A/N: Umm heyyyy guys... uhhh sorry for the long wait XD I know, it's been months! This chapter has literally been done since I last posted. In fact I posted this chapter before but deleted it because at the time, I wasn't sure if I liked this chapter. However after this long, nothing has changed so I figured I might as well post it and go with it. The main problem is that in this chapter comes the newer plans for the story while I was still clinging to the old plans because I had pre-written scenes that I liked :/ However those will now not be incorporated because of the newer twists and whatnot, soooo yeahhh. Oh well I guess, I do like the new twists better, so I guess that works out. Maybe.
For those who asked why you couldn't find chapter 8 even though there was one review for chapter 8 - because I deleted this chapter before. Only Cuppie reviewed it before I deleted it, so her review still stands. Hope that clears things up!
I am going to seriously try and get back into this story (I do love the characters after all!) and I have been thinking about adding another story between this one and Carnage, as a sort of break for the characters and whatnot. I want to get into Lo's family life, which is in Carnage, (including what he is if you haven't figured it out yet) but I also want them to do something else as well. When I was first creating this series I had many books planned out (like ten of them, sheesh) so I will probably just incorporate some of those. Originally this series was supposed to be about them hunting down rogues and that was it, which a sort of random background of Red and whatnot, here and there, but then it changed and now it's mostly about the monster half and Red and whatnot, and jobs on the side. I might do some one-shots focusing on random jobs though because I had some pretty neat rogues planned out and I am afraid I might never get to use them :(
ANYWAY this is getting long sooooo yeah sorry again for the delay and I hope you are still reading this!
Oh and if you are waiting for an update on An Unexpected (and Unwanted) Surprise (I have got to find a better title, sheesh) then you might be disappointed because I am wary of writing the next chapter without you know Lo's backstory, because it pertains to what he is and whatnot and that technically hasn't been mentioned even though it's not that hard to figure out XD So yeah, we'll see how that goes...
Chapter length: 2672
Chapter Eight: Trouble
The world left Lo's mouth of its own accord as he jumped to his feet, throwing the covers back as he stared at the emotion taster. Not a rogue; not someone not in control; it was Taylor, as he'd always been, as Lo knew him. Taylor, with his not-so-pale face and warm, familiar golden eyes and lack of wings. Not Taylor, with red eyes who went by the name of 'Jordan'. This was Taylor.
The Taylor he'd always known – the one he loved, the one he'd been searching so hard for. The one he'd been wanting to see ever since he learned the emotion taster was the rogue Corbin sent people after.
As red as those eyes had been before – strange, unfamiliar, and angry – these golden eyes were full of mirth and a touch of sadness. There was no anger in them that he could see, and he liked to think he was good at reading Taylor's expressions.
Taylor. You're here. You are, right?
He hoped he wasn't dreaming right now. After so long…he just wanted things to be okay again. Was that so much to ask?
The word cracked in the middle as he stepped forward a little more, eyes never leaving the emotion taster's face.
Taylor stepped out of the shadows somewhat even as Lo took a step toward him. A part of Lo wondered if he was still dreaming, because this couldn't be real. Taylor couldn't really be here, because currently he wasn't in control. Yet here he was, in control and watching him, not snarling or glaring or anything, and a much larger of Lo told his mind to shut up, because this was Taylor.
"Is it…you?" he asked when the emotion taster didn't answer.
A sheepish smile overtook Taylor's face as he brought a hand up and rubbed at the back of his neck, giving into a faint, embarrassed chuckle. "Hey, Lo," he said quietly. "I think I've…been kind of…not myself, huh?"
At the words, not growled but simply stated, Lo couldn't stop himself. In an instant he was pushing Taylor against the wall, hands firm on his shoulders. Once there he wasn't entirely sure what to do next, because nothing really seemed appropriate. So he swallowed and watched the emotion taster's face for a moment.
"It's…you, right? Not…it's you? Taylor?"
He hated the way his voice cracked a little, but Taylor only smiled.
