What We Owe To Each Other, Part III


devon_icon.gif lucille_icon.gif

Scene Title What We Owe To Each Other, Part III
Synopsis Devon and Lucille find themselves in a life or death situation.
Date September 30, 2018

Back arching and legs kicking, Lucille Ryans never stopped fighting.

Wherever her captors were taking her, it wasn't far. Blinded by a good and locked in the back of a van that smells of gasoline and turpentine, Lucille hears muffled conversation from the front of the vehicle, and also from outside. She estimates they must have passed a Safe Zone checkpoint somewhere along the way, from how bumpy the drive became after about ten minutes. East, most likely, out into the ruins of Queens.

By the time the truck stops, after what feels like hours, Lucille’s heart rate has lowered but the biting sting of negation drugs still dull her grasp on her ability. She is dragged out of the back of the truck and hauled bodily — shoulders and leg, hoisted like an old carpet — across what must be several dozen feet of gravel and into a creaking old building that smells of mouldering sawdust, rust, and stagnant water. The floor clunks like wood underfoot, door hinges creak with metallic quality, and finally a heavy bolt slides back and a door is thrown open.

Lucille is hurled into a space that feels and sounds large, landing on her knees and having momentum drag her down to one side. The door swings shut heavily behind her, clanking shut with a bolt slid into a locked position. Her hands and feet are still tied, head still bagged.

But she can hear breathing.

She's not alone.

From the time he was loaded into the truck until the time he was abandoned in… wherever he is, Devon offered little resistance. Until he really knew more, he was reluctant to give them reason to use those tasers again. And the plastic snugged too tightly around his wrists and ankles, and even his neck, brought back terrifying memories that he’d rather keep at bay. So he waited until the door closed to try to break those bonds and free his hands.

When the door opens again, he drags himself away from the sound. Or he tries to, bound feet and shoulders inchworming perpendicular to the doorway in anticipation of someone coming in. So it’s something of a shock when that someone who comes in is tossed in much the manner he was.

Dev’s head turns in the direction of the heavy thump, not that he can see anything. The shuffling resumes. However, the time is spent trying to liberate his head from the bag it’s been stuffed in, and probably fighting those restraints on his wrists again, since his movement doesn’t drag him further or nearer the other body.

“Ugh..” Lucille’s voice rasps out as she falls to the side, hearing the door slam shut. The woman takes her time listening to her surroundings to disoriented to gather that someone else is in the room. Unfortunately this isn't the first time the woman has been kidnapped and her earlier frustrations are reigned in as she slows her breathing, heart beating loud in her chest until it too eventually slows down.

As Devon makes a move somewhere around her Lucille’s head turns towards the sound but she doesn't speak a word. It doesn't sound like someone prowling around to kill her but she doesn't want to give into whatever sick game whoever took her is playing. Instead she presses her face against the fabric of the black bag and tries to tear at it with her teeth, some sort of tear might help but what she's angling for is being able to get enough of the bag in her mouth to pull with her teeth the fabric through the zip tie around her neck.

Lucille’s struggling feels futile. Rolling around on the ground, tugging at it with her teeth and trying to pull it through the narrow gap between zip tie and her neck feels like it will never work. Her jaw muscles ache after just a few minutes. Devon’s been at this longer, though, and the half an hour of time he’s spent has at least finally paid off in the hood coming off of his head, ziptie hanging loose around his neck.

What Devon first sees is the state of the room he’s in. The hooks are the first unsettling thing he sees, old and rusted, hanging from loops at the ceiling in rows of five. They’re all bare, but their presence in such stillness is haunting. There’s light, too, spilling through a several inch wide gap in the ceiling. It’s moonlight from above, spilling through where actual ceiling covers have been removed, tangled wires hang exposed, and ceiling materials are cracked from age and time. But as he examines the rust-streaked metal walls, he recognizes what kind of space he’s in.

It’s a meat locker.

Industrial sized, admittedly, but a meat locker at a slaughterhouse. The good news is that there’s no electricity and hasn’t been in what is likely years, so there’s no cold other than the night air. The door to the meat locker is closed, and right nearby the source of the scuffling can be seen. At first the woman is unrecognizable, but soon enough Devon recognizes the clothing and the silhouette.

It’s Lucille.

