No black magic can't control me
And no curse can let you own me
In that moment, when she is nothing more than a caught paralyzed fish on a hook forced only to watch as the one who ensnared her sealed her fate. It was in that moment when that fear gripped her heart she would have called him sweetheart if it only meant she could regain the use of her limbs. She uttered that so-called title of respect so tersely and full of disdain, unable to keep the riotous names she was calling him in her mind. How that defiance ricocheted through her, her own burning soul far from paralyzed then. This undead monster along with Risque and Tetradore served to be nothing more than a symbolism of oppression while she was never meant to be tamed. She might have choked out those very words... and yet it was impressive how she could make it sound more like an insult than even speaking those thoughts in her mind. So much fire that consumes her.... Fuels.. Her while also... working against her. While that tongue of hers could be incredibly entertaining it so often served her problems.
He ignored her, purposely. As if he knew that act alone would serve more damage than not. That arrogant bastard knew he had her right where he wanted her. She was on his playing field after all, so long as he held her within his grip. How she hated being at the vampire's mercy then. Hated having her physical power once more stripped from her upon a whim of his own making. But he could not have her mind. No, at least that was her own. His chuckle rose within his throat, a venomous sound that would have made her recoil... that sound far more goading than any threat or insult could ever inspire within her. That all too flippant, so-called praise that felt more insulting than any violence he could have offered in that moment. He knew it too... as those haunting calloused, cruel eyes remained upon her, all while he toyed with her like that was her only purpose in this world.
She had no choice but to watch on with that cruel smile upon his lips. It was a damn good thing her limbs were useless... how desperately she wanted to strike it from his face. Perhaps.. It was nothing more than a mercy. He continued that paralyzing gaze that only left her hopeless like a butterfly with its wings pinned to a board. Yet... what she did find.. Interesting was that... she could feel her powers. She felt them.. All too aware of that metal chain around his neck. How easy it would have been to do something with it. To force his gaze from her.. And yet... that would only betray her hand. She had few cards to play... better let the psychopath believe he possessed it all. How difficult it was to choose to give him that upper hand... even as he looked at her like she was a goddamn chocolate bar.... And he had low blood sugar. It was easy to keep up the charade of fear. His fangs terrified her in ways she would never admit allowed, not that she had too as her heart beat sang. She had no choice but to see that all too visible swallow, the very sound of it reminded her of the sound that very bite from the last time. Her jaw clenched in retaliation and while that tiny voice inside her mind... pleaded 'not again'. Yeah.. they said America was home of the free.. she called bullshit on that right now. So she stared down that barrel of the gun. So what if he did... It didn't break her the last time even though it certainly shook her once iron resolve and it sure as hell wouldn't break her now.
She drew in her self-forged composure as much as she could in that very moment. Even though she couldn't move a limb or even lift a finger to scratch an itch upon her nose. Why was it whenever you had no use of your hands you.. you had to scratch someone... always on your fucking face. She wrinkled her nose as if that helped.. if anything, it only made her all the more aware of it. She almost breathed a sigh of relief when he finished his stalling. That asshole even had a look of triumph upon his face as he released her. It felt SO damn good to blink, to move her hand to scratch that very itch. Ah.. small things.
She breathed a sigh of relief, hating the sound as it left her when she was finally free, her body tingling as her body slowly began to remember how to work again. There was a certain comfort in allowing her own fingers to run through Princess' welcoming fur. How quick Darcy was to snap upon his pet... sending her fleeing. It would seem... she knew all too well what it meant to know Darcy's own cruelty. Harley recognized that wicked grip of jealousy from that very action. She had seen it before in vampires before.. that over possessive behaviour over what was perceived was theirs. Poor Princess was... no match, cowering beneath her cruel master. She scampered off so quickly while Harley had no choice but to lose her emotional support cat as she told Darcy all she knew.. well.. some of it... Those select parts that she knew would only... send him off his trail just a little. He drummed his fingers upon his desk as if he was only vaguely paying attention, but she knew better. He was always aware. Too much so. She swore she could see that irritation run just beneath the surface of his skin. Yet...Apparently she wasn't the only one with reservations over Risque's brother. This could be something she could use to her advantage somehow.