"It's me," he said quietly.
Lo took in a slow breath and nodded before he leaned his head forward, resting his forehead against Taylor's, feeling the warmth of his skin as his fingers curved into his shoulders, pinching at skin, pulling at fabric. Hands that were not his own came up and grabbed the front of his shirt over his chest, pulling him closer, and for a long moment, the two simply stood there, holding onto each other. The quiet rush of breath was warmth across Lo's face as he allowed his eyes to close, holding tight to the fabric clutched in his fingers.
"Taylor," he said quietly.
"Lo," came the reply.
I missed you.
Lo swallowed, trying to find the words, but at the moment, his throat refused to let him speak even though he wasn't sure why. Taylor was here – right here – and he couldn't say anything. He didn't know what to do, because he wanted to do so much at once he didn't know where to start. He didn't know what to do or what to say.
So he just held tight to the emotion taster and stayed where he was.
But then a jolt went through them. Lo jumped back without meaning to, eyes wide as he stared at Taylor, who threw his head back into the wall with a groan, eyes shut.
"T," Lo hissed, moving toward him again.
Taylor held a hand up and Lo stopped. "It's fine. Don't."
"I just…I need to be going," Taylor said quietly, eyes locked on the ground, expression downcast.
"What?" Lo repeated, staring at him.
"I'm not supposed to be here," the emotion taster murmured. "But I just…I wanted to see you."
"What do you mean, you're not supposed to be here?" Lo stepped toward him and Taylor sighed, shaking his head.
"Technically, I don't exist," he said quietly, and Lo stared at him.
"What? The fuck's that supposed to mean?" He was pretty sure he didn't like the sound of that.
"Taylor Moore," he said. "Taylor Moore doesn't exist."
He sounded more like he was reciting something rather than speaking for himself, but Lo listened, and shook his head. "Yes he does," he said, because Taylor was right in front of him, and he certainly existed.
"It's complicated. But I…I need to be going."
He moved toward the window.
"No," Lo growled, snagging Taylor's shoulder, spinning him around so the two faced each other. "You're not going anywhere."
I'm not letting you go again.
"Lo…I have to."
"No. I'm not letting you out of my fucking sight," the blonde said, narrowing his eyes.
"Lo…you don't understand," Taylor said, giving him an apologetic smile. "It's okay. I'm okay. Everything's okay."
"No, it's fucking not," Lo said, because as much as he wanted to believe it was, the tone of Taylor's voice just left a dark pit in his stomach, and he knew things weren't okay. "It's not okay. And you…what's shocking you?" He reached for Taylor's wrist even as the emotion taster tried to shift his arm away. "Taylor. Let me fucking look. Fuck."
Taylor sighed and nodded, holding his arm out for him. "Just…don't touch it," he said warily.
Lo nodded and lightly pulled Taylor's sleeve back, eying the device. Prongs poked through the skin even though the skin seemed to have healed…around it? It was like the thing was actually a part of the arm now, and Lo felt a growl catch in his throat.
"What the fuck is this?"
"I don't know."
"When have I ever been mechanically inclined?" Taylor asked, raising a brow. "All I know is…it's…well. It shocks me."
"I know. Why?"
Taylor's gazed skittered away. "I need to be going."
"No," Lo snapped, glaring at him. "I told you, you're not going anywhere. Do you hear me?"
"I can't stay here, Lo."
"Why the fuck not? Taylor – fuck, do you know how fucking hard I fucking looked for you?" Lo asked, watching him, because after so long of searching…he wasn't just going to let Taylor leave. Not again.
"Lo…" Taylor's expression softened as he looked at Lo. "You didn't have to do that…"
"Didn't have to…?" Lo stared at him. "What the fuck, Taylor? You were fucking missing! Of course I fucking looked for you! What did you expect me to do?"
Taylor shrugged. "I don't know. I just – ngh!" he said as another shock went through him. This time Lo watched as the device crackled and came to life, the prongs tightening into the emotion taster's wrist, wires sparking as rivulets of electricity shot through the prongs into veins.
