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She was worried, constantly worried. It was unavoidable given the fact that her very close friends were going through such a rough time, that being an understatement. Leila texted them on a daily basis to make sure they were okay when she wasn’t around, and though her work had once made her feel guilty and tired as of late it was actually helping to distract her from all of this constant concern. However, the moment she was done it was rearing right back. After she changed clothes she pulled her phone out to check her messages, a small smile forming in her features at some of the things she’d been sent by Lonny. Everything was fine, and it was always a relief. Leila messaged him back, then returned her attention to the street to see if she could flag down a cab.
She tucked strands of hair behind her ear as she watched a car pass by. There wasn’t much traffic, what with it being the middle of the week. She considered walking home, but she was quick to talk herself down from it. This wasn’t her time of the day. Vampires and the like would be out and though she was confident that she could at least get away from one what with her close friends being put in such a bind Leila did worry that she would be put on this woman’s radar. She walked across the street when it was clear, and looked back down at phone again. Leila was distracted, but when she heard steps closing in on her she’d still glanced over her shoulder.
She just thought she was paranoid. It was late, and dark, and she was just thinking about the possibility of meeting some strange vampire that would try to hurt her. She was just jumpy, but Leila only got a glimpse of the stranger, or strangers behind her until she felt a hand on her arm. Her eyes grew when she saw the masked face of the stranger grabbing her. Leila opened her mouth to let out a scream, and got part of her voice out before she felt another gloved hand on her face. She bit down, or tried to, struggled to get her arm back, but there was more then one and they’d taken her off guard. Still, she heard them bicker and complain about what to do about her struggling, and when she got a hand free she sent fire from her finger and caught it on one of their sleeves. In the struggle and panic, she finally got free of the other, but only for a moment until he caught her again and hit her. Everything went black from there.
She’d woke up facing the floor. The table she was on was lowered so that she was closer to a glass dish beneath her face. Leila tried moving her hands that were behind her back, wincing as her bonds pinched her wrists. She tried to sit up, move her legs, anything, but feeling resistance at her neck made her shudder. Her neck was strapped down. She couldn’t breathe. Leila wasn’t usually claustrophobic, but her heart was ramming in her chest as she couldn’t think straight- and then a door to her left opened.
”Remember me? You burned my fuckin arm!”
She refused to break at first, even though their threats to take her life. She knew there were other things more important to them than just parts, but when they introduced her to a whip of theirs, she could only withstand it for so long. She screamed until her voice was gone, and gave them what they wanted to her shame. After that she couldn’t comprehend time, how long they kept her in that table before they took her to room, sat her in front of a window then dragged her back down again. One these people were not: vampires. It made her feel all the more pathetic that she’d been taken by them, that she couldn’t bring herself to fight back after they’d started hurting her. She felt completely and utterly useless, but if they were just strangers who found out about her, she could only hope that it meant her friends were still okay.
Things we lost to the flames. Things we'll never see again. All that we've amassed, sits before us, shattered into ash
The sun was setting when he finally found it.
Had he not known what he was searching for, he would've surely missed it. Metal doors greased over with moss and growing vines, a bunker cleverly hidden under the shadows of the trees deep inside the woods. The piece of paper in his hand disintegrated, its knowledge shared, now useless to Xerxes.
It's been days. Days. Four since the actual kidnapping. Three since he received the phone call from her friends, a vampire and his lover, asking-no, demanding if he knew where Leila went and if not, why the hell not? Three since the police and Pandora were involved and suspicious tire tracks were found. (They lost its tracks within an hour out of the city.) One, since the updates on the investigation slowed to a trickle. Five hours since he crashed into the store of a demon with his heart and soul on a platter.
