Numb - Chapter 10 - Murrielberries (2024)

Chapter Text

Now that they had a way forward, Blitz was less antsy to do something. They were in the scouting and resource gathering. They were severely low on ammo, transportation, time. Vassago had called him that morning.

Three days until the appeal.

On the one hand, he was glad that they would have a chance to get Stolas the f*ck out of there sooner than later. Part of him had worried that the Goetia would drag it out indefinitely, that he would actually have to kidnap Stolas to get him out of there. On the other… three days wasn’t a lot of time to find a slippery f*cker and make him testify.

He was waiting for Moxxie and Millie to return with the weaponry when his phone started going off. The ringtone was a songbird with heavy music in the background and his stomach dropped.

“Stols?”

“No,” Via’s voice was on the receiver and that made Blitz feel even worse.

“Hey sweetie, sorry. Is… is everything okay?” Blitz looked up just as Moxxie and Mille walked through the door, each with an armload of ammunitions. He held up a finger before they could speak so he could focus on Octavia.

“I’m… worried about my dad and I know you and him are… close.”

“Hey, hey, it’s going to be alright,” Blitz rubbed the back of his neck. He’d dealt with angsty seventeen year olds with trauma before—he’d managed to help Loona through it after all— but this was a whole other ball game. He and Via had only ever interacted a few times and it was always tense and uncomfortable, Blitz being her father’s f*cking mistress or whatever, her being a victim of the family life that followed. “What’s going on, exactly?”

“I don’t know,” Via murmured. He could picture her alone in her room, listening to her mother scream at her father. He’d been there once, when he was young and his father drank. He was usually on the receiving end of his father’s anger which was bad enough; he couldn’t imagine, though, what it was like to know one of his parents were abusive to the other. “He’s just not himself? He came to lunch and he was shaky. I don’t think he’s eating very well and he just looks…”

His heart ached with the way her voice broke. “Via, I promise that I’m doing what I can for him. Is there anywhere you can stay for a couple days, sweetie?”

“I’m not leaving him!”

“I know, I know,” Blitz pinched the bridge of his nose. “It’s just… I think he would be more at ease if you weren’t subjected to all this. You shouldn’t have to be there while this sh*t is going on.”

“I could stay with a friend,” Via huffed. “You’ll help him though?”

“If it’s the last f*cking thing I do. I gotta go… um, give him a hug for me?” When he hung up, he smashed his phone. Moxxie and Millie watched him with wide eyes. “I don’t give a f*ck if they give that asshole a pardon. I’m ripping his throat out when this is done.”

The tracker led them to the Wrath Ring, of course, as if Blitz expected anything different. It had already been two days and Striker had been on the move the whole time. They’d stolen a car to move around, and somehow the prick was still two steps ahead of them at every turn. Blitz had already called Vassago and bitched him out about his defective spell, though he knew it had nothing to do with their struggle.

At the end of the second day, Blitz’s patience was worn. He pulled over suddenly and stepped out of their stolen car, kicked the door closed, and started screaming, shouting, exploding. He’d been holding it back for days.

Millie and Moxxie let him unleash until he was too tired to carry on. He was in the dirt, his back against the car, looking up at the night sky.

It was a full moon.

Blitz wiped the tears from his eyes and realized that Moxxie and Millie were both sitting next to him, hugging him. For once, he let them comfort him, let himself be comforted. What if he didn’t find Striker in time? What if none of this even worked?

Worse, what if it worked, but none of it mattered? What if Stolas never wanted to see him again?

He kept his eyes on the moon and didn’t give a sh*t if it was cheesy to wonder if Stolas was looking at it too. Vassago had told him that Stolas was doing better; not well, but no new damage. Now, it was more of a hit to his mental state than his physical. Stolas, according to Vassago, wasn’t taking his medications and has heavily drinking.

Blitz was at a loss. He thought about everything Vassago had shown him, everything he’d said. He thought about what he wanted, what was holding him back.

He wanted Stolas; that much he knew.

As for what was holding him back… well. He had a laundry list of people who could answer that for him. Now, he was just afraid that he would never get the chance to even try.

“We’ll find him,” Millie said, giving Blitz another squeeze. “You can’t give up hope yet.”

“It’s not just that,” Blitz mumbled into his knees. “I don’t deserve—he deserves—I just don’t know what he could see in me. Why he would want to be with me after all the sh*t I’ve put him through.”

“What do you mean?”

“I ruined his life,” Blitz snapped. “I stole his f*cking book, I f*cked him and left him and told his f*cking wife about it. I brought him out on a public date where he was publicly outed and humiliated and then avoided him for months. I didn’t tell him there was a f*cking assassin after him and then I didn’t go save him or visit him after the second attempt. He’s been through f*cking hell and it’s my fault and I can’t… I destroy everything. I make everyone’s lives worse. He’s better off without me.”

“Sir,” Moxxie cleared his throat. “I’m sorry but that’s just a load of sh*t.”

“Okay, first of all: f*ck you.”

