Hello Fanfiction! Tell me who you love!
Oh come on, it worked for Ember McClain on Danny Phantom! At least until he broke her trance over the audience and sucked her into the Fenton thermos...okay bad example for this particular fandom.
Anyway, I've got two and a half weeks before school starts, a DVD copy of Now You See Me 2, a brain that is teeming with new ideas, and a heart that is aching for some Jember fluff so let's kick this into high gear! Big thanks to reviewers 97, 98, 99, and 100! Also known as Blindluck92 (btw big bro, anything said about this story during our phone conversations falls underneath sibling confidentiality...riiight?), AvidMovieFan16 (I promise all three ladies will be in this story), Quicksilver'sMarvel (I read your review like four times cuz it made me so happy :D), and Dukskka Ivalice (I didn't even realize I'd made a Barbie reference, where was it?)!
However, don't go thinking I forgot about my lovely new followers (Verona1700, ItsJustABook, Cat121395, FashionQueen102, Someone. Something. Different, ameliemallette1, sydneygreaves38, FlamingPhoenix112) and my beautiful new favoriters (Inj3ctingFandoms, Hammondc97, SouthernRadiantSun, Cat121395, dimmick96, FashionQueen102, BookKeeper88, JupiterMikaelSon, RoseAmeliaSarahNoblePond, makennamac, RoseShadow27900, lash1611, Emerald Anime, ameliemallette1, daii16, The-Procrastination-Station, sydneygreaves381, FlamingPhoenix112)!
Disclaimer: If I owned this story, there'd be no need to introduce Lula May because the Horsemen would already have Ember Jinx to fall back on
*September 16, New York City, New York*
It was a dark and quiet night - or at least as dark and quiet as it could be in an abandoned alley in the Lower West Side - and the only activity came from outside a foreclosed warehouse.
"It's all in the wrist," Jack Wilder stated in a relaxed tone as he flung a card straight through the broken windows of a rust-coated Oldsmobile.
"Uh huh," Merritt McKinney replied robotically as he adjusted his fedora over his smooth hairless head, his piercing silver eyes dull from boredom.
"Let the momentum of the card do the work for you." Another card soared through the air as if by magic.
"This last one I call The Stall." Jack flipped the card from the deck behind his back, over his leather-clad shoulder, and into his expectant hand, not wasting a second before he flicked the card through the car and watching it land flawlessly on the trunk, which caused his hazel eyes to light up with pride.
Merritt whistled in appreciation. "Not bad. Now you wanna see a thing of beauty?"
"I do, indeed," Jack answered with an amused grin.
"Here you go." Merritt wound up his arm, busting with confidence and ready to show off his skills. "And bingo bango bongo!" The card went up in the air...and then fluttered to the wet asphalt almost lifelessly.
Jack pressed his lips together to hold back his laughter as he nodded supportively. "That's good! No, no, no, it's good to be positive despite making zero progress in a year."
"Yeah," Merritt acknowledged with a toothy grin because it didn't take a mind-reader to know he knew where this conversation was heading.
"Whereas when it comes to hypnotism, the student has almost become the master," the pickpocket replied cockily.
"I like your confidence," the mentalist interjected, "but you might say that you have the better teacher."
"Ooh! You know you're right, you're right. Your teacher doesn't know what he's doing," Jack chirped as he popped card after card straight from the deck in his hand. Suddenly, without even looking down, the brown-haired boy snatched one of the cards midair and held it up for his companion. "By the way, was this your card yesterday?"
The balding magician stared at the Ace of Spades with a combination of disbelief and submission. "In fact it was."
"I thought so."
Jack then flung that ace with a little extra power so it flew straight through the car and landed on the ground just as a motorcycle drove into the alley. The sleight-of-hand clapped Merritt in the chest excitedly.
"If I can hypnotize Danny before you hit him with a card, I get top bunk for a week."
"Okay, that's a deal," the psychic agreed without hesitation.
The motorcyclist removed his helmet to reveal the face of illusionist J. Daniel Atlas. He had buzzed his long boy-band hairstyle and he had a little scruff on his face, but his icy blue eyes and frigid demeanor remained unchanged.
"Danny! What's up, man?" Jack greeted eagerly as he stuck out his hand.
"Hey," Daniel muttered almost dismissively, maintaining his purposeful stride until Jack grabbed his wrist, jerked him to a stop, and tried once again to hypnotize a fellow Horseman.
