The Vigilante storms the halls of The Agency, a grim expression on his face which someone else would have to pay for. A blue feminine form chases him from behind.
“I need to speak to you.”
He growled, his temperament even darker than usual.
She felt the anger searing through him empathically, burning for release and decided to let him go for now. He was stubborn at the best of times and in his present mood civil conversation would be impossible. She watched him as he left.
He shouted, bursting through the Director’s door.
“What?” The stout man enquired calmly, addressing the rude intrusion.
“You know exactly what I’m talking about...”
The Vigilante seethed.
“I think I might know what this is about. But I’m not taking part in this discussion until you shut the door, and I think given what it involves it would suit you to close it as well.” His voice so cool, calm and collected it practically had icicles surrounding each word.
Isaac closed the door and glared back across the room.
“We had a deal.”
The Vigilante hissed.
“We did. And for some reason, you seem to feel as if YOU’RE the one who’s been slighted.” Still calm, but clearly irritated.
“YOU said if I did your damned zombie mission I could spend a month on leave to go... you know... where I want to go.”
“Less 48 hours for quarantine. I know exactly what was said.” D said. “But you had only one order and you broke it.”
“What are you talking about? I went in there, I found survivors, I got us to the extraction point. Mission complete. How’d I break orders?”
“There was no order that you had to find survivors and get out. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure if there would be survivors. You had one order...”
“What, dammit? What the hell did I do?!?”
“’We 4, no more.’” D quoted.
“THAT?!? That was an order? I thought orders would have some kind of weight to them, that was the last thing you said to me.”
“All the more reason it should have stuck in your head.”
“Who’d I tell?”
Isaac muttered to himself, coming through his voice modulator clearer than he’d like.
The Director moved a mouse on his desk and the smart board sprang into life. Isaac was beginning to hate that thing.
“Huh... So you heard all that?”
Originally Posted by Sound file
“...just like everything on this island will be. I meant it when I said there’s not going to be any cure and that this is the only rescue mission. As soon as we’re out they’re going to bomb this place to dust. Scorched earth... Hello D? Are you there? Do you read?”
“Yeah. We heard all that.”
“Well, in my own defence, they’d just seen pretty much everyone they knew or cared about die right in front of them. We were running late for pick-up. I had to get them to move. What was I supposed to tell them?”
“What were you supposed to tell them? How about ‘ANYTHING BUT THE TRUTH’?” D barked, finally showing cracks in his cool. “You lie. Hell, if you’ve been holding onto a secret identity for all this time I assume it’s not a foreign concept to you.”
“Anything. Hell, you can even tell them something worse than the truth if you want. When they come back and start pointing fingers at their government, then none of their accusations will have any base in reality and they’ll be dismissed. But you don’t tell them the damned truth. It costs too much money, money we don’t have, to clean up that kind of mess.”
“They-- They are still alive, right?”
D looked at him with a semi-disgusted expression on his face.
“Of course they’re still alive. We’re not monsters.”
Silence abounds between them.
“You know I can’t stay here, right? Maybe I don’t need a whole month, but I do need to get back. This whole ‘draft’ thing got dropped right in my lap and I had nothing prepared for a lengthy stay here.”
The Director held his head in his hand. Discipline was required, but it still needed a deft touch. The order hadn’t been given with a great deal of weight and he had been given precious little time, none really, to deal with the changes that would come from The Agency.
“One week. You get one week. If you’re not back in one week you don’t have a secret identity anymore.”
Sensing that this was as good as it was going to get, Isaac left with what he could get. One week’s leave, at least that would be enough time to make his presence felt and make arrangements for the coming months.
“We need to talk.”
Flux said, just as he was closing the door to the Director’s office behind him.
“Gah! Were—were you waiting for me? How much of that did you hear?”
“Nothing. It’s a very solid door. We need to talk.”
“So you keep saying. Alright, where’s your room, let’s get it over with.”
They went off to the privacy of Flux’s private room in the compound, where she shut the door behind them.