A breath of relief comes when Devon finally shakes his head free of that bag. He rests his head against the floor to give his eyes a chance to adjust to the dim light and catch his breath. During that time he lets his gaze wander up and around. Those hooks aren’t a comforting thing, nor is the realization that he and the other captive are in some kind of refrigerator. The exposed wires and broken ceiling mean little to him, except to know there’s no cooling to happen that way.

He shuffles, feet scuffing and kicking in required unison to bring his knees under himself and sit upright. It gives him another view of the room, and of his roommate. A minute passes, eyes slowly narrowing until recognition sets in. “Luce,” Dev queries quietly, and with some haste. His shoulders shrug and he tugs at his wrists more insistently. “Luce, you okay?”

Relief and horror wash over Lucille as she realizes the person locked inside here with her was Devon, grateful for the comfort but equally alarmed for Devon’s safety. They can take care of themselve— well usually. “Dev! I'm fine, negated but fine.” She says softly but her tone is urgent, closing her eyes briefly beneath her black veil the woman tucks her body and rolls to where she hears Devon’s voice. Strength in numbers and if they can get free..

“Turn your back and use your hands to rip this bag off my fucking head,” a beat, “Please.” She wants to see the place their in. It's cold, the ground doesn't feel like concrete. “How long have you been here, are you alright?”

Other than some bumps and bruises, Lucille seems fine. Whoever their kidnappers are, keeping them in decent condition seems to be in order. The stories of human traffickers running amok outside of the Safe Zone seem to have some merit. Unfortunately, Devon and Lucille seem to have found them the wrong way around.

“Yeah, I'm negated too.” Devon sounds less concerned about that than he did of his teammate’s condition. He does scuffle forward in an awkward hop on his knees, so he can turn and be close enough to grab the bag. “You're not going to like what you see.”

After she's freed her head, he scoots back again to roll a look toward what he's guessing to be the door. “I don't know, hour maybe? Less?” Dev returns his attention to Lucille, while pulling at his bound wrists again. “Any idea what's happening?” Aside from being trapped, he means.

Already working her wrists as Devon pulls her hood off she takes a deep fresh breath and looks up to the ceiling, eyebrows raising as she sees the meathooks before her eyes are back down to her teammate, “Thanks D.” There has been weirdness between them as of late but the look in her eyes is sincere and she's happy to see her friend. “Tricky Ricky was paid a lot of money to set me up so they could bring me.. here.” Shrugging her shoulders she pulls and yanks at the zip ties around her wrists, working her ankles at the same time. Balling her hands into fist to expand the zipties and following with flattening them palm to palm, trying to squeeze her hands through and get her thumbs out first if possible.

“What happened with you?” As she works, eyes drifting back to the meathooks as more pieces of a plan for them to get out of here formulates.

There's not many ways to get out of these things but..

A muffled conversation is barely audible on the other side of the meat locker door. A man's voice, somewhat raised, followed by two other men’s voices, and then a woman talking with them. It sounds conversational, but then there's a bark of laughter from one of the men and they seem to move away from the doors and things become quieter.

“On a road trip with Avi.” Dev pauses to shoot another look at the door. When it becomes quiet again he twists and pulls at his bound wrists, wrenching against the zip ties. “We got ambushed. Avi went down then they got me.” He doesn't go into detail, the outcome is pretty obvious.

Except for the occasional grunt as he strains to free his arms, he lapses into a temporary silence. It's time taken to think, and to focus on trying to break free.

After a minute or so, however, he lets out a frustrated breath and gives off his attempts. Dev shakes his head and looks at Luce, unsure. “Well. What's our immediate plan?”

Scooting her herself over to Devon’s back after their mutual silence, Lucille tries to grip his zip ties from behind, “Fuck, they left Avi?!” Why just them? Maybe it was those human traffickers people were talking about.

“Okay, I'm going to try to pull at your ties and you pull the opposite way, maybe we can snap them. Or I can find the lock and slide them off..” Lucille flexes her fingers, trying to find the lock if she can if that fails she goes to pull at them with slow, tense pressure while pulling away.

“We get out of this shit and we use those,” looking up at the meathooks, “as weapons. They come, we fuck them up.” Her tone is filled with bitterness, this is not what she wants to be dealing with the Lucille eight years ago might have been helpless in this situation but this Lucille doesn't feel so. They have to get free.

