"Such a charming place you have here. ...Very much fitting of a Rat, if I do say so myself."
"...Rats. Intelligent creatures. Able to survive under the most pressing of circumstances. Able to take down human empires through nothing but parasites and disease. That is enough to be feared instead ridiculed, don't you think?"
"Depends. One might find that their tendency to devour their own kind without even a hint of hesitation simply to prolong their own hopeless survival can leave a bitter taste in the mouth. But, to you, I suppose it is just another means to an end. Is that not correct, Sherlock?"
And that is where we begin.
Seeing as how I am positive that every single one of you have been waiting on pins and needles to read about the next move of the one and only Great Idiot, Nightscream, this little update of mine should wind up killing two birds with one stone. While I am so very sorry to say that I still do not see much point in these awe-inspiring blogs, I must admit that I have actually discovered a use for them. Amazingly.
I suppose miracles do exist.
For those of you who have not yet clued in: This is The Butler, once again.
And I am about to undertake a little chore... which qualifies as well-beyond "stupid"... simply because my little, tattered, birdbrain of a "friend" had decided to do likewise after our little phone call. I had warned him not to test her luck. I had pleaded with him not to do anything stupid. But since when does anyone listen to The Butler? Certainly, doing so would just make too much sense to seriously consider. Being a mind outside of the entire subject and clear of prejudice, like I am. And, as God knows, we proxies can't have anything even remotely to do with logic and reason. So, as expected, I was ignored.
Nightscream has been absent since. The bloody fool.
I tried several times to make contact over the days that followed. All of which failed. So I immediately took a more direct route. Choosing to follow what would be sure to be Lady Raven's own trail in hopes of stumbling upon a clue or two. Now, I may not be the greatest Tracker in the world (especially when it comes to Tracking a Tracker), but I certainly knew where to start.
The obvious destination for my irate Lord and Lady Hybrid.
And just as obvious of a dead end for my own jolly little game of Follow The Leader.
The entire structure was abandoned and has been for a long time, it seems. Either that, or its occupants do not mind a healthy coating of dust over everything in sight. I had to cover my mouth with my handkerchief just to walk around. I found a few traces that someone else had poked around "recently", but nothing to lead me to my next step.
So I did all that was left to do. I dug.
I dug through contacts. And contacts of contacts. And contacts of contacts of contacts.
I eventually crushed a Proxy's hand around their drinking glass to get a tip. Broke his arm as a thank you, after. The boy made me repeat myself. He deserved worse, but I was in a hurry and was feeling a bit gracious for a solid lead.
It seems as though Sherlock has been attempting to Sit the Fence, as of late. Taking to Running with a Grey Hat shoved desperately on his head. It is hard to say whether he was running from his history, the Organization, or himself, but, eventually, he settled into a hole in the wall to make a temporary nest. Somewhere he could put the skills he still had to use to pay the bills - giving medical attention and pouring a drink or two. Just your run of the mill, nearly-condemned palace of mold and urine stains. An absolute piece of nothing tucked into the corner of nowhere. One might call it an extension of the gutter, and, even then, they'd be keeping a polite tongue for good manners' sake.
He had seemed like a prop. Fitting into the bleak and broken surroundings so well that it was almost a task not to look right over him. Or through him, for that matter. As if he was only a piece for display and was not intended to have any manner of purpose at all. Much like the sinks in the bathrooms of this so very dignified establishment, I'm sure.
Thin. Gaunt. Jaded. The tattered sleeves of his woolen peacoat ending in thin hands that resembled more characiture pieces than anything belonging to a person. His scarf and tinted glasses doing such an astounding job at obscuring the identity of their wearer - he was the dull, stereotypical image of a man who failed to care anymore. Who was ready to die if it came knocking at his door. Yet he was not ALL dead yet. He was aware. And, unlike him, my presence stood out like a hippie at Wall Street. He knew I was there, and he knew why from the second I entered - the drink and the track marks (that I am positive littered his arms if I had looked) amazingly not having dulled his senses below noticing the obvious yet.
But, even though he was aware... he stayed where he was. Ignoring me as I closed distance between us - his gaze transfixed on the wall across from him. His back to me.
Just another warm welcome to add to the list.
He resisted at first. Dodging my questions. He would toss a question or two out of his own, like a homeless man might toss a pebble or two at the ducks as they float by in a pond, but it came back to the same dance. The expected one. The one of a man who was still running. Who wanted nothing more than to keep running like a chicken with its head cut off. Wanting to get somewhere. Anywhere. But only finds itself running into the fence again and again. Blood staining the wire as wings flap in a useless attempt at flight. An action as unknown to the species as humility is to the all-amazing Sherlock...
He who thought he could dust off secrets buried, then place them back and scatter dust back on top without a single soul taking notice.
He was playing a game I had no desire to partake in. Wasting time as if I had not already wasted nearly two weeks trying to track him down. Desperately searching for find a lead - ANY lead - as to where Nightscream had disappeared to. All while this one sat and drank. Sat and rotted himself from the inside out. Sat and left the supposed-ally that he himself condemned to just get strung up and HUNG.
