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Assignment Great Britian
Kei fought back the smirk that was threatening to slide acrossed her face, probably not a good idea to smirk at the crazy villain, “Bet ya wonderin’ ‘bout the whole fear thing.” Kei retorted, trying to keep her mind off the fact that this guy was freakin’ scary, “Guess it doesn’t work on wahines that are already basket cases.” She shrugged, taking note of her teammates…they all seemed locked in place, which wasn’t a good sign.

The little Hawaiian/Asian pulled herself up taller, hands on her hips; luckily enough she had shimmied back into her jeans and tank top after De’s little display of apology and protectiveness; she would have never lived down facing off the Scarecrow in just her underwear.
“I’ve got a laundry list of fears, and years of dealin’ with ‘em. A nice little mantra, breathin’ techniques, the whole shebang. Some kook with a toxin ain’t gonna make it any better or worse.” Kei couldn’t fight back the smirk now, “Sorry Mr. Scarecrow. Guess ya lost the round involvin’ me. ” A part of her mind was definitely screaming at her to not provoke the crazy man, but she had shut that part of her mind off a while ago, and wasn’t listening to it.
One moment she had been standing in a castle in the most accursed of lands she had ever known. The next...she was walking down Pirate's Alley on a foggy New Orleans night. Fear crept into the corners of her mind. No one ventured into Pirate's Alley after dark, she knew that. But even she had failed to take her own advice from time to time. Then she heard them, behind her, calling her name...and her fear grew.
"Angelee..." Drakon's singsong voice called over the rest, causing a cold shiver to race down her spine.
"AJ..." Jasper Duchaine called out to her "come out petit, we won' hurt you much."
"Angel baby..." Emil's soft spoken voice chilled her to her core.
"Firefly..." Morgana...and Rhys...
What were they all doing here? Why was she here? She turned to race out of the alley and ran right into Cameron.
She didn't know why she was so scared of all these people. All of them who held she had held in some regard, and held her heart in their hands.
They all surrounded her and she dropped to her knees. All their voices, speaking at once. She looked at each of them, their gazes accusing. Their words full of venom. She dropped down on her hands and closed her eyes, tears streaming down her cheeks.
"STOP! I'm not a tramp! I'm not worthless! I'm not a mutie! I don't want to live forever!" she cried out, and then, silence. She opened her eyes and saw them all turn their backs to her and walk away, leaving her alone in Pirates was then she heard herself scream and realized her greatest fear had come true...she was all alone and no one would ever love her.

AJ didn't realize she was still at Chillingham, she didn't know that the Scarecrow's fear toxin had rooted out the happy go lucky faery's deepest darkest secret. She sat on her knees with her face in her hands sobbing.
Rational thought had been slowly slipping from ‘Vok’s grasp since first setting foot in Chillingham Castle. The place reeked of horror and it made the shape shifter squirm. He knew that he was loosing touch with his composure, but he couldn’t control it. ‘Vok noticed that the dread that dripped from the place didn’t seem to be affecting his companions as badly as it was he, and that only served to make him feel more self conscious and defensive. In truth, what ‘Vok was experiencing was only a small sampling of the trace amounts of fear toxin that hung in the air, but for some reason even the little bit that he had been exposed to seemed to send him into an ever descending free fall. Maybe it was his alien physiology that made him so susceptible. He certainly was in no condition to think about it with any kind of clarity. But as bad as he felt upon arriving in this dreary place, it was just the beginning.

By the time Jonathon Crane had made his presence known, it was already far too late. The paranoid fear that ‘Vok had been experiencing slipped into full-blown terror as the psychotic villain appeared behind them, looming over them like a fifteen-foot tall nightmare. But the image of the Scarecrow did not last long, as ‘Vok’s perceptions began to shift. The villain was soon replaced by an impossibly large Shi'ar soldier standing over the suddenly beaten down and severely weakened Xlorvok. Of coarse ‘Vok was still on Earth in the relative safe company of his teammates, but in the fear soaked landscape of his mind, he was back in the slave pits of the Shi’ar Empire.

Commotion and upheaval were all around him. There had been a breach of the facility’s perimeter and the prisoners were using the distraction to mount an escape attempt. All they knew was chaos. ‘Vok took the opportunity handed to him and ran for all he was worth. As he fled, he realized by looking at his fellow felons that the inhibitor collars had been somehow deactivated. The Horusians once again had use of their psionic abilities, the Darbian’s force blasts had returned, the Froma began to levitate to freedom and most importantly to ‘Vok, the Skrulls found themselves able to shift shape again. Or at least the rest of the Skrulls could.

