The Powers That Be, Part 15: Messages & determinations

And after all that crazy, let’s get back to Wolfgang and see what he has to say for himself.

-very brief intro because I forgot about posting today hehe-

-let’s just call this “mysterious”-

So if you’re behind, catch up here.

Part 1: The Winged Woman

Part 2: Junk mail & junk reputations

Part 3: Searching for tuxedos and answers

Part 4: Babysitting

Part 5: Studies indicate

Part 6: Exclusive benefits

Part 7: With a little help from my friends

Part 8: A piping hot mess

Part 9: Calling in the expert

Part 10: Evil council

Part 11: Old buddies & owed favors

Part 12: Set up

Part 13: Bring the house down

Part 14: Keeping home base

 

and onwards we go!


Part 15

Messages and determinations

 

[Wolfgang Dankworth]

 

People were talking nearby me. Right in the same room, but I couldn’t figure out what they were saying. Just different tones of gibberish came through in my mind.

 

Feeling came back and I pieced together that I was lying splayed out on a cot bed with my face smashed against a pillow sideways. I was wearing a collared shirt with one side of the collar flipped up and pressing into my neck.

 

Holy smoke, I’m tired.

 

I pulled my partly open mouth closed and swallowed carefully. My throat was dry and my tongue felt swollen. I didn’t even ask myself what had happened, just focusing on getting my most basic thoughts in order first.

 

The talking continued in a steady rise and fall of different voices. I lay there listening, the sound almost coaxing me back to sleep for a little bit.

 

The sharp sound of a door latch clicking open, then shut, snapped my awareness back into place somewhat. Enough to make out the words being said.

 

“I’m sorry, there was just a lot to be done in the investigation and I couldn’t get away until now.” Dallas’s voice.

 

There was a pause for a second and the scuff of his footsteps stopped.

 

“Oh no.”

 

Liza’s voice broke in. “He’s fine, really.”

 

“A-are you sure? I saw him when he was . . . you know . . .”

 

I could almost feel their eyes on me.

 

I scrunched up my nose slightly and pulled my eyes open. My vision was sideways bleary, so I brought a hand up to rub over my eyes. “’m fine,” I muttered out.

 

There were a couple of releases of breath in the room. Charles’s voice, sounding not as soft as it usually did, replied.

 

“Well, I hope you had a good rest.”

 

I finished rubbing at my eyes and brought my arm around to push myself upright. A jab of pain from the awkward angle I’d had my arm at made me wince. I felt a bigger hand on my arm, steadying me.

 

I yawned, blinking a couple of times as I looked around the room. The curtains were pulled open

 

I recognized . . . yeah, this was my bedroom. Back at the . . . the Den . . .

 

I rubbed a hand over my face again and up through my hair. My thoughts came in an awkward, broken fashion. Forming my own opinions and ideas in my mind hurt like I was trying to bring circulation back into my foot after sitting on it for a while. Like I was out of practice.

 

I pushed my questions through, forcing activity back into my brain. What happened?

 

Light came in through the window, but it was faded and grayish pink. And things were cold enough that it was probably sometime around sunrise.

 

So we were at the Den . . . there were at least five fire extinguisher canisters in the room for some reason. Dallas and Charles were both here and neither of them looked happy . . . Liza was wearing my jacket . . .

 

I frowned. Hey.

 

She adjusted the collar indifferently.

 

Charles raised an eyebrow and tilted his head. “So, you have anything to say?”

 

I just blinked.

 

The big hand still stayed holding onto my arm just above my elbow. I looked over, my gaze following up the black-sleeved arm and to its owner.

 

Bad News. He sat right next to my bed, his legs pulled up to his chest so he took up less room than he usually did. His fedora was pushed back on his head and his sunglasses were gone, showing his tired, slightly red-rimmed eyes. Blood splotched on the side of his white suit shirt.

 

He put his hand down and reached for a small, white mug that sat steaming next to him. Holding it out to me, he nodded. “Want a cup of joe to help you get going?”

 

My mouth dropped open slightly as my mind got past the temporary glitch and flooded with the memories from the past night.

 

I stiffened, getting to my feet and looking News up and down. What I could see of him at least, from his bunched-up position. My muscles all felt shaky and worn out, but I put forth the extra effort to remain standing.

