OoC: Yay! I've actually found inspiration to start writing again. Chadwyck, Liam and Serah story ♥~ BIC: Chapter 1: It Was a Dark and Stormy Night There was a cold wind tearing through the trees, a high pitched whistling echoing from the branches. Several twigs were torn from the trees and the sound of splintering wood could be heard every so often. In the middle of a dense forest, away from the prying eyes of others, there was an estate. The estate could have easily been described as a mansion, only that it would seem inadequate to deem it as such. The grounds were in a large area that had been cleared of most of the forests native trees in favor of other, exotic species that covered the property in the scent of a masterfully tended garden. There were three buildings within the walls of the compound, each of them large enough to be considered the main house in its own right. Though, only one could be clearly seen as the focal point of the grounds, the mansion within a mansion that was obviously the most luxurious and lavishly furnished out of any of the buildings. The compound belonged to none other than the Monroe family of assassins; one of the most highly feared and respected families in the entire world. Their skills were legendary; they were the instruments behind many historical events: instigators of wars, tools of destruction. Renowned the world over for never failing a contract that had come into their hands. The family was known not only for their natural ability and inherent talent, but for “farming” for new, skilled assassins. They adopted children who showed promise and trained them in the way of combat. In truth, there were only four members of the main family line; despite the organization being well into the hundreds. Children who showed that they had the makings of greatness were sent on the common contracts, while the family heads specialized in specific killings. The father, Patrick Monroe, was an expert at military assassinations; one of the world’s best marksmen and hand-to-hand combatants, he could bring even the most hardened of veterans to their knees. If they managed to see him coming first. His wife, Madeline Monroe, an expert in political assassinations; she was skilled in blade dancing, using her seductive wiles to get close to her target before striking, her weapon of choice was a sword-whip. Their daughter, Etheline Monroe, was an expert in private sector assassinations; she was able to move like a shadow, undetectable and silent as the grave, she uses trained snakes and poisoned needles to kill her targets. And lastly, the son, Conan Monroe, an expert in group assassinations; the boy was born with the ability to control technology with his mind, he uses a suit of armor made of the finest components to kill his targets while he maneuvers it from a safe location. Hiring any member of the main family would cost more than hiring several of their adopted members, but they would also ensure that any target met their end without fail. Not once had a member of the Monroe family main line set out for a target and not kill their prey. In fact, the whole family had a reputation of never failing a single job; except for one contract involving a young man out for revenge against a corrupted dictator responsible for his family’s death. It was this particular shortcoming that kept Patrick up this night, the wind mirroring the force of his anger underneath the calm demeanor that he always wore. He was meditating in the main house; the largest building that was reserved for only his wife and children and a handful of selected adoptives. The other two buildings on the property were for training and housing the other adopted children. Patrick’s mediation chamber was in the back of the house; a room fit for the most respected of men. The floor was polished obsidian, his own image reflecting back at him off of the black stone. The walls were actually bamboo fountains, the sound of calming running water echoing around the room constantly. The room was unfurnished and bare except for the cushion that the Monroe family head was kneeling upon; deep in the recesses of his mind. He noticed the door opening before the intruding child could even mutter his apologies for interrupting. “Sorry for disturbing you, father,” one of the adopted children muttered solemnly, hoping to avoid upsetting his father with this matter. It was a common feeling in the presence of Patrick Monroe to find oneself shrinking away from him in fear of his power. He was well built, standing at six foot three with the sort of strength that keeps one limber but imposing at the same time. His face was scarred on his left cheek and his military cut hair was beginning to gray. Currently, he wore a silk robe and meditation pants, but his magnum revolver was beside him as always, ready for action at a moment’s notice. “What is it? I trust this is important to warrant disrupting me in the middle of the night.” Patrick spoke in a heavy voice that seemed to sit upon one’s shoulders, weighed down by sheer intimidation alone. “We found them.” The boy said with a poorly hidden smile, knowing that this was news that his father had been waiting for for several years. “What did you say?” Patrick shot a surprised glance at his young ward, letting his feelings show in a moment of weakness. “We found them, father. They’ve been living in a house in northern Michigan somewhere by the Great Lakes.” “I always did teach you kids that it was best to avoid heavily populated areas.” Patrick started laughing, the satisfaction dripping from his every gesture. “This contract is long overdue for completion, our client will be happy to hear this. Leave me, I must decide how to handle these illusive targets.” The boy gave a slight bow before ducking out of the room, grinning that he had delivered news that pleased his