Fury flowed through Cinder and it took absolutely everything she had to not lash out, no matter how satisfying it might be. Her image was carefully crafted - her posture, her social media presence, her personality when dealing with interviews. All of it to sell the image that she gave a shit about other people. That she was a 'hero.' More than that, she had spent the past few months creating the impression that not only was she a hero, she was an exceptionally competent one with no dirty secrets that could be used against her.

It had been tedious. Horribly, awfully tedious, but necessary because she would be in the spotlight. That image of her had to be projected at every moment because she knew that if it ever slipped, that's when her enemies would pounce. The ones that wanted to tear her down. The ones that wanted to take her place.

Despite the fury that flowed through her veins, demanding retribution, Cinder simply smiled at Madelyn Stillwell. "I beg your pardon?" Cinder questioned, her tone infallibly polite.

"Vought wants you. I want you. It would be nice dealing with talent that I don't have to hold the hand of or check over their shoulders every three seconds," Madelyn said, making a token effort to sound apologetic. "While the current contract is on the table, I am sorry to say that the Seven is very much out of the cards at the moment." Madelyn repeated the news that infuriated her down to her core.

She was being denied what was rightfully hers. Cinder had put in the work - the online rumors, the backroom deals, dealing with that idiot The Deep. She made connections. She surged in every popularity poll. Heroes that had spent decades on the scene found themselves below her in rankings in a meager few months. That position in the Seven was hers. She'd earned it. Yet it was being denied to her.

"I don't suppose you could inform me why?" Cinder asked, a polite smile at her lips even as murder shone in her eyes. What happened? What went wrong? She was an international entity now. The position should be hers. They should be fucking thanking her as they rolled out the red carpet.

Madelyn's smile was every bit as polite as her own. Practiced and entirely fake. "I'm afraid that I really can't go into specifics, as much as I would like to. Vought has decided to go in a different direction when it comes to the decision of who will replace Lamplighter." Her tone was friendly and regretful, but Cinder heard the edge in her words. A warning to not push this.

"However," Madelyn continued, placing her hand on a stack of papers, "The current offer does still stand, Cinder. A trilogy movie set, a TV series, five guest appearances in series on Vought+, of which any can become a minor role depending on reception. Five points, stock options, premium health, dental, and cosmetic insurance along with complete control of your social media with only three mandated PR events a month." It was a summary of the contract and a rather shallow one, but they were the main talking points. Cinder didn't bother arguing the promotion requirements, or negotiating the standard clauses.

Law had really come through for her, Cinder could admit. The international recognition didn't come in the form that she wanted, but the deal that he had extorted out of Machel gave her a significant edge in negotiations for the past two weeks. A large enough edge that she had been confident in adding one last demand into the contract - a position in the Seven. A demand that had been refused.

"This right here is the worst deal I have ever signed off on. You've really taken the thumbscrews to us. I can respect that. Because I respect that, please allow me to make this clear - take the deal, Cinder. The next offer will be diminished," Madelyn informed her, her smile remaining affixed to her expression. Cinder fought to not narrow her eyes into slits or smack the smile off of her face.

Instead, her mind raced. She was still in a position of power with the negotiations. If she wasn't, then she wouldn't have made a demand to be on the Seven. Vought should still have to haggle her down, but still meet her offer. So it made little sense that Vought would be taking amendments away. Something was going on here. "Hm. As the contract stands, I do find it acceptable," she admitted after a pregnant pause when Madelyn didn't elaborate. "Though, I am curious, what makes you believe that I shouldn't be asking for more?"

An ignorant question. She was purposely tipping her hand to see what Madelyn would return with. So long as she didn't put her name on the dotted line, the contract was nonbinding and any information given could help her in further negotiations.

On a more foolish woman, the plot might have worked. Instead, Madelyn simply said, "I'm afraid that I'm not at liberty to say." Meaning that she had a choice before her - sign the contract now, or take the risk of losing something. Part of her rebelled at the very idea of being forced into a contract and it was tempting to simply ignite the papers in a show of power. But such a decision was foolish.