Neither method seems to work well. The zip ties are uncomfortably tight on both Devon and Lucille’s hands and neither seems able to slip loose of their bonds. Though while Lucille continues to fight with them, chafing at her wrists, Devon catches sight of something up against one of the walls. A piece of tarnished aluminum, probably from the ceiling, placed in the far right corner of the room and leaned up against the wall. It doesn’t look important at first, until he sees the end against the floor.

It's jagged and sharp.

The chafing and tightness around his wrists isn't so much unnerving as just being bound. Fighting, and the discomfort it brings him is a great distraction. As is Lucille’s idea to work together. Devon hops in that awkward way to turn around, but he never makes it all the way.

There's a thing — a ceiling panel — that they can both use. Maybe!

“Look.” Dev already begins shuffling toward the sharp piece as he points at it with his head. He lurches as he gets near, to twist around and land with his back to the panel so it's just a matter of wiggling to start cutting.

“Amazing.” Going to follow after Devon, squirming on the floor. Once Devon gets to cutting, Lucille's eyes remain on the door and she tries to listen hard to see if someone is coming. “Sounded like a few of them, I don't feel my ability but,” it's not all about the ability with Wolfhound.

“If I had to have someone here with me right now it would be you.” Another piece of warmth sent towards Devon’s way, “We’re going to get out of this.” The veins in her neck bulge as she swallows hard, they had too. There's no praying to her mother or any god. There's only waiting for her turn to cut herself loose.

It's a slow and awkward process, but after a few minutes of sawing Devon manages to snap his restraints and have his hands free. It takes far less time after that to use the bent aluminum tile to cut through his ankle restraints and then cut Lucille free.

One problem down, but they're still closed inside of a meat locker. Fortunately for them, the conversation outside seems to have ended. It's possible their captors aren't immediately around.

Once he's gotten himself cut free, Devon drags Luce to the panel and helps cut her hands free. He leaves her to deal with her ankles while he takes a walk around the room. Most of his attention is given to the ceiling, though he looks doubtful that anything above would be useful. Maybe the ventilation system, but what little knowledge he has of meat lockers and the like, it's unlikely either of them would fit.

He lets his feet take him to the door next. As his eyes fall to it, Dev places a hand against the barrier. “If I weren't negated,” he states in deadpan. Some dark humor to brighten the mood. Still, he fits his fingers against the seam to give it a testing pull. “Did anyone tell you anything? These guys… they knew what they were doing when they took me and Avi.”

Grateful for the release of her bounds Lucille smiles on the inside but she rises to her feet and looks around the room for anything else useful. “They were trained that's for sure. Very well trained.” Lucille won't be beating herself up for the loss, there's time for a rematch. Reaching a hand up and flexing it as she rolls her shoulders the tall woman reaches for the meathook, looking for a way to bring it down with the chain or to snap it off.

Her brow furrows and she continues to maneuver with careful movements not wanting to make much of any noise if she can help it, movements slow. She needed a weapon while Devon looked for a way out.

For an ordinary person securing one of the meat hooks would've nigh impossible, but for someone in Lucille’s physical shape it's far simpler. Though she's aching from her encounter with the helmeted attacker, she's able to use one of the meat hooks as a pull up bar, then grab another, and hoist herself up to be standing inside of the hook’s curve with one foot. From there, she reaches out like a gymnast and unclamps an adjacent hook from its ceiling bracket, no ladder needed.

Meanwhile, Devon’s examination of the door reveals it to be the sturdiest thing about the room. It's a hinges steel door — the hinges being on the outside — and likely had a slide bolt holding it in place. There's a few dents and divots on the inside, implying that they may not be the first people held here. There's no scrape marks on the floor, either, confirming the door opens from the outside and swings in that direction.

Overhead, there is a small vent above the door, large enough to fit a head in but too narrow for either Devon or Lucille’s shoulders. The ceiling itself is theoretically in reach, as Lucille is demonstrating, though the aluminum tiles have all been remove from the drop ceiling, revealing the internal wiring and duct work and the broken aluminum plating above that. It could be a risky climb, especially with all those hooks, but if they could force a roofing tile out of place they might be able to escape through the ceiling… but that looks quite risky.

Outside, Devon hears the distinct — though distant — clack of firearms being loaded.

