Silence ensnared the air in a vice grip that seemed to muffle out all other sound. Not even the soft ticking of the grandfather clock seemed able to penetrate the barrier of grief that loomed in the Bridden house, a grief that was numbing to the very core. It was almost unimaginable that just a few hours before the same home had been filled with people, that noise and sullen chatter had existed beyond this emptiness. Worst of all it was impossible to even fathom that she was no longer here. In the stillness and quiet, with his father locked away in his room, it was almost as if nothing had happened and it was just another peaceful night at home. And if he closed his eyes and strained his ears he could almost hear his mother’s voice laughing down the hall from her room, could almost make out the scent of her perfume wafting around the house after a day of cleaning; but no, it wasn’t really there. There was no amount of pretending and wishful thinking that would leave her standing there when he opened his eyes. Just stillness, and silence, and a home empty of her.
Letting his head lull back against the back of the couch Knowlen’s hands came to run over his face with a somber sigh, his heart as heavy as his body with the weight of the day and the task of laying his mother down that had befallen them. He could still hear his father’s voice over the phone telling him that his mother was gone, that ringing anger and sorrow echoing at him in bitter insults as his father put his own guilt on his only son, blaming him and shaming him with the notion that it was Knowlens fault. Of course by now they had discovered that his mother had died of a clot to the brain; her swelling leg that they previously pushed off as a torn and swollen muscle actually being a clot blocking her vein. Of course that didn’t stop Matthew from tearing into his children, claiming that it was a broken heart over seeing her children become nothing that had done her in, that Knowlens leaving had been the final straw. And despite the evidence that health issues had been the cause, a little part of Knox couldn’t help but wonder if it was true.
Tired of his own self-loathing the young sniper stood from the couch with an exhausted grunt, his feet unusually bare as he still wore the black suit from the funeral, his tie and jacket along with his shoes abandoned in the living room to sit and rot for all he cared. He couldn’t be alone any longer. The silence and absence of his heart was too much for him to take on his own, and he had no doubts that his sister was feeling the same. The moment they had arrived home she had disappeared upstairs to hide, leaving Knox to tend to the rest of the family alone as his father broke into the whiskey early and vanished into his own room, the sounds of his drunken sobbing having faded only about an hour before now. Not having heard a thing from upstairs he had no idea what to expect; a part of him hoping that his sister had simply gone to bed, not wanting her to be sitting in her room crying like he was certain she was.
However upon the cautious inspection of her room he was surprised to find she wasn’t there, and with her window still latched he was certain she hadn’t snuck out either. “Anna?” His voice seeming so loud in comparison to the stark silence that soaked the halls, taking his time as he headed back toward the stairs to check the guest rooms as he went, pausing before the bathroom door as he spotted the light on. “Anna?” Trying again as he leaned against the door, straining his ears to hear something from inside, only to sigh when she didn’t reply. “Think Dad’s asleep…..probably should avoid him for a bit….I’ll take his stash of bottles ta tha Muller’s farm down tha way tomorrow….Wade’ll keep’em from drown’n himself for a bit…..I’ll stick around for a few days….as long as Mann Co. will let me…..I’m sorry I can’t stay forever Anna……really…..an’….I’m sorry I wasn’t here when ya needed me……I can only guess what Dad said ta ya…..”Pausing as he chuckled dryly, knowing just how cruel their father could be when he wanted to, especially to Dianna. “….certainly has a way with word’s doesn’t he?……Anna….I know what yer feel’n right now……we both loved’er…….don’t blame yerself…….it’s not yer fault….it’s no ones fault………not even Dad’s.” Again Knox paused as he leaned his head against the door, sighing as he waited for her to say something, anything; waiting to even hear her sob or sniffle. “Anna……please talk ta me……ya know I hate talk’n through tha door at ya……come on, open tha door……please.” And again nothing; just the stiff silence that had greeted him before, the same silence that filled the house like a suffocating cloud of sadness and anger. “Anna?” Giving a gentle rap at the door in hopes that it might cause her to move, giving him some sign she was listening. Getting no such sign his hand went to the door handle, his heart skipping a beat as he felt it resist the gentle twist to open, realizing that she had locked herself in. “Anna?!” This time banging on the door with more purpose, not caring if it angered or scared her, his determination pushing away any concern of pleasantries as panic and worry set in.
“Dianna!? Open tha door!” Despite the demand he didn’t wait for her to comply, throwing his weight against the door for all he was worth, making the wood bow against it’s hinges and frame as he began to use himself as a battering ram. “God damn it Dianna! Answer me!!” Slam, slam, slam, crash! The lock finally gave way to Knox’s foot, sending the door crashing in seconds before he followed, a noise between a growl and a sob crashing from him as he dove forward. Before him his sister sat limp and pale in the bath, red crimson streaks streaming from several gashes in her thighs, tinting the clear water with the pain that slipped from her. Utter fear and anger slashed through Knowlen as he yanked her unconscious body from the bath, grabbing whatever towels were closest to him before falling to his knees on the now wet floor, laying his sister out before he quickly began to tie towels around her thighs.
“Anna!” Her name coming out in a rush of pure panic as he tried to rouse her, his bloody wet hand coming up to gently smack at her face before he paused to even see if she had a heart beat; the thought of her lying here before him lifeless was enough to put a rock in the pit of his stomach, his heart nearly stopping as he pressed his fingers to her pulse. It was there, but it was weak, meaning he had gotten to her just in time, or at least he hoped so. “ANNA! Wake up! Please for tha love of god, open yer eyes!” Knox pleaded as he pulled her back into his arms, giving her a slight shake in another tempt to wake her, not pausing all the while as he stood with her. “Come on honey,……look at me,……come on, don’t do this ta me; ya can’t leave me alone.”
