Zoë and the Midnight Battle
The streets of the city were quiet as I made my way to Rowan’s hideout. I knew she was waiting for someone else to arrive and I couldn’t very well miss the opportunity to take her by surprise.
Slinking in the shadows, it wasn’t difficult to avoid the city-goers as the hours dragged towards one in the morning. In the back of my mind, I rehearsed what I was going to say to the woman as I closed in on my destination.
Spotting the familiar apartment of my former partner, the one I could count on for anything, I felt my breath catch in my throat for just a second. I only let myself be overwhelmed with remorse and remembrance of what was to be left in the past before planning my entrance.
I used the years of gymnastics training I had been subjected to in order to make my way quickly and quietly onto the fire escape. I winced, rolling my eyes as the aging metal creaked and groaned beneath my feet.
Taking a breath, I prepared myself to break through Rowan’s glass window. I skillfully used my makeshift grappling hook to propel my feet into the glass, hoping to avoid any damage to my skin from the shards.
What I was not prepared for was to be taken out immediately by the force of a blunt object that must’ve been set there waiting for the poor unsuspecting bastard who fell into it. I was unsure of what exactly hit me, but I knew it hurt like a bitch and I was now down and out on the cement, groaning.
“Well, I wasn’t expecting you to be here.” Rowan mused her voice sounding honeyed as she admired me sprawled out on the concrete after having been smacked in the chest by an annoyingly, conveniently placed trap.
I wheezed in response, looking to regain the ability to inhale properly.
“Clearly you were, asshole.” I retorted. Rowan feigned hurt, standing over me.
“I’m the asshole? You just set off a trap that I spent an hour setting up. It wasn’t even at full working capacity yet.” She sighed, walking out of my line of vision.
The well-fitted, resilient material of my suit felt to be constricting my airway as I groaned.
“If you hadn’t come here, then you wouldn’t have been attacked by a trap that wasn’t meant for you, Zoë,” Rowan responded, without looking at me. She happened to be bent over a worktable, neatly organized with little assorted technological weaponry.
I finally managed to recover from the wind being so rudely knocked out of me, finding my way to my feet. I adjusted the mask over my eyes that, if we’re being honest, did little to nothing to actually hide my identity.
“If it wasn’t for me, then who?” I asked, taking a defensive position as Rowan sized me up, smirking.
“If I told you, then it would ruin all the fun, wouldn’t it? Besides, I could tell you my whole scheme, but that would be dumb. I’m really trying to break the stereotype of villains. You know, we are so poorly represented-”
I put a stop to Rowan’s rambling by swiftly kicking a leg from under the table, sending it off balance, and watching the gadgets roll to the floor. I regained my defensive stance as Rowan sighed, dramatically.
“Of all the villains in the city you just had to choose me, didn’t you?” She was quick to snatch one of the devices, firing it off. From the looks of it, it was a stun gun and I narrowly missed being hit as I dodged the so-called bullet.
“If not you then who else?” I quipped, randomly selecting another device that had fallen discarded to the ground. Not knowing what it was or anything about its function, I pressed a button that looked to be the way to activate it but was unlucky enough to realize it was a shock detonator that you are supposed to toss after activating.
Rowan’s genuine bouts of laughter were almost contagious as the blast sent me billowing backward, knocking me right off my feet and landing me once again, on the other side of the lair, on my back, and struggling for air.
“Ow,” I muttered as Rowan’s laughter eventually faded. It took me much longer to find my resilience as Rowan stepped over me once again.
“Can I get you anything? Water? An ambulance?”
“Piss off,” I grumbled. She gasped, dramatically placing her hand on her chest.
“Zoë I cannot believe you would say such a thing to me, I thought we were friends.” I rolled my eyes while Rowan smirked.
“You’re a psychopath.” I sneered.
“I’m a psychopath making a difference!” She exclaimed and I groaned, beginning to feel my patience getting tested.
“Are you going to shut up long enough for me to explain why I’m here?” I snapped, finally able to sit up. Rowan crouched down in front of me.
“And here I was thinking you just decided to pop in.” Her bright blue eyes were sparkling with delight as I rolled my own eyes, trying to convince myself this wasn’t a complete waste of my time. Though, Rowan was quickly proving me wrong.
“I’m gonna kill you,” I said, not working at all to hide my annoyance-ridden sarcastic attitude.
“Go for it,” Rowan smirked, bringing her face dangerously close to mine, “if I’m such a problem, then why don’t you just get rid of me, darling?” She whispered. I grimaced as goosebumps erupted over my skin and my heartbeat quickened.
“I can’t.” I seethed, clenching my fists.
