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When a Queen and Emperor Collide (WORM: Time-Travel, Khepri!Taylor/Teen!Kaiser)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by dhazellouise, Oct 6, 2019.

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  1. Threadmarks: Prologue
    dhazellouise

    dhazellouise Prolific Writer - Moodboards Maker

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    Summary: In desperate need to stop Scion before he attacks, Taylor Hebert, or Khepri, is sent to the past to stop him with Phir Se’s help during Gold Morning. As a result, she ends up in the year 1994, but unexpectedly lands in the middle of a baseball game, where Max Anders is playing. Coincidence? Well, the resulting collision between a Queen and Emperor can be felt through time. (Worm: Time-travel AU, Khepri!Taylor/Teen!Kaiser)

    Author’s Note: So in this story, Taylor goes back many years into the past. From June 2013 of Gold Morning to around Spring of 1994. So Max Anders will still be in highschool at this time and he is 18 years old, when Taylor arrives. Also, Taylor is in her canon age during Gold Morning in this story.


    [​IMG]



    After the deaths of billions and the number of defeats they experience during Gold Morning, Taylor planned for the chance to take Scion down before he can launch an attack all throughout the alternate earths. Fortunately, she has the mind to assemble an army and delay the inevitable destruction of every reality while Taylor swiftly move to enact her last plan to stop Scion.

    Currently, Taylor is grateful that her passenger has completely stopped bleeding into her personality and her mental deterioration has ceased due to a specific cape she fortunately finds in Earth K, who has the ability to reverse and heal any kind of injury or ailment at an atomic level, even to the point that her Corona Pollentia is altered more for her benefit. In addition to that, Taylor is able to get her arm back as well. So she is now completely whole again, and if not for that, she would not have been able to find different ways to stop Scion from completely obliterating everyone for six consecutive days.

    Now, as Khepri, she made use of Phir Se to create a doorway further back into the past, much further than the cape usually does with his power. Unfortunately, Phir Se can only send one person back in time and Taylor knew that this still requires a certain sacrifice for it to work. Thus, Phir Se would have to die in the end.

    “Just keep in mind that this journey is going to be dangerous. You might not even end up somewhere on land in Brockton Bay. Or know how many years you are going to travel into. So you better be prepared.” Tattletale tells Taylor right before Phir Se opens the doorway.

    Not wanting to draw attention to herself upon her arrival, Taylor Hebert decides to leave her armor and anti-gravity pack while she chooses to bring her trusty knife. She knows that she has plenty of time to get a new armor and gear, one way or another while she's stuck in the past. So she forgoes in attiring herself in full battle regalia, but also mainly because her entire armor and equipment suffered too much damage during the Gold Morning attacks. Thus, she chooses to wear something that will make her remain inconspicuous when she arrives.

    As she is transported back to the past, she is already prepared for the inevitable. She is even expecting to end up somewhere in the ocean, but what she doesn’t expect is something like this.

    The moment she arrives, Taylor already feels like she is ready to empty the contents of her stomach. Worst. She is dizzy, weak and about ready to collapse. She hasn’t even able to scan her surroundings yet, or even notice the surprise shouts from all around her, when something suddenly hits her in the face so hard that her head whips back. A flash of pain immediately burst from her left cheek, where the object had hit her. Not a moment later, Taylor drops to the ground, groaning in pain.

    She doesn’t know where she is at the moment, but it seems there is a crowd of people all around her just base from the cacophony of noises in the area. And as she instinctively reaches out for her bugs, she soon realizes that her current weaken state had completely reduce her range into only a few meters away. At this rate, she can't even scout out her exact location or search the area completely for any potential threats to her person. She has nothing much to do about it but remain vigilant with only a few dozen bugs under her control.

    Taylor is still lying down on the ground, when she hears the sound of running feet as someone quickly approaches her.

    “I’m sorry!” A male voice says loudly and Taylor looks up in time to see a handsome young man with brilliant blue eyes and dark hair kneels down next to her. “I swear I didn’t mean for the ball to hit you! I wouldn’t have taken that pitch, if I’ve known you were about to appear out of nowhere!”

    At the stranger’s words, Taylor can only grunt in reply. She still feels faint and shaken from her time-travelling experience and being hit in the face by a ball just exacerbated her poor condition. She tries to sit up, but it seems her feeble body won’t cooperate at the moment.

    “Are you alright?” The boy asks shortly in concern while he places a hand behind Taylor’s back to support her upright. Not seeing any other option, she reluctantly leans on him to keep herself from slumping down on the ground again.

    “No, I’m not alright..." Taylor manages to say while she looks around her. She realizes that she is currently in a baseball field, where she just outed herself as a cape right then and there after appearing in the middle of a game.