Nathaniel... and Ryker. Two names she could have been content to never hear again.. and yet... to keep... Matteo safe.. Herself alive at this point.. she was willing to dredge up those very names that even left her feeling unsettled simply mentioning them. Yet, she owed neither of them any loyalty.. And to come after her now.. Would mean a strike against Risque. How convenient... a scapegoat.
Harley intentionally preyed upon the vampire's own possessiveness over what he had deemed his. Risque. It was a dangerous subject to bring up, she knew it and Harley had no desire to be under Darcy's stare again. Perhaps fueling into that possessiveness, if only a little could benefit her well enough to make those threats all the more real... even if it meant to rid himself of another player on his chess board. Those vampire's cursed names she spoke were not innocent by any means. As far as Harley was concerned... the world would have been a better place without them. Although it was still a gamble. One she was willing to take. That growl drew her attention, she had struck a nerve. Just as she had intended. That in itself felt..... powerful. The way he uttered those very words seemed to hold some kind of disturbing promise.. A wicked little threat uttered so... easily and yet revealing so much in that moment. She hardly twitched a muscle then.. Knowing that vampire was nothing short of volatile. They can't have her? His voice seemed to ring over in her mind. His obsession louder than ever and crystal clear.
Abruptly, Darcy rose to his feet, he was like a tower while she still sat upon that very bed. He moved with an obvious intent with only a singular command to follow. She resented that feeling.. To merely come when called. She hadn't a damn choice but to swallow it far down... the shards that were left of her pride and do just that. At the very least it felt good to have use over her limbs again. Oh legs.. How she loved you. Oh and her functional arms.. Too.. she could have kissed them.. If it wasn't so goddamn weird.
It was a breath of fresh air to not be under the spotlight of Darcy's interrogation. Oh hello there silver lining. Harley struggled to keep up using that newfound supernatural prowess to propel herself forward to at least somewhat keep up with the quick speed (by no means the blur of speed their kind was known to possess) but... short leg problems over here. Darcy moved with intent into the bowel of the beast, deep into the cavernous heart of Syn, well below the club itself and even the rooms. Where not even a scream could penetrate those walls.
This was where those nefarious secrets were kept buried beneath the skin, far underneath the perfect guise. She recognized this route.. it was the same one Matteo and her had taken.. that night. If only Darcy knew this wild goose-chase could end with her.. And her alone. There was a certain power she garnered in knowing that very fact, one that she allowed to envelop her.. It even brought a near smug look across her lips as Darcy remained oblivious to her... At least until they made it too that cursed room. A room where dreams...died.
How much she hated that room and its vile cages.. just as much as the creepy man who cared for those very cats. It was surprisingly still pleasingly bare. Ah that attack truly did strike Risque where it hurt most. What felt even better was knowing that she had been one of the reasons why. The room was eerily quiet with so few of the creatures that lingered within those very cages. Those that remained within those silver cages... looked far worse than she had seen before. Their spirit nothing short of demolished into pulverized ruin.
Harley tried not to linger upon their faces nor focus on the ones that could not truly be saved. She was still standing, and there were far more free... than not. It was a hard lie to believe and yet... she needed to focus on those facts. She refused to stand like a victim here.. The resilient strength echoed within her very stance. The moment she started carrying herself like a goddamn victim was the moment she became one. Her right thumb hooked into her pocket as she ran an all too casual hand through her raven silken locks, that gesture meant to appear unimpressed...even though it was more of a distraction to her own secluded thoughts. Darcy and Harley waited for the very man that.. gave her the creeps.. He freaked her out more than Darcy and that should have been enough to say something.
She even went as far to hover closer to the vampire, the irony of it not lost upon her and yet she embraced it anyways. At least she knew Darcy's game. This deranged piece of work summoned from a horror film.... Yeah.. not so much. All kinds of warning bells screamed in his very presence. She would not wind up in these cages tonight she vowed herself.. by any means. Even if it meant she had to suck up to Darcy a little. Ugh..the thought alone made her soul cringe.
Ruben appeared... worse than she even remembered him and far too keenly focused on her. Darcy... was the only thing standing between him and her.. There were no thick.. Silver infused bars to keep her safe. Her vibrant purple gaze fell upon him, as she observed every movement... ever twitch, every indication to his... potential next move.
