationalise it so easily.
He fixed the tie of his white tuxedo, trying to give himself something to do until he found someone he could pickpocket from. So far no one had brought any purses to carry around, no money-waving that he could take advantage of, nothing. It was kind of boring him, what with all the security watching anyone that passed the money jar and with everyone actually keeping how rich they were underwraps. They were probably putting whatever money they brought with them in that damned jar and paid for everything via credit card. If that were the case, the plan had long since gone down the drain; if anything, the plan was on its way to a sewerage treatment farm or something.
An elderly-looking man walked onto the stage that overlooked the entire room, clearing his throat as he tested the microphone. Once he as certain that it was in working order, he announced, "If everyone could please take a seat, the presentation will begin."
People flocked the the tables, and as Patrick returned to the table he set the champagne on, he noticed the glass lifting off of the table by a slender hand, the hand belonging to someone covered in various black tattoos. He raised a confused brow, unsure of what to think, but brushed it off. The woman was probably just a big fan of tribal patterns or something.
As soon as he took his seat with three other people - one of whom was the girl who'd picked up his champagne - the founder of the event took centre stage. He was a man of almost six foot, greying blonde hair and a van dyke. He looked as though he'd been pulled out of a Dudley Dooright cartoon, what with his top hat and pointed-shoes, let alone his long coat.
"Ladies and gentlemen," he started, "we have gathered here to fight a sickness that has been growing under our noses for centuries, undetected until today."
Patrick rolled his eyes, as did the girl seated at beside him. She looked just as bored as him, but those tattoos were just so hard to ignore...
"I would like to begin by saying that I am grateful for your donations, and I hope that it should soon help to find a cure to what we're fighting." He cleared his throat and continued on, "Years ago, I was approached by a man who said that his wife was sick, slowly dying of something neither could pinpoint. It came out of nowhere, he'd told me, and that his wife was supposed to be stronger than what he'd seen of her. Now, when I'd heard him mention her strength, I'd asked him what he meant. That's when I learned about a group of people called Nephilim."
The girl beside Patrick visibly tensed up, blue eyes widening and narrowing in shock. He felt a bit of suspicion rising within him; was she one of these Nephilim, or someone she knew?
That was ridiculous - it was all bullshit, and Patrick knew it.
"Now, these 'Nephilim' are supposed to be strong, covered in tattoos, and able to see 'demons' and whatnot. I believe that this insanity is induced by the sickness, and from the stories I've heard from people who have seen them, I sadly say that this syndrome of sorts comes in many stages - the first of which are hallucinations. It is then followed by the obssession with an 'angel' called Raziel, which is then followed by strange tattoo-like marks appearing on the skin - the most common being one that resembles an eye, usually on the top of the hand."
Cautiously, Patrick glanced down at the girl's hand. Sure enough, a tattoo resembling an eye was right on top of it, bold as black ink.
"We've named this 'Nephil Syndrome', seeing as these people refer to themselves as Nephilim instead of humans. They also seem to call us mundanes. Sadly, the Syndrome is passed on through generations. This means that it is dominant in the bloodline and, despite how far back the first relative with Nephil Syndrome was in the family, it never dies out in the family.
"My aim is to find these people suffering from the Syndrome and to help cure them, and I give you all my eternal thanks for helping me with my goal." He paused for a moment, looking offstage at a group of people working with a laptop. On the screen appeared to be a picture of four people, mug shots, most likely. "While we haven't been able to find many sufferers on our own, we finally have information on a small group of teenagers suffering from it - if you see anyone that looks like these four on the screen, please call the number provided underneath." On command, the wall behind him lit up with a square image, the four faces on the laptop now displayed on the white wall for everyone to see.
At first Patrick didn't know what to think; he was seeing the faces of four teenagers, three girls and one boy, and it didn't help that he had the urge to inspect Tattoo Girl's face. The thought that maybe it wasn't all bullshit was running through his mind, aslo; this wasn't something he liked. So, to stop his thoughts, he took a peek at the four faces.
The first he inspected was the boy's - dark hair, curled a bit, kind of an older-looking face that belonged to a young adult. He felt as though he were looking at a high school photo instead of a facial recognition picture.
The second one was a girl with curled hair, obviously dark from how much the pencil had been used to darken it. The artist had also deliberately given her eyes a bit of shine, implying they were bright.
The third one, the second girl, also had dark hair, but this time straight - like a ruler - and probably only a few inches above the shoulders. Her face kind of reminded him of old Hollywood stars, a few of which he couldn't remember the names of.
The final one, the last girl, had long hair, lighter than the rest of them and slightly tangled - almost as though she'd been in a bit of a tumble when her appearance was noted. Her eyes were narrowed a bit, and there was less colour in her skin than from the others' - perhaps she was pale?
Patrick glanced at Tattoo Girl, who also appeared to be quite pale.
Stop it, he told himself. She's probably just another guest hoping to donate.
He continued to rationalise to himself, when he heard a British voice mutter, "Disgusting. We're not sick and we're not insane. You just can't see what we can."
It took him a moment to realise that it was Tattoo Girl who had spoken. It also took him another moment to realise, when the man beside her suddenly grabbed her arms and announced, "It's her!", that she was the last girl on the screen.
Things just got interesting.
