Actions

Work Header

SUNSHINE!

Chapter Text

 

        ❛  good morning ,  sunshine ! 

                      ❛  i'm gonna shoot you ! 

Chapter Text

I'VE ALWAYS LOVED THE BRIGHT SUNNY DAY.

Alright, maybe that's bold of me to say when it's ninety degrees outside and I was sweating like a pig, my coffee made everything a million times hotter, and wearing a full corporate suit isn't the best way to spend it altogether. Nevertheless, the sun is shining and everything feels... better. It was warm and windy, everything seemed full of energy at this time of morning there was almost an unmistaken smile etched on my damn face. It was weird, smiling to strangers like this—but let me have my fun, alright? 

This is the only day not one asshole had managed to ruin my day. 

I crossed the street after buying a sandwich from a stand, my eyes immediately glued at the glistening sign of VOUGHT at the very top of this one building that I almost swear could outshine and outstood around it. It was so high, full of people, full of paparazzi's it was annoying and amusing all at the same time. Heaven knows how long they actually dedicate their time for a few stolen photos that wouldn't even make it front page. 

"Alice! I've been looking all over for you!" Please, dear Lord, not today. Not Ashley's voice. I was just imagining— "Alice! Where were you? Ms. Stillwell's all over me for that new recruit I'm honestly going to lose my shit!" The girl came strutting in front of me, her brown curls bouncing as she took the three flight of steps down and right in front of me by the grassy pavement taking my time away from the so-called assholes. "Alice—"

"No. She is not my problem, Ashley. I have my own shit to deal with, you have yours." I say before she could begin her whole litany about having her toes running around wherever half of the team goes while I took the slightly sane version of the rest. She wanted me to take over the new recruit but I wasn't having none of that. I can't take some rookie who'll probably burn my ass on her first week. 

"Just her first week, just after this whole production over Homelander and Maeve. After that, I promise I won't ask you for any favors!" Her wide eyes and pleading mouth didn't even move me for a bit, for one thing, it looked batshit crazy, but I hated it. And it's been a whole month of her asking me that question. I thought she was going to quit after—but here she was. "Come on, Alice. Just this once. I know—I know we hate each other." Understatement of the year. "And I know we don't always see eye to eye... but I'll owe you." 

What the hell. "Don't say I don't do shit for you—" The girl almost jumped in and hugged me but I took a step back and laid my hands. "No hugging or I'll change my mind!" Ashley was gleeful to say the least, first I've seen her without the smug face I felt the relief over it. "You owe me!" 

"I know!" She crosses the same street as I do, giving me one last grin before turning her head towards the stand and falling in line. I shook my head about, finally having the alone time I've been craving for a while now, sitting down on the pavement near the trees where there were less people also having their breaks and finally enjoying the cold sandwich forgotten in my hand. 

First bite, fucking ace. "You have a stupid smile on your face." 

"Excuse me—" I held my tongue. It's as if it's been cut off, my throat went dry all of a sudden, and I found myself unable to move. A mixture of emotion passing through my nerves miles per hour it was impossible to point out what I feel. I looked up, the figure covering the sun that it made it slightly darker for me when our eyes met.

Anger? Loathing? Oh, bewilderment and surprise. Fuming mad, maybe. "What? Cat got your tongue?" The audacity to talk to me in broad daylight right in front of the company I work in where there's probably a hundred guards ready and in aim had there been disturbance like this was palpable. 

"You know? I could kill you using what I have in me right now. Yes, I'm talking about the sandwich. I could kill you with this and you don't even wanna know how." The man laugh, heartily at that it irritated my ear so much I wanted to make him stop, but I held myself. Even if my fingernails are burying on my palm for holding back so much. "Do have a reason why you're in front of me right now before I do that." 

He sat beside me, casually so that it gathered not one attention from anyone around us. "Tha' how you welcome your friends, eh?" A smile crept up my lips it was definitely not from gladness. 

"You have the nerve to call yourself a friend?" I took a bite out of the sandwich before I slam it on his face and probably kill him by repeatedly slamming it that will eventually lead into his untimely death. "Right after what you did to me?" I couldn't help but raise my voice, higher than what I imagine I'd be doing when I meet him again. I just couldn't stop myself from getting so... worked up. Not with a smug smirk he's displaying that makes me want to finish it off right then and there. 

"You fell for your own trap, Alicia—"

"Ha, no, no, shut up." Calm down, Alice. Breathe. Not here. Not right now. "Leave now, Billy Butcher. Leave before I make you regret comin' here." The smile fell out of his face soon as he might have noticed how my voice fell grim. I was not even kidding anymore. Not only did I lost my appetite, I feel like—raging. 

"It's a nice life." What? "Must be why you stayed with VOUGHT, innit? Gave you load of bucks to keep their shit even if you knew—you knew before all o' this, we were working together to take them down!" His hush whisper started getting higher that I knew we were still the same. We still couldn't stand each other. Not before, not now. Not on times like this.

"Yes, Butcher. We worked hard on this." I kept looking away from him for the hopes of keeping my nerves at bay but he was making it so hard. "I worked hard to infiltrate VOUGHT. I worked hard to get their secrets, to give us something that'll lead them to fucking prison. But—oh, what did you do? You left, Billy. You left me in the fucking field with nothing after the Feds burned me, you left me to conquer the shit all by myself and you expect me to welcome you with open arms? After being gone after two fucking years?" I almost threw the sandwich away if he hadn't caught it before it reached the ground and crumpled the paper to cover it. I wanted to hit him, so bad he'd lose a couple of teeth but I couldn't. Not here. "I lost my real job because of what we did." I finally spared him a glance, one short glance that I didn't even have it in me to hide what I was feeling.

Betrayed, mostly. Disappointed and—and sad. "Alice," He called but I stopped him with my hands, I don't wanna hear it. I don't wanna hear him use that voice to plead with me, and then leave me to shit after my use ran out. 

"Don't shit me about, Butcher. I know why you're here. I know why you're back again. Don't think for a second I'm blind about your plans." We stared at each other, maybe a minute—or two, before I stood up on my heel and turned. I'm done.

"Alice—listen to me." I stopped, not daring to look for another second as I hear shuffling from behind me. "It's been two years. You have to stop pretending that—you want this." Who the hell does he think he is to tell me what I feel? "You used to despise them! You hated their fuckin' guts. Now what? You're covering for their fuckin' ass just 'cause I left?"

"Oh, don't make this about you, you asshole—"

"I—I didn't mean to leave you, Alicia." Stop, Butcher. "Work with me."

"Really?! You're asking me that? Right now?!"

"Work with me again. No secrets, no lies. None o' that shit. No leaving outta blue. I swear to my fuckin' life." 

I'm not falling for it. I'm not falling for it. I'm not falling for it. "Tell me then, Butcher. Why do you need me?"

"I need my partner, sunshine."

"Piss off!"

Chapter Text

I'M LOSING MY MIND.

The more I think about that smug son of a bitch, the more I could hear his voice reverberating in my ears. Not even after an hour later, not even three hours later while I'm holed in my hub, completely off of reality while staring ahead at my computer. I couldn't even form a decent conversation to the tech guys who came by, the marketing idiots who proposed something that I couldn't understand and shooed them in an instant, hell, I didn't even notice Translucent's presence beeping on my phone if he hadn't purposely showed his head floating mid-air.

"What's that bothering you, huh?" My eyes flickered to his visible face as I wager he's now sitting buckass naked on my table. Disgusting!

"First, let's practice not being closer to me when you're naked. Secondly, it's none of your business." Translucent laughed like an asshole I was starting to think today is really not my day at all. "What?!"