 

“Y-you . . . News, are you okay? Is that your blood? Franklin . . .”

 

“He came by last night,” interrupted Liza as News ducked his head. “Franklin dropped you off. Baden just got grazed by his ribs in the scuffle and I already patched it up.”

 

I worked my jaw for a few seconds, turning to look at her. “Dropped me off . . .?”

 

That was ridiculous, I . . . I’d been marching up to Franklin with a giant fireball ready to shove in his face for blackmailing News into doing that sort of junk again. I had my hand up and . . .

 

The rest of the memories were slower to come and were fuzzy and dreamlike. I furrowed my brow in the more difficult attempt to grasp them.

 

But there it was. I’d just dropped it. Followed along like some stupid dog on a leash, gone out the back door and gotten in Franklin’s car. I’d gone to sleep on command.

 

Franklin had mind controlled me.

 

Again.

 

I clenched my fists and ground my teeth together, my muscles tightening in anger. Heat started to throb around my hands. I turned back to look at News. “He made you kill Ecks, didn’t he? Franklin and Maxine just . . . I . . .” I cursed and pulled my hands up through my hair.

 

News shrugged, a pained expression pulling his face tight. “I was . . . I thought I was doing what I was supposed to . . . do, y’know.”

 

The hot pressure built up for another split second and I felt my hands burst into flame, letting loose the tension.

 

I spun back around to the rest of the room, gesturing. “Seriously, guys, he just-“

 

My sentence got cut off as three solid streams of fire extinguisher hit me. One on each hand and one in the face.

 

I stumbled back a step, the flames sputtering out as I choked on a mouth full of white foam. What the . . .? I spluttered and spat. My foam-covered hands didn’t do too much good wiping it out of my eyes, but I finally managed to get my vision somewhat clear without falling over.

 

I squinted my eyes, trying to clear the sting as I got my visual back on the others in the room. Liza, Dallas and Charles all still had their fire extinguishers at the ready.

 

All of them looked ready to do it again in an instant.

 

Charles raised his eyebrows at me, his blue eyes piercing. “Wolfgang, there’s been quite enough of that. You . . . really, after last night I’d think you would have a bit more . . .” he trailed off as though too indignant to even talk to me. He glanced sideways at Dallas for support.

 

Dallas’s face got a little red and he shrugged. “It . . . did cause a few problems.”

 

I noticed for the first time the smokestains that blackened his suit and smudged around his face. There were quite a few on me as well now that I . . . looked . . .

 

Man, all the smoke on my shirt was almost turning the fire extinguisher foam grey.

 

My anger at Franklin and Maxine faded away into a knot of sick dread in my stomach. I dropped my hands down, another wave of tiredness hitting me for a few seconds.

 

“Sit down, Wolfy,” Liza advised, clunking her can of fire extinguisher down on the concrete of the floor.

 

I did as she said. Everyone else followed suit and relaxed as well. Now that there was no immediate danger of me bursting into flames.

 

Charles set down his fire extinguisher, but kept a hand on it as he spoke. “Now. Dallas just showed up and probably has the most information for us on the front of the SPI. So let’s hear what he has to say. Dallas?” He gestured towards Dallas and nodded for him to talk.

 

Dallas pressed his lips together for a second. He swallowed slowly, like he had something painful stuck in his throat. “Well. On the official report, it thankfully looks like there were no fatalities last night. Director Ecks survived, though his arm will take a while to heal.”

 

News let out a breath and pulled on his tie.

 

“The opera house is . . .” Dallas trailed off for a second, looking intently at the floor as though it could give him the right words to say. “It’s . . . salvageable. The firefighters showed up on time and we only had a few serious cases of smoke inhalation and some minor burns among the crowd of civilians attending the concert. But it . . . did almost burn down the whole building . . .” he looked up at me with his expression in a wince. “And you were recognized by multiple people. They’re saying you’ve gone back to terrorizing the public again.”

 

I bit down on my tongue, looking down at my smudged up dress shoes.

 

Dallas took a deep breath. “Thankfully, they have no idea where you went. Security hadn’t locked down yet when Franklin got you out, and the fire didn’t spread out of control. Just mainly got the curtains and the seating boxes on one side of the auditorium. I’m just . . . glad you got out when you did.”

 

His quiet words faded away in the small room, but still replayed in my mind.