father so. Patrick smiled darkly, this blight that hung over his families head had all been caused by one man. The only contract that they had ever failed to fulfill, and now he would see to it that it was done; the client had left the contract open to them for a significant price reduction. But the money wasn’t important. It was dealing with the pest that had hurt his precious reputation. “The Monroe family has always been on top.” He said this to no one in particular, before continuing, “Prepared for a little family reunion, Liam? It’s been far too long.” ------------------------------------- Liam woke with a start, a cold sweat had soaked his pajamas through and chilled him as he stood and went to the restroom to change his clothes. It had been happening more and more lately, these late night to early morning wake-ups; it was getting ridiculous really. Even more ridiculous than having all concrete flooring in the house; his feet felt like ice cubes by the time he reached the restroom. He quickly changed into something not cold and damp and hazily made his way back toward his bed, pausing momentarily to look at the house, as he did every night the past week. It was nothing luxurious by any standards, but it was far from being an impoverished hovel. It was an open studio type building, having no walls to separate rooms aside from the restroom and shower. The rest of the house was open, the kitchen took up a large section of the first floor, but the rest was a roomy living area with a flatscreen television, a couch, two recliners, several arcade games that Chadwyck had insisted on, a pool table and some other non-essentials. In the back of the house was a flight of stairs that led to the sleeping area, which was on a balcony overlooking the living area below. It was spacious and comfortable and had made a wonderful home for the past three years. Of course, as it always did, thinking about the house he currently called home made him think of where he had come from. The compound in the forest that housed hundreds of trained assassins. The Monroe compound. Liam hadn’t changed his name since leaving, mostly because he felt he shouldn’t try and change his past, but rather intended to learn from it. And partially he kept it because he liked the way that Liam Monroe seemed to roll off the tongue, making him sound suave and sophisticated. The reason he had left the family was also the reason they had opted to live somewhere so far from civilization; he had failed his first contract that his father had entrusted him with. His task had seen to kill a young man who was making things difficult for a corrupt politician to seize control of the government in some backwater country; Chadwyck Felling. The man he now regarded as his best friend in the world, a true brother to someone who had never been a member of a real family. They fought countless times, but the result was always a draw, until finally Serah stepped in and put an end to the fighting. After failing to kill Chadwyck, Liam knew he couldn’t go home to the Monroe household, so he joined the young man in his quest. He chuckled bitterly to himself, before he mumbled softly, “these memories are precisely why I’ve been waking up every night in a cold sweat. The nightmares of the vengeance that my fath-- Patrick Monroe,” he corrected himself, “is surely planning for shaming his family.” It had been three years since that incident, and it wasn’t as if Chadwyck, Liam and Serah had remained under the radar; they had been pretty frequently mentioned in internet articles and once in a possible UFO sighting. They weren’t the type to keep a low profile, especially not in the mercenary/hired hand/whatever pays the bills business that they found themselves working in. More often than not they were off destroying a city block trying to capture a wanted man, or sometimes protecting some bigwig with an underworld price on his head. It really went anywhere and everywhere on a daily basis. They’d even managed to make some friends along the way; people who were equally as gifted in getting in way over their heads and making a few new vacant lots in major cities. He could hear the wind pick up outside, it blew the pellets of rain that were beginning to fall into the windows; the pitter-patter of the rain losing the calming effect it usually brought with it, being replaced with a hard barrage on the exterior of their house. “It was a dark and stormy night,” Liam sighed with a little smirk to himself, finally shaken from his reverie and heading off to bed once again. Something stopped him from following the path he had set out for himself in his head, however, and he found himself making a detour to the “closet” (which was actually a coat rack embedded in the wall) and grabbing his briefcase: Pandora’s Box, as it was called. The briefcase had the ability to transform into one of ten different weapons, or in some cases pairs of weapons, and had been a gift from the Monroe family to celebrate him taking on his first contract. Not only the peculiar box, but all the weapons that it could turn into. Each and every one of them had been enchanted in one way or another; self-replenishing ammunition, elemental bullets, they were all very helpful and incredibly fun. Again Liam sighed, as he grabbed the key-ring from his coat pocket, each key representing another weapon the box could become, and began absentmindedly twirling them on his index finger. The green-haired man scratched at his stubble, forming on his face as he had neglected shaving the last few days, and cracked his neck. His blue pajamas with purple pinstripes looked out of place on him, mostly due to his normal manner of dress: a black suit and matching fedora. “How long do you plan on sitting over there?” He asked suddenly, still facing the stairs but clearly speaking to someone behind him. An