This is a trigger warning for Violence, Gore, and Cannibalism. Please read with caution.
Obsidian had just gotten home from Columbus, and no one would dare look him directly in the eye. The amount of rage and heartbreak coming off of him was palpable. No one knew what to do about it, not even Mal or Sulphur, though they discussed it in hushed tones when they were out of earshot of their long-time friend. They had known Obsidian for twenty-two of the man’s twenty-six years of life, and still, they had no idea how to help.
It was hard to help a friend who had just discovered that his family hadn’t even missed him. He had gone to try and find his family, his blood family, and he had found a happy family of four, with a younger sister who was every bit as powered as him. A little sister they had kept. A little sister whose warmth and light had been brilliant, who he had watched soar through the sky with the biggest grin he had ever seen on someone.
A sister who wore a suit of red and black and a mask that barely disguised her at all.
That had hurt. That had hurt him deeply. He couldn’t face the parents who had apparently given him away, the parents whose faces he barely remembered. Instead, he had gone to see her.
He hadn’t meant to let his anger take over. He hadn’t meant to kill them. Not really. He had just wanted to talk, but seeing her, his little sister, with that other girl, and how happy they looked, hearing the other girl scream her name as she ran toward her, her with the copper hair so much like his own– the rage had taken him. She had everything he should have had. She was everything he should have been. Instead, he’d been stuck in Brightheart for twelve years.
Instead of running free through a small town at night with two younger siblings, he had grown up in a cell.
Instead of having understanding parents who helped him control his powers, he had been torn to pieces in a lab.
Instead of having everything, he had nothing.
She had everything. She had the loving parents, the adoring friend, the brother he had always wanted. And he couldn’t stand that. He couldn’t help the rage that had risen up in his chest. One moment he had been watching her from around the side of a building, and the next he was storming through the downtown of their little suburb, taking as much as he could from anyone who got too close. That had drawn the two girls in, and while the dark-haired one had gone and gotten everyone out of range, he had grabbed his sister by the throat.
She had been so pretty. They’d had the same eyes, the same hair, the same skin. Looking at her had given him just a flash of memory– their mother’s face, crying as he was led away by the scientists at Brightheart. He had barely been four years old. But he remembered her soft, heart-shaped face with her wild red curls the moment he saw his sister up close, through the haze of his shadows. She never saw him. He couldn’t decide if that was for the best or not, that her last moments hadn’t been of his crying face.
So Obsidan sat, chain-smoking in the downstairs office of their huge house, his head lost in memory as he tried to banish the sight of her fear-filled eyes. Killing her had killed whatever part of him felt remorse. That wasn’t why her eyes were stuck in his head. No, it really wasn’t.
It was the rage. It was the fact that he felt like she had died too quickly. He wanted her to suffer, and instead, he had given her a few measly seconds of fear. It was nothing compared to what his quickly darkening heart had wanted to do after the fact. He’d almost gone to try to pump enough energy back into her to bring her back, so he could figure out what he really wanted to do. But by then, the police sirens had been closing in, as had a few cars, one of which he had recognized as the Walsh car.
So he had faded into the dark of the night and escaped. The next day he was back in Philly, and that had been that.
If only he could forget about her. If only his hate for her wasn’t so intense. If only he didn’t regret her quick death.
There was a knock on the door of the study, and he looked up, shaken from his reverie. Standing in the open doorway was Sulphur, his tall frame just barely fitting in the door. Behind him was their “oldest” recruit, Lapis, her short hair streaked with blue and her eyes a wide and steely grey. Lapis had been with them for the last three years, the moment she’d graduated from the foster system. She had been the first one that Obsidian had found, the first one who had a reason to hate humans, with her broken bones, her starved frame, and her dirty face.
Now, she was healthy, even if she never really got bigger. At least she no longer had broken bones that she had to pretend weren’t.
Obsidian looked from her back to the hawkish face of his brother. “Sulphur. What can I do for you?”
“Oh, can I tell him, Phur? Please let me tell him!”
The tall blonde man, whose mouth had been open to speak, stopped and chuckled. “You can tell him. You’re the one who found the lead, after all.”