Xerxes hated demons. Satan's bastards who smelt of brimstone and death. He, who's been played with, ripped apart and tormented by one, knew very well, not to dabble with them. But he had no choice. Xerxes was running out of time. With every second spent waiting, every minute lost, the chances of finding Leila safe dwindled. No, as phoenixes they can't die, but they can be broken, shattered beyond repair for all of eternity. Xerxes wasn't going to wait for the authorities to go through all their procedures and deductions. He wasn't going to wait for his phone to ring bearing the worst possible news. He'd heard about the rumours. About the red one who collects and sells knowledge. And though he knew nothing good ever comes from making deals with demons, he'd slammed his offer down before his courage could fail him. "Anything." The red one only smiled.
He didn't ask for money, his powers, not even use of his lives (unlike the white one who loved to take and take and take just because he can). This one only smiled as he pressed the little slip paper into his palm ever so casually. "A debt I'll come collect in the future. Don't worry." Xerxes was out the doors before the other finished speaking, ignoring the amused chuckles that followed him out and the trembling of his hands as he started running.
The thought that the demon could've given him false information didn't even cross his mind until he was by the woods' edge. He realised he probably should've shared the information with the authorities, who were still working hard to help find her- he knew it was stupid to waltz right in into enemy territory, that he should've gone back for backup but his mind was filled with the jarring phantom sounds of circus jingles, the shock collar cold around his neck- "And now for the event you've all been waiting for! The amazing rebirth of the phoenix!" - its been four days already.
The moment he heard Leila's missing, a cold chill had settled into his body and hadn't left. Underneath it he could feel his stress and emotions building up, angry serpents that writhed under the layer of icy calmness, waiting for the first crack in the wall. He knew, as clear as the sky is blue, the moment the deed's done, the moment Leila's safe (she will be), he will be consumed. Spiral and drown in the feelings and emotions this had dragged up- the consequences and what they mean- the realisation that he's in too deep- this was what he'd been trying to avoid- but for now, he was glad. Glad for the cold fury that shielded his mind, numbed his heart and lent him strength however temporary.
The metal of the doors yielded easily to his fury, melting away from his palms as he pushed. A line of red was drawn on his cheek, the air behind him popping as a bullet grazed past, narrowly missing him. His magic roared to life, cloaking his arms as the phoenix tore forward and smashed into the first man, fire catching immediately as the poacher died screaming. "Where is she?" He lunged forwards, barely shifting to dodge their panicked shots as he grabbed hold of the closet weapon to him and twisted, metal melting under his grip. His other hand seared into the wrist of the poacher on the right who wasn't quick enough to react and as they dropped their weapon in pain and surprise, Xerxes twisted, his equilibrium shifted and brought his leg around in a vicious kick that connected with the thug's chest with a resounding crack. The large man was sent flying, crashing against the far end of the wall, he slid down and didn't get up again.
The remaining criminal had discarded the useless rifle and withdrawn a knife, the crackling noise of a radio suggested that his intrusion was reported - it was fine. The phoenix hadn't planned on being subtle in the first place - no, he had a lot of restraint but he was not feeling that merciful. "Where is she?" His grip was tight and hot around the other's throat, a warning, a threat. His voice remained deceptively calm but the gold of his eyes were cold and unforgiving.
"Wouldn't you like to know pretty boy?" the man sneered but his mockery was short-lived as his expression twisted into one of pain as Xerxes' grip tightened. "I will not ask again." "Go to hell bitch!" Were the last words the man uttered before his screams were swallowed by phoenix flames.
Dropping the burning corpse, the fire on his arms flickered out as Xerxes took a measured breath. It would not do to exhaust his flames just yet, there will be time for that later. He took a step then another, then a large breath and bellowed her name. "Leila!" He held himself really still, stretched out his senses, strained his ears to the limits, to hear over the tapping footsteps of reinforcements rushing towards him, for a reply- her voice, his name, anything- and he would come and woe to those who dare get in his way.