His tone changed quite radically... once he had a fork pierced straight through his hand. His entire body recoiled as he partly stood in just reflex, but only until his head cracked down against the counter. Reopening the wound that had clotted on his forehead as I pinned him there - his free arm twisted agonizingly around behind his back. A sharp hiss of an inhale was the only sound he made - wincing from the pain he felt scorching through his nerves as I pressed further on the fork to make certain it was planted firmly into the counter. A slow leak of crimson beginning...
And I could not quite help but notice... how the ex-soldier... the strategist expert... the survivor... did not even try to fight back. Did not resist even slightly. He took my hold as if he was expecting it. As if he... felt it was necessary. His role to play. It stirred a thought back to the surface of my mind - one that I had had when I had first walked in. When I had first seen his bruises and torn lip. The bulk of bandages detectable under the folds of the cloth he wore along with the gash across his forehead and his left eye, clearly swollen behind his glasses...
And no defensive wounds.
I decided a test was in order.
So, making sure to keep a firm grip on his twisted arm, I let my deadly-sharp fork hold his hand still as I curled my hand back on itself for my fingers to fish into a pocket within my sleeve - finding a few sowing needles. Needles that I then slowly fed beneath Sherlock's nails, one at a time. Using the heel of my hand to keep the fingers still as I manipulated my little weapons. Pushing them deep as the man trembled and tensed... but still did not struggle. Taking the pain as if he felt he deserved it...
I knew at that moment... that I would not be killing Sherlock before I left.
But, even so, I have to admit. After all the time it took to find the fool, it was VERY satisfying to watch that brow twitch with pain. Especially when I pried the needles back. Partly pulling off three nails for the three times he had made me repeat myself... and that would also be when he began offering answers instead of snarky remarks.
It was quite the BONDING moment between us, I assure you.
Sherlock cursed a name then... that I had not necessarily been expecting.
The Red Reaper.
He cursed him with a hiss. Muttering about a personal vendetta against Sherlock himself. Using "evil" in the same sentence twice JUST to show how serious he was on the matter. Going on about how Nightscream had played with fire, and how no one should be surprised that he "got burned."
Of course, I pointed out that my sources were sound. That I knew for a fact that Sherlock at dug up our mutual friend's past himself, so to offer a explanation of being framed wasn't exactly the best horse to bet on. I also inquired as to what the Red Reaper could have contributed, seeing as how he has been unaccounted for for months now. But, of course, that didn't seem to deter dear old Holmes. Almost expected to hear "on the contrary" in that moment.
"Like that... would ever stop him. All he had to do... was make me doubt. Make me think that something was missing. Challenge me, appeal to my ego. That's all it took to make me dance. That's all it ever takes. And... by the time I figured it out? It was all too late."
"...If this was to satisfy your own craving, how did the Highers get involved? If the Red Reaper was the one pulling the strings..."
"Because... that was all they needed. Because that was what they wanted all along. All because I had to be STUPID!! Nightscream is probably dead. I'm disgraced; left to doing shady back alley procedures just to get by...."
It clicked then.
And the sheer stupidity of these two - of Sherlock and Nightscream - sunk in.
If I am to piece the puzzle together correctly, then Redlight had played a bit of a Game. To what means, I am unsure, but he played at Sherlock's curiosity to dig into my Lord and Lady Hyrbrid's past. Planting a firm blade into Scream's back in so doing, but still somehow believing that he could get away with it. That he could patch up the wound he made once his curiosity was satisfied. Once he understood the truth behind Nightscream's smirks and idle comments about "the honest ones always having the most to hide."
Of course, once Sherlock unburied the truth behind Leo and Alex (though seemingly not where they are now), Redlight was there to take the information for himself. Sherlock panicked and ran to the Highers for assistance...
And I sincerely hope I do not need to explain in what way THAT turned out.
And Nightscream. The bloody idiot. Walked right an ambush - Sherlock as the bait. Tranquilizers and tasers would be the end of the night for the lone Rebel of the Organization. The path of flames and blood she had left in his wake over the past while giving The Hightest more than enough cause for arrest and trial. One of them, the Author of All Our Stories, shall we say, was there personally. "Saving" Sherlock's "life" with no small amount of satisfaction, I'm sure.
Like I knew I would, I left Sherlock intact. Fit to rot in guilt and self-pity like every traitor should.
He warned me before I left. He told me I should turn my back now and run if I wanted to get out of the mess alive. That it is already far too late for Nightscream, much like it is far too late for himself.
I am fully aware that any trial for one Sam Freeman would end in execution. However, if I am to be any judge of the Highers... it would be a public event.
Meaning: I still have time.
And this would be where my "stupid stunt" comes into play. Everyone else is being idiotic, after all, so I thought I might as well "jump on the bandwagon", so to speak. I will be attempting to locate where they are holding Lord Raven... and try to talk to her. Figure out what the new plan is, as I'm sure there is one in the makings by now...
If this happens to be the last update, then, at the very least, the pieces of the truth that I have found... are public knowledge.
I believe Nightscream would have wanted it that way.
Sherlock told me to Run, but I cannot.
As a Proxy in the Organization, I am still duty bound to do as my Handler requires of me.
With any luck, this will not end with two necklaces of ropes for all my trouble instead of one.