The man was suddenly thrown back by a quick-footed teen, one that wasn't in the pictures and obviously on Tattoo Girl's side. She seemed to give him a reluctant nod of thanks before trying to run for an exit, only to have every security guard in the place race for them. Both backed away slowly, the male reaching into his jacket and pulling out a strange-looking device. His thumb mashed the button on it, and then every light in the room went out, a commotion of gasps and screams sounding throughout the room. Patrick felt himself smirk. Maybe the plan wasn't completely down the drain yet.
He jumped out of his seat and ran back to the table with the money jar, picking it up and continuing out until he reached the outside world. He went to reach for his pocket and pull out his phone, only to feel nothing inside it. Where was his phone? Had someone knocked it off? No, no one could pickpocket and pickpocket, couldn't they?
Patrick growled to himself and continued to get away from the building. Sylvester and Beveryly knew that, if the jar wasn't there, then Patrick had taken it and run off with it. At least, he hoped they knew.
A few moments of running passed and he soon became tired, in dire need of a breath. Making sure he wasn't seen, he turned in the direction of an alley.
"I swear, I had no idea we were seen!"
George raised an eyebrow at Liz, ignoring their parabatais for the moment. "Oh, really?" he drawled. "Well, from the looks of those pictures, I'd say you and Cass practically modeled for them."
The younger Shadowhunter scowled at him, about ready to give him a trip down memory lane. Liz was also desperately wishing that Cass would speak up, defend them both, but only recieved silence. Cass was pretty tired, it seemed; hardly enough energy to argue against George, of all people.
Mamoru stepped forward, standing by George's side, and told him, "Lay off until we get back - we need to figure out what to do with all these mundanes suddenly being able to see us."
Taking a deep, unhappy breath, George nodded and turned on his heel. He was about to leave, lead them back to the Institute in any way that didn't slow them down with Liz's limp. Instead he was met by a very shocked teen in a tuxedo, a jar filled with money in one hand and a dagger in the other. The foursome blinked in surprise, barely hearing him approach.
A sudden idea came to Liz, who sized up the teen. A head of dark red hair that resembled a buzz cut, dark green eyes, quite a bit of height on him, obviously knew how to stand when holding a knife in a defensive manner. She could probably pull off an interrogation.
"Did you see me before or after the pictures were shown?" she inquired, raising an eyebrow. Cass gave her a surprise stare while George glanced at her in annoyance.
The teen smirked. "Kind of hard to miss a face like yours, sweetheart," he taunted, voice carrying an Irish lilt to it.
"Tu, piccolo flirtare," she muttered under her breath. "So, that's a 'before', then?"
He nodded. Liz let out a hum and looked to Mamoru, who nodded and said to George, "Amato may want to have a word with this one."
While George made the long processes of coming to a decision, Cass approached Liz and nudged her with her elbow. "Quick thinking, there," she praised. "Too bad you couldn't do it with the Ahiab."
"You're not letting me live that down, are you?"
Cass shook her head. "Never."
"Alright," George announced. He glared at the Irish boy, grounding out, "We won't force you to, but our guardian may want to talk to you. You can see us, which is rare, and he might want to ask you some questions."
A long stretch of silence followed, the Irish teen unsure of what to do or say as he remained in his defensive stance, money in one hand and dagger in the other. Everyone was anticipating his response, even himself, judging by the confliction in his eyes. Liz was sure he was about to deny them.
"What's your name?"
All eyes went to Cass, who stared at the boy evenly with her golden eyes. She looked entirely calm, sure that she'd get an answer to her question. She did, too.
"Patrick," he replied. "Yours?"
"Cassandra. Some people call me Cass or Cassie." She gestured to Liz with a small wave of her hand. "This is Lizabeth, but everyone calls her Liz. Make sure you don't call her Elizabeth; she'll get mad if you do."
Jumping in for kicks, Liz went on, "The arse that just spoke to you is George. Feel free to call him whatever you like - he's a bastard." She nodded to his parabatai. "The guy next to him is Mamoru. He's from Japan, in case you're wondering."
Patrick gave them both confused looks, ignoring George's annoyance in Liz's introduction. Just from that moment of introducing themselves, Liz knew he'd say a reluctant yes. It was quick thinking on Cass's part, too - Liz would never have thought of asking for his name and showing trust in revealing her own. She really needed to figure out better ways to convince people of things.
After a large pause, Patrick finally lowered his dagger and stood straight. "Okay," he breathed. "I'll come. But the moment things get crazy, I'm gone."
"Well," Liz said, sighing, "enjoy your two minutes in our life, then."
I'm happy with this chapter - I'm pretty sure I didn't get any spelling mistakes in it this time, so I'm happy. Introduction to a new character (and, yes, George is in this) so I'll be sure to put up Mamoru and George's information soon.
I'm also happy that you guys are enjoying this - I usually have a hard time thinking up villains and their causes, let alone what they have to do with the main characters and all that. Virtual brownies for whoever can guess who's family is involved in this whole "Nephil Syndrome" situation, by the way. (See what I did there with that, too?) I had a hard time "diagnosing" the Syndrome, too, and had to make it sound like a fatal thing that led to insanity and strange marks that were inexplicable, but I feel like I failed in that part a bit... Oh, well.
As usual, here're the songs I listened to this chapter (Birds of Tokyo have been doing a lot of good ones lately -3-)
Songs I abused whilst writing this chapter:
1. Lanterns - Bird of Tokyo
2. Fighter - Gym Class Heroes
3. Mind Your Manners - Chiddy Bang