"I see," Cinder decided. "Then I shall accept. We can arrange a date for the signing?" Cinder replied, standing up and she saw that Madelyn's smile became a fraction more genuine as she won this round of the negotiations. It wouldn't do to destroy the progress that she had made thus far. It wasn't the perfect deal that Cinder had hoped for, but such was the nature of compromise and she was content with the fact that she'd gained nearly everything that she desired from the deal. Going forward, she could maneuver herself into a better position, use her connections, and then renegotiate her contract.

This was merely the first battle for her complete domination of the Vought branding.

"We can arrange something shortly. It's a little early, but welcome to Vought International, Cinder," Madelyn said, holding out a hand that Cinder shook. She ruthlessly crushed the impulse to burn her hand. Intimidation wasn't the way. Seduction was.

"Thank you, Madelyn. I look forward to working together," Cinder replied. The rest would be up to the lawyers who would present her the dotted line to sign off on. With the deal made, however, Cinder quickly left her office and silently fumed with every step. Indignant anger burned in her chest, her teeth grinding together as she swallowed the frustration. Plans adapted and changed - that was nothing new to her.

However, first she was denied the power of the Fall Maiden. Now she was denied a position on the Seven.

Cinder didn't care for being denied.

It was as she stepped into the elevator that a flash of movement and a small brush of air alerted her to someone's presence. Next to her, in a small burst of speed, stood A-Train. She glanced over at him to see that he was giving her a cocky smile - he was a handsome enough man, she supposed. Dark skinned, dark hair cut short with a thin goatee. However, it was difficult to take him seriously dressed in his costume. She wanted to laugh every time she saw the plastic chest piece.

That being said, as he'd just proved, his power was nothing to laugh at. A-Train was fast. Faster than even Ruby Rose. That speed made him dangerous, but not impossible to defeat. The only issue would be getting the drop on him because if he knew the fight had started then it would already be over. "Yo, Cinder - just heard the good news," he greeted her as the doors closed and he pressed the lobby.

Cinder fought off a frown, "Thank you, A-Train. I'm afraid it's not official, but I should be joining Vought by the end of the week."

"I heard about your contract. Madelyn doesn't want anyone to know, but you got her chewed out with the offer she's given you. So, congrats on that," A-Train offered a possible answer to why her current contract was under threat. "But, uh, I wanted to ask you something. Now that you're on the team, and all."

He thought she was joining the Seven, Cinder realized as she ruthlessly crushed the resentment for being denied. If he noticed her frustration, then he didn't comment, and Cinder's bet was that he was completely oblivious. "This Heartless guy. Is he… is he the real deal? The Deep was talking and he's pretty convinced that Heartless is a plant. An actor to, you know, drum up ticket sales and whatever."

The more she was exposed to these so called heroes the faker they appeared. Something that was deeply amusing and, frankly, perfect for her. A-Train licked his lips, nervous about her answer as she cocked her head to the side. "Do you really think that Vought would murder Lamplighter for ticket sales?" Cinder questioned, her tone making the idea sound absurd but her eyes were sharp.

A-Train laughed.


"No, no you're right. I just… it's something else, you know? This guy is coming for us. For us. That's, uh, nothing was in my contract about dealing with stuff like that. Yours?" He questioned, and that was a genuine point that Cinder hadn't considered. These 'heroes' were as fake as the padded muscles in Homelander's suit. They weren't combatants. It really was the height of stupidity to try to recruit them into the military. Cinder was well versed in combat against human foes. Enough so that it never crossed her mind to consider such a threat leverage.

Cinder smiled, and that was the wrong reaction to what A-Train had said, rather than what Cinder had heard. "It will now," Cinder decided, reaching out and placing a hand on A-Train's bicep, "Thank you for that idea," she added, letting her fingers gently brush away. A small seductive touch, but A-Trains reaction was strained. It took the edge of her smile off because it seemed her touch was unwelcome.