Wrapping her in a near by robe Knowlen didn’t bother to wait as he bounded down the hall and stairs, knowing that if he didn’t get her to the hospital, and quick, that she might not make it and he simply wouldn’t accept that. He had already lost his mother, the only woman in the world he loved as much as his sister and now he was hoisting the only one he had left into the cab of his fathers truck; her blood still on his hands. But that was the truth of it wasn’t it - that thought resounding hatefully in his mind as he put the truck into gear and floored the gas. Her blood was on his hands, just like their mothers. Perhaps his father was right, maybe just a little; if he had waited a few weeks more to leave for the base his mother might still have been alive and he wouldn’t be about to lose his only sister.
Oh Knowlen! Je suis désolé! Zat is awful.
"Non?" He repeated in surprise, though a part of him wasn’t. Ever since the young spy had joined the base he hadn’t let her out of his sight for long, the petit dame earning an almost daughter like spot in his life. Idly he let his fingers continue to trace over her soft pale arms as she cooed behind him, their loving caress pausing for a moment as she confessed her interaction with the young sniper; Bridden being a name he was starting to hear to often. "Est-ce si chérie? Un Sniper doux, dites-vous?" His tone not hinting at the devious thoughts of how to rid the sniper from her presence that fluttered wickedly in his mind. "Tell me about him."
Forgive me mes amis for ma extended absences, life has continued to take a turn for moi and has not told me of when it shall let up. I ‘ave certainly missed speaking wiz mes amis, hope I ‘aven’t kept jou waiting for too long.
Legs crossed and a cigarette in hand, Charles’s dark brow slowly rose as he felt the familiar weight of a particular doux spy as she cradled him from behind. His soft leather gloved fingers trailing over her delicate arms as he glanced over his shoulder to peer at the dame. “Ooh, bonjour mon amour.” He cooed sweetly, enjoying the contact from his youngest student as she nuzzled into him. “Lonely, ma douce petite fleur? Oh but how could zat be? I’m sure jou’ve made plenty of friends by now cher.”
Propping the dinging white lawn chair back on it’s hind legs, Knox took a moment to consider the question, his achievements being just as high as his failures. “Hm, well I suppose it depends on what yer ask’n for; achievements in me work or personal life. In work, my greatest achievement would be make’n my sister inta tha snipe’a she is today. For me personal life, I’d have ta say Alaine is my greatest achievement; I mean no, we haven’t been see’n each otha for very long but…” The sentence trailing off for a moment as the chair landed back on all fours. “I just have this feel’n this is for tha long haul…..an’ that’s certainly work more than anythin’ I’ve done so far.”
"Ya must forgive me spook." The masked man growled as he leaned against the door frame of the kitchen. His tall form looming from the door way as he spoke. His husky tone mixed with a hint of honest remorse made him almost puppy like. "Didn’t mean to run out on ya like that…. wouldn’t want ya to go wantin now would we?" he chuckled as he drew closer. His calloused hand coming up to cup his face as he pulled forward. Crushing the mans lips against his own in an earth shattering kiss. "I missed ma spoi." he growled lowly.
The evening had been quite for the base, the team seeming to have settled down after a long day of training, even the Demo’s had put away their sticky bomb blasting for the night to rest. Having always had trouble sleeping Charles stood before the stove warming a pot of flavored cream and milk, his mind lost in deep thought as he let the soft sweet scent of the mixture and the soft scrape of the spoon against the bottom of the pot lull him into a soothing trance. Assured by the silence that his comrades had long since gone to bed he felt safe enough to venture out in nothing but his loose sleep pants and mask, the silken dark navy fabric catching against his skin in some place but leaving the rest of his lower form a mystery as he stood stirring. The lack of his usual attire leaving the vast expansion of his back open to see, leaving the number of pale battle scars exposed without hindrance, giving some hint as to the years behind his skin. Even before the sniper spoke Charles noted the soft crush of his boots against the floor as he approached, not making any move to hide himself in the least as Eugene’s frame lounged against the doorway. Listening a soft curl pulled at the edge of his lips with amusement at his words, the barest of low chuckles tickling the air before switching off the stove top as his warming mixture was done. “Hmm, non, certainly wouldn’t want zat would we?” He mused, pouring the content of the pot into a precedence mug next to the stove as he continued on what he had been originally doing, sighing softly at the creamy coffee scent that curled in the steam that billowed up from the glass as the hot liquid dissolved the powder within. However as he began to slowly stir the reaming clumps in the mug his attention was stolen away as the sniper drew forward, pulling his gaze upward seconds before the Bushmens rough hand cupped his face, claiming his lips with his own in the next instant in a kiss that left Charles hands abandoning his drink to slide up the mans broad chest. A soft chuckle breathing out against his skin as he soaked in his words a moment later, surprised by how much he enjoyed hearing the “my” in his statement. “Did jou now?” He cooed thoughtfully, taking advantage of one of the rare moment he was glove-less to caress at the skin just under his collar, “And ‘ow much did jou miss jour spy?”
I know zat I ‘ave been a way for a while, pardonnez-moi, life has kept me away. But since I do ‘ave some time on ma hands, anyone care to keep a lonely spy company? I do miss hearing from ma wonderful chéries.
….Mon name is Madilin and I will be ze espion taunting jour dreams for now on, whezer it is out of fear or pleasure, zat is up to jou. Zoughs closest to moi call me Maddy, but for everyone else I am known as a widow of sorts. A….veuve noire, or more a bleu one. If jou let jour curiosity get ze better of jou in a quest to ze reason behind ze name, zen jou just might ‘ave ze misfortune of finding out first hand. But there are less beautiful hands to die at, non?