The sounds outside draw a small frown, and Devon snaps his fingers to grab Lucille’s attention. It’s the same as any signal he’d use in the field, a sharp sound that could be overlooked as anything mundane. He raises his attention from the door to his fellow Hound and motions for her to be silent. A finger goes to his ear then the door, he hears something outside. They’ve worked together long enough that even brief signals are easily understood between them, he’s sure she’ll get the message.

He leans in to listen at the door again, nearly pressing his ear to the seam formed between the edge of the barrier and the frame. As he listens, he watches Luce. A hand raises in a staying motion, then points to the door and mimes, in small movements, a gun. He doesn’t offer a count of how many, but his expression is vaguely troubled. Probably he’s guessing there’s more than one.

Dev slides to the wall beside the door. He isn’t sure which way it opens aside from into whatever space is beyond it, but the details are a little irrelevant in his mind. He sets his back to the wall, eyes again lifting to the ceiling then to Lucille. His hands move again, in short and sharp motions indicating an idea for ambush. With her dropping in from above, she should be able to cover him. He watches her for the span of a heartbeat to make sure she’s clear on the idea, then pivots around to position himself in a crouch to rush as soon as the door opens.

Balancing her foot in one of the meathooks that still hangs from the ceiling Lucille coils the chain of the one she just freed around her hand making a fist. “Are we sure this isn't retribution from Avi?” For their prank. But then Devon is motioning and Lucille falls silent eyes narrowing as she follows his motions to the door and his movement to the wall.

The plan dawns on her as Devon makes it plain and she nods her head a fraction as she hangs on the chain above the floor, shaking her hair out of her face Lucille tightens her grip on the chain she's suspended on and the one in her hand, the meathook swaying a bit in the air before she pulls it up so it isn't immediately visible when the door is opened. If the people outside have a chance to see her anyway the ambush has failed.

The wait goes several minutes, and all that they are greeted with is silence. Then, distantly — possibly outside — there are slow and rhythmic pops of gunfire. Like someone taking target shots…

…or executing prisoners.

But no one comes for Devon and Lucille. Not yet, anyway.

It isn’t easy waiting. Especially when that wait is in anticipation for …something. Which hasn’t come yet and may not come at all. That’s an eerie thought, and unlikely the first time it’s entered Devon’s mind. However, it’s the waiting that’s worse than eerie thoughts. As the seconds tick on and the minutes begin to feel like forever, he eases out of that crouched position to stand and stare at the door.

Fear settles into his stomach, and not for the first time this day, when the all-too-familiar sounds of gunfire breaches the door. He takes half a step back, then looks up at Lucille.

“We need to rethink this,” he says in quiet tones. There’s a touch of anxiety in his tone. They need to start moving before they’re moved in on. Dev half turns away from the door, his eyes going from Luce to the ceiling. He points to one of the roofing tiles nearest Lucille’s location. “Can you try to get out there, to see what’s above?” He doesn’t sound excited about the idea of climbing into the unknown, but it beats waiting to be shot like fish in a barrel.

The woman hanging in the room is ready for waiting or going. Her eyes drift up to the ceiling and she looks at the possible route before looking down at her friend, “Back in a minute. Stay sharp.” Swinging her body back and forth allowing the chain to carry her closer and closer to the wall before she leaps off from the hook and grabs onto the wiring, landing with a soft clink she doesn't stay in one place long pulling and climbing, twisting her body to reach the ceiling and those tiles on the ceiling, Lucille’s legs flex with the effort.

Twisting her head to peer down at Devon she raises her eyebrows to indicate the tile, almost losing grip with the not as sturdy materials to grab at and steady herself. Her movements quick and agile the blood flowing back freely through her now that she's not tied up. Lucille eyes the tiles with bated breath, chest rising and falling slowly looking for the right one to push away.

Up in the ceiling, Lucille is surrounded by exposed wires, aluminum ductwork and steel supports. The latter of the two are all that can really support her weight for more than a second or two. Legs swinging and arms strained, she pulls herself up to tuck into the crook between a support beam and the roof. This area was part crawlspace and part drop ceiling, now it's just a straight access to the building’s roof.

The aluminum sheets that make up the metal roof are corroded, split in one part by what looks like considerable force from the way sharp edges curl down into the ceiling. Through that six inch wide gap Lucille can see the rusted metal roof of a packing plant, a tall and fitted silo that looks like a torso with exposed ribs, and miles of flattened buildings. Nearby, just barely visible at a sharp angle, are a pair of trucks and a white panel van — the one that grabbed her.