Dodging blaster fire all around him, ‘Vok dove for a nearby mine shaft, intending to disguise himself as a boulder in order to elude his pursuers. But instead he simply found himself huddled behind some rocks, with his green hide remaining visible plain as day. Something was wrong. Why couldn’t he shift? In a frenzy he scrambled for freedom, trying to assume the shape of a Corusian Swift-cat. But again, nothing happened as he found himself plodding for safety at a pace far less than he hoped for. Panic was setting in. He concentrated all his efforts now on forming wings to escape upon, but again, nothing. Instead he tripped over the body of some unfortunate fellow and fell face first into the dirt of the pit. No matter what he tried he could not get his body to react to his commands. His metamorphic abilities had failed him and he was going to pay the price. For from behind him, the Shi’ar guard was approaching with sights trained mercilessly on their target.

In the cold dank confines of Chillingham Castle, Dr. Crane watched as Xlorvok shifted from one form to another, trying desperately to escape the execution that his mind was bringing down upon him. From a simple boulder to a giant cat to a Nu'bian ravenhawk to a Badoon inmate and countless other disguises, ‘Vok changed shape rapidly doing whatever he could to escape the horror. In reality he was wearing himself out with all the shape shifting, but in his mind his form was as static as a human. He had lost his ability to change shape, and that simple fact terrified him more than the death that would seemingly result from it.
De's eyes had focused on the not so good Doctor for a few moments before it caught him. He'd spent most of his life learning how to conquer his fears so he didn't have many left to confront, but the gas seeped into the deepest regions of him and slowly but surely brought forth one he wasn't even aware he had. He was able to hear and understand the first few words Kei had spoken.....but his attention was then quickly pulled away.

Most of the time he called it "the tingle". A feeling he got whenever a vampire or demon was near. But in this moment it had suddenly a become a full fledged buzz. He whipped around in a flash, his right hand quickly drawing his gun from it's holster at the small of his back, it's barrel pointing at a spot on the far wall. Something was there. He was sure of it. What it was he didn't know.....but something was definately there.

"Hold the fort luvs. Be right back..."

He said as he took a cautious step forward. Then another. And another. Whatever it was it had the hair on the back of his neck standing on end and was making his little curlies lay straight. Bullets by and large didn't do much in the way of killing the types of things he dealt with, but they sure as hell helped when it came to slowing something down. He had eight in the mag, one in the pipe, and another three clips in his pockets. Whatever it was it was going to feel a world of hurt if it didn't show itself soon.

But De should have learned a long time ago to be careful what he wished for. Just as he was about to vocalize his request a figure stepped forth from the shadows. She was small, lithe, and deathly pale. And she was just as he remembered her. Cute, in that kiddish sort of way, for she was after all only twelve. But worse yet, she was very familar. Extremely familar to be honest, in possesion of a face he could never forget. Lilly white skin contrasted against dark, wavy brown hair. Lips containing just a hint of blue as if they had been kissed by the essence of cold itself. A small, slightly angled nose parting a pair of round auburn eyes. No matter how cliche it sounds, you never forget your first.

If only he knew her name.....

"Hallo baby....." she greeted him, bringing her hands up to rest low on her cheeks. The pinkies slowly rubbing over her bottom lip. "....did ya miss me?"

"Like the Clap luv. Like the Clap...."

She smiled a sinister smile as she slowly strode forward, other shapes moving in the shadows behind her. De leveled his gun with her chest. The same chest into which he'd driven a stake more than a decade earlier. But she simply continued to smile as her footsteps carried her ever closer, each inch causing him to squeeze the trigger just a little more.

"I thought ya might feel that way baby." she said in a voice just dripping with lust. "That's why I brought some friends. Thought maybe we could all have a bit of fun..."

Normally De would have made some witty comment or penile joke in responce to such a set up, but found himself lacking as the shapes that had been swimming in the darkness behind her found their shape and came forth. En masse. Werewolves, Vampires, Demons, and various humans all came towards him from the dark folds of the room. But not just behind her as he thought they would, no. From the corners of his eyes he caught movement and slowly swept the barrel of his gun around the room as he watched the faces of a hundred dead begin their walk towards him. Evil smiles on the faces of those who could smile. Evil gazes in the eyes of those who could not.

