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23 November 2009 @ 07:51 am
069 Family  
Title: Darkness Overwhelming
Fandom: Mystic Force
Pairing: N/A
Rating: 15
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary/Warnings: Somewhere, all wishes come true. Chip meets someone very important.
Word Count: 877 / 52 682
Author's notes: My table is here.

069 Family

For the first time, Slannen didn’t offer Nick and Chip anything. He’d been perfectly polite—yes, we’re all fine; the White Witch is well; Necrolai hasn’t found any of us yet, thank you—but he hadn’t offered them anything, and Nick wondered how badly they were doing if they couldn’t spare a handful of berries.

Chip slid through the hedge, glancing back at the house. “They must be doing really badly,” he said idly, echoing Nick’s thoughts.

“Well, they can’t go get the Guardians’ handouts like the rest of us.”

“I guess.” Chip frowned, looking around. “It’s so dark.”

“You’re surprised?”

“It’s May. It should be bright for hours yet.”

“The weather’s been so weird, though.”

“Yeah, I guess. Let’s get…whoof!”

Nick spun; someone had tackled Chip, sending them both to the ground. Nick ducked his own attacker, catching the collar of the boy of the ground and heaving him off Chip.

“Get up,” he said quickly, holding out a hand to help him. Three or four more strangers had melted out of the shadows and both their attackers were back on their feet.

“We don’t want trouble,” Nick said, feeling Chip move to stand back-to-back with him. “Let us pass.”

“You’ve got food,” a boy—only fourteen or fifteen—said accusingly. “You’ve always got food when you come back from there.”

Nick spread his hands. “No food. We have nothing. Now let us pass.”

“They’re lying,” a girl hissed. Chip swung around, yanking down his hood and staring at her; ignoring him, she continued, “They always have food.”

“Zoe?” Chip demanded.

“Who?” Nick asked. Chip waved him to silence, eyes on one of the figures.

She stepped forward, pulling her hood down. “Chip?”

Chip made to step forward; Nick caught his arm, wary of being separated. “Zoe, what are you doing?”

The girl’s chin went up. “Surviving,” she said defiantly. “Like you. Did you find a stash up there, Chip? Going to share?”

Nick blinked; the accent was clearer that time. “You’re Xander’s sister.”

Zoe glanced at him, dismissing him and turning back to Chip. “We’ve been watching you guys for a couple of weeks. You go up there, you come back with a bag. We tried to get in but we couldn’t.”

“You picked a bad day to jump us. We don’t have anything.” Nick spread his hands again.

“Zoe, we know where Xander is. Come with us,” Chip offered.

“Xander?” Zoe faltered, for a moment looking her age.

“Yeah.” Chip held out his hand. “Let’s go.” Nick didn’t say anything, aware that he had no real place here, but he could feel the tension in Chip’s body.

Zoe turned to the boy beside her, who shook his head. “No.”

“It’s my brother.”

“It’s some guy you used to know, and a stranger. No.”

Her chin went up again. “Stop me, then,” she challenged him, taking a step back. “Chip?”

Chip followed her and Nick went after them, turning to watch the boys. No one made a move after them and as soon as he’d cleared the circle they ran.

Zoe slowed a couple of blocks down the road, looking back over her shoulder. “We don’t come down this far,” she said as Nick caught up. “They won’t follow us now.”

“Zoe,” Chip breathed, hands on his knees as he caught his breath. “Xander’s been so worried about you.”

“You really know where he is?” Zoe asked.

“Well, yeah. He’s…”

“With us,” Nick interrupted. “Why did you come with us if you didn’t believe him?”

“I wanted away from them.” She gestured back the way they’d come. “I couldn’t get away on my own, but I can get away from you guys.”

“And then what? You don’t wanna be on your own out here,” Nick said quickly.

“Come see Xander?” Chip asked, holding out a hand.

Zoe stared at him. “This isn’t a trick?” she asked finally.

“It really isn’t,” Chip promised. “We were with Xander this morning. We’re going back to him now. Come with us?”

“I don’t mean to hurry you,” Nick said distantly, “but Koragg’s coming.”

Chip looked around. “Is…no, he isn’t.”

“Yes, he is. Let’s get off the street, ok?” He reached for Zoe’s arm; she ducked him and he transferred his grip to Chip’s arm instead, yanking him into the nearest alley. Zoe deigned to follow them, crouching near the entrance.

“Zoe!” Nick hissed. “Back.”

She rolled her eyes, but she did get up and move back five or six feet. Apparently satisfied, Nick began counting softly, beginning—for no reason Chip could see—at seventeen and counting back towards one.

At six Zoe cursed quietly, burrowing further into the mess around her. At three Chip could hear voices in the street. And just as Nick breathed “One,” Koragg strode by.

Nick started counting back up; he was at eighty four when Zoe stirred, untangling herself from the debris around her. Chip scrambled to his feet, going to help her up.

Nick stepped back onto the street without bothering to look around. “Are you coming?” he demanded, looking at Zoe.

“Yes.” The close call had scared her; she was clutching Chip’s sleeve, staying close to him.

“Nick,” Chip said slowly, “how did you…”

“Later,” Nick said over him. “Let’s go.”

In case you care, this is the actrees I imagined in the role. Lauren Hewitt is an Austrailian actress who was in most of the kids' series of the Ninties. She's a little old now to be Xander's sister, but ten years ago she was just right.

Xander Sib