"I know you better than anyone else here does, Alice." It's one thing he's a father, he could perfectly see through my bullshit easily, but he was also a slightly good friend—if it hadn't for his hobby of going into places he shouldn't. "I won't ask you what it is but at least don't let it ruin your day, a'ight? You got so much more to think about—think about Noir's demands about the foundation, that man loves tea so much. I bet he's still waiting for the next visit."

"You know, I'm rather curious about your closeness with Noir. I couldn't even get a word out of him and I've been working here for years." He smirked.

"I guess I've got my charm?" I rolled my eyes, seeing him move away from my hub by his eerily floating head.

"Yes, might as well don't overuse that. Next time I hear my phone beep in the bathroom, you'll regret it." Translucent merely chuckled as he went away, successfully disturbing my mind into doing work and willing my mind to forget the man I met this morning. I'm okay, I'll be okay.

I'll forget about it.

I was so buried in paperwork about the new recruit, another girl who the team would probably whore over it became my responsibility now to keep that from happening. I nearly thought they'll get a man after Lamplighter this time but then again—Maeve couldn't be the only girl in the group anymore. I hear the marketing guys tell me that we're lacking in women power, it was absurd hearing that even if I was trying to shoo them away. It would've gone easily by me if they—meant it. Not just because of crowd approval.

Next I heard, there was someone clearing a throat behind me that made me look exasperatedly, "Wha—"

"Alice? We need you in the boardroom, now."

"Homelander! Wait—what is it?" The man who stood almost six foot tall towered over me when I stood, carrying my clipboard together with all the effects I bring with me on the office as I follow after him. He seemed—bothered at most it was bothering me all the same too. This man was so casual to act like this. "Trouble?" He side-eyed me and if I blinked, I would've missed the small nod he did.

Nevertheless, I was in quick strides behind his large steps until the door slid open for us, revealing a truly fucked up sight in front of me. "Alice, I'm so glad you could join us." I'm fucking not, Ms. Stillwell!

"Wh—at?" I was almost out of breath to say the least. A-Train—he, he was covered in what seemed like red goo, and blood. Like it was mashed altogether in his body and face and I couldn't even point out what to think or where to begin. Inside the room, Ms. Stillwell sat at Homelander's chair while A on the other side, and Homelander by the window. It was just right for me to come here because—well, I handle A-Train... "Excuse my language but what the fuck just happened, A?" He couldn't look at me while he casually sat like that it was disturbing.

"Ran into someone." His short reply couldn't have been nothing if his abilities didn't lie in literally running.

"To make the matters short, A-Train ran into some girl who, well, exploded into bits by mere force." Oh, god.

"The girl was one step over the curb from where I ran. It's really not my fault." Excuse me? "The sidewalk was large enough for the both of them! She could've stayed there!" I'm speechless.

"There's a witness and as of now, he's being tended together with his girlfriend's remains—the arms." Madelyn was pissing me off just as much as A-Train right now my hands feel cold from—anger.

"You fell for your own trap, Alicia." Stop entering my mind, Butcher.

"We should deal with this quietly." Homelander suggested it was an understatement that I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I knew about the fucked ups. I've—learned to live with that. To help them hide it, to help them keep it shut and never expose them even if my main goal of entering this shithole is to take them down. But I never did when I was left to rot in my new persona. I forgot about how horrific—how terrifying it truly was. "Alice, you need to coordinate with the lawyer and well, pay the boyfriend to keep quiet, right?" He turned with a small smile on his face I almost instinctively step back.

"You used to despise them! You hated their fuckin' guts!" Shut up, Butcher!

"And as for A-Train, I need you to set up a public apology that'll flash his damn face everywhere." My eyes flickered to A and he was... just there. Like he couldn't wait to get it over with. How could he act so when he's literally covered with—with flesh and blood of the one he accidentally killed?!

How did I forget? "And get the marketing guys, I need them to tell a whole story of how it happened in his eyes." Madelyn stood up at that it shook me off my daze. What the hell happened to me? Was I that so blinded with betrayal that I kept up with this shit?! "Got that, Ms. Hunt?"

"Y-Yes, Ms. Stillwell." I pursed my lips, turning to A-Train and bobbing my head when he looked. "Follow me outside." It took raising my eyebrows to make him finally move that we went out, breathing heavily through my nose only to smell that musty irony smell that caused a bile to surge on my throat. "What the fuck, A-Train?!" I finally said after the door slid close and he almost jumped his feet. I may have said that—in a very unladylike way.

"What?!" He spat that I pushed myself to turn to him and point my index finger. Fuck this. Fuck him.

"Take a fucking bath and get back to me all scrubbed and clean. If I smell but a whiff of blood, I will have you scrub it again with a steelbrush." He looked taken aback at most because I never—never acted this way in my life in front of them but—but I couldn't help it.

My resolution was breaking, I could feel it. I could feel how disgusted I was with standing here, with A-Train's bloodied figure as he took a step back and ran, with—with how my clipboard displayed all of my responsibility. I was sticking up to this like a puppet on a string, going along with their shit like I've truly lost my mind.

I ran, far back until the Supe's bathroom where it was the nearest before I quickly spilled all my morning breakfast in one go at a cubicle. I vomited away the smell of someone's blood, the quick intake of realization, and my own awful self in one go before I went out and face myself on the mirror.

Alice Hunt, a burned FBI agent who had nothing else to live for after she was caught working with a man she shouldn't in an unsanctioned mission. Alice Hunt, the fool who believed after losing everything, that working with VOUGHT was her one final chance at life. Who sucked up all the terrible things they did. The stories she tuned out her mind, the rumors she took down even if it was the mere truth.

Alice Hunt is a fucking fool.

"You know better than I do that you shouldn't let them see you look like shit." A voice spoke, a figure that entered the room wearing a skimpy superhero outfit that's supposed to tell she was confident and strong.

"Maeve." She turned to the mirror, retouching her lipstick without so much as a glance at me.

"I heard about A-Train." My jaw clenched, I couldn't bring myself about and think of the blood—of the remains as what Madelyn had said. Of his nonchalant attitude after accidentally killing someone in some sort of freak accident. To think I was so used in seeing blood, in killing ruthlessly but this feels—different. Everything feels different now that I look back on it. I wonder... why? "I thought you're well used to their shit, what happened to you?"

"Shock." I answered truthfully that stopped her from fixing her hair and finally turned to me.

"You're bound to be." She sighed, "You're too much of a stone cold bitch if that didn't freak you."

Chapter Text

"PLEASE DON'T ASK ME ABOUT IT ANYMORE."

I stated flatly to the marketing guys that kept asking me if A-Train really does look like he'd shot a movie with a murder scene yesterday. Going in all with flesh and blood like some kind of gory film he's supposed to be starring in. I try to get it out of my mind for as much as I can before I leave it to them and found myself going out of the building with a cigarette on hand while trying to stay away from the media all setting up their equipment outside.

This was supposed to be the day wherein the new recruit comes and I wasn't even that ready to conquer it. The events yesterday put a mark on my determination to serve this—this atrocity. This clusterfuck of supes who had nothing else to do than fuck up and make us clean it. It all rain down on me I doubt I even had an hour of sleep last night.

The horrors of it are keeping me up.

One, two, and a half cigarette later, I found myself going back inside the building to be met by Ashley who seemed like she was going to explode any minute now. "Where were you! She's fifteen minutes out, you need to be on the carpet by then!" I snorted.

"Don't tell me what to do." I snatched the clipboard from her hands and spared her a glance before going my way to the hub, have the papers needed with me and decided to get on with it then. I didn't know why I was continuing this at all, maybe it became the habit, you know? Two years of following around on orders, getting so used to the nine-to-five it was hard to stray away from it no matter how much my muscles ached on doing so. Doing something so—beyond what I expected from my own self.

