Story Title: Warning Shots
Rating: T (Language and violence)
Notes: Hope you enjoy! Don't forget to review if you want more. :D
The air was rich with the scent of salt and old wood and the planks of the jetty creaked beneath his feet. He pulled his black cloak hood up over his head and glanced around the harbour, his sharp blue eyes narrowed as they flickered over each detail.
A small cluster of aged men shuffled with green-coloured crates and lobster-pots, heading for a couple of rusty fishing boats. They talked jovially and their sun-wrinkled faces were creased with smiles so peaceful it made him turn his head away sharply.
Smiling wasn't something he took to naturally. At least not any more.
Other than the few fishermen and young children playing with the remains of some old lobster-pots and rope, the little harbour was empty. The boats rocked gently in the calm waves that sloshed up against the stone harbour wall and their masts creaked softly. Gulls cawed overhead and somewhere, faintly, music and laughter drifted through the air. The sky above was a musky orange, glowing like the embers of a soft fire and behind him his own crew gushed at the sight.
One ran forward, his orange hair glowing like a flame in the light. "This is so exciting!" he exclaimed, wringing his hands and making to run to the gate leading into the city.
He snatched the boy's arm and dragged him back. "Shut up! Want to get caught?" he snapped, his eyes flicking to the elderly fishermen that were now loading their pots and baskets onto their boat. For a second he thought he caught a glimpse of red amongst them, but he dismissed it as being his agitation. He turned his eyes back to the boy, his eyes dark from under his hood. "We cannot bring attention to ourselves, Cody." He hissed.
The boy, Cody, scowled and from behind them a soft chuckle sounded as another tall man stepped from their boat with a canvas bag folded under his arm. "Ooh Dante means business, Chee. You'd better behave." His white teeth glinted in a grin from beneath his own black hooded cloak and 'Chee' stuck his tongue out, pouting.
Dante pulled Chee's hood up over his head and swept past them, "Just keep quiet, both of you." he said coldly. The third man shook his head and followed him, concealing the bag beneath his cloak and flicked a finger out towards Chee. The boy took the signal and scrambled up behind them, his feet taking two steps for every single stride of both other men.
Dante hardly noticed him quickly stepping beside him as his eyes were occupied with scanning the area – searching for his first destination.
The streets of the town were relatively quiet like the harbour. One or two residents strolled along the streets and hardly seemed to notice them. When someone did, Dante's heart jolted, dreading the idea that they may be uncovered, but was relieved when the man simply tipped his hat and bid them a good evening. Dante nodded, uttering a reply and quickened his pace.
Chee frowned; jogging a little to keep up then ran straight into Dante when he stopped suddenly. "Dante, you d-!" he was interrupted by the taller man slapping a hand over his mouth.
"Shut up you fool!" Chee directed his angry grey eyes at him and made a muffled noise that earned him a glare. "For someone as cute as you, your temper's the complete opposite." He growled.
"Lucifer, that's enough. We need to work together. You and Chee can deal with these." Dante handed a small piece of paper with a crudely written list over to Lucifer and the man dropped the hand around Chee's mouth. "I'll take the weapons."
Lucifer smirked softly, looking over the list, "You insist on working together then go off on your own."
Dante watched him carefully, "Your task requires more men..." His gaze fell slightly when a young soldier with hair turning a bruised purple in the dim light of the shop beside them stopped to examine a gun in the window, then strode inside the shop itself. He heard Lucifer snort and shot him a glare.
"Of course it does." he sniggered.
"I can handle him." Dante assured, narrowing his eyes, "I am your leader after all. Have faith in me."
"I have faith in you!" Chee chimed in softly, taking the list from Lucifer.
"God, you sound like him sometimes." Lucifer said, shaking his head and pulling his cloak further around himself. Dante glared at him.
"Do your job." He barked and stomped into the weaponry store. Chee winced softly and looked up at Lucifer.
"Who's 'him'?" he asked. Lucifer shook his head once again and pushed the boy on the back, leading him away.
Luke wasn't particularly thrilled at the idea of warden duty, but he knew the reasons behind it stood for more than his enjoyment. Keeping the city safe was a soldier's top priority and there was no use being able to fire a gun if you couldn't spot the danger in its natural territory. Yet the nights were always long and nearly always uneventful.