She can also see someone pacing around beside the van smoking a cigarette, about 300 feet from where she peers through the gap in stubborn and unmoving riveted sheets.


Below, Devon watches his teammate, with the occasional backward glance for the door. The sounds he’s caught outside haven’t seemed very close, but given the room they’re in — meat lockers of industrial size are probably thick walled — it could have been right outside the door that those rounds were fired. He circles around to get another look of the ceiling area, different angles to bring different views.

Once Lucille’s found herself a solid place to sit, Dev takes hold of a chain to haul himself up. He doesn’t have her skill in parkour or gymnastics, but he makes a solid effort to try and get up onto one of those hooks as he’d seen the other Hound do. If he can get that far, he should be able to reach the steel beams and pull himself up into the crawl space. He thinks.

Eyes widen a fraction as she hangs on and peers through the gap spotting Ricky. Momentarily seeing red the woman stiffens and looks back at Devon before she's working at the gap to widen it, wanting to rip the tile out from the roof so that they can slip onto the roof. There are lots of words she could hurl Ricky’s way but she has other things in mind. Her expression neutral as she pulls and pulls at the tile.

She feels it deep within her, the urge to strike Ricky, to rip him apart brewing in the pit of her stomach. Taking her breaths deeply and measure she maintains control as she works, first they get out of this room.

The section of roof Lucille pulls at is three feet wide and some nine feet long, riveted to the steel roof struts. A corner pulls up, maybe big enough to fit a housecat or an arm through, but not enough to squeeze a whole body out. It's infuriating, freedom is right there and yet also so far away. Given how securely it's bolted to the metal struts, there's no way Lucille’s peeling it off. While she works, Ricky walks out of sight.

Another distant gunshot rings out, and Lucille can hear it echo through the night from between the gap.

He already knew getting a foot on the belly of the hook wouldn’t be an easy thing, but it proved to be even more difficult. Devon manages to pull himself up and catch a knee into the opening, the chain swaying with his weight and momentum. He pauses that far to watch Luce’s attempts at the roof. If she can’t get the paneling off, it won’t make a difference if he can reach the crawlspace or not.

As his teammates efforts begin to prove futile, he lowers himself back to the floor. Hands rake through his hair, fingers scrubbing against his scalp in a rare sign of frustration. And probably anxiety. He walks to the door again presses his palms hard against it. His forehead follows, pressing against a point between his hands.

“What can you see out there,” he asks. His voice is partly muffled against the door. Letting out a slow breath, Dev turns to put his back against the door and stare across the room. “And how do we solve this problem?”

“I see a dead man walking,” tone soft but eyes staring hard in that direction. Still trying to liberate the roof tile from its place she doesn't blow out a breath in frustration as she's trying to desperately remain calm within. Lucille is succeeding, barely. How many of the Hounds were taken? Were they being kept apart, two to a meatlocker? The possibilities run through her mind as she thinks to use the meat hook on her shoulder to try to pry the tile off but she has no leverage while hanging above and so she slowly scales back down landing lightly in a crouch.

Eyes on the door, “We wait I guess, be ready.” It's simple enough and there doesn't seem to be many more options. Closing her eyes she settles into a crossed legged pose and with the intent on meditating until they hear someone approach, “Breathe with me.”

Up against the door, Devon can hear bits and pieces of a conversation through the door’s seam. The dry rotted insulating rubber now leaves a sizable gap enough to catch bits and pieces of words. “…ough of a wait, we’ll just…” something quieter. He strains to hear. “…just gas them. It'd be quicker…”

His heart skips a beat. Suddenly this isn't a meat locker. It's an impending gas chamber.

He isn’t the meditating type, so the request is met with a flat look. It would have a deadpan remark, also, but there are voices outside the door again which stall any comment that might be forming. It isn’t the time for jokes, but when has he been known for timing? Devon tips his head to the side, to better listen. Things are still muffled, but he turns and leans in close to the seam hoping to catch the conversation better.

Whatever he hears, it doesn’t sound great or helpful. At first, he only looks frustrated. Being trapped as they are, with no answers, it’s no surprise. But then color drains from his face and, for an instant, he looks like he might lose his outward calm. They can’t be talking about gassing them, as in himself and Luce, could they? There’s no way to know for sure, no way to know if any of the other Hounds have been taken.