But whatever, I still did it. I went outside the main entrance, found many screaming fans I hadn't even noticed while smoking a while ago, and brought my feet to walk in the middle of the walkway all while they screamed and cheered. I was slightly envious of them, of being void by the truth their eyes will never choose to believe. The nightmares of it all... "In position." I mumbled through my earpiece that I could hear Ashley and Ms. Stillwell talking.

"Be nice today, Ms. Hunt." Madelyn uttered playfully I almost rolled my eyes if it hadn't for the cameras around me. People knew me somehow being the one behind the Supes at their interviews, controlling the crowd every once in a while, doing the dirty work sometimes. That kind of earned me a few fans for some reason. "Don't surprise her too much, alright?" Madelyn only said that because she knew how much I never allow myself to get fucked by any Supes around me—that and I was a little heated today. Maybe they all noticed.

A minute later, a black car rolled at the end of the carpet that I walk near and soon as the door opened, an innocent woman came out of the view looking too stunned for her own good I almost shouted for her to run back. Go back to where she came from and don't come here. This is not where her dreams are made of. "Hello! I'm Alice Hunt, director of talent relations. Welcome to New York." Pull up the best smile I can as I shake her and her mother's hand. "Follow me," I commanded and waited for them to catch up before walking again.

"So, uh, are all these people here for me?" She asked timidly her welfare concerned me greatly. 

"Yes, they are. Smile, Ms. January. Wouldn't want to look all sad on the front page, won't you?" She acted so surprised I had to bobbed my head again so we could continue walking.

"Mom, I'm so excited!" I hear the girl whispered that it struck on my chest just how much of a truth she's going to be facing as soon as she enters this shithole.

The auditorium was huge if I was being humble, but it really is big. It's where all the grand reveals, meetings, and public apologies happen. I've stepped on this place a couple of times I was thankful so, it eluded me from the gruesome possibility of standing for far too long my feet would get buried in the pavement. Today, though, it's one of the days and I had to suck it up.

"You're doing really well, by the way, so far." Ashley voiced out soon as she sees the new Supe I'd prefer hiding in a closet never to be seen again. She's far too vulnerable to join this hell fest.

"I haven't done anything yet." And that's how it works.

"Yeah, exactly. You're already two-and-a-half points with the Midwesterners..." I flushed out my coworker's voice as I turned near the buffet table and grabbed myself a cup of coffee, downing and feeling the warmness lining through my throat in a much-needed fashion.

"What's wrong with you today?" My eyes turned into a man wearing latex green overalls, shaping up his muscles and butt perfectly but it made a small vexing sound of fabric rubbing together it irked my ear to the point of me wanting to propose a change for his suit for the better of my sanity. Fans wouldn't love that at all, but I sure would.

"What's wrong with me today?" I repeated earning a curious stare my eyes didn't fail to pick up. 

"Well, you're not being very talkative than you usually are, no Alice voice blaring anywhere—and oh, heard from Ashley you're supposed to be taking care of the new girl." The smirk on his lip was clear signs of amusement towards the girl it was troublesome to look at.

"It's her work, not mine. And I needed a goddamn break." I breathed out, my emotions and mental capacity going haywire it was even hard for my own self to understand what's going on. "If I'm not wrong, it's near your speech. Wouldn't wanna disappoint your fans out there, don't you?" Deep sighed, leaning closer to me and laying his gloved arms on my shoulder, making me face him as he stared me down like that. I'm not even that small but he looked taller than me. Damn that superhero genes.

"Chill the fuck out, alright? I miss your voice." He winked, leaving me dumbfounded and lost at best before I recovered and drank the coffee all the way through as if it didn't burn my tongue. He's such a sweet talker but behind closed doors? I'm thoroughly disgusted with who he really is.

Before I could even resume whatever work I have left, I walk by the loo to refresh myself and if I was any dumber, I wouldn't notice footsteps following rather close to me. The door was shut behind me that any sane person wouldn't do because it's a one-person fucking bathroom only. My hands gripped tightly on the only thing I'm holding, a pen. Well, a pen could actually kill anyone anywhere with ease. "Wrong strategy." My hands were quick enough to spin around and target the neck when my wrist was gripped tightly, my shoulders pushed right into the wall, and a face so satisfied and proud it took me my all not to bury the pen in his body.

"Aren't ya just a little feisty thing?" His smile brought me back years ago when he used to do so whenever he plans many fucked up things. One that he's probably doing right now.

"You're really making me kill you, huh? Are you really that bored with your life?" His grip on my wrist loosens, though his hands remained hovering down my arms, to my waist, all the same pushing me back to the wall even harder. He was being difficult right now and the comfort room isn't even that big to accompany us. Much less his big frame that towered over me more than Deep could ever.

"Not anymore, sunshine." His head bobbed to the side he looked really—really evil.

"I wouldn't ask how you got in here but why? What's going on in that little fucked up brain of yours now?" My mouth spat the curse a little too harsh it reminded me of who I was before this—before VOUGHT.

"Well, love." His grip on my waist I could almost feel on my own skin from the thin fabric. It's disturbing, confusing, and very fucking inappropriate but I didn't have it in me to push him away. God knows just how much that would make a sound and bust our ass in no time. "I suggest you put that shit down the trash and come with me."

"Yeah, what makes you think I'm gonna come with you?"

Billy Butcher leaned closer to my face he smelled of mint and burnt cigarette, oh, and probably beer too. "Because you want this—and because I said so."

Chapter Text

"MEET ME DOWNSTAIRS IN TEN."

Billy Butcher might be in delusion if he thinks I was going to come with him after his little bathroom scene. The man even had the audacity to smile at me so wide he was pretty confident about making me go. But he was certainly fucking with himself if he thinks of me as his dog. I may be tired with this shit, but I wasn't about to join another set of shit that could probably ruin my life the second time around.

"Alice!" Not Ashley again. "You bailed out on me, fucking bitch!"

"You really don't want to start this shit with me, Ashley. Not tonight." I'm exhausted and confused having an argument with her would be time-consuming. All I really wanted to do now is to sleep on my damn bed, not get up for work tomorrow, and maybe rot at my flat for the rest of my life. That would be a darn good plan.

"No! You swore you were going to take care of her this week! I thought I could trust you—"

"Ashley, don't." But her wide-eye and stance didn't look like she was about to back-off. And I'm not in the mood to be civil. I can't deal with anything just about now and might I say that I'm slowly losing my mind every minute it took for me to be inside this hell.

"Bitch—" I might have pushed her on the wall harder than I should have but I warned her, it was her fault she didn't listen.

"Listen to me, Ashley." I pushed her back when she so much moved closer, my index finger pointed at her shoulders while I still try my best to contain myself. "First, stop calling me names right at this second or you'll regret it. Second, we're not kids. Third, maybe if you do your job a little less shitty, maybe you'll be able to handle all your supes perfectly. So, I'm gonna go now and you're gonna shut the fuck up. Capish?" She nods, seeing her gulp right after that I nod and went to my way. All getting worked up so hard that my feet dragged me outside towards somewhere so unexpectedly—to Billy Butcher's fucking car.

He was smirking at me from inside his car like he was really proud of this little achievement. Asshole.

Okay, maybe it was a dumb last-minute decision that I'll probably regret in thirty minutes, but I'm here now, and rather I deal with this shit than fucking VOUGHT. "About damn time, love. Thought you're gonna go chicken shit on me." I didn't look at him. I just dropped my bag down to my feet and crossed my arms.

"I'm only coming once. Just this time. And if I don't like it, you disappear from my life and never come back again." I say firmly, negotiating within the capabilities of my sanity that I hear him sigh and chuckle.