"Stare at the palm of your hand and as your eyes change focus, you will begin to notice-"
"Everything, because I'm not hypnotized. It's not working, please don't become him," Daniel spoke up, interrupting Jack's rapid-fire recitation with rapid-fire rejection before aiming a stink-eye at Merritt.
Jack's shoulders sagged in disappointment, but he and Merritt let it roll off their backs as they followed Daniel toward the side entrance of the warehouse.
"I didn't know you guys did party tricks when there weren't floozies to impress," Daniel retorted, completely unfazed by Jack's attempts at hypnosis.
"Jarvis Daniel Atlas, I certainly hope you weren't referring to me," a familiar Irish brogue purred from the shadowy alley. The three men spun around and were met by a puff of smoke.
"Oh look, a smoke cloud!" Daniel exclaimed sarcastically in between coughs. "I wonder who's about to appear right in front of us!"
"Who said anything about in front of you?"
The three magicians spun around again to find a young woman with dark blue eyes and an impish grin casually perched on the trunk of the broken down car as she twirled a Jack of Hearts between her fingers.
"Now, I can't speak for Merritt, but as far as I know, Jackie here stopped trying to impress floozies over a year ago."
"One year, six months, two weeks, and a day to be exact," Jack replied, dazed by a combination of the smoke in his eyes and the sight of his beautiful girlfriend in her ripped skinny jeans; her brown heeled lace-up ankle boots; her cropped black tank top; and her open white button-down shirt...actually his white button-down shirt, if he wasn't mistaken.
"Well I can speak for Merritt," the hypnotist interrupted, "and I think Merritt - and all men - stopped trying to impress floozies in, like, 1937."
Daniel rolled his eyes petulantly. "Moving on," the illusionist said in a loud voice as he took a step toward the entrance to the warehouse. "By the way, Ember, bangs? I hope you asked your overpriced stylist for a refund."
The pyrotechnician pouted as she self-consciously ran her fingers through her straightened dirty blonde ponytail. Ever since they eluded the FBI at their last performance, the Horsemen's handler Dylan Rhodes recommended that the magicians make an effort to keep people from recognizing them. For a young attractive woman like Ember, that mainly required taming and staining her platinum blonde curls on a regular basis. However, Jack refused to allow his girlfriend feel anything less than beautiful.
"Come here, you!" Jack spoke up as he picked Ember up off the car. "I think you look gorgeous. The bangs really bring attention to those sparkling eyes of yours."
Ember smiled brightly before wrapping her arms around the back of her boyfriend's neck and placing a tender kiss on his lips.
"NOW, LOVEBIRDS!" Daniel's voice echoed from inside the building.
Ember and Jack scurried after their companions.
"Okay, someone broke into my apartment, alright. Some amateur who knew everything about me, everything about Henley leaving, and everything about us," Daniel explained as they proceeded down the mazelike hallway. All of a sudden, the illusionist stopped short at the balcony into the main room. "That's her!"
"Hey!" a brunette girl called out enthusiastically from her seat on the table in the middle of the room...with FBI double agent Dylan standing right beside her.
"Hi," Daniel replied much less enthusiastically.
"You met Lula?" Dylan said unsurely, not even bothering to greet the other Horsemen.
"I've met her," Daniel confirmed with a nod. "What is she doing here?"
"I'm the new Horseman!" Lula announced in a dramatic fashion. "I'm the girl Horseman! Woo!"
The girl pumped her arms in the air in an attempt to stir a reaction, but the four magicians were stunned into silence. In fact, if you listened closely, you could almost hear crickets chirping.
"Yeah!...Nothing? No excitement? Jack, anything?"
The sight of this amateur singling out her boyfriend snapped Ember out of her speechless stupor.
"Um, excuse me, but we already have 'the girl Horseman'," the fire-dancer replied curtly, her arms crossed over her chest and her blue eyes narrowed in cynicism.
"Dylan...tell me what's going on here?" Merritt inquired in a calm yet tense voice as he proceeded down the staircase into the main room with the other three Horsemen following along.
"Well, Lula's been on the underground scene for the last decade, and I-I think she has some real talent and I'd like to try her on stage to balance out the trio," the scruffy suit explained.