“Oh? And pray tell, why is that?” Rowan asked while brushing some dirt and debris from my face from my two less than graceful impacts on the concrete.
“I need your help,” I murmured under my breath. Rowan smirked, her lips ghosting just before the shell of my ear.
“I’m sorry, darling. I didn’t quite hear what you said.” I clenched my fists together again, swallowing any pride I might have had.
“I said I need your help.” I watched with instant regret as Rowan’s already colossal ego double in size right before my eyes. I couldn’t help but notice the way her eyes lit up with glee or how she laughed in a way that walked a fine line between amusement and lunacy.
“Oh. Oh! Oh, this is-” she cut herself off, still reeling with my confession, “what could you possibly need my help with?” “Zhara Tate.” Rowan gasped, whipping around quickly to face me again. I could practically hear the gears in her head turning.
“What about her?” When I failed to respond, begrudgingly glaring at the floor, Rowan got her answer.
“Oh. Ohoho,” she laughed, loudly, “you can’t beat her, can you?” Rowan had then crouched down at my eye level again, grabbing my chin, forcing me to look directly at her soulless eyes.
“Clearly.” I venomously spat.
“So, you’re saying that you want me, a villain, to help you catch another villain?” I nodded, wordlessly, still scowling.
“That makes no sense!” Rowan exclaimed and I grunted.
“What do you mean!? Sure, it does!” I retorted, scoffing.
“Well, then Einstein, why don’t you explain it to me?” I rolled my eyes again, very much ready to fire back my own sarcastic reply.
“You think alike. You understand the mind of a villain. It’s textbook.” I announced. Rowan continued to look unimpressed, so I continued.
“Look, I hate this just as much as you do, probably more,” Rowan blew me a kiss while smirking devilishly at me, “But I really do need your help.”
For just a split second, I could see Rowan’s walls breaking down. The walls she had spent so long building up and pushing me away from.
“Come on, could you just consider it- I’m sorry wait what?” I stammered, not having expected her to cave so easily. Knowing Rowan, however, I was nearly positive there would be strings attached.
“What’s in it for me?” I sighed. There it was. Cue the strings.
“You help me, I don’t turn you in,” I revealed through gritted teeth.
“Turn me in? Turn me in, interesting. You haven’t done that yet, anyway, why should I be threatened by it now?” I glared at her, knowing fully well she was right.
“Fine. You help me, I don’t turn you in and I don’t see to getting rid of you.” This pulled Rowan’s attention, eyeing me cheekily. I held my breath while I prayed she wouldn’t call the bluff.
“Alright then. But we do this my way, Girl Wonder.” I rolled my eyes at the nickname, satisfying Rowan’s need to constantly get under my skin and prick each and every nerve in my body.
“Your way is illegal. Not to mention dangerous.” I commented.
“My way is more fun.” At this, I laughed, sighing, ready to go back on my proposal completely. Rowan just continued to smile, her eyes fiercely watching me. At my reaction, she grew seemingly peeved but it quickly faded back into pure amusement.
“Ugh, so you kill an elevator full of people one time! Get over it.” The smile gracing her lips was anything but sincere.
“You’re impossible.” Rowan leaned close enough to me that I was able to count the freckles dotting her cheekbones.
“You love it.” I closed my eyes, willing the chills running down my spine to cease.
“Keep telling yourself that.” I fired back. Rowan just chuckled to herself helping me up.
“Maybe you want to know what these bad boys are before just firing ’em off all willy nilly?” Rowan asked, tossing me one of the devices I had accidentally detonated.
“How am I supposed to know you’re telling the truth?” I asked, eyeing her closely. Rowan sighed, popping her hip out.
“Guess you’re just gonna have to trust me.” She taunted, packing up some things I supposed she wanted to bring with her. I stood by the window I had broken through, leaning with my back against the wall, arms crossed.
“Alrighty then, Darling, shall we?” I rolled my eyes for what felt like the millionth time, nodding.
“Let’s just get this over with,” I grumbled. I had missed Rowan’s shift in expression from her usual devilish grin to the sinister glare she now adorned as I climbed out onto the fire escape.
“Oh, just one thing, Girl Wonder,” I turned my head, questioningly to her, “I’m in charge.” With this, I gasped as she harshly shoved me from the fire escape. I could hear her echoing laughter as I plummeted towards the pavement below, squeezing my eyes shut as I prepared for impact.
Though, before I did, I groaned at the weight of being caught by something, just before hitting the ground. I opened my eyes, frantically looking around.
What I found was Rowan, still perched on the fire escape with my grappling hook in her hands, smirking down at me.
“Are you serious?” I seethed, already growing tired of her antics.
“Did you really think I’d let you escape that easily, Darling?”
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