"Let me get that off," Lo said, reaching for the device.
Taylor yanked his arm away, eyes wide. "No, don't touch it," he said quickly.
"Don't touch it," he said again.
He watched as the gold gave way to violent red, watched a snarl overtake Taylor's face, and felt his heart seize in his chest.
"Taylor," he hissed, grabbing his arm in a firm grip. "Don't you dare – snap out of it!"
I'm not losing you again!
A smirk crossed the emotion taster's face, but it wasn't kind or warm. "Ahh, the little lost puppy," he said, watching Lo.
"Taylor," he said.
"Sorry, Taylor's not here right now. And we're not supposed to mention that name."
"What the fuck? Taylor, snap out of it!" Lo said, tightening his grip.
Red eyes flashed and claws scratched against his hand as his fingers were pried away from the fabric. He growled and held his hand to his chest as it throbbed, little specks of blood splattering his shirt.
"You know," Taylor said, walking around him, eying him up and down, "I didn't realize it was you before. I mean – they referred to you as Logan, not Lo." He shrugged. "I should have known, I guess. Honestly I'm a little disappointed. The way Red talks about you, you'd think you were a threat!"
"Red," Lo growled, anger flashing through him at the name. If there was anyone he wanted dead, wanted to kill with his bare hands, it was that guy. A thousand times over. "Taylor – I know he hurt you, but…you gotta snap out of it, okay?"
Not losing you again.
The emotion taster rolled his eyes. "I told you – my name isn't Taylor. Taylor Moore doesn't exist."
"That's a lie," Lo snapped.
More than anything, Taylor existed.
A jolt went through the emotion taster and red eyes closed momentarily, and then opened again, a little darker this time. "You know – he shouldn't have come here."
Lo growled, glaring, unsure what he meant.
"He's just going to get us both in trouble."
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"That's right – the little doggy has a little brain," Taylor said, smirking at him.
"My name is Jordan," Taylor said, eyes narrowing into a glare. "Taylor doesn't exist."
"Yes he fucking does."
Another jolt went through him, causing the emotion taster to bow his head briefly. Sparks ignited around his wrist and he released a breathy growl.
When he looked up again, fangs showed in his mouth as he panted, face pale.
"Taylor?" Lo stepped forward.
"Taylor doesn't exist!"
A jolt, a growl, and then a laugh. "Taylor Moore died two months ago, screaming in pain and begging for…who was it? Oh, yes. Begging for you." Fingers shoved into his chest and forced him to stagger backward, even as he stared at the emotion taster. "Cried out for you, asked you to save him but of course you never did, did you?"
"Fuck you," Lo snapped, mind racing.
"Taylor Moore died two months ago…"
"Taylor Moore doesn't exist."
"Taylor doesn't exist."
"…died two months ago…"
"He's not dead," Lo said, glaring, growling. "Because you're him! You're Taylor! Now shut the fuck up and take control!"
He lunged forward and slammed the emotion taster into the wall, his back against it. His hands held firm to his shoulders, pinning him there, keeping him in place. Red eyes glared at him and fangs snapped at the air, a breathy growl emerging from the tinged lips.
"I am not Taylor," the emotion taster said, voice surprisingly low, rough, and…honest. "Whatever's left of him will become part of me. Taylor Moore doesn't exist because he died two months ago when I shoved a knife into his heart. But then, you know all about that, don't you?"
Lo snarled and shook him, slamming his head backward into the wall despite the fact this was Taylor and he didn't want to hurt him, but fuck. Fingers clawed into the emotion taster's shoulders, pricks of blood slushing between his fingers as his nails scraped against bone, but if it hurt, the red eyes gave no sign.
"Well, I shouldn't say I did it," the emotion taster said, smirking at him in that way that made Lo want to punch him in the face, but he couldn't because this was Taylor. "I should say Taylor did it."