He took his usual route through the market square and down to the harbour,where he patrolled along the waters for a while. Afterwards he would walk around the streets and talk to some of the owners to not only keep up friendly relations, but to ensure he was well informed if any civilians had seen anything suspicious.
He supposed it was nice, but everyone was so tense that even a cat making its bed in the bins aroused suspicion. He knew, however, that it was to be expected with war being the main topic of conversation these days.
Rebels were a constant threat to the city and had attempted to infiltrate several times in the past few months, getting more and more frequent until a message was sent, warning that the Royal city would have no choice but to launch an attack on the Rebel encampment at the next sign of infiltration. It had stopped being so frequent, but hadn't stopped completely. Luke had yet to be on duty during a night where they had tried to sneak inside. He had only begun taking a weekly slot as a warden a month ago. He guessed it wasn't so bad – he wouldn't have to work too hard – but he admitted that he craved some form of action.
He smiled softly over at a group of fishermen making their way to their boats to lay their lobster pots and crab traps out for collection in the morning in time for the market. He wished he could go to the morning markets sometimes, but his training and practises prevented this. He had been to them as a child with his older brother and mother and together they had strolled through the brightly coloured lanes of stalls piled high with fresh fruit and vegetables and fish and oils and silks and dried goods and miryads of spices, creating the most wonderful aromas. Street performers were a regular guest to the markets and he remembered stopping to watch men and women singing and dancing in the streets, bringing animals to perform alongside them or performing amazing magic tricks for the people visiting the market. To his dismay he was always up early to train in the mornings and by the time he had finished, the market stall-holders would have been packing up to go home.
He strode over to the fishermen and made light conversation with them. He helped them to haul a mound of crates onto the boat to be dropped into the sea that evening then retrieved once again the next morning. Then his attention was snapped across to a group of suspicious-looking men in black cloaks. He carefully stepped behind one of the taller fishermen, watching them closely.
One of them –small and possibly the youngest- had the hood of the cloak down and looked like a child receiving a scolding from a teacher as another from the group gripped his arm. He couldn't have been more than thirteen or fourteen and his features were soft and mildly feminine in his youth. The taller one looked around cautiously at the group of fishermen and Luke caught his icy blue eyes from under the cloak. His gaze lingered for a second; then he turned and resumed his conversation with the smallest of the group.
Too intrigued to pass this off as a coincidence, Luke waited until they had left through the gate before following them swiftly and silently. They followed a straight path through the city up towards the sector that served the war-effort – providing weapons and food for the soldiers in training and those that taught them. Luke himself had come down regularly to collect boxes of guns, bullets and even the occasional sword from this sector, but it wasn't his duty to bring in the food.
He hung back, inclining his head towards them to listen to their conversation. "I'll take the weapons." A spark of excitement flooded into his stomach as he did so – the group were Rebels. Nobody else would try to steal weapons. He decided quickly to follow them more closely and perhaps force them to reveal their identities. He already had one of them and he was vaguely certain he could get the others too. Now it was just a decision of who he should follow.
Guessing that the one with the ice-blue eyes was the leader, Luke decided to keep a closer eye on him; maybe draw the others out by cornering him. Quickly, he stepped inside the shop and prayed that the leader would follow him. He strode through the shelves of the store with his eyes trained on the open doorway and found the shop keeper.
"Keep inside your room.." he murmured. The little man's eyes widened and he nodded, pulling a pouch of money from beneath the counter before scurrying into the small back room he used whenever nobody was in his shop. He locked the door quietly and Luke began to pace around the shop. He dragged his fingers over the weapons slowly, keeping one hand settled on his own gun held at his rightt hip. He eyed the door and felt a jolt of exhilaration as the black hooded man stepped inside the store.
The man slowly picked his way around the assortment of guns and knives with a placid pace – evidently acting as though he was just browsing. Luke watched him as his hand slipped out from his black cloak to touch one of the pieces, and then it disappeared again. He narrowed his eyes, briefly glancing at the shelf and finding it one gun lighter.