As he finished his turn coming back to face the rear of the room his eyes settled on where the young vampiress from his past should have been...but alas.....she was not there. The creatures that had appeared behind her were....but she.....

The thought itself was cut short as De suddenly felt....something. It a way. He'd felt pain many many time before, but this was.....different. It was much like being stabbed but the blade had to much girth and was much to warm. This was no cold peice of steel that had impaled him. He felt his chest flinch and tremble as a cough welled up in this throat, finally escaping his mouth. As if in slow motion his eyes panned down to the source of this sensation, finding not only it.....but the cute little face he remembered from long ago. A face connected to a body. A body which had a hand. A hand that was holding the wooden stake that had been plunged deep within his heart.

The red patch on his chest was slowly spreading and he all at once became acutely aware of his breathing and heartbeat. The first was shallow, the latter irregular. His pistol fell from his hand as it moved to replace hers, gripping the stake. And for the first time in what seemed like forever he looked upon her face again, and found himself mouthing the words he had spoken to her so many years ago when he'd driven the same stake through her own heart....

"The look on your face luv......the look....on your face....."
Scarecrow paid little attention to those battling with their inner demons and greatest fears. The shapeshifter did hold his interest for the span of a second or two, but he was more intent on the girl who had not succumb to his fear toxin.
His eyes narrowed beyond the mask as he advanced on her. "I'm not going back there, and there's nothing you can do that will make me."
He grabbed her by the arm and drug her from the room where her teammates were locked deep within fears grasp.
"So, you think just because you've conquered your own fears, that you can withstand the horrors around you? Well just look around! Have you been so intent on your search for me that you've failed to see the ongoings around you?" his voice was tinged with madness as he spoke of the bumps in the night and the evil that oozed from every crevice of the castle. Kei could almost sense the fear in his own voice.
"You don't understand, I came here, of all places, because I knew one one would dare set foot in this place. I knew it's history! I thought I could withstand it, I thought..." his madness trailed off as screams of terror ripped through the air like trumpeting horns.
"But now..." he grabbed her tighter, pulled her closer to him as demons and ghosts began to emerge from the walls, one after another, hellbent on another night of mayhem at Chillingham.
“Sorry to disappoint ya, Scarecrow.” Kei quipped as she got drug along, “But ya just met the team dumb enough to walk into a freakin’ haunted castle.” The surfer was two seconds away from blasting the villain’s fingers off, but she decided to hold off because Spooky probably wouldn’t like it if she did that.

Kei was about to say something more when she heard the screams of terror rip through the castle, causing the hairs on the back of her neck to stand on end. She had never been afraid of ghosts, it wasn’t in her criteria but when they started oozing out of the walls she was more than ready to bolt. Focusing on staying calm she wiggled one of her hands out of Scarecrow’s grip and made a motion to blast one of the many creatures that had just appeared. Experimenting to see if her powers did any good against them, if not she was definitely taking the running like hell plant seriously.
“Gotta ask ya Doc, how do I reverse the toxin stuff? ‘Cause ya just left a bunch of my team defenseless and trapped in their own minds…which gotta say, ain’t right.”

She shifted her weight, perturbed at being held so tightly, but she figured she wouldn’t get any sort of answer if she caused him bodily harm at this point.
“So either ya cooperate or I make ya go boom.” She added as an afterthought, wishing seriously that she had acquired a force field instead of her blasts, a force field sounded ten times better at this point in time.
Caught up in her own fear delusions Chandi sunk to the ground, resting her chin on her knees as she did so. Had the petite Aussie known she was under the influence of some kind of fear toxin she probably would have cursed herself out and then cursed Scarecrow out. But as it was she was currently reliving a very bad memory. Shivering and murmuring to herself as she sat on the ground, images began to play in front of her as if she was in a movie theatre.

“Now, now Chandi darling you know you can’t go outside and play with the other children.” The regal voice of Talia Atkins met Chandi’s ears, and that alone made her skin crawl.

“Why not?” A miniature sized Chandi now entered the picture, her voice full of sadness and questions. “The other children won’t laugh…Maria promised.” Her little voice was so pleading it hurt Chandi to watch this scene in front of her.

“Maria lied, the children will laugh and they’ll run in fear from you Chandi. Only Daddy and I could love a deformed little girl like you.” Talia’s words were harsh, and made the little girl flinch.

“I’m not deformed.” The little girl stomped her foot and cast a harsh glare up at her mother.