"Oh, come on, Alice. You love this—"

"Promise me, Butcher." I shot him a look, one that intends to let him know I really do mean it. I'm only gonna do this once. Just at this second and I do swear that one wrong thing, he's out of my life forever. It's a bit of a fair trade. I'm willing to bet on it.

"Alright, fine." He raised both his hands and started the car to my relief.

"Where are we going anyway?" If there's anything that I've learned early on from meeting him, when Billy Butcher smiles, it's almost certainly trouble he's into.

"A Supe fucked up just recently." He began, "You sure as hell know who I'm talking about." I frowned, my eyes darting to his direction while a smirk remained in his lip.

"A-Train." He nodded.

"Ran into some girl, you know the details of that."

"I try not to think about it, thank you very much."

"Well, there's another person who would love to do so but shit like that ain't easy to forget. Not when you're still clinging to your girlfriend's hands that isn't attached to her non-existent body anymore." I bit my lip and tried to get the image out of my mind. It was something hearing it descriptively, but it's another thing when you're there, and you saw. That kind of shit will be on your mind forever. "And we're gonna go to him."

"Why are we gonna do that?" Billy Butcher's mind is a strange and fickle thing.

"Oh, come on, sunshine. Have you forgotten?" I frowned, "You're getting rusty." I backhanded his arms that he laughs and shook his head, "Folks that are done wrong by those little shits gets to serve the best vengeance." He was evil, cunning, and very smart. Those were the things that both bothered me—and amused me about him. But somewhere within the madness of it, did something light up inside me. Something I have forgotten for nearly two years and had missed very dearly.

"Butcher, you're one son of a bitch." I grinned, so big while shaking my head and thinking of all the things we've done before. It was something—an adventure my deep core wanted to go for a ride once again.

We reached an electronic shop wherein Butcher parked right in front as I follow after his stride. The bell rang from up above the door, signaling a customer which was us—entering the whole place rounded with television, tech stuff that almost perked up my interest if it hadn't for Butcher bobbing his head to the guy wiping one television. I went the separate way with Butcher, looking at the CCTV row where I think I needed one. I mean—my flat is bugged by VOUGHT itself, maybe putting a CCTV of my own could tell me whenever their men deemed it fitting to barge in and do weekly check-ups on my place.

"You interested in CCTV's?" The boyfriend looked at me, a smile on his face that didn't reach his ear. If I had a certain niche in Butcher and I's duo, he would be the brawn and brains, while I'd be the one good with judging behaviors. Any flinch, emotion showed by a normal human reaction, anything suspecting in movements. I will know. That—and I'm also a con-artist.

"Yes! I actually am. Because I think my husband is cheating on me." He opened his mouth in a quick reaction that he looked behind him to Butcher checking out nanny cams. "Yep. I think he is." I turned in an instant, a smile creeping up on my face as I check out the row of wires around, the boyfriend turning his attention to Butcher with a clear on his throat.

So much for cheaters. "You're interested in nanny cam?" He sounded so confused I almost felt bad about it. "We have a special for that. Um, it's a pretty popular bear. There's cameras in the eyes."

"Tell me, how many cheaters can this bear catch?" His eyes widen that he spun his head on my direction, going back to pretend and read the back of the carton. Butcher is playing the damn game with me. I'm slightly glad things never really... changed.

"Uh, I'm sorry?"

"I think my wife is cheating on me and I need to know how many cheaters can these little bears catch?" My eyes flickered towards them, the boyfriend was absolutely confused as he looked at us back and forth.

"I—I don't—I don't think they have statistics for that?" He answered almost unsurely I bit my lower lip to stop myself from laughing.

"Funny that. They sell a billion dollar worth of that shit worldwide. Goes to show you, doesn't it? The bollocks people will believe if you get them scared enough." I sat at the top of the counter, my feet dangling as I let Butcher do the job.

"Cool... cool, cool. Um, is there anything I can help you with today or...? Are you guys okay?" That's where I couldn't help but smile, looking down to my feet and genuinely amused by how downright concerned he was. The man is something.

"I'm not gonna piss you about, Hughie. I hear what happened to Robin." The emotion fell out of my face when my mind reverted back to the story. Absolutely—horrible.

"I'm—I'm sorry, who are you guys?"

"She wasn't in the street. She was one step off the fucking curb. And you... didn't take the pay-off." I was ashamed of that—the mere fact that I followed orders and coordinated for him to be paid. But I was doing a job so blindly I forgot to be a normal human. A human that never let shit like this slide, ever.

"Yeah. I said, who the hell are you? How do you know that?"

"Name's Butcher. Billy Butcher." Oh, god. Not the FBI stint again. "That my partner right there, Alice Hunt." I waved a hand and if he's confused a while ago? He was much worse now. "Listen, I was thinking that, uh, we should have a little bit of a chat."

Persuasion didn't take too long that I follow behind the two towering figure. My eyes direct into looking for any VOUGHT men out there lurking for the poor boyfriend. That damn company had many means to get shit into their hands, most importantly now that a member of the Seven is in great public jeopardy. This man not signing the NDA was smart—but also in danger. "You guys are Fed's?" My jaw clenched, alright, not anymore. But this was the sketch, we gotta stick to the sketch.

"Got that right, Hughie." He looked at me, eyes searching for any deceiving emotion but he was not gonna see that through me.

"You don't sound like a Fed." I snorted. Hell, Butcher doesn't even look utterly believable with his undeniable aura passable as a brute gangster handling the black market with a giant dog behind him—talking about dogs, where was his dog?!

"What? I can't immigrate? There's a giant green slapper with her ass in the harbor that says different." Oh, man. Butcher and his analogies.

"You don't really look like one either."

"We're in our little disguises." I shrugged, thinking just how ridiculous I look like wearing a corporate dress claiming I'm a Fed. I was, but the dress was not convincing enough.

"No? What do I look like?"

"Like you're starring in a porn version of The Matrix." I laughed, ugly laugh so hard it caught the attention of a passerby and Butcher who looked at me like he wanted to kill me for laughing.

"Well, it's all right there in black and white."

"Okay. Uh, what exactly can I do for you guys?"

"No, you got it all wrong, Hughie. It's what I can do for you." He really is such a good talker. Like, he could make people agree with him no matter what, have matters laid out perfectly in his hands as his mouth does most of the work. Maybe that's also the reason why I'm here right now. Fell right into the trap. "You see, you ain't alone, son. It happens a lot more than you think. Supes lose hundreds of people each year to collateral damage." The brute turned to me which I cowered down and looked away from.

It was the job. I couldn't blame anyone but my own. "No. Come on, that'd be all over the news. People would be screaming bloody murder." No, they won't. Money almost always does the job. Control of the media, proper PR control, cost of damage in hindsight. Everything that money could solve, will be solved.

"Yeah, look, there might be the odd mention of it now and again, like with Robin, but there's a fuck-sight more that happens that just gets swept right under the rug." More than anyone could imagine.

"Why?"

"Look around you, Hughie." I say, my eyes sweeping around me it almost rendered me deaf from anything but my own breathing. Billboard signs, interviews, merchandising. Movies, even damn music. Everywhere, anywhere, any chance they get.

Butcher's voice brought me back as he taps on my shoulder. Giving me the look of asking if I was okay—I wasn't. "But the main reason that you won't hear about it is 'cause the public don't want to know about it." It was the opportunist leading the blind. Round and round in circles. "People love that cozy feeling that Supes give them. Some golden cunt to swoop out of the sky and save the day so you don't got to do it yourself. But if you knew half the shit that they get up to..." Most disgusting shit to this day forward.

"You will never believe it." I say as Butcher clicks his tongue and shook his head.