Was he in a relationship? She hadn't heard anything. Or perhaps he was gay? Did he not know that she was widely considered an ally to his community? The latter, Cinder couldn't really do anything about. She lacked the proper equipment to seduce A-Train. Unless she could set him up with her assistant. A potential idea. Especially if A-Train was 'in the closet' and she could use the material as blackmail, preferably through a proxy. However, if he was in a relationship, it should be simple enough to tempt him into infidelity. Thus giving her leverage, and another ally within Vought.

"Er- right," A-Train responded lamely, stepping out of her touch. "I'd get it in ink, because there's no way I'm going to be sticking my neck out like that to take that guy down. Can't believe they're trying to make us take point on bagging that guy. He killed Lamplighter. Set the guy on fire and laughed about it."

Good. Their reluctance worked to her benefit. Less competition to take his head. "He was rather unsettling," Cinder admitted. His power was interesting - item based teleportation, as far as she could tell. He would suffer for making a fool out of her - in front of Homelander no less - but Cinder wasn't so blinded by righteous anger that she couldn't see the potential in his ability. "His power, however, is best used as support. He won because we didn't understand how it worked. Now that we do, any offensive capability he has is severely blunted."

A-Train gave her an odd look, "Damn girl, you're going after this guy?" He sounded genuinely shocked by her decision.

A chuckle escaped her, "I intend to do more than that." Law's connection to Heartless was a mystery. Was Law working for Heartless? Was Heartless working for Law? She would need information before she committed to a course of action. Plans formed in her mind - convince Law to sacrifice a valuable pawn for her sake or seduce Law into deciding to supplant Heartless at the top of their organization. Regardless, Heartless would suffer for making a fool out of her.

As she spoke the words, the elevator opened and through the glass windows that looked into the streets of New York, Cinder saw a venerable wall of reporters being just barely kept at bay by a wall of security guards. Since the incident, they had all but besieged Vought Headquarters, accosting anyone that came and went for a quote or a snippet of information.

"Fucking paparazzi," A-Train muttered with a shake of his head. "Too damn stupid to even realize we have a back door."

Cinder smiled as she headed to the front door. She was under no NDA, and only kept her mouth shut to avoid complicating her deal with Vought. But if they were going to try to sweep the rug out from underneath her, then she could make them suffer for it. Even better, it would increase her profile presence and connection to the story because she would be the face of it. "I don't think-" A-Train started, but she had already reached the revolving door.

Instantly, she was bombarded with questions of dozens of people shouting at the top of their lungs. Her smile grew a fraction, basking in the fact that they were in a frenzy for her attention. This is what she wanted. This was how it should be. "Please calm down - I can answer a few questions, but I really must be on my way," Cinder said, adjusting the stack of papers in hand that Madelyn had rather foolishly not put in an envelope. Someone would snap a photo of it, some neck beard fan of hers would analyze it, and within a few hours, it would be all over the internet - Supernova joins Vought.

Or, when she put her spin on it…

Supernova joins the Seven.

She was going to make them suffer for their denial of what was hers.

"Miss Fall! Miss Fall! What can you tell us about Heartless!" A reporter shouted, lunging forward to shove a microphone between two meaty security guards.

Before, her response had been no comment. "I believe Heartless to be a disenfranchised young man," Cinder answered. Really, under different circumstances, she would be angling for him to work for her. His power did have incredible utility if properly prepared in advance. And that was just the facets of his power that they knew about. "I cannot say what set him down this terrible path, only lament that it cost the world a possible hero. But, regardless of his motivations, I promise you and anyone that is listening - Heartless will be brought to justice."

The irony wasn't lost on her. Not at all. It took everything that she had to not laugh while the reporter's went into an absolute blood frenzy.

"Miss Fall! What do you say about the conspiracy theory that Heartless is an Islamic terrorist?!" Another reporter shouted, pushing the previous reporter out of the way.

"I would say that you answered your own question - that is a conspiracy theory, and not a particularly plausible one." Cinder returned smoothly.

"Are you claiming to know the origins of Heartless?!" He exclaimed, hearing whatever he wanted to hear. No matter what she said, that reporter was going to twist her words to fit a narrative he had already decided upon. There was no helping that.