“I think they’re talking about gassing us,” he says, eyes lifting to Lucille. Dev hasn’t moved away from the door, and remains poised to keep listening. Dread has sunk nasty little fingers into his tone and made his posture tense, but he manages to move his gaze from his teammate to start looking for where gas might come from. Maybe they can plug the hole and get back to the opening in the roof to wait out the smog.

Lucille’s eyes remain closed as Devon’s flat look is given and he listens in on the the people in the hallway, not even a muscle twitch from the older woman as she centers herself only the rhythmic rise and fall of her chest signaling her deep breathing, pulling from her core she doesn't try for her ability she moves herself to a place of clarity. News of them being potentially gassed does illicit a response from the otherwise still woman.

Without fanfare she begins removing her shirt, taking the sleeves and turning to sideways to make it the longest it can be before she's wrapping the material around her face primarily her mouth and nose. “Get down low.” Pale blue eyes open at her words and her eyes find the hole in the ceiling, any gas would probably gather at that point the most to exit, “Wrap your face with your shirt,” no modesty among the Hounds and she is in her black bra and jeans.

“Try to hear some more of what they’re saying.” Her tone even and measured, slow and whispery but she reaches out a hand to squeeze Devon’s shoulder, she has his back.

It's not hard, right now there's a couple of distant voices discussing what to do with the prisoners in the next room. “The regenerator’s all we need,” one says with a slur to his speech, or maybe a languid accent. “Didn't even think we’d fucking get her.”

“What do you want to do with the rest?” Another, younger, man asks.

“Fuck it. Get the Sarin,” a deep-voiced man says. “We’ll tear out a canister to make sure it's legit. Once they're dead, we’ll burn the bodies out back and get to the boat. Who'd have fucking figured? Right?”

Regenerator? “Claire?” Devon still hasn’t moved. His shirt remains on and his head tilted toward the door seal and posture not exactly rigid. His eyes keep finding their way to that opening in the roof. But he’s still listening even while trying to think rationally when instinct is demanding he do otherwise. He touches the side of his head to the seam, ear right up next to the seal.

“We have to get out.” He doesn’t bother trying to mask the panic that’s in his voice this time, making it go uneven. It’s all he can do just to keep his heart from hammering out of his chest. Now is not the time to start panicking, but it’s becoming more difficult to keep it together.

Dev pushes himself away from the door and goes to those hanging hooks again. “There’s fresh air up there, right?” He asks, even as he starts trying to climb the chains again. One reaches as far up as it can, and he jumps to catch the chain with the other hand. “It might save us.” Maybe he can make the hole larger, if he can get up there.

Head swerving severely at the sound of Claire’s name on Devon’s lips and her own lips curl beneath the shirt covering the lower half of her face. Devon’s panic has Lucille turning her head towards the door. Okay very bad gas then,the tall woman stands and looks at the meat hooks as Devon begins his ascension. Eyes narrow and she nods, “We can try to use the hook.” Gesturing to the meathook with the chain wound around her shoulder. Reaching out Luce grips the meathook and pulls herself up, twisting her body midway to grab the chain by her legs and feet, fighting herself as she climbs up the chain.

If they walk in guns blazing having a shirt on won't make much difference against the impact of bullets or blades so she makes no move to unwrap the shirt instead only pale blue eyes and that shoulder length auburn hair visible.

Internally, Lucille thinks about who could be doing this? Who was stupid enough and Claire? The second in command of Amarok being here made getting out even more important, all three of them couldn't die here. Well.. Claire could heal but. Clinging to the wall she eyes the opening and making sure to not fall Lu goes to hook the meat hook into the opening in the ceiling, “So dumb/desperate plan coming your way.” Testing the weight as she eyes the distance to the floor and the other chains hanging from the ceiling that could be used in case she fell. “If I put all my weight on it.. maybe it’ll tear off completely. I’ll fall but I'm a fast climber, you climb out and give me a hand.” She’d have to be faster than whoever would come running at the commotion but she liked those odds better than hanging from the air and trying to hang on while coughing to death.

Lucille looks meaningfully into Devon’s eyes as she lets go of the wall.

Lucille doesn't weigh much in the scale of architecture, but this building has seen its fair share of problems in the past. As she lets her weighs go and falls with the chain, the moment t becomes slack her falling weight rips through the ceiling panel and tears the rivets through the sheer aluminum. The long flap of metal swings down with a wobbling, tinny sound and dangles halfway from ceiling to floor, torn open like a flap.