"Fuckin' diabolical." Straight up. "But then... that's where me and my partner comes in." He curtsied, followed by me who shrugged as I face Hughie.

"To do what?"

"Spank the bastards when they get out of line." Alright, maybe spanking isn't something I'd get on to—but that's a perfect analogy.

"How do you spank a Supe?" Oh, god.

"Follow us." I bobbed my head and turned together with Butcher.

"Uh, where?"

"You'll love it."

"Hmm, not likely. Uh, listen. I think this is good; I'm good. Thank you for an extremely weird conversation, but, uh, I don't want to go to a second location with you two. Thank you!" I nudged Butcher and let him do the work. He was very great at convincing and he could do it perfectly without me.

Not merely a minute later, my partner turned to me with a small smirk on his damn face as we sauntered about on the sidewalk, "You know what I hate about my husband?" He scoffed, "He's so goddamn confident. I bet he'll be too confident on signing the divorce papers just to prove his little stunt."

"My wife lacks trust. I think she should trust me more and believe I can do shit perfectly, you're welcome." I rolled my eyes and chuckled.

"I've always trusted that asshole." Always did.

Chapter Text

 

"KEEP UP, SUNSHINE ! "

"Well, you wear these damn heels and we'll see." Alright, my heels weren't made for long walks. Not definitely for occasions like this, and my dress doesn't even help the way how New York felt so fucking cold at this time of day. It's definitely a pain in the ass being here but I kept going, I kept going because I knew—I was starting to love it again. And it was abso-fucking-lutely foolish for me to do so.

"Where are we?" Hughie caught up with us, running behind that I fail to realize Butcher had stopped walking when my face collapsed at his back. I took a step back, rubbing my nose in the process and frowning, about to tell him why the hell he stopped when he turned to me with a frown.

"You can't be seen here." I looked up by then, dumbly realizing that I was at the Supe's fucking den I wished never to step foot again after the Translucent incident where he figured he'd abandoned his interview to—to do shit in here. I'm quite known to be a VOUGHT associate and if they saw me with Hughie and Butcher—well, that is fucking trouble itself.

"Time for me to go home, innit?" I say reasonably, although a part of my brain didn't like the sound of it very much. But it was the right thing to do that I started walking away on my damn heels.

"Nope. You ain't goin' anywhere, sunshine." His hands grasp my arm, seeing him rounding his coat on my shoulders that fell down up to my ankle, revealing his fancy tropical button down which I would laugh at if my feet situation isn't bothering me. "Look down." I nod, seeing him turn around as we finally descended the steps but he turned again, in a swift manner, pulling down my perfectly kept bun, my blonde hair falling to my face that he finally smiled.

"Why can't your wife be seen here?" Oh, shit. First with the wife thing, and second, well, I'm a talent relations director. He will bust my ass for it.

"W—Well, I have a reputation to uphold. So, let's go. And don't talk, alright? Not with anyone." Hughie nodded, turning to Butcher who nodded and walked near the door, slamming it with his fist three times before the hatch slid open.

"Harry! Got your message. Thank you for being an upstanding citizen." He was so sarcastic up to the brim.

"You know this is fucking police brutality, man. You know what they'll do to me, they catch me letting you in?"

"Not half of what I'll do if you don't." It slid back and sounded as though he was already unlocking the door. Man, he really had a way in a person's heart. One filled with threats and guns.

"Did he just say he's police?" Hughie glanced me at curiously that I smiled confidently.

"Same thing. Same titles. Same positions. Potato fuckin' po-ta-toh, right?" I shrugged, sounding believable enough that the boy hummed.

The door drew wide open that I started to look down on my aching feet, just slightly upwards where I could still be wary of the surroundings. Started hearing the—moans, and not the good kind of it either. This place was absolute hell on earth. The first time I wandered about on this place, it's least to say that I couldn't look at the familiar Supes in the same way again. "Holy shit." Uh-huh.

"This is the only place where the Supes can scratch their filthy little itch without the paps taking snaps." And certainly so that they do it a tad bit much.

"Wait—that's Ezekiel!" Hughie whispered as we stopped to our steps and saw while looking down, a stretching body up to the other side filling me with dread and disgust I pulled Butcher's shirt to get us away of it. Tuning out their smart comments, making me regret even coming inside.

We finally reached the backroom where I drew my head back, brushing my hair backward while my eyes roam around the place. Machinery not up to my knowledge and a screen that the previous man at the door was showing to Butcher. I stood beside Hughie as he crosses his arms, sparing me a glance one—nope, two times before I sighed. "What?" I asked, him feigning surprised by the action but I insinuated for him to continue.

"How long are you two married?" Alright, I can't keep up with this anymore.

"We're—"

"There—there, stop." Butcher spoke that gathered our attention, a Supe with fitted spandex and glasses that could withstand the velocity of his speed. He was pouring vodkas on a shot casually as my partner pointed at him on the screen.

"Wait—A-Train's... he's here right now?" He shouldn't be.

"Was. This is from last night. Turn it up." The tech guy upped the volume loud as we could hear as we watched the supe I was in-charge of, having another guy sat right beside him with a comment that burned rage in my blood. "I cannot believe you ran through a bitch."

"You want to hear something crazy? I ran so fast through this bitch that I swallowed one of her molars. Like a bug on the fucking freeway." Calling him an asshole wasn't fitting enough. He was way worse than that, not evil, he was literally a spawn of dirt and all fucking horrible things. Even that was still an understatement.

"Dude, that's nasty." And then, they burst out of laughter. My fist formed so hard my knuckles were white. My other hands nearly pulled up a button on Butcher's coat if he hadn't caught it and shook his head. Right. I can't let my emotions seep through. Emotions always fucked people up—not when it's not gonna be used rightly.

"They're laughing. Just... like she's a joke. They're... fucking laughing." Butcher drew closer to the boy. He looked contempt, mad—like he was gonna kill him right then and there.

"So, what are you gonna do about it?"

*

"They're all like that? All of them? Even Homelander?" We sat at a booth in a nearby pub, away from the unsavory events happening at the den. It was quiet, dim, we had drinks, and I was snuggly covered in Butcher's coat that kept me very warm it's making me really sleepy.

"Homelander's the exception. He doesn't drink, doesn't smoke. Man's a saint." I snorted.

"Nearly a saint." It was a discussion for another day but that man, he radiates the secret asshole vibes. The other day with A-Train, he was the one who suggested to get Hughie paid. He was—from Butcher's words, diabolical.

"But the rest of them, yeah. Pardon my French, fuck those fuckers." Mhm. "Here." Butcher laid down folders and papers of what seemed like something he shouldn't be having. "Have a shufti of that."

"What are these?"

"That's the police log the day that Robin got murdered. Couple of bar fights. A few cars got nicked. But you know what's not in there?" My old partner warranted me a look that I rolled my eyes and sighed.

"No bank alarms going off. No banks got robbed. Not one. Nada." I say almost defensively. "A-Train didn't stop two bank robbers." Hughie looked so—broken it kind of rubbed on me all the wrong ways.

"Someone's fucking hiding something."

"Hiding what?"

"That's why we have my partner here. Alice? Care telling us what A-Train was up to that night?" I groaned and laid my back on the chair, looking away the best I can and avoid those looks that made me wanna bury myself on the ground.

"How would she know about it?" That can't be explain right now, Hughie.

"I don't know what he's up to. I didn't hear anything. Just all the damage control while the marketing guys crafted a believable story of why he's in such a rush." I was ashamed, very. "I don't have any idea why he was running, who he was running from..."

"Or where was he running to?" It was a theory.

"Bingo. Work that out and we'll have the fucker. I can smell it."

"Okay. Okay, so um, what can I do to help?"