“Oh yes you are, you won’t ever be normal little one. Nobody will ever love you and you’ll never fit in.” These were not words her mother had ever spoken to her, though somehow Chandi felt that they were indeed true.

“You ran once little one, this team of yours will only turn their backs on you soon and you’ll go running again.” Again the words were harsh, but seemed to ring true for Chandi.

“I’m not running this time.” In place of the little girl that had been speaking with her mother a now full-grown Chandi stood in front of Talia.

“Isn’t that what you said when you joined Valiant? Or when you began working for Shinobi…you even thought you’d found a home with that circus of yours.” Talia paused, before continuing. “You’ll never have a home little one, soon you’ll come running back to your father and I and we’ll be able to hide you away from society as if you were only a bad memory.”

Chandi was still murmuring to herself, unaware that her mother wasn’t in the room and she was still indeed in Chillingham castle.
Scarecrow looked at Kei and she could see his eyes beyond the burlap hood. She could actually see that Dr. Jonathan Crane was scared himself.
"You don't understand..." he whispered as he pulled her closer to him.
"You think I did this? I only let a tiny amount of toxin loose, enough to spook you and your friends. The rest of this, comes from the castle itself!"
He pulled her back towards the room where the rest of the Guardians where living out their fears.
Releasing a nerve agent that would counteract the toxin, Crane looked at Kei again and almost smiled at the girl.
"I've done all I can, I only wanted to spook you out of here before it got too late, before all this started." the howling and wailing within the castle got louder as ghost after ghost moved passed them on their nightly rounds.
"I can't leave here...This is where I belong. I can keep you safe until daybreak, then leave. Don't ever come back." he whispered as he released her and backed slowly away from her.
"It's a long story girl. But I cannot leave here. If I do, they'll come after me." His head drooped down as the sounds of chains rattling became clearer.
"And I can't be responsible for letting them loose on the world. I only sought to escape Arkham, get away from the Batman...I never meant to become the messenger for Death...."
De was kneeling on the floor, one hand clasped over the imangined hole in his chest as the other continued to point the barrel of his gun at the closest of the perceived threats that were slowly advancing on him. Eight shots in the gun, another eight in his back pocket, and nearly one hundred angry faces (or approximations thereof) quickly closing in on him. Not bad odds. Not bad at all. He'd gotten out of worse.



No he hadn't! He was a dead man and he knew it. He'd been stabbed before sure. And he'd been surrounded by vampires and demons before, naturally. But never before had he been wounded so mortally while surrounded by such creatures. And never before had they confronted him in such numbers. A part of him wanted to cry, but his more macho tendencies was still dimly aware that there were women present and that sobbing like a big babby would do more harm to his image than good.

His heart should have been racing, but bleeding as he was only the irregular thump of the failing muscle resonated into his palm. The scene before him had been steadily growing darker by the moment, and the gun in his hand felt as heavy as an iron weight. He was dying, and there was nothing he could do about it.

His aim faltered as the muscles in his arm finally began to cave in, the barrel of the pistol he held dropping several inches before he was able to pull it back up. How close were they? Everything was so dark. He could hear them. Feel them. But something was.....different. He blinked a few times as he drew in a few ragged breaths, now starting to come to grips with what it was that had struck him as odd. It still felt like he was dying, and he still had that tingle....but this tingle was......wrong.

Purple locks whipped about his face as he shook his head feircely, trying to clear it and finding that the action he thought would be futile was instead having the desired effect. His vision was quickly returning and he could feel his heartbeat become more rhythmic, but that tingle was still there. Springing to his feet his eyes darted about the room quickly looking for the legions that had just moments before be approaching him, bringing forth his doom. Instead they came to fall upon his chest, finiding it unharmed and his hand clear of the blood he'd felt warming it just moments before.

But he still had that tingle.

And that's when he saw him. Or rather....them. The doctor was the first to catch his eye, De quickly realizing he'd just been under the effect of Crane's nefarious toxin. But behind him. To the side of him. all around all of them..... Ghosts. Real live....well...real dead rather....ghost. Well that explained that. He had been getting his ghost tingle when he should have been getting his vampire and/or demon tingle. And who knew how much of his little display the ladies had seen? A mental note was made to give himself a dopeslap at a later time and place.