    Well, shit! She curses inwardly when she notices the people staring at her. Some are even making their ways towards her. Perhaps to question her sudden arrival.

    "Where am I exactly?" She inquires after a moment.

    “You are in Immaculata High.” The boy replies, meeting Taylor’s gaze. “But don’t you know that already? Being a Mover and all.”

    “I'm not a mover,” is Taylor’s short answer.

    “But you just appeared here all of a sudden and the capes who can do that are those with mover powers. A cape who can transport themselves anywhere with a destination in mind. So I immediately assume your power falls under this category.” The boy informs, frowning at her.

    “I'm sorry, but you presumed wrong. I arrived at this location because someone else transported me here,” She is forced to explain to him. “However, I'm not going to say anything else...not when I really need to get out of here right now. But sadly it seems that I’m not in a state to walk at the moment. So can you please help me? Perhaps you can even take me to your school clinic?”

    “Oh..." The boy says, “So do you want me to carry you then?”

    At his question, Taylor’s face turns scarlet.

    “I...errr…Yes, I think so since I'm not quite sure if I can walk without getting sick to my stomach," She stutters in both uncertainty and embarrassment. She really doesn’t want to be carried, but at her current condition, she can’t even sit upright without support. It feels like most of her energy is sapped away during her travel and now she is left like a fragile husk.

    However, more than that, Taylor seriously needs to leave from there before anyone can start asking her question.

    “I’ve traveled far and it left me quite unsteady on my feet and more than a little dizzy. I’m certain I will fall flat on my face even if I stand. So I really need your help.” She informs the boy, who now looks worried for her. Meanwhile, Taylor suspects that her face now resembles a tomato after her explanation.

    “I see...If you are feeling like that, then I don’t mind carrying you to the school clinic,” The boy answers.

    “Thank you,” comes her instant reply while she gives him a small smile.

    “But before I can lift you up, perhaps its best if you can wrap your arms around my neck first,” the boy instructs, locking his brilliant blue eyes on her.

    “Alright,” Taylor responds, trying to control her furious blush even when she slowly does what the boy instructed. Once she has her arms wrapped around his neck, the boy then gradually moves his arms behind her knees and back to support her.

    “I’m going to lift you up now and I hope you won’t vomit all over me from the sudden movement.” The boy states, meeting her gaze again.

    “I’ll try my best not to vomit all over you,” is her only reply.

    “Good,” the boy remarks.

    Thereafter, he carefully begins to lift her up from the ground and Taylor's stomach instantly lurch at the action. Fortunately, she is able to keep the contents of her stomach from spilling over. At the same time, she is more mortified at that moment when she lets a complete stranger carry her in bridal style. However, she doesn’t have a choice on the matter.

    “What’s your name?” Taylor can’t help but ask the boy the moment they begin to move.

    “My name is Max Anders, and you are?” The handsome boy says while he strides steadily towards the school building.

    However, the moment he introduces himself, Taylor nearly stops breathing altogether because...what the actual fuck?!


    The one who is currently carrying her is none other than Theo Ander's father, Max Anders - or better known as Kaiser - the notorious Villain who holds an iron fist over Empire Eighty-Eight in the future.

    Her brain can't even process the strange situation she finds herself in.

    Would she even consider it a terrible coincidence that she happens to arrive in the place where Max Anders was playing baseball? She thinks so because now Kaiser literally has his hands on her.

    In fact, Taylor Hebert is feeling slightly faint when she realizes that Kaiser - the Emperor of Blades - is currently carrying her bridal style in his arms, like some kind of sick fantasy in an alternate universe.

    "What's your name?" Max Anders - or Kaiser - repeats the question.

    It takes a while for Taylor to answer, but she does eventually.

    “Taylor,” She admits with extreme caution, not intending to reveal much of herself to him now that she knows his secret identity.

    “Any last name, Taylor?” Kaiser asks curiously while he glances down at her.

    “Just call me Taylor,” She responds evasively.

    “Well, it’s nice to meet you Taylor-with-no-last-name,” the strange boy comments almost in amusement.

    “Yeah, it's nice to meet you as well,” is Taylor’s mumbled answer.



    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
  2. wigg55

    wigg55 Know what you're doing yet?

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    This coudl potentialy lead to interesting places.
     
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  3. dhazellouise

    dhazellouise Prolific Writer - Moodboards Maker

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    thanks for taking the time to read and leave a comment!
     
  4. Overpalada

    Overpalada Know what you're doing yet?

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    Oh dear can you hear that , it sounds like a butterfly the size of Mothra just flapped its wings ...how fun this will be.
     
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  5. dhazellouise

    dhazellouise Prolific Writer - Moodboards Maker

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    Lmao. Thanks for reading and taking the time to leave a comment!
     