“I think what Moxx means to say is,” Millie scooted closer, her arm wrapped around his shoulders. “You didn’t ruin our lives. We wouldn’t have each other if it weren’t for you, honey.”

“Yeah,” Moxxie agreed, “and as for His Highness… he cares so much for you. He’s tried so hard to be with you and he’s still trying because he likes you so much.”

“He shouldn’t,” Blitz replied bitterly. “I’m just going to f*ck it up.”

“B,” Millie smiled at him. “I know it’s scary to be vulnerable like that, but… it’s worth the risk. There’s nothing you cannot work through, as long as you’re both willing to try. Do you want to be with Stolas?”

Blitz nodded.

“Then that’s all that matters right now,” Millie said. “You can work on the rest later. You talk about your feelings, listen to his feelings. At the end of the day, as long as you both want to be together and you’re willing to try, that’s a start.”

“And you’ll have us to help too,” Moxxie added with a smile. “First we have to find Striker, though, and help His Highness. Let me see the tracker?”

Blitz dug it out of his pocket and handed it over. Moxxie stood up, walking around with the tracker thoughtfully while Millie continued to hug Blitz and comfort him. He tried to process everything they were telling him, but he just didn’t see how it would ever work. Even if Stolas had, at one time, wanted him, he doubted Stolas would still want him. Even if Stolas still wanted him, the thought of being so vulnerable, of opening himself up to a relationship…

“He’s stopped moving,” Moxxie said and Blitz jumped up to his feet. He and Millie looked down at the spell. “He’s close.”

The tracking spell brought them to a tavern straight out of a spaghetti western. If it weren’t for the crushing pressure of a ticking clock driving them, Blitz would have admired the horses tied up outside. He recognized Striker’s horse and his grip tightened on the steering wheel.

“Remember,” Blitz said as he checked that his gun was ready to go. “Let me try to convince him to come with us first. We want him alive so if I really start going in on him, stop me before I f*cking tear him apart.”

Moxxie and Millie nodded, securing their own weapons. Blitz stepped out of the vehicle and started towards the bar. In a few minutes, Millie and Moxxie would follow and head to the back of the bar. Blitz kept his head down as he walked in. The music was loud, the crowd louder; if Blitz wasn’t here on a mission, he could see himself having a good time here. The clientele were his kind of aesthetic and the place reeked of cheap booze.

It didn’t take long to find Striker seated in the corner booth. Blitz didn’t bother ordering a drink and slid into the seat across from him.

“Blitzy,” Striker grinned at him, though it was anything but pleasant. “Long time no see.”

Blitz looked at the fresh scars around Striker’s face, still pink and raw. Blitz couldn’t help but grin at them. “And here I was kicking myself for letting you get away again, but it sure as f*ck seems as though I left a lasting impression.”

That rattlesnake hiss, low and dangerous, and Striker leaned against the table to glare at him. “The f*ck do you want, Blitzy? Don’t you have a bird to suck on?”

“f*ck you,” Blitz spat back. “You’re lucky I don’t put a bullet through your f*cking skull right here, right now for the sh*t you did to Stols. If it were up to me, you’d be six f*cking feet under.”

Striker leaned back into his seat, grinning at him now. “Careful, Blitzy, you’re starting to show your true colors. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you had feelings for that disgusting Goetia.”

“So f*cking what if I did? What does it matter to you?” Blitz snarled. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Millie and Moxxie take their positions. “That’s beside the point: you touched what wasn’t f*cking yours and you tried to kill my f*cking bird.”

Striker scoffed and crossed his arms. “Is that why you’re here then, for your revenge? Haven’t you done enough?”

“No,” Blitz took a deep breath, trying to calm his growing temper. “I’m here because you’re going to testify in front of the Goetia Council.”

Striker actually laughed loud enough to catch the attention of the tables around them. Blitz sunk further into his seat, hiding his face.

“Stolas is in a conservatorship with his bitch wife. You’re going to testify that she hired you to torture and kill him to prove that she is an unsafe conservator and the only reason she filed for it was to perpetuate a pattern of abuse.”

“Why would I do that?” Striker scoffed.

“Because I’m going to f*cking make you, one way or another,” Blitz pulled his gun from his pocket discreetly. “But they’re going to give you a pardon for all your past crimes if you testify truthfully.”

“I don’t need a pardon from some pompous feathered sh*ts.”

Blitz was about to retort when the volume on the television turned up and he caught Stolas’ name. He hardly processed anything that was being said; when he looked to the corner, at the screen. Words appeared on a black screen, though Blitz couldn’t really understand much of it from this distance. The only thing he could really make out was the last line:

This is what Stella has been doing to Stolas.

The footage was brutal. Blitz had known about the abuse for a while. He’d suspected first, finding unaccounted-for bruises on Stolas’ skin that the prince refused to acknowledge or explain, the nights when he was so quiet, but trying to push through and pretend everything was okay. The hurt look in his eyes whenever Blitz left him behind.

It wasn’t confirmed until that night he’d found Stolas on the floor, crying over some destroyed sprouts and seedlings, ignoring the cuts on his face. Then, Stolas had told him everything.