Once they got downstairs, Ember was able to get a closer look at this so-called new Horseman. She had bright green eyes, dark brown waves that stopped right at her shoulders, and fair skin with long limbs. All in all, Lula looked like a fun and friendly girl...but there was something about her that just rubbed Ember the wrong way.
"What?!" Jack exclaimed with a mixture of devastation and envy. "N-No, are you serious, man?! A-After Henley left, y-you said I could get back on stage again, not someone who just showed up!"
"I told you I'd think about it, and I have," Dylan corrected as he place a hand on Jack's shoulder in an almost patronizing manner, "and I really need you behind the scenes with me for a little while longer."
"Dylan, come on! I've been behind the scenes my whole life!" the pickpocket insisted.
"Which is a crime, might I add!" Lula piped up. "Have you seen that man's face?"
"Oi! New girl!" Ember jumped in, blocking Lula's view of Jack. "You won't be seeing much of anything if you don't stop ogling my boyfriend!"
"Ooh I'm so scared!" Lula responded in a goofy voice. "Whatcha gonna do?! You gonna pluck out my eyes?! Go ahead! In fact, I'll do it for you!"
Then, the shock artist reached up and literally pulled one of her eyes out of its socket. Dylan smirked and Daniel rolled his eyes, but the other three Horsemen who had yet to learn about Lula's...specialty had to basically pick their jaws up off the floor.
"Gah! I'm blind, I'm blind!" the brunette moaned melodramatically as she clutched her face. Suddenly, she started laughing hysterically and her supposedly empty socket cracked open to reveal her actual eye, which was hidden behind stage makeup and fake skin.
"Here ya go!" Lula chirped, casually tossing the phony eyeball to Ember. "Would you like the other one, too?"
Ember scowled, resisting the urge to crush the prop eye in her fist. "Don't tempt me."
Jack gawked at the two girls, trying decide what shocked him more: Lula's tricks or Ember's reaction. He knew Ember was the jealous type, but usually she scared away flirty girls with a withering glare or her razor-sharp tongue. This time, though, she'd let her fiery Irish temper get the better of her.
Even though Merritt loved a good catfight, he chose this moment to diffuse the tension in the room. "Much as I appreciate the addition of some femininity to the group, over and above what Atlas provides-"
"Ahem!" Ember coughed loudly as she whirled around the face the mentalist. "What about me?"
"I'm sorry, but a girl who spends two years trying to convince us she's 'one of the guys' does not exactly qualify as feminine."
Ember huffed in frustration, plopped down on the table next to Daniel, and grumbled something along the lines of, "This coming from the man who has more hats than I have shoes."
"Anyway," Merritt continued, "I think the real issue is we've been in this-"
"Yeah, the issue is that we have been rehearsing for months for something...we don't even know what it is," Daniel argued.
"And you're going to keep working until-" Dylan began.
"Until we work as a single organism," Daniel recited almost automatically before he began to patronize their mentor. "I know, I've heard you say that. The thing is, when you say that, I think what you're referring to is us, you know, not you."
"Listen, I'm getting my orders directly from the Eye, okay?" the dark-haired magician-in-disguise defended. "And then I give them to you. Now, if you don't like that, you're welcome to go."
"No, I'm not going anywhere. But I'm...mm-mm I'm taking care of myself."
"Guys, can I just weigh in here really quickly?" Lula interjected as she turned to address all four of the Horsemen. "Because I think I see what's going on here. You guys are this amazing tight-knit family unit, I'm a new person-"
"No, no, no, no, no, no, no!" Merritt cut in. "We are anything but a family!"
"Okay, well, my mother literally knifed my father in the neck one time," the brunette girl revealed in an almost joking manner, "so you are actually a little bit like my family unit."
"Literally?" Merritt repeated in disbelief.
"Yeah, it was an accident...I think."
"You know, that actually explains a lot," Ember replied. "Thank you for that bit of clarity."
"I know, right?" Lula noted with a grin. "Isn't just amazing how childhood events can define who you are as an adult? Take you for example! You're just, like, so talented with pyrotechnics, so I'm guessing you played with fire as a kid or you were caught in a fire or-"
"Okay!" Jack interrupted in a loud voice as he moved to stand behind Ember, whose fingernails were practically digging into the table and whose vein was pulsing so hard it looked like it was about to pop out of her neck. Jack rested his hands on the blonde's shoulders to calm her down. Needless to say, Ember's motivation behind her career of controlling flames was a bit of a sore subject.