"What?" Lo growled, watching him. He thought he understood what he was saying but there was a part of his mind which wouldn't put all the pieces together, despite how much he tried to think so he wouldn't have to listen to this guy talk all the time.
This guy. It's Taylor. Don't start thinking it's not.
"He failed," the emotion taster said. "He was supposed to do one simple job – and he failed. That means punishment." At the word a dark expression crossed his face. Lo watched, jaw clenched. "After a while, Red gave your little friend a choice – do as told and receive rewards, or take the only way out."
Lo growled and barely managed to keep himself from doing anything else. Instead he kept his grip firm on those shoulders, even though Taylor currently wasn't trying to move away or anything.
Red eyes locked onto his.
"And Taylor chose for it to end. And he rammed that blade through his own chest with such determination!"
"Shut up!" Lo snarled, snagging the fabric of Taylor's clothes. He yanked him away from the wall and threw him across the room, where he smacked into the bed and hit the ground, laying there momentarily.
With a growl, the emotion taster got to his feet.
"You're lying," Lo said, glaring at him, taking deep breaths because fuck…
I'm sorry, Taylor. My fault. Sorry.
"Oh, doggy, I'm not," the emotion taster said, shaking his head.
"Then how the fuck are you here, huh? If you're fucking dead then how are you here!"
"Because I'm not Taylor. He died months ago. Taylor doesn't exist. He took himself out of the picture – now it's just me!"
"What the fuck do you mean?" Lo snapped, glaring, because he was tired of these fucking games. He just wanted a straight answer. He wanted to know what was going on, how to get Taylor to take control again…
How to recapture that moment earlier…the moment when everything was okay, because Taylor was there, he was in control, and he wasn't going anywhere. Lo would never let him out of his sight again if he'd just take control. He'd smile and fix steak every damn night if Taylor would just snap out of it.
He just wanted all of this to be over.
Taylor shook his head, a smirk on his face even as another jolt went through him. There was a brief pause, and pain flashed briefly in his eyes, but it was gone when Lo blinked.
"Taylor," Lo said quietly, watching him, "you gotta snap out of it, okay? I…Taylor, c'mon. I need you to-"
"Oh, I'm sorry – you need something? Where were you when he was crying out for help, hmm? Because I know where I was!" the emotion taster said, barking out a bitter laugh even as Lo bit down hard on his tongue, glaring.
I tried. I tried to be there. I tried so hard to find you…and I failed, and I'm sorry.
He closed his eyes and took in a deep breath, but it never calmed him. He wasn't sure why he even bothered anymore. When he opened his eyes, he found himself staring at empty space. He spun and looked around the room, but no one was there. Upon looking at the window, he found it open, the curtain moving lightly with the slight breeze.
Lo growled and stuck his head out the window, but saw nothing out of the ordinary. No sign Taylor had ever been there.
Fuck. I lost him again. I let him go again. Fucking again.
"Taylor Moore doesn't exist."
"…died two months ago…"
"Taylor chose for it to end."
He leaned forward, against the wall he previously shoved Taylor against, and let his forehead rest on the plaster. Taking in a slow breath, he pulled his head back and then rammed it forward.
"And…and know that I love you."
"I don't blame you."
"You'll be okay."
"I love you."
He rammed his head forward again and again, until there was an indentation in the wall and he felt too dizzy to stand.
He found the pain was better than thinking about any of this.
Movement behind him had him spinning, staggering over his own feet due to the wave of dizziness that threatened to overtake him.
Something smacked him hard in the face and he toppled backward.
The last thing he saw before his world went to black was a pair of dark, dark red eyes.
A/N: Ah, so, Lo got a happy ending only for it to end again :/ I almost feel bad for the guy. And writing Taylor/Jordan is fun to write, actually! Jordan, admittedly, is more sarcastic and bitter (and can also be deadly calm) but still, it's fun. Anywho, thanks for reading (if you still are) and please review! (they make me update faster!)