"Ooooh kay..." he said, holstering the gun he knew would serve next to no purpose now. "....someone want to tell me who all the dead blokes are or would ya rather we just grab the doc an' run?"
Shape changing was like breathing for the Skrull race. It was second nature for the interstellar species. But to have that ability suddenly stripped away was beyond unsettling, it was downright terrifying. And the fact that 'Vok was seemingly going to die at the hands of a two faced Sh'iar because of it made it much much worse.

In the green skinned Guardian's head, the feathered guard stood over him with gun drawn. In actuality there were no Sh'iar within ten parsecs of Earth, but 'Vok's fear toxin soaked brain couldn't rationalize that at the moment. The drug made him see terrors of all kinds. The ghosts that flitted about the room materialized in his dilusion as fellow inmates scrambling for their lives. His teammates took the shape of the fallen which had already sucumbed to the phantom guards. The entire scene was made up of 'Vok's worst fears rearranging the rwality of the situation around him.

'Vok knew he was dead. If he couldn't hide he had no hope. But then, just as the toxin began to grow inert in his system, an idea dawned on him. he could still fight. He might not be able to hide from the carnage, but if he rushed the Sh'iar, he might stand a chance. With the samll fraction of sanity that was beginning to return to him, 'Vok clamored to his feet, sidestepped the aliens blaster and threw his shoulder as hard as he could in the guards direction. But as he was about to connect, the fear toxin diminished even further, allowing 'Vok to see the true face of his persuer. It was De who held the gun which was now moving towards its holster. The very gun that in De's own delusion had been trained on the vampiric horde. But until now 'Vok could only see it as a Sh'iar guard moving in for the kill. This wasn't going to be pretty.
The sights and sounds of Pirates Alley slowly began to fade around AJ as she blinked away tears of forlorn lonliness. She had never admitted to herself even how much she hated being alone. Or how much she hated herself for giving in to Drakon, simply because she was lonely and tired of chasing shadows. Sure, he eventually gave her the information she needed and off she went in search of Vicki.
The room seemed to spin as she wiped tears from her cheeks, she saw Kei and the Scarecrow...and the myriad of spirits looming around them.
"Holy..."she whispered and crossed herself. Moreso out of old habit from the Quarter than anything else.
A sudden movement from the corner of her eye caught her attention as 'Vok started to rush at De.
"Hey, knock it off!" She called out to the both of them.
Turning back to the Scarecrow, she watched him closely for a few moments as he spoke in whispers to Kei.
"Look Mister, it's like this...we got sent here ta make ya vacate, ya need ta vacate. Ah don't give a rats arse where ya got from here. But ya gotta go." AJ pushed herself up from her kneeling position and let her wings give off a few beats to stir away any apparitions that might be floating nearby.
"You know tha old sayin'...Ya can't go home but ya can't stay here...well, that sorta applies ta this."
"Not that I wouldn't mind an ol' school smash an grabloody hell!."

De cried out a split second before he was boweled over. He hadn't really noticed John's advance towards him until AJ's voice shifted his gaze a fraction of an inch. And by that time John was to close for his own slighlty sluggish reflexes to shift him to a more intangible state. And while he had a bit of a size advantage over his teammate,the former pirate's speed and momentum quickly nullified that and sent De tumbling backwards as shoulder met chest in one of the most unfriendliest of ways.

He landed with all the grace of a cow who'd been fired from a canon, his back, shoulders, and head all slamming into the floor. If it had been a wrestling match this would have been the perfect opportunity to go for the pin, but as it was not it instead turned into the perfect opportunity to be embarrased by getting his ass kicked by a mere shoulder tackle. Thick dreads managed to soften the blow to his skull but the fall itself still hurt plenty and had quickly wiped away any semblance of "cool" the Austrailan had been feeling about himself.
Chandi’s murmuring had ceased and now her tiny frame was huddled on the ground in the same position she’d been in throughout her entire fear induced nightmare. Though now sounds escaped the petite Australian other then that of her own breathing. She’d closed in on herself; hide her emotions away in a tiny corner of her mind one in which she only used when her state of mind was at risk. The only way Chandi knew how to handle things that unsettled her was to fall silent, close in on herself and be inside her own mind. Sure the monks at informed her that it was not a wise idea to allow herself to encourage this behavior, it was not healthy for her to clam up and become mute allowing her feelings to fester until they became to much for her to handle.

But the nightmare she’d just witnessed hit home just a little too much for her liking, the sound of her mother’s voice informing her that she’d run again was unsettling. Maybe she wouldn’t run tomorrow or the next day or even six months from now, but maybe in a year…two years maybe even a decade things would become to tough for Chandi to handle and she’d skip out again. Cutting all contact with her teammates and returning to the shallow high society circles she knew she could easily hide in without to many questions asked.