 

So Franklin was a jerk. An arrogant pretty boy who’d threatened News back into the hit man business. And not to mention the mind control thing. But still, from what Dallas had said . . .

 

I’d lost it. I’d totally lost my temper and blew up . . . in quite a literal sense. I’d been about to kill Franklin and Maxine I was so mad. Who knew how many people might have died in the fire if Franklin hadn’t taken over my mind like that and forced me to stop?

 

So I hate being controlled like that. Being kicked out of my own head and having no free will . . . but that was . . . actually what saved everyone last night. Me being mind controlled.

 

I rested my head in my hands and dug my fingers into my hair, spiking the cowlick up.

 

Sure, he shouldn’t have done that to News. But that wasn’t how I was supposed to deal with that sort of thing. Especially not if I had explosive fire powers that put literally everyone in the building at risk.

 

That was the first real test of temper I’d had since turning around. And I totally blew it. I stepped right back into what I’d been doing as a villain. I could have killed people. I already hurt multiple people as it was.

 

Stupid, selfish idiot.

 

I pulled on my hair harder with my trembling fingers and bit my lip.

 

Dallas continued talking after a few seconds. “Mr. News, you were recognized as well, and . . . attempting assassination on a government official is a very serious crime, so . . . I really think staying here for now at least is the best idea.”

 

“Yeah,” News muttered. He blew out his breath in a raspberry sound through his lips.

 

It was quiet for another bit and I pulled my head up a little, still mentally kicking myself. I called out Maxine to police officers and told them she’d set it up. Not that they listened. But that, plus trying to kill Franklin? I probably blew any semblance I had of cover there . . . what was I supposed to react to that, though?

 

“But th-the good news,” Dallas volunteered, his voice breaking just slightly. “I’m extremely close to having enough information to sink Silverwing. I can almost bring them to light with what I have now. At least make it an official investigation that can scout out the rest of the members. I just need . . .” he trailed off, looking up at me.

 

“More recordings or other forms of evidence from me inside Silverwing?” I asked tiredly. “Yeah, pretty sure that’s not happening. I practically tried to murder them both last night.”

 

Charles muffled a groan, resting his head in his hands. News wrinkled his nose slightly. I winced. Disappoint both father figures with one blow and make myself feel even worse, fantastic.

 

“Actually,” Liza raised a hand, making the too big sleeve of my jacket fall back on her arm. “Franklin had a few messages on that front when he dropped you off last night.”

 

I frowned, “Messages from . . . him, or Silverwing?”

 

I’d just expect one fairly short one.

 

You’re fired. Goodbye. Leave now. Something like that.

 

“Sort of both,” she shrugged. Her expression soured for a second. “And mate, you were right about him being a creep. The way he was just . . . bringing you in like a bloody marionette while you were sleeping. That mind control stuff . . .” she shuddered.

 

I blinked. “He . . . what now while I was sleeping?”

 

“Anyway,” Liza continued, tucking her hair behind her ear and lacing her fingers over one knee. “He said it would be best for you to lay low for a while, since the media wasn’t gonna be dropping this very quickly. And to tell you that you were on official break for a few days and he’d call when they needed you or had the next meeting organized.”

 

Charles looked up and Dallas straightened his back, his eyebrows going up.

 

I opened and closed my mouth. “Wait so, I’m . . . I’m still in?”

 

Liza shrugged again. “Apparently. I mean, really. If anybody would get blamed for that disaster, I think Frankie would get his fair share from whoever’s running the show. Hiring Bad News was . . . well . . . stupid.” She looked over at News, waving a hand. “No offense. You’re more than capable, but even if Wolfy was really in on this thing, that’d be a surefire way to blow a big hole in his loyalty. Hiring a guy to get captured by his friend. Idiotic.”

 

Actually, by Maxine’s speech she gave me about dropping people who dragged me down, I was suspecting that betrayal was more involved in agency dealings than I’d ever like to know. But Liza did have a point. I was a bit of a newbie and they’d given me grace on other fronts.

 

Dallas shifted in his position, looking excited as he twisted his hands. “Well that’s very good. See I think . . . with the proper evidence to bring Silverwing down, I could also clear Mr. News’s and your name, Wolfgang. As long as we can just continue our work under the radar, it should come to a head fairly quickly.”