The gap between the ceiling tiles is now wide enough for Lucille and Devon to both make their way out onto the roof. But the drop — the flattering and tearing — it wasn't quiet. There's sounds of alarm coming from the other side of the door.

Think fast.

Devon gets a hand and a leg on the steel beam just as the panel comes ripping out of the roof. He flinches at the noise it makes, mouth drawing back in a grimace and nervous eyes flicking toward the door. Someone’s going to have heard that. He hauls himself up enough to get a better grip and gets the rest of his weight onto the beam.

On hands and knees, he crawls the length of beam to the newly formed opening. He pauses beneath it to flatten himself against the beam and wedge one arm as leverage. The other is dropped, for Luce to grab hold of, something a little less likely to sway and cause delays. She’s practically a ninja in her own right, but he can definitely help and make the climb quicker.

Falling is something Lucille weirdly enjoys, her limbs twisting in the air as she blinks and reorients herself falling to the ground in a crouch but rolling out of the way as the tile flops to the ground in its weird way. Strands of hair cling to her forehead and lips. That definitely was not silent at all.

Gripping the edge of the flappy metal sheet lightly with her fingers careful to not cut herself at the edges, Lucille drags it over to the door and tries to wedge or bunch it up under the seam of the door as much as possible before she's leaping for the wall, scrambling for the dangling cables, trying to drag a downed meathook with her. Blue eyes train on Devon’s hand as she plants her feet on the wall and goes to leap for Devon’s hand. Legs pinwheeling as she flings herself forward.

The sheet doesn't reach the door, and Lucille only gives a few tugs before giving up on it. As she joins Devon in the ceiling, the two tandem free climb across the steel rafters and up through the gap into freedom. Metal siding clanks and clunks underfoot as they get up into the steep pitch of the slaughterhouse’s roof, where they can see demolished buildings fading into darkness all around. Three vehicles are parked in a dirt lot just below where they've climbed out, one of which is Avi’s shitty, beat up pickup truck that starts with a screwdriver in the ignition. The others are the arms dealer truck abandoned at Devon’s abduction site and the white panel van that picked up Lucille.

There's a rattling and a clank below, the door unlocking to the meat locker. There's no time to wait.

There's only time to move.

Turning his head, one hand used to keep balance on the pitched roof, Devon looks back in through the hole they just escaped through. “We can’t leave them behind,” he says as he hitches his feet more underneath himself. “If they got Claire — and they have Avi…” He isn’t proposing going back into that room, however. He makes no move to return inside, nor for the edge of the roof.

The vehicles are noted. He easily recognizes Avi’s and can guess that the other pickup is the one they were supposed to meet with. The other… he doesn’t know. “Let’s go down the far side,” he suggests, clearer air bringing easier thoughts. He turns to look away from the vehicles and surveys the destruction, hoping to get his bearings. They’ll need to know where they are eventually.

“You go down first,” Dev goes on after a breath. “We stay low and against the building. Find out more of what’s going on and hopefully find the other Hounds.” As he lays out the rough plan — they’ll have to play the whole thing by ear anyway — he eases himself over the peak so he can move to the far edge and give Luce a hand down. Controlled drops are better than uncontrolled ones.

“No we can't leave them.” Luce agrees with Devon as she surveys the area as well eyeing the vehicles as their potential route of escape once they've found Avi and Claire. Sneaking to the edge of the roof, Lucille looks over towards the ground and then back at Devon with a nod, taking Devon’s hand she braces and then drops down to the ground below landing in a soft crouch head looking up and signaling for Devon to come down, back against the wall of the building.

Slowly edging against the surface of the wall, the tall woman peers around the corner to see what else they could be dealing with.

As Devon and Lucille creep around the back of the slaughterhouse, there's old refrigeration equipment rusting in the tall grass. A post and beam wooden fence has some rusted cans stacked up on it, others nestled in the grass with bullet holes in them. Around the corner, Lucille spies a wide open bay door for receiving, elevated at a concrete docking platform. The Katsch is parked up where a truck would unload supplies, passenger side door open and keys in the ignition.

But then someone steps out onto the loading dock, dressed in black and flanked by a trio of other black-clad figures. The tall one with the limp in lead is holding something in his hand and for a moment Lucille recognizes it as some sort of remote detonator. She sees him looking square at her and his thumb depresses the—

Beep. Stopwatch?