amused chuckle drifted across the room as a man seemingly emerged from the shadows. The man was dressed in full black, a hood and mask covering his face like some sort of ninja. “I’m impressed,” he said quietly, “I figured by now you’d be growing a bit rusty, but it seems you’re just as sharp as ever. I can see why you were one of Mother and Father’s favorites. You’d have had a room in the main house if you didn’t fail that contract, I’d wager.” “How did you find me?” Liam spat, sometime between figuring out that there was an intruder and calling out to him, he had inserted a key into Pandora’s Box and a pair of twin, modded Beretta M9 pistols had appeared in his hands. Their barrels had been lengthened and they fired a higher caliber round than normal. Currently, they were both trained on the intruder, and the look on Liam’s face said that he would fire without a second thought. “No time for pleasantries, brother? And after such a long time without seeing another family member.” Beneath the man’s mask, he grinned, “hardly complimentary. You screwed up a contract and let a target live. We’ve been looking for you for a long time. You knew it was only a matter of time before we found you.” “So what? You’re here to kill me and finish the job with Chadwyck, then?” “You catch on quick, saves me the trouble of having to explain.” “Not gonna happen, I’ll kill you before you take a step.” “Did you really think father would send me alone?” His eyes glanced up at where Chadwyck and Serah were sleeping, a feeling of utter dread filled Liam’s entire being. The green-haired man was gone in an instant, a pop resounding from the space he had just been occupying being filled by air rushing to fill the void. Instantly, he was face to face with an assassin about to bring a knife down on Chadwyck’s throat. A bullet between the eyes ended that threat, but also filled the room with the bang of the gunshot. “What the HELL!” Chadwyck sat bolt upright, reaching for his blade, a flame erupting in the palm of his hand. Without so much as a word, Liam grabbed a hold of Chadwyck’s wrist, teleported them both over to Serah’s bed, grabbed her as well and teleported the pair of them outside into the freezing rain. “Liam, what are you-- hey!” Chadwyck shouted as his friend disappeared again. Liam was back in the center of the room, looking at the initial assassin and another who he must have overlooked in his rush to get Chadwyck and Serah out of harm’s way. No more games, Liam thought, tightening his grip on his pistols. He was gone again, reappearing behind the assassin he had missed initially and firing a shot poised for the back of the head. The assassin dodged with an expert acrobatic twist and kicked one of Liam’s guns away. Liam countered with a kick of his own, sweeping the assassin’s legs from underneath him and sending him tumbling to the ground. He fired two round from his remaining pistol toward the first man, who was trying to come up and and attack while Liam was distracted with the other assassin. Successfully backing the first man off for a moment, Liam delivered a kicked to the man on the ground who was beginning to stand up, followed by two shots to the man’s chest. The first man now had Liam’s second gun and began firing at Liam wildly. His bullets couldn’t find their target, however, as Liam proceeded to teleport around the room, finally appearing above the man and shooting him in the top of his head. He reappeared in front of the man before he fell and took his gun back from him as he crumbled. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply, returning his guns to their briefcase form and unlocking the front door just before Chadwyck started pounding on it. Patrick must have been sending a warning, there’s no way he expected those three to finish off Chadwyck and I, especially if he had known Serah was here as well. It must have been a test to see how much trouble we were going to give him. After all, what’re a few adopted, disposable children when he has hundreds of assassins to choose from. Liam was so caught up in trying to analyze the situation, he missed Serah’s gasp and Chadwyck’s question. So, Chadwyck walked up to his friend and grabbed his shoulders. “Liam.” He began, making sure that he was getting paid attention to. “What happened? Why the hell did you take me and Serah into the freezing rain, you ass? I’m gonna catch pneumonia or something.” The young man began toward a new, dry pair of clothes, when he stopped after stepping over one of the assassin’s bodies. “Who are these guys?” “Monroe family assassins.” Chadwyck stopped in his tracks, and an awkward silence hung in the air. It was Serah who finally broke the silence after several seconds. “Why? Why now?” “Because they finally found us and they’re trying to tie up lose ends.” “So, what now? We move to another house?” Serah asked, hoping that it would be that simple. Of course, these things never are. “Unfortunately, no. They found us once, they can find us again. It may have taken them three years, but that just goes to show that they aren’t going to give up. This isn’t something that’s just going to go away; we need to deal with it.” Chadwyck grinned, the prospect of fighting a league of highly trained assassins getting his blood flowing. “Good, it’s about time we got this over with. Where do we find the headquarters? Let’s go end this fight.” “No, that’s now how we deal with this. Going after the Monroes is a suicide mission, there are hundreds of trained killers at the compound at any given time. We may be good, ducky, but we aren’t that good.” Liam frowned, knowing that the only alternative was going to be hard enough as it was without Patrick sending people after them at any given time. He may have already sent another squad to finish what the others couldn’t. Chadwyck’s mood was significantly