"Here's what you do. Ring VOUGHT, tell 'em you'll take the money, sign the NDA, but only if A-Train's there in person when you do it." That is—a questionable plan.

"Why does A-Train needed to be there?"

"Then they'll take you into The Seven Tower, through security, mate, and then you're gonna plant a bug." I have so many questions about what he's all saying. A lot.

"A bug?"

"A bug. And we'll have a little listen. See what's really going on." Hello, Butcher? I'm sitting right beside you. I could get in and out of VOUGHT without making everything complicated?

"Okay, let me just... sorry, let me just get this straight. You want me to... you want me to go to Seven Tower by myself, and you want me to plant a bug, like I'm what... like I'm fuckin' James Bond?" There are so many things wrong in Butcher's plan I might just give him a wake-up punch.

"Yeah, exactly. You got it."

"You're FBI. If you're FBI, then get a warrant. Why do you even need me?" Exactly! I'm here!

"Hughie, Hughie, look, mate, I got a warrant, all right? But that place is firewalled, untappable, and locked up tighter than your mom's knickers. I couldn't get myself in there in a million years." Yeah, that's why I'm here? Why was he leaving me out? "But you, son, you could do it."

"No, no, I can't, okay? You didn't see A-Train covered in—and I'm, what, I'm just supposed to go in there and I'm supposed to shake his hand!? And smile?"

"Yeah." No!

"I'm not—do you know who my favorite musician is?" Wait—how did it shift to musicians?

"Who?"

"James Taylor. Number two, Simon & Garfunkel. Number three, Billy Joel. Any of those guys, they don't infiltrate." O...kay? "I'm not an infiltrator." Huh.

"Hughie, fucking grow a pair. You heard that cunt laughing at your girl."

"No. No. No, I can't. I can't do that." He stood up, almost in panic while panting at the same time. "I'm sorry, I'm just gonna fuck it up, and you're not gonna have your bug... and I'll be dead. I'm not I'm not like you..." And then, he left.

Butcher grunted as I place myself right across him, he seemed to know why I was already frowning but he nodded, gesturing for me to go on about what my problem was. Which was a lot. "Why are you leaving me out, Butcher?" He sighed, crossing his fingers together at the table while at it. "I can do all of those things without putting Hughie in danger. I could bug the place anywhere, anytime. And you know that. So, why?"

"Alice—"

"And don't give me none of that vengeance bullshit. We could do this. The two of us. Like before." My voice growing higher by the second that he laid his hands as if calming me down.

"I can't put you again in that position, Alice." My brows knitted, "I can't have you lose your job again."

"W-Wait, is this about it? The conversation we had the other day?" He looked away like he always does whenever he didn't wanna deal with anything. But he's not gonna get away with it. "Butcher, I don't wanna work at VOUGHT anymore. I—I was so dumb, so filled with passionate anger that you left me to shit, and—and I stayed working there to..."

"—feel something, I know." I worked at VOUGHT because, well, an ex-military without PTSD apparently loved the battlefield so much she craves for it in the normal world. I'm generally and mentally fucked up. "When I cost you your job at the FBI, Alice—I didn't mean to ruin your life that way." I... know.

"So—what was all of this? Did you ask me to come tonight because—what? Tell me, because I'm incredibly confused about all of this."

"I need my partner." He stated, "We need someone to stay inside VOUGHT. I need you as much as you think I do. Can't get ya caught now we're in the middle of this fucking thing, ain't we?"

"I'm a con-artist, Billy Butcher."

"It's one thing that I put your real job on the line. Just not—not your life, sunshine."

Chapter Text

I COULDN'T ENTER VOUGHT THE NEXT DAY.

Maybe it was because I feel like shit from sleeping late than the usual. Maybe it's because I wanna be out there and away from here for once. Or maybe because VOUGHT wasn't thrilling enough anymore. It's a shit dump, awful, and hell all at once. Don't even get me started with the white-collared assholes I've dreaded seeing this time of day.

"Alice! Hi, Ms. Hunt!" The company lawyer passed by me on the hallway holding folders of files that I stopped to my tracks and greeted him with a small fake smile. "Ms. Stillwell is already demanding to get done with A-Train's situation, Mr. Campbell hasn't—" He stopped talking a gestured his finger, fumbling around his pocket to his vibrating phone he deliberately showed to me. "Speaking of the devil." Hughie was... calling. Wait—does this mean he's already in? He's actually—actually gonna do it?

"Hello... Uh, he already apologized... Okay, yeah. But, uh Hugh, I'm telling you, the answer's gonna be no." He puts the phone down and looked at me a bit gleefully than I would like to see on my already bad morning. "He said he'll sign the contract if A-Train personally apologized to him. What do you think?" Holy shit. He really did it. We're really... really doing this.

"Let's take that, Doug. I'll gather up A and you ready your papers. Call them back at noon then, we'll do it at the board room." It was all coming together. This was it.

"Are you sure, Ms. Hunt?" I smiled, as innocently as I can without so much as a hint of amusement.

"Yes, now, let's get to work, shall we?"

We're back again.

I didn't waste any time soon when I found A-Train on the lounge room playing a video game. His sight enrages me but today, I'm gonna be a polite talent director that handles her Supe better than most of the shitheads around here. That, and trick them out of their wits. "A-Train." I called, a clipboard on hand as my foot tapped on the pavement. He was still playing the game as he hummed. "I need you to privately apologized to Mr. Hughie Campbell, his only demand to sign the contract and get some damn closure on it at once." He looked at me exasperatedly.

"Why do I gotta do that shit? Ain't the public apology enough?"

"A-Train, I'm not asking." I raised my brow, and if he knew better, he'll follow me. No one would absolutely want me to unleash hell. "Now get your fuckin' ass out of that bean bag and follow me. We need to head for briefing." I turned, taking a step away from the lounge when I heard not one footstep and the game still continuing. "I fucking said, now!" I pulled the electric cord of the television and he threw the controller, muttering to himself as I smirked and lead him the way.

That's right, bitch. You don't wanna piss me off.

He followed the way towards Doug's temporary office, making him sit down at the chair as the lawyer explained to him what he's supposed to do. "Don't admit into anything. Try to act a little genuine and straight up, just an apology. After that, you can go. You will not be held to anything as long as you don't answer to any of his questions. Am I clear?" A-Train only nod as my phone vibrated on the pocket, taking a step back from the office and making sure no one's around me before I answer the unknown number calling.

[Alice, it's Butcher. Hughie's coming right up and if you're gonna show yourself, don't give the kid a hard time. I'll wager he'll panic outta his wits when he sees that stupid supe.]

"You didn't tell him about me?"

[Figured he'd get to know it himself, you know? A little bit o' surprise.]

"Have I said that you're literally an idiot?"

[Many times,  sunshine .]

I shook my head after the call ended, a stupid smile on my face as I turned back to the office and sees Doug calling to his phone, might already be telling Hughie to come. The plan was all coming together but I was concerned just how the boy would take it if he sees me, A-Train, and the whole clusterfuck of reality right before his eyes. Would he literally scream? Have a bad panic attack? Would he accidentally reveal who I am? Those were questions that'll be answered the minute he came.

And that didn't last long when hours later, the reception rang up that Hughie's on his way, Doug explaining the last minute notes to A-Train like the child he was, and then, on we went to the board room. "Do it short and clear. And A?" He looked at me from under his glasses I could still see how annoyed he was. Oh, how I wanted to punch the lights off of him. "Try to be as human as possible." I flashed a quick smile before the elevator door opened and headed straightly to the room Hughie's already in.

It slid open just as fast as Doug who front lined the whole thing as quick as he can be, "Just to be clear, A-Train's apology isn't an admission of any sort of culpability whatsoever. Do you understand?" He looked at me, confusion written all over his face that it rendered me nervous for a short while before his eyes flickered to A-Train.