It really was fascinating. In her world, Heartless would hardly be a blip on the news. At most, he would have a headline for a day if he did manage to kill a high profile Huntsmen or political figure, but the news would rather swiftly forget about him, only to remember during his sentencing and capture. Part of that was the lack of Grimm.

On Remnant, the news couldn't afford to linger on such topics. By their very nature, such stories preyed upon negative emotions like fear, anger, and uncertainty. All attracted the Grimm. News stations were forced to focus on lighter topics - the successes of frontier settlements, or a cute animal giving birth to a cuter baby, and only mention the negative things when needed. In this world, the exact opposite was true. Good news was worthless, and bad news sold and got clicks. And Heartless was very bad news to this world because they've never had anything like him.

"I'm afraid that even if I did, answering would disrupt an active investigation into Heartless," Cinder replied, giving a non answer. Maybe she knew, maybe she didn't. Let the reader decide.

"Miss Fall! Are you afraid of Heartless?!" Another reporter that she couldn't see shouted out.

To that, Cinder couldn't stop the laugh that escaped her. "I cannot say that I am," Cinder said, her voice brimming with confidence. "Nor should any of you. I understand that Heartless may appear rather frightening, but please have faith in your heroes, because we will stop him and we will protect you," Cinder said, shamelessly repeating a line she had heard from Ozpin himself when addressing the public of Vale. "Now, I can answer one more question before I must leave."

"Miss Fall! Miss Fall! Can you comment on the validity of the rumor of the hero Mirko coming to New York?" A reporter questioned and Cinder swallowed her true feelings about the prospect.

Mirko. Also known as Rumi Usagiyama, another rookie hero that appeared a few months ago. Dark skin, stark white hair, and dark red eyes. However, what contributed the most to her rise in fame was her rabbit ears and tail. A mutation of her rabbit themed powers. Because it certainly couldn't be her brash attitude that made her so popular.

It was almost impressive the amount of porn of Mirko that came into existence in a few months. Hardly any time at all.

Cinder certainly hoped the rumors were untrue. She didn't need the competition. "I'm afraid that I can't, but in light of this tragedy, I say that every hero is needed to bring Heartless to Justice. I apologize, but I really must go."

She had revenge to plot.

"She's very good," Stan Edgar remarked, his tone decidedly neutral, watching the broadcast with a blank expression. "Too good. It really is a shame," he decided, resting a hand on his desk while Madelyn sat across from him with a hand lightly resting on her stomach. She was a formidable woman, Stan decided. One of the few that he could genuinely respect in this business.

"If it was just the Deep poisoning the well, then it would be manageable," she agreed. The Deep had been spreading all kinds of rumors. Some of which had taken root. "But what we need right now is a yes-man. Or, in this case, a woman," she replied, passing him a folder with the hurried replacement for Lamplighter. His replacement had been a long time coming, and they had been drawing up a short list months in advance, backed by data of what the current climate desired.

What America wanted was a woman, but not just any woman. A country girl. A tale as old as time, really - innocent young woman comes to the big city to make it on her own. Which aligned perfectly with what Vought was looking for. Talent that would just nod their head and do what they told them.

Something that Stan highly doubted Cinder Fall was capable of. Too ambitious. Too competent, ironically enough. She would rock the boat and what they needed right now, more than ever, was smooth sailing.

"Starlight," Stan remarked, flipping through the file. Annie January. She checked all of the desired boxes - female, from the country, naive, young and beautiful. A perfect find, really. Queen Maeve's days of acting as the innocent and good natured girl were long behind her, which is why they pushed the narrative of a mature woman wizened to the world through experience. "Make the offer," Stan decided to pull the trigger on the deal.

It was less fanfare than he would prefer - a game show, or nation wide competitions to drive up hype for the next member of the Seven. However, with Lamplighter's public demise, they needed decisive action to reassure the public. To them, heroes were larger than life. They were more than mere celebrities - they were practically divine, chosen by god, and whatever else nonsense he had marketing push. Seeing one of them die, especially a member of the Seven, shook that faith to its core.