Tag: leila du boux
OOC: Xerxes: What do you mean I'm angry? I'm not angry. -states calmly as he stands in the middle of an inferno-
Her cheek was pressed against cool cement, the sounds of arguing carried into small room but she could hear them clearer than they likely expected her to. They still wanted her to change. They’d been arguing about how to pluck feathers from her safely, and to her knowledge they’d figured out some sort of magic to keep them from burning from her flame for a short stint of time. She didn’t know how it would work, if it would work, magic always seemed to be changing all the time but these men didn’t look to be experts at anything but cruelty. She’d pulled and twisted her wrists as much as she was able while they were out of sight. It helped none. She’d been kept in the dark room for so long she couldn’t even bring herself to sit up. Of course she didn’t need to. There was no use trying to leave.
She had enough time to consider the course of her actions and what dangers might come of it if she got away. They knew where she lived, or at least the area. It was bad enough that they’d be able to find her again if she went back, but worse of all..if they discovered she had another who was close to her, another phoenix who they’d missed? Leila couldn’t imagine a worse fate than to watch him being taken from her. She wasn’t just tormented by their harsh treatments, but her own visions of memories that she slipped into. She had killed before, never happily but she had still done it. What had changed from then and now to make her so utterly incapable?
The door creaked as it opened, light finally seeping into the room but it was artificial and did nothing to make her feel less exhausted. Her eyes shifted from the floor and up to the man who particularly despised her for the damage she’d caused him already. Her heart shuddered and sank seeing him glare down at her as he was, but she kept her expression even - or as even as she could keep it. ”Still not wanting to change huh?” She said nothing, and simply seethed at him. The tall man, who’s name she’d heard to be John, scoffed, then raised a steel toed boot above her face as if he were going to kick her. Leila flinched, and held her breath to brace for it as she turned her forehead against the cement and away from him. Blonde strands fell from her shoulder, shielding her expression from him, but as he put his boot back down he chuckled anyway.
”I’ve been told I can get you to change by any means necessary.” Leila listened without having much of a choice, but didn’t turn her cheek to look at him again. She didn’t know what they might have in store for her this time, but the tone of his voice scared her. She’d learned that showing it made things worse, but her lack there of wasn’t helping either. This showed as he bent down, grabbed a handful of blonde from the back of her head and pulled so she would look at him. ”You should be excited what I’ve thought up for you.” She stifled her sounds of pain as much as she could, but as he pulled her up by the hair she couldn’t help but whimper before he finally get go and hefted her up the rest of the way by her arm. Hands still tied behind her back where they’d remained since her capture she couldn’t fight back and wasn’t even sure she could take a swing if she did somehow free herself.
Wincing as he picked her up and placed her over his shoulder, she tried to at least lift her head some to try and get some sort of idea as to where they were headed. Once they’d left the dark room and entered the brighter hall she felt disgusted with herself that even the artificial light gave her some sort of hope when in truth it did nothing. Another man’s voice was heard near, but she couldn’t see very well with her hair in her face. ”Someone on watch said they saw someone outside. It’s probably nothing but we’re gonna go check it out anyway.” As they passed the other man her John merely grunted his response. Was it wrong that for a split second she hoped that it was someone for her? Leila mentally scolded her for the thought because if it was...She didn’t want any of her friends here in a place like this. The man’s voice pulled at her to pay attention, and despite her worry she did listen.
”It must suck being what you are. I can’t imagine having to live a life over and over again. That’s some kind of hell right?” She didn’t know what he was getting at, but didn’t dare respond. She still couldn’t figure out where he was taking her, but he was walking away from the usual place rather than toward - or so it felt. Leila tried sitting up to get a look at her surroundings, but he adjusted his hold on her and her hair fell in her face again. ”Have you ever wondered what it’s like to die and not come back?” Her heart started to beat faster, even though she didn’t know what he had in mind, deep down she felt she still knew the answer. ”You probably don’t know how to swim huh?” In that moment he confirmed all of her worst fears. Leila shook her head, bit her lower lip to keep down the wave of fear that hit her but in the end she couldn’t. She trembled in his hold and felt herself start to cry though she swore she wouldn’t have been able to after they’d forced her for so long. ”Please.” She hated the way her voice sounded, small and utterly terrified. ”You’re talking now? Too bad I could care less what you have to say.”