“Twelve minutes and fifty-five seconds.” Comes a familiar voice from the masked man, tugging his balaclava off to reveal—


“Congratulations,” Avi says with a toothy smile, “you passed an abduction training with flying fucking colors. Hana’s going to be impressed.” The figures behind him begin to unmask one by one. Scott Harkness, his son Francis, and as the motorcycle helmet wearing attacker removes their helmet to reveal blonde hair, Lucille and Devon realize just how orchestrated this entire event was. Because that's Claire Bennett smirking at them.

claire_icon.gif francis_icon.gif scott_icon.gif

It dawns on them both.

Never prank Avi Epstein.

Dropping onto the ground behind Lucille, Devon follows but a few steps behind. He watches their back as they creep along, unwilling to let anything come up on them unaware again, meanwhile trying to formulate contingencies for the rescue as well as new escape. There’s too many what ifs, what if their teammates aren’t at this site any longer, or if they’re dead. That’s not a pleasant thought, but it’s a possibility.

He stops when Luce does and turns his attention to the front. Footsteps have him reaching for his teammate’s shoulder, anticipating needing to change tactics. He can’t quite see around the corner to know who’s coming, or see what’s happening, so he waits for Luce to give a signal that they need to act or react.

Except …he knows that voice without having to see who’s speaking.

“No way.” He sags against the wall for a second, disbelief in his tone and face. Dev drags a hand through his hair and ticks a look at Lucille before stepping out from around the corner to face their captors. He tries to make himself look angry at the smirking, arms folded over his chest, jaw tense, hard stare. It lasts a few seconds before a grin twitches at his lips and he shakes his head.

“Okay. That was good.”

The sight of Wolfhound’s shared vehicle gets a raise of eyebrows, maybe Claire was driving?

The trio dispelled that notion or further fueled it as the lead man unmasked himself and the others followed suit and Lucille blinks. Motherfuckers. Blue eyes crease at the edges as she placed a hand on her hip and bubbles over with laughter, she knew she could still laugh and with everything going on right now in her personal life.. this was good. “I fucking swear I was aiming to take your head.” To Claire as she guesses that the blonde was the motorcycle helmet wearing person.

“What a fucking production..” Slowly clapping her hands as she walks forward, outright vengeance in her eyes with a hint of mischief. “Making Devon think you were gonna gas us ahhh ugh.” Chuckling Lucille's shoulders shake and soon she's outright laughing again and loudly. “Oh my god,” speechless, Luce comes to put her hand on Devon’s shoulder. “We were fucked.” But they would have their revenge.

“Points for the meatlocker. Very Jigsaw.”

Tucking the helmet under her arm, Claire nods slowly with that smirk. There is a bit of smugness to her, as she holds her free hand out to the three men with her, giving her fingers a wiggle. “Under fifteen. Pay up, boys.” There is pride in her tone as she turns her attention back to Lucille and Devon. “Way to make Amarok look good, guys,” their second in command compliments the victorious pair. Really, they made her look good and made her some money on top of that.

“Drinks are totally on me tonight.”

No doubt, they would want them after all that.

When the threat is made to take her head, Claire tosses the motorcycle helmet to Lucille. “Better be nice. I rescued your baby from the scavengers. I could always take it back out there and leave it,” Claire teases with a rare smile.

Scott and his son quietly count out some bills and hand them over to Claire, while Avi reaches into his breast pocket and then slaps a $20 into her palm.

“It was a team effort,” Avi explains with a grin. “But seriously, as fun as this was, it was a real training. Wendigo and Keelut live and breathe this shit, but keeping Amarok on its toes is part and parcel to the job. You two, being Amarok’s youngest, well— Hana and I agreed you needed some ice water in the face.”

Slowly limping down from the receiving dock, Avi walks over to the pair and claps a hand on each of their shoulders. “And if either of you go in my room without my permission again,” Avi whispers with a firmer squeeze to their shoulders, “I'll push back when Hana says no to shipping you to Antarctica.”

Clapping Devon and Lucille’s shoulders, Avi leans back and looks around. Up to Claire, then back to Lucille and Devon. “Bars are still open in the Safe Zone.” In the distance Lucille notices Ricky counting a little more money and quietly slipping away.

“Why don't we all make Claire regret picking up that tab? As a team.”

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