"So does this mean we're actually going to do something?"
"Yes," Dylan confirmed with a nod.
"Care to elaborate?" Ember questioned in a tight voice.
"You've all heard of Octa and their playboy CEO Owen Case. His partner, Walter Mabry, died about a year ago. You wanna know what all this has been leading to?" Dylan cast a look at Lula.
"Oh now?" The shock artist reached into her black knit poncho, pulled out a roll of blueprints, and spread it out on the table (forcing Daniel and Ember to hop down from there).
"Octa's hosting the launch of the next-gen cell phone. Once these phones hit the streets, they'll siphon their users' information to the black market, meaning Octa's selling privacy to up their profit. So, the Eye has decided to expose them for it. Our mission is to hijack the show."
The magicians pulled out their flashlights and aimed them on the dark paper...almost like spotlights.
"Rehearsal's over, guys. This is what we've been waiting for. Now it's time to get to work."
After Dylan explained the timeline for the next three months, he dismissed the Horsemen...except for Ember.
"Hold up, Em, I gotta talk to you."
The Irish girl groaned as she looked back toward Jack. "I'll see you tomorrow, baby."
"See you tomorrow," Jack replied before kissing her hand and following the other guys outside.
"What is it Dylan? I've got a double shift at the coffee house tomorrow so I can pay my rent."
"Actually, you won't have to worry about rent anymore," Dylan responded in a suspicious manner. "Because now you'll have a roommate to pay for half of it."
Ember's posture stiffened as she realized the implications of the Fed's statement. "Oh you have got to be kidding me. You have got to be bloody kidding me!"
Dylan sucked in some air between his teeth. "Nope, you and Lula are gonna be living together. It's the best way to get her in sync with the Horsemen style."
"Ooh, I've got an even better idea! How about Lula bunks with Merritt and Jack moves in with me? Everyone's happy!"
"Nice try, Ember, but you know why I can't allow that. Jack is supposed to be dead, and with your looks, you just draw too many eyes. Merritt is a more forgettable face...who can also make people forget via hypnotism."
"Is that really your reasoning?" Ember challenged. "Or are you just bitter because your own forbidden romance with Alma didn't work out?"
That last comment visibly ruffled Dylan's feathers, causing Ember to realize she'd taken it too far.
"Ember, you would be wise to remember that I have the power to remove you from the Eye. Go with Lula, help her move in, and don't question my authority again."
And with that, the undercover magician straightened his tie and stalked out of the warehouse without another word.
Ember glared at Dylan's retreating back before finally submitting to her fate. "Come on, newbie."
"Awesome!" Lula cheered as she followed Ember down the corridors. "I just wanna say that I didn't mean to pry with the whole 'childhood trauma' thing and that I'm actually, like, a majorly huge fan of yours and I'm just so-"
The blonde halted mid-step, causing Lula to walk straight into Ember's back. However, Ember didn't fall over or even lose balance. She just spun around to face the shock artist, her eyes hardened like sapphires.
"Look, if this whole 'roomies' thing is gonna work out, I have three rules."
"Rules? I'm good with rules!" Lula babbled. "I mean, having rules rules, right?"
Ember groaned as she rubbed the bridge of her nose in an attempt to keep her temper under check. Once she felt calmer, she locked eyes with the brunette.
"Okay, here they are: stay away from my stuff, stay away from Jack...and so help me God, stay away from my bad side."
"Good rules, easy to remember and easy to follow. Oh, by the way, could I have my, uh," Lula chortled in amusement, "my eye back?"
"Thanks for reminding me!" Ember slapped the fake eye into Lula's hand, but when Lula looked down, she saw that the eye had been squished.
"It was an accident," the Irish girl dismissed with a shrug.
Okay so I hope y'all enjoyed that little taste of my take on Now You See Me 2! I know Ember seems a little uncharacteristically cranky, but Lula is a bit of an, um, shall we say acquired taste. And for those of y'all who wanna know more, I'll tell you more because coming up next we're gonna learn what went into that Octa show, what life was like for the Horsemen before Daniel Radcliffe committed five counts of magician-napping, and...what happened to Henley! Dum dum DUUUUM!
Please show me some love by reviewing and (since I've already written half of chapter 2) I'll be seeing y'all again real soon!