”Please..please. Please don’t do this.” She had no way of knowing if he was seriously going to try and kill her. Surely they still needed her, and wanted her alive, but even so it didn’t make her feel better. She was afraid of water for a reason, and now they were using it against her. When she felt him push open a heavier door, and they were both met with the open air it all sank in. ”No!” Leila kicked and pulled at her restraints hard despite the pain. ”No no no no. Please!” It didn’t matter how she begged. He merely adjusted her weight on his shoulder and moved on. She couldn’t see. To her grief the sun must have set hours ago and the moon gave her no solace or aid. If anything, the evening only fueled her fear. Whether they wanted to keep her alive or not hardly mattered. She didn’t trust this man with her life. She was pleading, and begging, and hating herself as she cried. When he stopped after a brief walk across what she assumed was some sort of backyard her heart was already ramming in her ears. She was going to die.
Leila didn’t know how on earth she heard it. The sound of someone's voice carried to her, a someone she recognized and couldn’t fathom how it could have possibly been real, but her imagination taunting her. However, there was magic in that voice that she felt. If he could hear her, regardless of the distance she wanted him to know that she was still alive. ”Xerxes.” She’d mumbled through uneven breath. Then she felt the man adjusting her at his shoulder, and she gathered every last bit of energy within her to cry out his name. ”Xerxes!!” She felt herself fall as the man threw her over his shoulder, and as the icy water met with her shoulders first she screamed before it was swallowed by water in the large raised pool her captor tossed her in.
Things we lost to the flames. Things we'll never see again. All that we've amassed, sits before us, shattered into ash
Xerxes had experienced many forms of rage in his many lives. Stampeding rage that consumed him until he was like an angry bull, mindless and reckless. Bitter rage that sits on his guts, boiling and clenching every muscle in his body. And the rage that often accompanied grief, leaving him empty and bereft.
The rage he felt now was sharp and cold. It cleared his mind, sharpened his senses and blanketed all other emotions. It's a rage that enveloped him, body and soul, and turned him as cruel and heartless as those he raged against.
Her scream had been the trigger that unleashed the flames, white hot and bleached of color and any mercy. The fools who dared capture and lay hand on the children of the sun soon met their fiery ends as flames roared down the hallway, blasting through the metal walls on the other side. The explosion rocked the foundation of the bunker and the walls began to creak as the metal of the building warped under the heat that surrounded the phoenix. The reinforcements that had been rushing towards him had all been vaporised by his flames, which puttered out with his last attack, magical reserves drained. It mattered not. He had not survived through so many cycles relying just on his magic. His fingers curled into fists as he leaped through the exit he'd boldly blew open and into open night air, sprinting the moment his feet touched the ground. It didn't take long for him to cross the distance but when it was crossed, what he saw there chilled him to the bones.
Water where water shouldn't be. A pool in the middle of an unassuming backyard, a man standing alone under the moonlight, the haunting screams and lingering scent of phoenix magic in the air. It took less than a fraction of a second for Xerxes to piece together what had happened and even less to take immediate action.
"Who the fuc-" His fist smashed into the man's face, flinging the other away but he barely had time to revel in the sickening crunch of bones under his knuckles- he deserves worse, Xerxes ought to rip him limb from limb, introduce him to the worst kind of torture and pain for daring to endanger her- he was leaping off the edge and diving into the chilling depths of the pool before the thug's body even hit the ground.
Leaping into the water's embrace felt like leaping into a pool of knives - stupid and damn near suicidal. The element was quick in stripping him of his remaining defences and sapping his strength but the stabbing pain was immediately pushed aside the moment his eyes lighted on the blurry shadow that was lying on the bottom of the pool. With two powerful kicks, he closed the distance, his arms reaching out to cradle her form to him. Wasting no time, he kicked off the bottom of the pool towards the surface, fingers latching onto the edge as he brought them up for air. With some effort, he lifted onto dry land before pulling himself from the water after.
So cold. His fingers trembled as he stumbled towards her form, turning her body to the side as he beat his fist against her back, hoping to dispel the water trapped within her body. "Come on Leila!" his teeth chattered but whether it was from the cold or fear it was hard to say. "Come on."