"I'll send it myself," Madelyn told him. "But we need to discuss Heartless. His power isn't on our registry and it hasn't manifested in our development projects. What we do have is a rumor that several major gangs have united under a figure. Our intel thinks that there's a good chance that it's Heartless." She informed Stan, earning a slow nod from the man.

Heartless. If it wasn't for the fact he was so caught off guard by his appearance, Stan would have thought he was his own idea.

"These rumors are substantiated with what, precisely?" He questioned, steepling his hands together to give the discussion his full attention.

"Nothing concrete," Madelyn admitted. "Only that bitter gang rivalries have suddenly ended and in turn gave birth to seamless cooperation. One could be criminals deciding to work together for profit, but nearly every single major gang or mob doing the same at the same time?" She posted the question and he nodded - it did seem rather unlikely.

Stan fought off a smile. It was something out of a comic book. A villain with powers that took over the criminal underworld.

"My inquiries have revealed that doses of Compound V have gone missing," Stan told her, making Madelyn go very still. "It's not as uncommon as I would like. A vial goes missing here or there, either lost or destroyed in transit. However, these losses have been more… systematic and covered up." Some of the talent - such as A-Train - had taken to abusing compound V. The substance that gave them their powers. The excess of the compound strengthened their powers, such as speed and durability, at the cost of rather severe side effects. Side effects which would kill them with it only being a question of how long it would take.

"Do we know who?" Madelyn questioned and in response, he pressed play on a video that made the TV flare to life. A video of a scientist slipping a few vials into his pocket. Another video of a dead drop where he left them where a gust of wind and fluttering papers were the only sign that they had been taken. Incompetence of the highest order. They didn't even check for cameras. But it was a rather harsh black mark that despite the blatant stupidity their activities hadn't been caught earlier. "A-Train wouldn't work alone on this. Is he working for a rival-"

"Homelander," Stan interrupted, a deadly edge in his tone. Another video played, providing subtitles from his lips being read. Even if analytics hadn't been able to read his lips, his posture made it clear. Homelander was excited. "I thought that A-Train might be working for the government to get its hands on Compound V. It is a well kept secret, but not a perfectly kept one. However, Homelander's response has convinced me that he has been stealing Compound V for his own purposes. Supplying what amounts to a drug to various heroes… in addition to creating, as the public has named him, a supervillain."

Madelyn was good, but not even she could keep the panic off of her face as alarm shone in her eyes. "But- that- He-" she sputtered, caught completely flat footed by the move. As Stan was.

"I find myself in complete agreement. It is the height of stupidity. It is the single most idiotic thing I have ever witnessed. Homelander has created a genuine crisis, put the company at risk, and for no greater reason than to massage his overinflated ego," Stan elaborated. Homelander. Soldier Boy had seemed so terrible at the time, but he was downright pleasant in comparison to the sheer stupidity of Homelander. With Soldier Boy, the most they had to worry about covering up was his domestic abuse or rampant drug use.

Homelander could only be managed with his ego because the only hope of countering him was still a good ten years from having the capability to do so. If he manifested powers at all.

"Can… can we discipline him?" Madelyn questioned, because it was a genuine question. Stan would never forgive the research and development team for not putting a bomb in Homelander's head when they had the chance. Or a weakness to exploit.

"We can," Stan told her. Though, she would not like how he intended for him to be disciplined. Homelander had a fixation on Madelyn. Denying him access to her… it did pose a very real risk that he would hunt her down despite her wishes. Rape was very much in the cards with Homelander. "Yet, in this case, it would be best to feign ignorance. We know of his operation as well as his intentions - he wants a roster of villains for him to fight against. My suggestion is that, for now, we allow him to have what he wants."

After all, why else would Heartless display such a fixation on Homelander? Homelander simply wanted to be in the center of attention. More so than he already was.

Madelyn was doubtful. "I'm… not sure if that is wise, sir. It'll teach him that he can get away with things like this." She was right about that. Madelyn's job was to manage the talent. His was to manage the company.