He moved in. His eyes were trained on the rebel as he stepped closer and he felt the air change as the man stepped swiftly towards the door, his cloak billowing out over the shelves as he did so. Boxes and guns disappeared with it and Luke quickened his pace to catch up with him.
Chee wriggled his arm out of Lucifer's grip with a soft glare. "So where are we gonna find all this stuff anyway? It could be anywhere." He asked; looking over the list Dante had given them. Lucifer smirked.
"It's not going to be that hard." he told him, glancing around as they crossed over a road.
"Kay, so how are we gonna get it back to the boat? I mean yeah, I can get into small places and keep the guards distracted with my cuteness," Lucifer rolled his eyes and clambered up over a fence, then turned to help Chee over, "but I'm not so strong and this is gonna need huge crates." he declared, landing on the ground and glancing around the small back garden. It looked as though it had been neglected for a long time and was probably rarely used if at all. They wouldn't be seen unless they made a loud noise.
"Well you insisted you wanted to come." Lucifer reminded him, stepping over to a door and crouching next to it. He pulled out a small hair pin and a long thin knife. "So deal with it. Maybe we can get some muscle on you."
Chee straightened up and took out his pistol. "I refuse to grow muscle… it's gross." He grimaced and leant back against the wall beside the door, taking the safety from it.
Beside him the lock of the door clicked and Lucifer straightened up and smirked. "I thought you liked a bit of muscle… you seem to like Nick's enough." Chee glared a hot and fiery dagger at him.
"Shut up and go get the damn stuff." he spat, his cheeks turning red. Lucifer laughed and slipped inside. Chee watched him, then turned his attention back to guarding the door for him.
He pouted to himself. He hated being teased, it just made him angry and his anger made him less cute.
Lucifer poked his head out of the door, "Oi."
"What?" Chee looked at him, pretending to be angry with him. He wouldn't let him off that easily.
"I found it, so I need you to hold the door open while I drag it out." Chee nodded and stepped to hold said door open whilst Lucifer dragged out a heavy sack of goods. He knew the kinds of things in there were mostly supplies like rope and tools, but he couldn't help thinking of the scarce sacks of food they received every month. Food was scarce in the Rebel camp and nobody got a full meal on a regular basis. Particularly now that most of their efforts were focused on the war, it seemed that nobody had the time or the energy to pick up any other food than what was previously arranged – a single cart every month. Thinking about it made him remember just how hungry he was and as if to agree his stomach rolled and gurgled. He rolled his eyes as Lucifer looked over at him with raised eyebrows.
"That's so unattractive…" Chee moaned, slapping his stomach. Lucifer grinned and threw him a small bag.
"Here," he said, "to keep you going." Chee caught it and looked inside. His eyes lit up instantly.
"Oh my God! I love you!" he pulled out one of the little biscuits and ate it in ecstasy. They were a small treat that usually accompanied wines or port and they tasted of cheese; Chee adored them but they were native and made solely by the bakers in the Royal City so he rarely got any.
"Yeah, yeah I know you do. You can pay me back later." Lucifer said with a wink. Chee scoffed and rolled his eyes, heading back to the fence to jump back over it.
"You're such a pervert." he said, popping another biscuit into his mouth before vaulting over it.
"And yet you love it." Lucifer grinned and passed the sack over to Chee then jumped the fence himself.
"From you, no."
"From Nick, yes." Chee slapped him.
Luke frowned heavily: the man was ignoring him and getting faster. Luke was sure he would soon start running and that wouldn't be good, particularly as he wanted to corner him and call for back-up.
He tried once more, "This is an official order; stop and lower your hood!" he growled. He saw the man glance at him from under his hood then look back around. Luke's excitement faltered and instead he grew anxious.
The other man was likely to be looking for the other two rebels that had gone off by themselves. He had been stupid. He should have gone after them instead. He gritted his teeth and took a long stride, reaching out a hand to grab his shoulder then spotted the other two cloaks.
He growled and grabbed the man's shoulder, whipped him round to face him and roared, "I'm not playing chase!" The force of the spin had sent the man's hood tumbling down over his head and Luke saw his face – younger than he had expected with dark hair streaked with blonde or silver, which, he couldn't tell in the fading light, and glowing blue eyes that looked shocked and hinted at being worried. He cursed and threw his head over his shoulder.