Alright, Hughie... Keep your shit together. "I'm sorry about what happened to your girlfriend, all right?" Oh, shit. He's... panting out loud. O—kay, I'm starting to slightly regret this plan. "Hey, dude, are you okay?" If he passed out, it's gonna be really bad.

"Fine." His—his face shifted into a whole hundred eighty degrees when he offered a handshake to A-Train. "I appreciate the apology. Accidents happen, right? After all, I mean, you were saving the world." Okay, that should be enough. If I was Hughie, I'd keep my cool one second and strangle him the next, with the smile he's giving? Yep. That's probably gonna happen if I didn't intervene.

"That's great. Thank you so much. As you know, a crimefighter's work is never done. Douglas here will handle the rest of the paperwork for you, okay? Thank you." I warranted him a proud glance as he looks at me very confusedly, winking right after as I turned to A-Train and nodded to him. "Great work. As always." Huh, I'm dripping with sarcasm today.

The end of day's work meant freedom to me so much so that when Butcher texted me they were waiting right outside? I was... there. No hesitation, no other thing that could hinder me from not doing so—and slid myself on the backseat rather gladly. I guess... I'm back? "Holy shit, Alice! I thought I was hallucinating when I saw you there!" Hughie exclaimed that I laugh, leaning in between at the gap and smiling to him.

"I'm proud of you, kid. You did really great out there." He conquered his shit in a pile and did his job pretty great. Not many first times resulted with that.

"Why didn't you guys tell me about it? That you work there?" I turned to the smirking Butcher to my left that he shook his head about and huffed.

"Well, this asshole wanted it to be a surprise. I'm sorry about him." Hughie only laughed as he dipped his head back, seemingly so that he looked so full of adrenaline right now.

"How long were you there?" He asked, curiosity laced in his voice. "Why are you there? Is it like—an infiltration job? Like I did? That's really cool if it is!" He looked like a kid excited to know when Santa's coming down the chimney. It was a refreshing sight.

"Two years. And yeah, it's an infiltration job. But I'm not yet far down on the maze. I still got a lot to figure out." It's the truth. Blackmail is child's play for this Supes and their PR. They could publicly apologize, own up to their crap and people will still love them. Butcher and I wanted something valuable, even before. Something that could ruin not only the Supe—but VOUGHT itself.

"That's really cool. Like a while ago, oh, man! I look him right in the eye, and I smile. And that was awesome, man, just getting to stare that asshole down. I get why you dig this job." Slowly, I noticed how Butcher stopped the car in front of the—tech store Hughie was working at. The kid doesn't seem to notice yet when he was so busy marveling about what happened a while ago.

"Yeah, you know, it has its moments, doesn't it?" Butcher shot me a weak smile.

"You were right. Fuck A-Train. Fuck A-Train. Fuck-fuck The Seven. Fuck all... Seven." Well, realization hit him like a ten-wheeler truck soon as his head turned and sees we're back in front of the store. "What are we, uh, what are we doing here?" I didn't wanna disappoint him like this.

"Well, you got to go to work, don't you?" Butcher tried explaining reasonably.

"Yeah, but, um, I don't, uh—"

"Well, I mean, that's all I need you for right now, yeah?"

"Yeah, I mean, but I-I can I can help with other stuff, you know? I could—I could be, like, your tech guy. You know? Like, I could be in the van with the thing and, like, you know, 'He's down the hall to the left.'" I'm so sorry, Hughie.

"Yeah, look, son, I, uh I think it's best that we take it from here. You know what I mean?" It was only right that he didn't join in for much of what we're gonna do. It's right enough that we brought him several anxiety attacks, it's another one to literally drag him to the dirty work and well, get him killed off in a matter of months.

"Yeah, but I-I can I can really help." Hughie looked at me as I could only muster a sigh. I wanted him to, but it's—not right.

"I know you can help. We got it." The boy exhaled disappointingly that I went out and followed after him, tapping his shoulders encouragingly.

"You'll make a pretty darn good spy, if I'm gonna be honest." I winked that put a small smile on his face. "Take care of yourself, alright?" He nodded as I laid my hands in front, grasping his and shook it. Pulling away right after and sliding myself on the passenger seat next to Butcher.

The engine sputtered soon after he started the car. Ready to leave now, and on to the next step of our long, long journey. "Oh, w—oh, hey, wait." Hughie called, "You ever see an asshole tear up $45K?" Yes. Him. He's the good asshole that tore up a check anyone else would've died having.

"Hughie. You're a good lad."

"You know, Hughie's a pretty valuable character. We might need someone reasonable and sane on our team right now." I say after he pulled away from the store. Butcher only glancing at me for a second before he chuckled.

"Eh, he won't be safe with us. Better he's away from us before he get himself killed."

"Awe, getting sentimental now, are we?" I see him roll his eyes that urged me to laugh. "Come on, Butcher. The kid did good—like fuckin' ace. He's not burned by the Feds, not a psychopath brute with evil tendencies, and will balance out the crazy. You know?" Butcher pulled up at an empty highway and turned to look at me.

"So, what are you implyin'? Let the kid join us? Some random lad—"

"Who did your bidding without so much as a physical force involved. No threats. And if we're talking about his vengeance rate, I take it he's over 90% with possibility of still being in reason in times of need." My old partner sighed, "Come on, Butcher. I'm on the inside. I couldn't always be seen with you. You can't be around the company every damn day, and we need someone that'll be a gray area. Not on the nerve of the CIA, not on the leash of VOUGHT. So, what's it gonna be?" 

Butcher tapped his index finger above his lip, glanced at me repeatedly while looking all so conflicted. "I trust you, Alice. And I trust your judgements—"

"Okay! Let's go back, now! I had an inkling feeling the kid will jump out of his wits when he found out!" I didn't let him finish, knowing so that he got so much to say to me but couldn't. I knew Butcher, I knew him like the back of my fuckin' hand that when he looked at me like that, he smirked and shook his head. "You'll thank me for this."

One second, I was all glad that we got someone on the team less grumpy and not psychotic, the next? The car slammed right in front of the store Hughie's working at. "Holy fuck!"

Chapter Text

"SORRY ABOUT THE MESS."

Yes, well, that's the worst thing that could happen, right? "You should fuck off, Hughie." My phone started vibrating like mad on my pocket that when I looked—it was absolutely clear now why there's a reason a television floated mid-air, and an invisible figure got thrown out a couple of shelves away from where it was previously.

I tended to Hughie soon as Butcher started walking closer, a little doubt I have in me that he could take Translucent arm to arm when the man literally could withstand any force. "Hughie, I need you to get out of here right now. Alright? Your head is bleeding, you're in shock but it'll go away soon. I just need you to stand up, and go." I hoisted him by his collar that he looked at me at once almost too confusedly for his own good. "Run!" Butcher's voice echoed of the same words that he nodded, my attention turning to Butcher while my phone still vibrated like crazy.

"Well, well, well... If it ain't the invisible cunt." He carried a crowbar, going closer to the wall that when he went for the kill, only collided to the wall. A peal of laughter echoed the place that Butcher got thrown at the wall nearby, making me act upon and grabbing a discarded shelf, hitting from where the force came from and colliding with but a thud.

"A-Alice?! What the fuck?!"

I bit my lip, "Yeah. What's up?" I try for a next blow but that only ended with the invisible man, pulling the shelf from me and a kick in the stomach that sent me flying to the other side of the room.