dampened upon hearing that a forward assault was not going to be their plan of action. “If not by attacking them directly, then how do we get them to stop coming after you two?” Serah asked, usually the most logical of the group, it seemed she had been considering going head to head with the Monroe family too. It made sense, seeing as her two “older brothers” had been targeted, and if there was one thing that she couldn’t allow, it was people trying to hurt the two people she held most dear. “They’re after us because of a contract. Revenge is just a bonus to them; they’re professionals, if the contract is terminated, they’ll have no reason to come after us. At least, that’s how they’ve always operated in the past.” “That contract you were sent out on to kill me? It’s still active?” “Yes, from the looks of it. Which means that in order to end this, we have to find the man who hired them and either make him cancel the contract, or kill him.” “It just can’t be anything simple with you two, can it?” Serah sighed, shaking her head. “We don’t even know where to look, the revolution that Chadwyck started reformed the government and banished Huxley from the country, which means that he’s long gone by now.” Liam thought it over for a moment, weighing in their options. “First thing we need to do is collect some information. We’ve got plenty of connections who may be able to give us some info. In the worst case scenario, we go to Lucanad and look for clues ourselves.” “All right,” Chadwyck stretched, “but first we’re going to need somewhere to stay. They know where this place is and it’s only a matter of time before more of them show up. Let’s start heading east, we can check in New York for some info from our friends’ library and depending on how that goes, we can decide what to do from there.” “We should be safe for the night, I doubt there will be anyone else coming before dawn, it’s only a few hours off now.” Liam stretched, “we’re going to need a place to stay for a few days in New York while we pour over some records and try and track Huxley down.” “Leave that to me,” Serah chimed in with a wink and a smile, “I’ll make a few calls in the morning and see if we can’t find a place to crash.” “Good, then it’s a plan. We’ll head out in the morning, for now let’s try and get a bit of sleep, even if it is only a couple hours. Chadwyck and I will sleep in shifts, just in case.” Chadwyck grabbed his sword and sat down on the couch, flipping on the television and turning it down a bit so it wouldn’t disturb anyone upstairs. “I’ll take first watch, go get some rest, Liam, those nightmares have kept you up the last few nights.” “Yeah, thanks. Just wake me up in a bit and I’ll take over.” Liam smiled and went to his bed, collapsing into the comforter and his body immediately losing strength from exhaustion. The rain splashing against the house a natural lullaby as he drifted off into a deep sleep. ---------------------------------- The morning came, but the rain didn’t let up. It was a bit foreboding, the darkness that hung in the sky despite the fact that the Sun was now up. Symbolic of the sudden storm that the trio had found themselves caught in so suddenly. “So, where are we headed?” Liam asked, stretching and cracking his back. Even though he’d only slept about an hour and a half, he was feeling much better than he had been previously. “Good news, guys,” Serah beamed brightly, waving a piece of paper with an address written on it, “Sorena and Sem are staying at one of their houses on the West Coast, so they said we can stay at their house in New York for a few days.” “The west coast, huh?” Chadwyck asked, thinking about how nice the California Sun would feel; although he loved the rain more than sunlight, nothing beat the smell of the sea and crashing waves one found in California. “In California?” Chadwyck asked. “I’m, uh, not really sure. It was sort’ve hard to keep Sorena focused. She started rambling on about the waves and just what particular shade of blue the ocean was today. Then she started complaining about how the sand got everywhere and how in her younger days sand knew its place.” Serah laughed endearingly, Chadwyck and Liam only grinned, knowing exactly how the witch got when she started to let her mind wander. Which was pretty much constantly. “Anyway,” Serah continued, “Sem took the phone from her and gave me the address, figuring Sorena forgot that was the point of my call in the first place. Then he hurried off the phone after asking me to ensure that you,” she playfully prodded Chadwyck with her index finger, “don’t burn the house down. Last thing I heard was him telling Sorena to stop insulting the charms that some street vendor was selling.” “Well, at least we know that the two of them are getting along as always. It’s been too long since we’ve had a get together, we’ll have to sort that out once this whole affair is over.” Liam chuckled, imagining the whole scenario that Serah described. They packed a few bags, traveling as lightly as possible. Chadwyck and Serah each placed a hand on one of Liam’s shoulders, and the three of them were off in an instant. Taking one breath in Michigan, and the very next in New York. It was an exciting feeling that only came with the skills that Liam had. He could teleport anywhere in the world, depending on how well he knew the area. Since he wasn’t exactly sure as the location of the house, he took them to the closest landmark that he knew. “Let’s get moving, I’d like to get settled in and start researching immediately. The sooner we get this whole mess behind us, the better. Who knows how long we have before more Monroe assassins show up.” Liam scratched his head, pushing his fedora back on his head. They all agreed to do just that and started walking toward their new temporary housing, the urgency of their task setting in.