"Quite possibly, but in this case, we must react to the hand that we are dealt and turn it into an advantage. Before, our heroes have been set against organizations - Bloods, Crips, Cartels, and mafias. These organizations have never had a face. They're little more than unseen entities that most people only read about in the news. Heartless, however, has a face. He's identifiable. Marketable. With the defeat of Heartless and whoever else Homelander has created… Vought benefits. It pushes the narrative that we are for the people's protection and that we can deal with threats that conventional forces cannot." Stan said, seeing the future in his mind.

It would undoubtedly benefit his attempts to get Vought into the military sector.

"The greater the danger the villains pose, the higher the price per share," Madelyn nodded along. "I understand that, but our talent… the only one I would trust with dealing with these supervillains would be Black Noir. The rest are resisting the idea of being put into any danger. Not to mention, this does have the potential to spiral out of control. Homelander controls Heartless. We don't." She pointed out, and they were fine points.

"Mandate training, fluff them up with promises of team support. Tell them that they'll just be there to look good for the cameras when the villains are defeated in every way that matters. No different than any other bust." He didn't care about their feelings. Or their safety for that matter. So long as it didn't damage the company's reputation, he'd happily put them in danger if it meant results. "And remind them that refusal is breaking their contract. Repeatedly, if you must."

"And for Heartless?" She questioned, and Stan had to think on it for a moment.

"Discover who he is. Get leverage over him. Turn him into our asset to use as we wish. I shall continue to monitor Homelander's pet project to learn where he's taking the Compound V," he instructed. He would flip Homelander's villains to working for Vought, possibly directly. Possibly through proxies. Their crimes and appearances would serve in the interest of the company.

In the end, the villains in this world would answer to him. Just as the heroes did.

Frenchie couldn't stop watching it. He must have watched it hundreds of times already. It was little wonder that his f4 button hadn't broken from constantly pushing it to rewind the video. He felt a pair of hands wrap themselves around his waist, soft breasts pressing into his back. "I'm starting to feel ignored," Cherie whispered into his ear before nibbling on his earlobe, her teeth finding an earring that she used to drag his attention away from the computer screen.

Even still, he couldn't take his eyes off of it. Lamplighter on fire, screaming as he desperately tried to pat out the flames. The first time he saw the video, he couldn't believe it. The second and third time, his cock had been rock hard and he celebrated his death the only way he knew how to - drugs and sex.

"I'm sorry, my Cherie," Frenchie replied, finally tearing his gaze away from the screen to look at his lover, who only wore one of his shirts. Given that she was the taller of the two of them, it revealed her truly delectable pussy that was marked with a thin landing strip of dark pubic hair. "I can't help myself," he admitted, turning around to face her.

His Cherie smiled, her striking eyes dancing with amusement. "I know," she told him before presenting a mirror with a few lines of cocaine. He happily took the offering, snorting them up with his favorite straw and wiping away the excess. "But it's become a habit. I'm not the only thing that you're ignoring," she added, lightly grabbing him by the tank top and pulling him to his work station.

On the table were a number of guns and improvised explosives. Gunrunning was a profitable line of work and in recent months, Frenchie found himself with more work than ever. A terrifying thing, to be certain. For there was peace in New York.

The major gangs all joined hands to sing songs and dance to someone's tune. Independent runners had been press-ganged into one organization or another. It was as if an iron curtain was falling upon the city - where there was once free trade for such illegal substances and items, this new organization was quickly establishing a monopoly. He was one of the few notable independents, and only because of his backing outside of New York.

Yet this organization was his biggest customer. He very well imagined that these guns would be used to establish dominance outside of New York.

"Very well, very well. I shall work," Frenchie agreed, wishing he could watch the video once more before he started to assemble the parts to various weapons that had been smuggled to him. Despite what it may seem, America did have gun laws. True weapons of war were not sold at random stores and they did make the effort to not sell to criminals. Alas, it was criminals that coveted the weapons most desperately. He was but a provider.