Isaac sat down on the bed and then sighed, before beginning a cold mechanical speech which sounded either rehearsed or like he’d had to say it too many times in the past, particularly when coming through his voice modulator.
“I apologise for any offence I may have caused when speaking to your boyfriend the other day. What I said was for him to hear alone and my comments were said in the heat of having just heard what--…”
Flux said softly. “That’s not why I wanted to speak to you. Well, not directly.”
“Well, what then? Oh. Ohhhhhhhh.”
“What? Oh, no. No. Eww. No.”
He said, somewhat indignant.
“I meant ‘No’.”
“Well, I didn’t think so. I mean you’ve made it abundantly clear very early on that you didn’t like me in any capacity, let alone that way. It did seem odd that I’ve noticed you staring at me.”
“How could I not? Remember why I’m here.”
He said, tapping his temple with his index finger. “I can’t carry a bus, fly or punch a hole in a solid steel wall…”
He stopped his sentence short, but decided he couldn’t leave it there. Something in his gut growled, churned and demanded he vent once more.
“We had someone for that, but as you know he’s gone now.”
He spat darkly.
“That’s what this is about.”
Flux started, she pointed at him but somehow it didn’t seem accusatory. “You’re right, since you joined the Guardians I had been avoiding you. Do you know why?”
“Fear? Deep-seeded loathing? Because I don’t view the world as being as fluffy as you’d like?”
He thought to himself.
“Because there was something in you that I didn’t like. Something base and dark and negative. Something I see in the people who we try and stop. It scared me…”
The Vigilante smirked, hearing his first thought of fear confirmed.
The blue Guardian continued. “Not made me afraid of what you’re capable of. Afraid of what being constantly exposed to what’s in you coming out in me. When they first found me, they called me an ‘empath’, what that is supposed to mean is that I absorb surrounding emotion and take on various traits. I was scared of what being around the people we try to stop out there, and then come back to Headquarters and being around the same thing in there. What that might do to me.”
Isaac rubbed his cheek and pulled his balakava slightly away from it, where hair was starting to cling to it.
“I trusted you, because others vouched for you. So I wasn’t overly scared of what you had inside you… at first. But when you’re around it every day, you begin to get a greater idea of the entire tapestry of what those dark emotions are comprised of. Everything that we see when we fight those people. Fear, anger, deep vengeful moods, even envy at times in traces.”
“And when I yelled at Mikey, it all burst forth and you realised that if I continued to be this way you couldn’t keep yourself from absorbing this negativity any further. You came to the conclusion my emotions could potentially turn you into a threat.”
“No. It was the first time that I picked up on something that very rarely appears in the people we fight. The first time you’d let any of it out, and it was so bright it was like a flash overwhelming me. I was shocked, because I’d never really picked up on a trace of it before. But it all started to make sense.”
“When I yelled at Mikey? I’d never blown out and shown total wrath before?”
“It wasn’t wrath. It was guilt.”
Isaac remained uncharacteristically silent, but his face began to bloom red under his dark mask at what he was hearing. He remained silent, trying to keep everything bottled, but struggled.
“You were frustrated with Michael not saving him… because you blamed yourself for him being in that situation in the first place.”
His cheeks glowed a hot crimson beneath the black balaklava.
“I can only imagine that you blame yourself for not being there to help when he was fighting the big monster Endgame…”
“Or for manipulating him into re-joining the Guardians when he’d gotten out, when he’d started a new life.”
He thought to himself, not willing to reveal anything he kept it to himself. But Flux had done something, she’d gotten to him enough to actually drag this thought into his consciousness and he contemplated it with his head down.
“It wasn’t your fault. There were a lot of us there and he wouldn’t let us help either. It wasn’t your fault.”
She put her hand on his shoulder reassuringly.
He sat in uncomfortable silence for a few more seconds until Flux felt she had to repeat herself.
“It wasn’t your fault.”
He raised his head and looked at her. She smiled warmly. He got to his feet.
“I liked you better when you were afraid of me...”
He left the room without another word.