"I thought we could trust you! Why the fuck are you here?! Why are you with them?!" I could hear him close to me but I couldn't see him, fuck him for being invisible, fuck my phone for only beeping that he's near and not telling his actual location. This was annoying at the very best. "Answer me!" Another kick from the stomach that I was able to hold on to while silently enduring the pain, turning it sideways for him to fall at the shelf and seeing Butcher deliver a punch but we were too blind that it resulted in another kick, and a straight jab at Butcher's face.

I fumbled around again but he was lost, only feeling the nauseating sensation of being punched into the jaw and falling face flat on the pavement, hearing movements and thuds inches away from me that I see Butcher landing punch after punch—on a bloodied figure of Translucent.

Good tactic, but not so much in combat when we're actually trying to land a punch to a guy similar to a damn rock. But I gathered the courage to stand up when Butcher fell from a punch, my hands holding on to a large rock I was able to throw, successfully distracting him while I hoist up Butcher. "Fuck you, Alice!" I could hear Translucent say. "Who are you with, huh? Who's this shithead? A fucking spy? For who?" His bloodied invisible figure started walking away to an opposite direction that I ran, gulped, and tackled him down the ground where my knees collided in the part where the sun usually doesn't shine if he wasn't always naked.

But, futile attempts after futile attempts when he was able to grab me by the neck and choked me. "You're gonna tell me why you're doing this or I'm gonna kill you." I held tightly to his hands, desperately removing it while I gasp for air. My eyes started to water and my feet dangle inches from the ground. I was struggling—trying to breathe.

"I'll tell you!" I mustered to choke out even if it was so hard to do so. Finally being set free from that grasps that my eyes darted behind him and sees Hughie, inching closer and closer before my hair got pulled back again.

"We trusted you, Alice! Didn't treat you like shit! And what? This?!" I rolled my eyes and spat the blood that I could feel lingering in my mouth.

"That supposed to warm my heart now, son of a bitch?" He pulled me back even further, his grasps on my hair felt like he was planning on leaving me with a bald spot.

"Tell me who the fuck these people are, who you are, and what the hell are you trying to do?!"

"I'll tell you who you are." My side vision saw Butcher struggling to get up, all bloodied and gashed up but still had a smug smirk on his damn face. "A fucking moron." Really?! Now?! "Translucent doesn't even mean invisible. It means semi-transparent." Hughie pulled the cord from the discarded television, which didn't budge and soon enough, gathered Translucent's attention. Fuck.

I felt a tight grasp on my waist when his hold on my hair loosens, Butcher pulled me back and kicked off Translucent which his figure immediately collided with the cord. Electricity crackling wildly on his trembling body it might have been a full five seconds of him being electrocuted before he fell on the ground with that amount of shock. That could—kill fucking anyone.

Except him.

"'ey," Butcher called, his hands going about on my jaw that I backed away from the sharp stinging pain. But he pulled my chin up, eyes scanning to my neck I could almost see the rage burning in his eyes. Butcher was pretty darn easy to read whenever he's mad—and he looked really mad right now.

"Just a scratch." I could almost taste the blood on my lip when I hoist myself up. Another stinging pain on my stomach as I help Butcher up.

"Is he—Is he dead?" Hughie asked while he leaned on the shelf looking shell-shocked still. Much worse now that he practically electrocuted a superhero sweetheart.

Butcher kicked off Translucent but he wasn't dead. Or else the beeping on my phone would stop. "Well, he ain't movin'." The kid started spouting worried curses while I duck down on Translucent's body and feel through his neck, slightly wanting to choke him the same but knew it wouldn't satisfy me the least bit. "How'd you know the electric could do the job?"

"Skin's carbon. Highly conductive. Saw it on, uh, Jimmy Fallon." There's still a pulse.

"Would've taken me forever to work that one out. Good job." He sounded amused.

"There's a pulse. We should probably sort that out first?" Hughie panted restlessly while Butcher looked at me grimly. "He's a fucking god. He can't be killed by a blow in the head, much less any fucking thing that could kill a normal human being." That's one of the things I learned while watching over the Supes. They have great—really great capabilities it was truly a wonder how one could possess many great things.

"Let's get him in the boot." I nod, standing up to my already bare toes as my heels are probably not gonna be much of help lifting a six foot tall man.

"Wait, wait, what? Wait, what? What?" Hughie asked. "The trunk." Butcher answered exasperatedly but I don't think that's the kid's question about.

"No, no, I mean, what are we—what are we doing with him?" Err, cleaning it out?

"Well, Hughie, you just offed one of The Seven, mate." Not a good way to say it.

"Me? You—You guys hit him with a fucking car!" I was already up at it carrying Translucent's feet when the asshole dropped him once again. Well, so much for wasting my energy on that one.

"Look, potato, fucking po-tah-to. We're both in a shitload of trouble." Eerily weird we say the same things—okay, Alice, mind on the situation for once. We need to get out of here—like this very instant. This isn't a place for an argument.

"No, no, no, we're not! He—He attacked us, okay? And you're—you're a federal officer, you know? Just—Just call the fucking FBI." Oh, no.

"Yeah, o—okay, so, look, technically, I'm not a Fed."

"Not now!" I say exasperatedly but Hughie already heard, and he looked like a ticking time bomb.

"What?! Then who the fuck are you?!" A fucking question of the year. "So—" Hughie started panting out loud again I backhanded Butcher and practically cursed him off. It was not the place for twenty questions, not a place for grand reveals, and certainly not to lounge around like police cars aren't gonna be here soon. "You're not a Fed?" Poor sweet child, get your shit together.

"Do you hear that? That's the old bill. So unless you want to explain why you've got America's favorite invisible wanker dead on the floor, give us a fucking hand, will ya?" He panted for a sweet long second before cursing and lifting up his feet while I gathered my heels, the fucking bug lying casually on the counter, and all other evidence that could lead straight through our faces.

I ran back to the car, lifted up the boot for them as they slammed Translucent inside and closed him off for good. "Let's go. They're gonna be here soon." I took my seat on the passenger while Hughie mindlessly entered the backseat. Butcher looked at me for what seemed like help—but I wasn't going to deal with it. It's his fault he revealed that shit to him. Of all the wrong times that is.

"All right, listen, I have worked for the Feds. I've worked for loads of people. I'm what you might call an independent contractor." I snorted, right, independent contractor is a pretty way to say it. "You got a problem, you call me, we solve the problem."

Pounding at the trunk began echoing to the car that I looked, followed by Hughie, and Butcher. "What is that?" The kid asked.

"That's a problem."

"Oh, thank fuck, he's alive. Yes, yes, he's alive!" Have I said that he got a pulse a while ago? Didn't he hear that from the shock? Huh. "Okay, pull over." Wait, what?

"Hughie, we can't," I say, looking behind and seeing him panic out of his shit. "Calm down, okay?! Calm your shit. Right at this second!"

"Pull the car over, please. Alice, tell him to pull it over." I pursed my lip.

"This is a fucksight worse. He's seen our faces." Butcher tried explaining.

"Oh, my God. No, no, no, no, no. I can't do this. Let me out. Pull over!"

"Hughie, you walk away now, and you will never get payback for Robin. You'll spend the rest of your life sitting on your ass with fucking regret. Now, is that what you want?" That shut him up and I'm pretty sure I'd still like to get Butcher to be my therapist. He could make me believe anything, make me calm down like what he did with Hughie. He worked like a fucking charm. "I know a bloke. Top man. He'll know what to do." I... don't like the sound of that.

"Billy Butcher, where the hell are we goin'?" He spared me a quick glance before the smile grew on his face. "This is gonna be bad." I whispered to myself as I held my head with my hand. I guess I couldn't come to work tomorrow. That's for sure. Not when Translucent is living and breathing at the trunk we're in, had seen their faces—my face. We got no choice but to do a... quick fix. "I hope you know your french."