"Meet the quota, and I'll even give you a reward, Frenchie. I found a perfect pair of twins for us to share," Cherie teased, making his hands go still.

"Pair as in one set of twins or a pair of twins as in-"

"Two sets of twins. A pair for each of us," Cherie clarified and his heart soared. Oh, how he loved this woman.

It was a true travesty when there was a knock on the door, ruining the moment. But, when Frenchie went to answer it, he found that he shouldn't be surprised by that.

William Butcher stood on the other side of a wrought iron door, a cheeky smile on his face. "Don't tell me that's for me," Butcher remarked, glancing down and Frenchie saw that he wasn't wearing any pants and he was excited for the orgy, so an erection stood proudly.

"If it would be for anyone in your family, it would be for your aunt Judy. A true woman after my own heart," Frenchie told him without a hint of shame, leveling a modified Glock at his chest, directly at his heart. "What do you want, Butcher?"

"Are you telling me that you aren't in the mood for a bit of celebration?" Butcher questioned, his voice carrying a distinct British accent. On anyone else, he could have listened to it all day long. Frenchie cast his net wide, his love was free and there was a special pleasure in hearing a handsome man speak in a smooth accent. However, with each word Butcher spoke, the urge to punch him grew. "Lamplighter bit it. Died screaming. I figured that little thing would be for him," Butcher continued, wiggling his pinky.

"This little thing is about to-" he started to snap, but his expression twisted. Butcher thrived in conflict. He lowered the gun, "What do you want?"

"Well, I'm a bit upset at getting upstaged by a supe, truth be told," Butcher admitted, following Frenchie when he let him in. "So, I thought that could do with a bit of rectifying. Figured we could go the way of the Spice Girls, do a reunion tour with the Boys," Butcher said, coming to a stop across the table while Frenchie resumed piercing together weapons. Butcher's eyes went to Cherie, who was uncaring of the fact that she was flashing Butcher as she sat on the counter. "Cherie. Lovely to see you."

"Butcher. I hoped you'd be dead by now," was his Love's response.

"Not quite," Butcher returned, a smile on his face. "Now's the time, Frenchie. The police, Vought, they're all scrambling over Heartless. Pissing themselves and quakin' in their boots at one of their precious supes going rogue. They wouldn't even be given us a second look."

The Boys. The time of greatest joys and the deepest of sorrows. His best moments happened when he worked with Butcher - the resources and freedom he had… working for a CIA black team was an experience like no other. All the same, the worst moment of his life happened during his tenure with them. A failure that led to the dissolving of the team.

A team that was dedicated to hunting down and killing supes that got out of hand. To take Vought to task. It was good work. Enjoyable work. Each supe posed a unique challenge to kill. Even more so when he aimed for irony.

"Would I have to work with that momma's boy?" Frenchie asked, and he instantly knew he had already tipped his hand. The idea of working with the Boys again… watching Lamplighter burn was a cherished memory, yet it would always be a terrible regret. He regretted that he wasn't the one to burn him alive. That the Boys broke up and that until now… Lamplighter had gotten away with what he did.

"Mother's Milk? Nah, haven't spoken to MM in ages. You's the one I want, Frenchie. Touched by the divine, you are, when it comes to killing supes." Butcher flattered him, but Frenchie couldn't help the smile that tugged at his lips. It was always nice to have one's talents recognized.

"And Heartless? You really expect me to believe that this is just a professional rivalry?" Frenchie asked, already knowing the truth. He was going to join Butcher again. He was a man of passions. And few of his passion's could hold a candle to his passion for beating supes.

To that, Butcher just smiled, "Oh, don't you worry about him, mate. I've got me some plans for Heartless."

And just as none could hold a candle for his passion for beating supes…

His passion couldn't hold a candle for the naked hatred that Butcher possessed for all supes. Shared enemy or not.

Things were bound to get interesting again.


The next chapter is currently available on my Pat re on and Subscribe Star, so if you want to read it a week early, all it takes is a single dollar in the tip jar. Or, for five dollars, you can read the chapter after that two weeks before its public release! I hope you enjoyed!