No! That’s not going to happen. Chandi screamed at herself mentally, unable to find her voice and speak the words aloud.

You always run. Her mother’s voice whispered in her mind, repeating the same words she’d heard in her nightmare. Shuddering at the sound of her mother’s voice, Chandi pulled her gaze up from the ground and looked around the room from her place huddled in the corner, and what she saw was shocking. Not only was the room slowly filling with ghosts but John had just tackled De to the ground for some reason unknown to Chandi.

Raising up from her corner the only noise that was heard from Chandi was the rustling of her clothing and the soft thud of her steps as she moved closer to the group. Not speaking a word to any of them she kept her face void of emotions and only stood like a mime with the group, making a small motion with her right hand in the direction of De and John as if to ask ‘What happened?’ Her green/gold eyes glassy and empty which was a sign that Chandi had indeed closed herself up in her own mind again. The last time this had happened was back when she’d encountered her parents in England and the fiasco that had followed and thus brought on the beginning of the end of her run with Valiant.
As 'Vok and De pulled themselves out of the tangle they wound up in on the floor and righted clothing, hair and what have you... the Scarecrow began to back out of the room.
"I told you, leave while you still can, before they..." but before he could finish the sentence, an eerie laugh filled the room...along with one that seemed to be a few bricks shy of a load.
"Knock it off you two..." a soft girlish voice sounded out. And from the way it was spoken, she didn't sound to thrilled with her companions.

Kei, Chandi and AJ stood in awe...staring at the awesome sight that had presented itself directly behind Dr. Jonathan Crane. A greenish portal had opened up and standing infront of it was something most people hoped they'd never see... The Grim Reaper.
But it wasn't right. As the women of the Guardians looked at 'Vok and 'De for some sort of idea what was going on, as two young children stepped out from behind the Grim Reaper. One, a young boy with his finger stuck so far up his nose he was guaranteed to strike gold. The other was a pale blonde hair girl with a look of world domination on her face.
"I said knock if off Dr. It's time to move along. Come on don't make Grim get his scythe out again." the girl spoke, and it was her voice from earlier.
"Yeah, don' make me get me scythe ooot again'" The Reaper spoke with the most astonishing Jamacian accent anyone in the room had ever heard.
"Yeah Scarecrow, you promised me you'd play video games with me later!" the little boy's voice was so annoying that it could have broken glass. Dr. Crane muttered something to himself about never making promises in exchange for a good jailbreak ever again!

The Guardians looked over the scene and stared at each other as if they were all still sitting at home, still half boozed up from the nights before.
Scarecrow turned and looked at them all with a pleading look.
"See, this is what I meant! I can't turn them loose on the world! If I stay here, they stay here! Now go! Quickly! Before they get any ideas!"
"I'm not the type that runs from things that go bump in the night....but I think maybe we should listen to the Tin Man on this one...."

De said as he looked over the trio that had appeared behind Crane. He'd stared death in the face and walked away more times that he had a right to, but even now it wasn't seeing the actual Grim Reaper that upset him so (as he'd read the entity's file years ago), but rather his companions. Or rather....companion.

The boy was more or less negligible, but the little blonde one.... The one they called "Mandy".... He'd only become aware of her after his time in the UK during his whirlwind tour across the globe. Talk of a pair of little kids who'd somehow tamed the Reaper and used him as their own little genie type being. The boy, William something or other, was about as bright as a ham sandwich on a summer day. But the girl had earned the reputation of being one of the most evil people on the planet. And if she was here, with that look on her face, chances were that things were only going to get worse.
“Uh, I’m totally with De on this, really don’t wanna mess with the Reaper.” Kei commented, taking a step back from the Scarecrow, and the Trio, “I mean, I know we’re supposed to get this guy and stuff…plus the blonde is freakin’ me out, and if they come as a package deal with the good Dr. I’d really rather deal with Spooky.”