“Yes, yes, yes! Okay, listen up Boss, I found something interesting. I think there’s another meta-human in Philly! I’ve been tracking some missing persons reports and watching the serial killer forums, and word on the street is there’s a meta who's taking scumbags out. And the online reports are calling him a monster. Like a real monster. Some of them refer to him as a carnivore in human skin!”
Obsidian immediately paused, listening with intent. A monster meta, hmm? He was quiet for a long moment afterward, and then he turned around, swiveling his chair until he was facing them entirely. “How reliable is your intel? How soon can we move on this?”
The girl gave a sharp-toothed smile, her petite and sharp-boned face taking on a dark cast. “Well if the patterns are right, this guy kills once every two weeks, maybe twice.. There are some descriptions of what he looks like, and there are some patterns to where he appears. If my information is right… We should move tomorrow. He’ll be killing then. Or whatever it is he does.”
“What do you mean by that, Lapis?”
“They don’t find the bodies of the people he’s reportedly taken. Not even pieces. It's a mystery what he does with them.” Lapis collapsed her hands together in front of her, practically bouncing on her heels. She looked so excited that Obsidian smiled.
“And what makes you think he’s a meta, exactly? Why isn’t he just a serial killer?” His hands came up to fold under his chin as he leaned forward. He was hoping that Lapis would have something concrete, but they had gotten Rhody with far less information before. Hell, they only got her because Mal had a hunch. So while concrete was better, anything was worth going off.
“Sorry Boss, only vague reports of excessive strength and speed. Nothing concrete or provable.”
Obsidian thought on it for a moment, then nodded his head. The way he figured it, there was nothing to lose. If it was a human serial killer, it would be good food for him, especially now that the glow from his sister and her friend was finally wearing off, and he was back to being colder than normal. He would have to feed in the next forty-eight hours no matter what. But if it was a monstrous meta, maybe something with the ability to get rid of bodies after kills, well. That could be useful. An unfortunate amount of people needed to disappear at times, but even with Mal’s experience, there was only so much lye you could buy before it became suspicious, and there were only so many ways to make bodies disappear.
“Alright. We move tomorrow. Get a map planned out and we’ll suit the others up. Remember, vests and 9 millimeters, for everyone, I don’t care what Mal thinks about it.”
Lapis squealed and ran out of the room, Sulphur stayed and was quiet for a moment. He was waiting for something. Obsidian wasn’t going to be the one who spoke first, however, so he stared up at his brother. “Will this help? Help you get out of this fucking room again and stop obsessing over it?”
Sulphur didn’t mince words, even as he spoke in such a clear and almost analytical way. He didn’t bother with niceties, or with beating around the bush. He hit you with exactly what he thought, what he felt. Obsidian smiled, feeling a bit of warmth at the man’s concern.
“Go help her prepare. She’s nowhere near as good a tactician as you are, Sulphur” As close as he could get to say yes. As close as he could come to saying he needed it, he needed someone new to love. As close as he could come to saying that he needed another monster in his life, a vicious one whom he could share the newly unleashed monster in himself with.
But Sulphur understood, and he nodded his head in agreeance before leaving the room.
It was dead of night as Obsidian walked the streets of Philly. He had taken up position on the upper end of South Philly, the furthest north that their reported meta was likely to be. It was chilly as it was nearly December, and the man pulled his coat tighter around him, trying to preserve as much of his body heat as possible. He was passing by the remains of the Royal Theatre, trying to light himself a cigarette. The breeze was strong enough that it kept putting out his lighter.
With a sigh, he took a quick look around and then walked into the decrypted building. It wasn’t like anyone was going to see him, not this late at night, and the place was long since abandoned. There would be no security, no cameras, no anything.
Honestly, it was exactly the kind of place his family was looking for.
They’d been searching all night for this meta, but so far had come up empty-handed. Obsidian wasn’t too hopeful at this point, but still, he persisted. Maybe they would get a lucky break. He carefully climbed in through the rubble by the door and found shelter from the wind. Well, enough he could light up his cigarette.
He clicked the lighter, and as he did, he knew something else had started to make noise further into the building.