 

I nodded slowly. “Well then I guess . . . we’re still on.” Slightly more hope, yay. But my self-confidence in being able to control my temper was down by a significant amount.

 

“I recommend you take this break time to train,” Charles advised, pushing to his feet. “And maybe practice controlling your powers . . . among other things.” He put his hands in his pockets as he looked down at me.

 

I shrunk a little, feeling like Leif getting scolded.

 

Charles sighed, smoothing a hand over his hair and closing his eyes for a few seconds. “It’s just . . . you’re better than this, Wolfgang. You’ve shown me that. You just need to stick to it. Keep a better hold on your temper and you really can . . . be a greater man for it.”

 

I swallowed, rubbing at the back of my neck. “Y-yes, sir.”

 

He watched me for another second, then stepped towards the door. “I’ll try and help as much as I can. But right now . . . I actually need to go to work. News, is there any more coffee out in the kitchen?”

 

News looked up, his brown eyes wide in a question like he hadn’t been paying attention. “Huh?”

 

“Coffee? In the kitchen?”

 

“Oh, yeah. There’s coffee.” News nodded and nudged the coffee cup he’d been guarding over towards me. It was steaming less now, but I took it and drank a sip.

 

Charles nodded. “Thanks. Well . . .” he looked around the room. “I’ll try and get off work a little earlier so I can come and help you train, Wolfgang.”

 

“Thanks,” I replied in an awkward, half-mutter, running a hand through my hair as I stood up off the cot.

 

He slipped out and Dallas stood, following after him.

 

News pushed up out of his bunched up sitting position on the floor a little slower. I looked over.

 

“Are you . . . you doing okay?”

 

He seemed unusually subdued this morning and wasn’t smiling nearly as much. Plus the blood on his shirt. It was really unnerving.

 

Bad News shrugged and nodded a weird, sideways nod. “I mean, last night just sorta . . . y’know . . .” he wrinkled his nose, squinted one eye and gestured like he couldn’t find the word.

 

I raised my eyebrows and waited.

 

News just left it there. “I’m gonna go get some ice cream.” He pointed at me as he ducked out the door. “Don’t forget your coffee.”

 

Liza folded her arms and waited until he was gone. “News is rubber. He’ll bounce back quick enough.”

 

The sun was up by now and the room was well lit from the sun’s rays through the grubby window. Lucius had been sleeping quietly on his perch through all the ruckus and looked up as the light shone in his face.

 

I stood up, letting out my breath, and stepped over to him, awkwardly petting his feathers in a hello.

 

He chirruped at me and hopped onto my shoulder. I winced, biting back a curse. I usually had the shield of leather between my skin and his talons. This time it was just a thin dress-shirt. I bit my tongue and straightened up as I looked over at Liza. “Hey, can I have my jacket back?”

 

Liza stuck out her tongue at me, but slipped it off her shoulders. “Fine. I had enough fun with Fredrick while you were gone anyway.” She handed the jacket over.

 

I almost dropped it, too busy looking at her in confusion. “ . . . Fredrick?”

 

She smirked, gesturing to my jacket. “You’ve worn that thing for like half your life. And it’s been through a trial by fire now, mate. I think it needs a name, right?”

 

Lucius hopped off my shoulder for a second so I could put the jacket on.

 

I couldn’t help but laugh a little bit as I slipped my arms into the worn leather again. “But . . . Fredrick?”

 

“I’m the official nicknamer around here. If you don’t like it, you’ll just have to put up with me calling it that.” She flipped her hair over her shoulder, then walked to the door. “Consider it a lasting consequence for last night and may there be no others.”

 

I rolled my eyes and got Lucius back on my shoulder. “Whatever you say.”


Man, what could even be happening next? -much mystery- -much drama- -much idek what to put here-

Talk to me peeps and I’ll see you on Thursday. XD

~writefury

also P.S. it’s my lil bro Isaiah’s birthday today! -throws confetti on him-

21 thoughts on “The Powers That Be, Part 15: Messages & determinations

  1. YAY FOR SENSIBLE INFJ SUPERHERO FATHER FIGURES.

    Poor News. Poor Wofly. Poor Dallas. Poor everybody.
    Poor me.
    *wails like a spoiled toddler* I. WANT. MORE.

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