It was true, Kei didn’t like to see that ‘evil genius’ look on children’s faces. It made her really uneasy; she was also debating seeing if she could make the three of them explode. Not seriously, but if worse came to worse she wanted to have a back up.
“I’m really missin’ the nice, warm weather of our Island and my surf boards, so how about we leave. Now.” She gave her teammates big, pleading eyes in hopes that it would get a majority vote to leave.
Everything seemed to hit AJ all at once. The bad mood she had been in when they first landed at Chillingham, the fear toxin and it's after effects and now, she was staring down the Grim Reaper and two little kids.
And De was backing down. She glanced over at him and arched her eyebrow curiously. She'd known De for a while and it wasn't like him to back down from anything, especially if it was wearing a skirt he liked.
Her curiousity got the better of her as she watched the little girl make the Reaper dance like he was her own personal puppet. The little boy's voice, Billy, she had called him, about sent her into fits of seizures.
"Ok, Ah' don' know what's goin' on...but if Doc Crane says we can beat it, and Spooky ain't gonna get too upset, let's head home and let Scarecrow and tha' Reaper argue over who's "scythe" is bigger." AJ grabbed 'Vok by the arm, Chandi by the hand and made a motion toward the nearest exit.
"Ah've never been one ta stand in tha way of that sorta fight." she smirked at her friends.
Her mind was more on home though, wondering if Spooky had remembered to feed Vicki and wondering if Cameron was back...
Confounded was the only way 'Vok could describe his frame of mind after his collision with De. He was definitely embarrassed by the attack on his teammate, but more than that he was trying to understand it. Only a moment ago he was sure that he had been fighting for his life on the Shi'ar prison world, unable to change his shape, but now he found himself back in Chillingham Castle in seemingly perfect control of his faculties. Even though De had pretty well gotten past the incident, ‘Vok decided he had to say something as he brushed himself off and joined his teammates’ sides, “Sorry ‘bout the scuffle there mate, I was a bit out of me head. I’ll explain after we decide what to do about this lot.”

Before the hallucination seeped its way into ‘Vok’s brain he knew that they were there to take the psychotic felon known as Scarecrow into custody, but now after the fog had cleared, there seemed to be a few new pieces on the table. Two of them, the Rastafarian Reaper and the blonde demonic damsel seemed to have his friends on edge, but it was the odd sense of unpredictability and extreme level of mind numbing annoyance that clung to the boy, currently up to his elbow in mucus, that set ‘Vok off his game.

The pirate, now wearing his natural green skin, wasn’t sure how to handle the situation. Was this the one true Grim Reaper? Judging by the ghosts and apparitions that seemed to occupy the castle it was certainly possible. But then again maybe it was just a costumed cohort of Dr. Crane’s. It was De’s sense of reluctancy that gave him his cues to follow. His teammate seemed genuinely hesitant with the trio that had appeared out of thin air, so the Skrull decided it best to follow the crowd on this one. “Even though me hates to back out on a perfectly simple job, I don’t know that me wants to tempt Death himself to accomplish it,” but he didn’t stop there. ‘Vok leaned toward AJ and added in a whisper that he hoped only she could hear, “But what me really wants is to make sure me powers still work so’s that me can shift into something particularly nasty and rip that boy’s throat out, if only to stop his noise.”
The overly annoying little boy named Billy was now dancing circles around Dr. Jonathan Crane singing "Scythe Fight! Scythe Fight! Scythe Fight! Scythe Fight! Scythe Fight! Scythe Fight!S cythe Fight! Scythe Fight!Scythe Fight! Scythe Fight! Scythe Fight! Scythe Fight! Scythe Fight! Scythe Fight!" and picking his nose at random moments.

The little girl, who introduced herself as Mandy, her friend as Billy and the Reaper as "Grim", was now staring down the group.
"Go ahead, you guys can go. I won't sic Grim off on you. Our beef is with the Scarecrow. He promised me a cure for Billy in exchange for busting him out of the klink. Now he pays up...or else. I'm tired of Billy's prepetual retardedness. He can't help it, he's just stupid." It seemed like such an adult conversation for such a small child.
"So come on Doc, pay up." She took Scarecrow by the hand and led him away with the Grim Reaper at her side and Billy still dancing circles.

The Reaper paused for a moment and looked over his shoulder at them. Counting on his fingers, he laughed at pointed at AJ. "See you soon Pinky!" and with a slash of his scythe a weird sort of portal opened and the oddball quartet stepped in. The Scarecrow looked back at Kei and gave her a look of absolute horror.
"This is for the best! I swear! RUN!"
This was one of those moments De was well known for back home. One of those moments in which he'd do something incredibly stupid in hopes of everything turning out all right. The thing was, there was no way he'd risk the lives of others in a confrontation with the Grim Reaper, Billy, and Mandy in an obviously haunted castle where the trio had the upper hand....but if they were about to change the locale.....