Stolas had never wanted to be married.

He’d never wanted to be married to Stella.

He’d been forced to sleep with her.

She hit him.

Knowing it was happening, seeing the aftermath… that had been bad enough.

Somehow, he was seeing footage of it, broadcasted to all of hell. He turned away as Stolas collapsed at the party, unable to see anymore. Tears burned in his eyes. His heart was in his throat. His knuckles ached from clutching the table so hard that the wood creaked.

He thought about Stolas, that lonely little prince he had met when they were young. He thought of the man who didn’t seem to have a care in the world.

He thought of Stolas, always alone, trying so hard to find love and happiness in a world that continued to refuse him. The way that Stolas always smiled, always tried to appease, always tried to think of others, no matter how much he himself was hurting. He’d let Blitz take his Grimoire and, for months, had only asked for his time. Later, he’d only wanted Blitz’s affection.

Blitz, too, had denied that to him.

Stolas had only ever wanted to be wanted, to be cared for, to be loved.

Instead, he had this: a daughter that did not trust his love. A wife that beat and berated him. A father that saw him only as a pawn.

A lover that only wanted him for his power.

Striker stood, started making his way to the door. Out of the corner of his eye, Blitz could see Millie and Moxxie beginning to make their move. Blitz caught Striker by the tail, his dagger pinning the f*cker to the table.

“You’re going to f*cking testify,” Blitz said through teeth clenched hard enough that his jaw ached. Striker hissed and glared back at him.

“That disgusting Goetia is getting what he deserves,” Striker seethed back. “It’s what they all deserve. Better they argue amongst themselves than take it out on us.”

“Stolas isn’t like the others you f*cking supremacist,” Blitz shouted. He didn’t even care if the other patrons could hear him. He didn’t care that he was making a scene. “He’s made mistakes, and he’s oblivious as f*cking Hell, but he cares a f*ck ton more than all the other blue bloods combined. I stole his f*cking grimoire, asshole, and he didn’t give a sh*t! He’s always supported me, cared about me, and I’m not going to let you walk out that f*cking door free while he’s trapped with that manipulative, abusive bitch.”

Striker pulled the dagger from his tail, throwing it aside. He was towering over Blitz now, one hand on the back of the booth, the other on the table. He was trying to intimidate Blitz, to make him back down. Blitz wouldn’t; instead, he glared back at Striker.

“Last time I checked,” Striker said. “The bounty for your head is worth more than mine, Rodeo Clown.”

He said it loud enough to catch the attention of every table around them. Around them, outlaws and bounty hunters were on their feet now, closing in around them. Moxxie and Millie were close now.

“f*ck,” Blitz slid out of the booth, grabbing onto Striker’s arm. “Moxxie, Millie, don’t let him out of your f*cking sight. He’s coming with us.”

Striker shoved Blitz back into the crowd and made a run for it.

“Goddamnit! M&M, get him!” Blitz didn’t hesitate, firing into the crowd and backing away. Millie and Moxxie were already after Striker, and Blitz tried to assist. Hands continued to grab at him, drag him back into the mass of outlaws. They were pulling at his jacket, took his weapons off him; they were all fighting over who would be the one to bring him in.

Blitz was on the ground now, his arms shoved behind his back, his face smashed into the floor.

The crowd dispersed as suddenly as it began. Blitz’s head ached; he could feel blood from his bullet wound begin to seep through his stitches. He tried to get up, but a boot came down, pressing him further into the dirt. He managed to look up and see the same red-cloaked f*cks that had chased him out of his own f*cking business. Blitz tried again to escape, to at least get to his feet but the boot was unforgiving.

“f*ck off!” Blitz shouted. “How the f*ck did you find me you f*cking Kool-Aid drinking bitches?”

“We’ve been tracking Striker, knowing that you’d be coming for him eventually. Our employer wants to meet with you.”

“Yeah I’m sure they do,” Blitz growled, trying to see the face beneath the hood. Nothing but shadows. “Let me go you f*ckers!”

To more robed figures pulled him up to his feet, cuffing his hands behind his back. Shockingly, the outlaws were letting this happen. Chances were, they’d been paid or would be paid as soon as they dragged Blitz out of here.

He tried to fight them off, but it was harder with his hands cuffed, wounded, a cut above his eye that was beginning to bleed. He kicked and bit and shouted, but they were dragging him from the tavern nonetheless. It didn’t phase any of them; there were too many for him to really fight off.

There was a van parked just outside the door and they opened the back to shove him in. In the distance, he saw Millie and Moxxie doing the same with an unconscious Striker before turning to save him.

“No!” He shouted after them. “Get him back to Vassago.”

They slid to a stop at his order, looking torn and reluctant. They couldn’t f*ck this up. He couldn’t let Stolas down, not again.

“I’ll be fine,” he continued. “Just get him back to Vassago and make the f*cker testify!”

The van door shut, leaving him with four of his captors. One of them hit him upside the head and everything went dark.

Numb - Chapter 10 - Murrielberries (2024)
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