"LUCI MOVE IT!" he yelled. Luke saw the other two begin to bolt down the street carrying a large sack and he punched the man. He kicked his legs, knocking him down and pinned his arms up over his head. He heard what he assumed was the youngest rebel scream "DANTE!" and smirked; now he had a name. Dante however looked extremely annoyed.
"Fuck you." he spat before kicking Luke in the stomach and sending him flying back. Luke hit the hard floor painfully and his vision burst into shattered light fragments and blurring colours. He felt the ground underneath his hands and shook his head, trying to get his vision back. He felt himself breathing erratically and slowly his vision began to piece itself back together despite a new throbbing feeling in the back of his head. He looked around the street and cursed himself, having lost sight of the rebels.
The thought, however, snapped him straight back to focus and he scanned the area. He caught the fluttering of a cloak from the corner of his eye and focused in on it.
The Rebel was on the rooftop.
Groaning in frustration, he got up quickly and pulled out his gun giving chase. Thankfully he wasn't too far behind and he knew the streets well; there was a large gap between the houses that were coming up where Dante would get trapped. The rebel noticed him and muttered something that sounded like an insult, retrieving his own gun from its leather holster strapped onto his leg. Luke narrowed his eyes, picking up his pace whilst Dante was, hopefully, briefly distracted.
Yet he wasn't to have such good luck. Dante stopped, and then leapt from the current rooftop to the next, then the next; this time heading to the harbour.
Swearing under his breath but knowing he wouldn't make it that way too, Luke leapt down from the roof and ran through the streets instead. He hoped that he would overtake him on foot better than he could by attempting to jump across the roofs like Dante could. He felt a bitter sense that he was in too deep with the Rebel here – that what he was doing was beyond natural and at the back of his mind this worried him.
He lifted his head to check on the Rebel briefly then cried out as a bullet streaked past him, not even millimetres from his cheek. He stopped, glaring up at Dante who was smirking with his gun aimed straight at him again. His hand twitched and Luke ducked and rolled to the side to avoid the bullet, straightened and shot a warning at the Rebel before he got to his feet again.
He heard the Rebel laugh cruelly as he began to run again, then leapt down from a roof and into the harbour. Luke cursed loudly again and followed him, reloading his gun. He raced through the gate then stopped dead in his tracks, staring at the barrel of a gun and cold blue eyes staring coldly at him.
"No warning shots." Luke felt a searing pain in his shoulder, and then the hard ground under his back.
Dante lowered his gun and stepped back from the railings on the boat. A small smirk lingered on his lips. He turned, heard a whooping from behind him and dropped this gun as Chee threw himself into Dante's arms and hugged him.
"Amazing as ever cousin!" he exclaimed, grinning. Behind them Lucifer shook his head but smirked.
"He was panicking about you a minute ago, he's faking this happiness. He never really believed in you" he said, dropping the bag of goods he and Chee had collected down a hole in the deck to another hooded man that had been keeping the boat guarded for them.
"Don't worry about me, I'll be fine. Okay?" Dante interrupted, ruffling Chee's hair smirking. Chee nodded and found a grin bursting onto his lips again.
"His face was priceless though." He grinned at the memory and leant back against the railings as the engine started up and the boat rocked shakily.
Dante bent to pick up his gun and Lucifer stepped up next to him, clapping his hand on his back, "That's gun skill for ya! Our Dante learnt from the best." he smirked, "Which is funny because- Chee!" The younger boy cried out and fell forward clutching his side. Lucifer fell to his side and rolled him over; eyes widening at the sight of blood.
Dante saw red and whirled to face the harbour. He saw that the soldier had propped himself up against an old crate and his hands were fumbling with his gun. "You damn little fucker." he snarled. He whipped his gun out and shot out three times at the mauve-haired soldier and was only satisfied when he heard a pained cry. Then he tucked the gun away and turned back to his cousin. He dropped to one knee next to him and glanced over the wound on his side. "How is it…?" he asked, looking at Lucifer briefly.
"Bullet only grazed him, but it's gonna need a stitch or two." Dante sighed softly and stroked his cousin's hair from his cheek gently.
"You'll be fine Cheeto." he said softly.