He started to phase almost before he started running, his long legs propeling his ever decreasing weight forward fast and faster. It was an old trick of his, this one, diving into the belly of the beast and then trying to figure a way out once inside. In this case however it seemed simple. Follow the newly formed quartet thru the portal, grab Crane and the Scythe, and then use the Scythe to create a second portal back to his friends. Yeah....that's it. It all sounded rather easy, and it looked good on paper.....but things in situations like these rarely turned out as planed.


He yelled as he leapt, his intangible form passing right through Kei as he sailed towards the portal. As he started to clear her he began to make his hands tangible again, with one reaching for the not so good doctor's collar and the other for Grim's Scythe. If this worked, he might be able to use it in conjuction with Kei's neurosis to get her naked again once they got back to the island. If it failed, he might be able to convince Chandi kiss his boo-boos and help him feel better.

Yep. It was a win/win situation.
It was clear that De was nuts, but as 'Vok had come to find out over his many years traveling the universe, loons beget loons. He didn't know why he was running toward the scary men and their equally frightening little girl companion, but sure enough he was. The only thing 'Vok could figure as he rushed a few feet behind his teammate was that De had yelled for them to run, and that was what he was doing. Was there a plan? The shape shifter had no clue.

But he did know that he didn't want the Scarecrow to get away. 'Vok had too many sins to work off to be slacking off on his penance. He knew that he would never be out from under the government's thumb if he didn't do his job, and letting some Arkham quack slip through his fingers and into the hands of the Grim Reaper probably wasn't Spooky's idea of getting the job done. So here he was, getting ready to dive headfirst into some magical portal. And to be honest, ‘Vok knew nothing about magic portals, let alone how to handle three obviously bad-ass demigods and one insane fugitive that happened to be attempting an escape through one.

Doing the only thing he could to help facilitate whatever plan De had cooked up, ‘Vok dove for the opening. As he did he shouted back to the trio of alluring teammates that stood behind him, “I thought we had an accord, to join the insanity?” That was the last thing ‘Vok managed to say before his mouth disappeared as he transformed himself into a large stone archway, intended to solidify the mystical passage long enough for De to carry out his scheme.
De had actually intended for the others to run away from the portal, but his might work too. After all, if the portal could be held open for those few extra seconds he'd need to scoop up Crane and high-tail it back into the castle all the better. Meant he wouldn't have to try and figure out how to work some magical death scythe.

Everything, including 'Vok's reaction, was occuring so fast that the Austrailan hadn't even gotten ahold of his quarry yet, but as soon as he did one could rest assured he'd try to capitalize on any and every advantage his mates could afford him.
“Ya’ll are crazy.” Kei remarked, but against her better judgment she began to weigh her options in how she could help, “Didn’t ya’ll hear him? Let the crazy kids and the freakin’ Reaper have him…mission failed, I could totally live with that.” Kei shifted her weight from one foot to the other, “So long as I can get back to the beach and hit the surf I’m a happy little Basket Case.” The surfer looked at AJ and Chandi, wondering what the other two women were going to do.
"See you soon Pinky..." echoed in AJ's ears as she watched everything going on around her. It was like it was all in slow motion.
De had yelled run...and it snapped AJ out of her thoughts. Shaking her head, she ran towards the portal, intending to help out 'Vok and De.
Reaching in, she hoped like hell she'd grab on to Crane and not the idiot boy or the creepy girl...or even worse, the Reaper who apparently knew when her number was going to be up.

"Anyone want to tell me exactly WHY we always get stuck with the f&%^ing nutcases?" she called out over the noise the mystical vortex was giving off.
Had her entire team lost it? Had they not heard the good doctor when he told them to run? Whatever it was that made De, AJ and Vok do what they did Chandi just hoped like hell that it didn’t get them killed. “Brilliant.” She muttered, those being the first words she’d spoken since coming out of her fear toxin induced delusion. “Why can’t we ever have a simple mission?” Running a hand through her long hair the petite Aussie let out a sigh, before springing into action after her teammates. After all if they were all going to die they might as well die as a team.

In four graceful strides Chandi reached the portal, prepared to battle whatever or whoever might come out of that thing with AJ and De. “I believe we get stuck with the nutcases because we’re not afraid to go stupid things to achieve success of a mission.” Chandi replied to AJ’s earlier question, knowing that no other super hero team would be pulling a stunt like they were at that very moment.

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