Worst of all, it wasn't his mere presence she had to worry about, it was that twisted, delighted fascination he had with her. With all those felines... and with so few within that room... she was prime focus material. She crossed her arms tightly over her chest as if that somehow would ward off that disturbing... stare.
Fuck... those eyes that seemed to be able to look through your clothes.. And perhaps even your skin itself.. It made her feel like she was coated in grime and yet she was as clean as always. She had already taken a shower today and she was certain that not even a bleach bath would make her feel clean again. Ruben's near skeletal hand reached out as if he was going to pet her. Harley tensed, entirely ready for retaliation as her own lip curled in warning that was surprisingly an animalistic act of warning and self preservation.
Darcy rapidly stepped in front of her, without thinking.. striking the man's knobby hand that was attached to that long slender arm so impossibly fast. Ruben recoiled beneath the assault and Harley was damn sure that.. For a moment he considered challenging Darcy. What an interesting fight that would have been.
Her money was on Darcy for the record.. and for once.. In that instance and any other that... so served her.. she wanted him to win.
Still the display.. unsettled her.
Never did she anticipate Darcy's own possessive nature would extend to her. It was unpreventable, and yet it was another thing to witness it. Yet, there was little time to consider too much on it.. or the implications of that very fact. Especially when that plan and her part was finally revealed to her. She was entirely oblivious to the trap Darcy had begun weaving for her.. Nor was she... truly aware that she needed to shift in order to make this happen. She was getting a little too confident with her newfound footing. The spitfire, far too.. certain of how she could... twist this narrative.
Darcy's own gaze narrowed finally returned toward her.. She had admittedly allowed herself to run her mouth just a little too much. She wasn't intentionally.. Trying to him up and... simply by existing she was sure he would find some fault. Although that statement... it prompted a cheshire grin upon her feminine feature. Replace her with Tetradore? By all means... let her stay at home. For a moment she seemed oblivious as to what... that meant. The true ominous weight of that sentence. That warning growl.. Was ignored. "Aw Darcy.. You know how to compliment a girl." That easy sarcasm soon found her, that smile remained.. Until that realization struck her with such vibrant force. Of course... he insinuated... by replace, he meant... death. Fucking hell, vampires. Always so wound up murdery tight. She sighed, shrugging simply in reply to that very thought in her mind.
Ruben led the way to the poor serval that was nothing but skin and bones. The poor beasts breathing was even strained. She could hardly believe he was still alive, to begin with. He was on death's door, she knew it.. The depressed, weak feline hadn't even bothered to raise an eye. This was what broken looked like. This is what they did to unuseful things. This is what she was doomed to become if she didn't mind her tongue. The weight of it pressed down upon her. Fucking vampires.. This was why she could count on one finger... the amount of vampires she deemed acceptable. Darcy felt content enough to emphasize her own uselessness. "This is why you have Tetradore and not me. I won't brood him to death." she added... Tetradore, she was sure, lacked the finesse of making this poor defeated creature talk. Darcy had to know it.
She shrugged her slender shoulders easily, ignoring the fact that the moment she was deemed useless was the moment she looked a reaper in the eye... Or Darcy rather. She doubted Tetradore would get here before the poor feline kicked the bucket.. Which meant... even though Darcy was so keen on not admitting that fact. He needed her. She went back to ignoring the vampires, her eyes entirely upon the sickly, malnourished feline. She remembered him from that night, apart from all the other needy faces, he had way more fight in him then. How quickly the body deteriorated under stress and lack of food. Poor guy. Not even the seemingly hardened Harley could not stop that pity from her heart. Perhaps it should have... comforted her that she hadn't become a monster just yet. That she could look in the mirror and still see fragments of herself.
She missed the signal Darcy gave to Ruben who rushed to sharply poke the small spotted feline. She had seen him use it before, but the feline on the other end of it had far more life than this poor man did.
What did they do to him? She asked the words rhetorically.. not expecting a response and yet Ruben was content enough to answer Harley's question. His answer drew a sharp look of disgust to her features, as she cringed.. Every time he poked and prodded at that poor broken cat.
How the hell would Ruben heal this cat? He was so far gone.. it would have almost been a kindness to let him die. The dejected look within the Serval's eyes seemed to speak as much. Ruben seemed to continue his prodding. Poke.. poke. Poke. Each rib on his side made the were's skin twitch beneath that assault. Even Darcy's lip curled.. although it was probably more out of the creature somehow failing his task at answering those questions.