He could feel the fissures in his emotional defences and barriers widening as they threatened to topple under the swell of stress and fear looming over him. This was why he didn't want to get close. This was why he didn't want to care. Because as much as he like to convince himself that after all he's been through he's not capable of caring for others or himself anymore, it's a damn lie. Xerxes Frye was a weak, pathetic man. One who craved affection and understanding like all other living creatures with a conscience. But he was also a damn coward. He's been hurt and lost so much, his heart had become fragile and thin. After so many times, you'd think he'd steeled himself against developing feelings. After so many times he'd failed, you'd think he'd know better.
His trembling fingers brushed over her cheeks lightly as he willed the last remaining dregs of magic within him to encapsulate her body in warmth. He lost the battle again, in the end he couldn't win against the cruelty of fate, couldn't help but fall again for yet another's radiance. To covet something he doesn't and will never deserve. Another weakness to be exploited. "Leila." He mouthed her name in request, in prayer, in wilful, desperate plea that he's not too late.
Tag: leila du boux
OOC: Don't know if you wanted John alive or dead so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Near life and death experiences weren’t foreign to her, as they for any phoenix. Though there was sometimes a comfort in knowing that she would always come back, always have a second, third, fourth chance and more to learn from mistakes made, she felt no such comfort when that man finally let go of her. Leila felt that this was the end, the true end, and to say that she only regretted little was a complete understatement. She had wasted so much time. Years of her life wasted. Who knows how much sooner she could have found Cassius? It didn’t matter though, not anymore.
As she choked on water that swiftly began to fill her lungs in her brief chance to panic and struggle, try to save herself, she thought with such agony, pain, and fear that she would never see Xerxes again. The cold crept into her quickly after the water had its turn. This wasn’t the first time she’d nearly been killed by water. Unlike before no one would come for her this time. It occurred to her that she must have been hearing things. Xerxes wasn’t here. Why would he be? She was alone, and would forever be as her next lives were taken from her too.
Leila tried to fight to stay conscious, but she didn’t know how to swim, and the cold pulled every last bit of energy she had left to do anything at all.
Suddenly she wasn’t in the pool anymore. She wasn’t drowning or being suffocated but in an open field. The sun beat down on her, but to her confusion she didn’t feel its warmth. My did she miss the sun. Suddenly bracing herself as a hefty gust of wind billowed around her, fluttered her hair, and tugged at her dress. ”Mama.” Such a sweet voice. It brought a smile to her features immediately, a warmth to her heart that this false sun couldn’t provide. She didn’t know where the voice was coming from, but she knew who it was. Tears stung at the corners of her eyes, her gaze moving to sky, walking slow.
She felt such a calling to take flight, but it had been so long that she feared she might have lost her ability to try. How she could even think that her child was somewhere in the sky waiting for her she didn’t know, but she felt it and wanted to oblige. She missed him, Leila missed her home. Perhaps if she went to him she’d find them both. Her dress slowly burned from her frame as she changed, sought freedom, but it was the voice of another that came in far more clearly to her. Cassius, Xerxes, he needed her too. She remembered all the things she did regret, and in that same moment the field was no more.
Water was choked passed her lips, large gulps spat as she turned her cheek to dispel the same water that had tried killing her, into the dirt and grass. She gasped for air once she’d coughed up what felt like a full glass of water at least, and couldn’t help but whimper from the sting she felt in her lungs from it all. In that moment she didn’t know where she was, but as she finally took note of the stiff, dry grass beneath, and her hands still bound tight at her back, her heart sank as fear returned. He must have pulled her back out of the water to torment her again. Leila was visibly shaking from the cold and her fear but that would mean nothing to these men. ”Please.” It hurt to speak, and even Leila had a hard time hearing herself as she tried. ”Please no more.” She’d still managed, and shuddered as she began to sob, turning away from the figure who she hadn’t even dared to look at lest it be that awful man.
i dont mind either way lol.