He poked underneath the feline's chin, causing the cat to raise his weary head. Even Harley wanted to look away.. and yet she didn't. She forced herself to watch that cruelty, if only to serve as a reminder of what she stood up against. A reminder of what happened when you failed. This could have very well been her..
Eventually the poor creature stood upon weak, trembling legs, the act entirely painful to watch. He could barely stand and yet they forced him to his paws anyways. Ruben's words slithered forward speaking to the Serval, offering him words of encouragement. He did this. It was then his beady eyes searching for Harley as he mentioned.. other pretty. Her... Somehow.. Kitty sounded better. Darcy shifted, his immovable form blocking the view of Ruben from Harley in that all too protective stance. That act useful at least for now and yet... she could not deny it disturbed her on some molecular level.
He eventually turned to face her, his form still blocking the unnerving vampire behind him. Darcy's demand came, flippant and yet no less potent as to what he wanted from her. He possessed not an ounce of care for the feline as he gestured towards it like yesterday's trash. Ruben... chimed in almost too eagerly. Fucker.. There went her plan. But there she saw it.. A glimpse as he moved to steal a glimpse at Harley.. Anticipation. He wanted her to shift.. So he could see it.
Darcy, however, seemed surprised.. his lack of knowledge of those nuances of those weres that lived here showed. Was he... never... given one? Like Risque basically gave her like some slave? Just how much he cared... to pay attention to the beasts his mate controlled was revealed then. How sure... she was that she could.... Misdirect him without turning furry.
Change. The word a single demand that snapped out like the crack of the whip and she was nothing but the animal to perform a trick. Darcy couldn't pull her feline from her.. not like Risque or Tetradore could. She would need to willingly change.. But that meant removing her clothes. There was no fucking way she was getting naked while Ruben watched. No goddamn way.
"I can't change while that creepy fuck watches." She uttered, gesturing toward the other vampire with clear disdain.
"I need to feel comfortable and I can't do that with either of you two staring at me. I've only just learned how to command it.." She crossed her arms ever tighter over her chest as though she felt the air on her bare chest. There was no hint of a lie within her words because they were true. "You gotta turn around and give a girl some room." She said with a firm nod of her head. "In fact... if you keep walking... over there... That would do the trick." She added, pointing waaay over to the opposite side of the room. She waited.. To see what she could get away with.. Hoped.... They would at least turn away. Nakedness... still held an intimacy to her.. One she was hardly ready to give up now. Even the bold had... boundaries apparently.
She turned... toward the feline in the cage. Knowing that there was still a man in there. He was going to die... or he was as good as dead... maybe give the man some semblance of hope. "I know its not freedom.. But at least... you get to see some.. boobs..." She said softly in simple jest to the feline, that iconic sarcasm lingered within her words. She could hardly admit the amused smirk that formed on her lips. Her gaze shifted toward Darcy and Ruben to see how much space. They were willing to give her to shift.
She turned to face that cage... slipping off that shirt first, followed by her bra.. Placing it on top of the cage where the Serval was. She swore.... She saw a spark of life within his eye... but she was probably just noticing the pale reflection of her own feminine physique. She shot a venomous glare toward Darcy and Ruben, preemptively to make sure neither man was staring. Not that she could stop them. But she was for damn certain that she would find some semblance of payback should they dare to. One day.
Next came her jeans, socks, and shoes and everything else until all that remained was a very naked Harley in all her glory. She stood tall even despite... feeling entirely exposed in that very moment, mumbling a few grumbled curses beneath her breath before the woman willed that shift. The sound of pain still brought a curse and soft cry to her lips.... Was it always supposed to hurt? Or did it get better with time?
Soon the woman was no more and all that remained was a sleek black panther whose tail twitched too and fro like a puppet on a string behind her like it possessed a mind of her own. A growl escaped her ebony lips as they peeled back to flash an irritated fang to the two vampire men to her left as she paced along those well-worn silver cages... every bit the wildcat that she was when human.. Finally mirrored on the outside. At least the positive thing about being a cat was finally she had real claws... and truth be told, she loved to use them.