  6. Threadmarks: Misconception
    dhazellouise

    dhazellouise Prolific Writer - Moodboards Maker

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    Author's Notes: So I'm making this story a slow-burn. Anyway, the next chapter will be more interesting. Expect for more Max and Taylor interaction and the appearance of some important people.
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    Kaiser's coach - some pot-bellied man with a mustache - came to the clinic, where he proceeded to scold Taylor for disrupting the game and then started questioning her presence thereafter. Thankfully, if it wasn't for Kaiser's interference, the man would continue with his interrogation and Taylor would be forced to set one of her bugs at the older man if he hadn't shut his mouth.

    "Since the game is about to start, perhaps it's time for us to go back to the baseball field, Max."

    Taylor listens to the the old coach say to Kaiser.

    "I'm not going back there," is Kaiser's instant response and Taylor is completely shocked and puzzled to hear his answer.

    After hearing Max Anders reply, Taylor notes how the coach seems to be too astonished to say anything else. Well...until he does a moment later.

    "You can't just leave the game, Max! You are the star of the game!" The coach burst out.

    "Coach, just let the others play in my spot because I'm not going to leave the girl until I make certain that she is properly tended to," is Kaiser's adamant reply. "I feel terrible for accidentally hitting her with the ball and this makes me feel responsible for the injury that she might have incurred."

    "That's not a good reason for you to quit in the middle of the game, Max!" comes the coach's angry retort. "I'm certain the girl will survive an hour without you hovering by her side. So you better come back and finish the game!"

    "I'm sorry, Coach. But I'm not going to change my mind about this," is Kaiser's only reply. His will is as unbending as the blades he summons.

    So after a few more minutes of arguing and trying to convince Max Anders to return, the old coach finally gives up and leaves the clinic looking absolutely defeated.

    Afterward, Max Anders remains in the school clinic with her. Taylor, of course, suspects the true reason he is there.

    Carefully, she glances at him from the corners of her eyes and notes that the future Villain is currently leaning against the wall with both of his hands tucked into the pockets of his baseball uniform. He appears to be relaxed and looking bored, but Taylor knows better than to think that. She knows that Kaiser's brilliant blue eyes don't miss much and he is carefully observing her and her reaction. She also understands that the boy is simply feigning concern for her welfare in that moment just to learn more about her and her suspicious appearance.

    In fact, Taylor has a feeling that Kaiser is doing all this just to confirm his suspicion that she is a cape and will probably use this information against her at the first opportunity.

    God damnit! I don't need some future Neo-Nazi nosing into my business, especially not Kaiser! Taylor thinks angrily. At her sudden agitation, she senses her bugs, which are placed in specific key location, reacting to her distress. Her range is only a few meters still and Taylor is seriously irritated by her current limitation.

    As the two wait for the school nurse to arrive from her lunch break, Taylor decides not to say anything to the boy, who is now trying to make eye-contact with her and clearly wants to talk to her.

    The silence between them is oppressive but Taylor chooses not to do anything about it.

    A moment later, she hears Max Anders clears his throat, obviously to catch her attention, and Taylor's eyes instantly flies towards him.

    A pair of brilliant azure eyes meets her stormy grey orbs, where it locks and holds for a long time.

    "I'm sorry about what my coach told you." Kaiser says to her, giving Taylor an apologetic smile. "He said those things to you because the baseball game means a lot to him, so when you suddenly appeared and interrupted the game, his reaction is to be expected."

    "Anders," Taylor begins to say. She doesn't want to call him by his first name since it feels too intimate if she does, especially when she sees him differently. So she chooses to call him by his last name. "You don't need to explain your coach's behavior to me. I understand his reason for being furious towards me."

    "Call me Max," the boy says to her, "And I'm glad you understand. I don't want you to feel attacked by my coach for being at the wrong place and at the wrong time. From what I gather, you probably arrived at the baseball field quite by accident, am I right?"

    Well, shit...Taylor thinks when she notices Kaiser's inquisitive look as he regards her closely. He's very sharp, isn't he? He may look young but this Kaiser still has that inherent analytical prowess that turns him into a calculating and manipulative man in the future. A man who always has a hidden agenda up his sleeves.

    "Why are you so curious about me?" Taylor asks instead of answering his question. She's not going to give the young Kaiser more ammunition to use against her by answering his questions. So she will have to watch what she says around him starting this time.

    She observes when Max Anders simply arches a brow at her question.

    "I'm curious because your sudden appearance during the game present a mystery to me and I have the tendency to obsess over mysteries that needs some further investigation," comes Kaiser's blunt answer.

    Damn...She mentally states when she realizes that the young Kaiser isn't even holding back on his answer. Why does he have to be so blunt though? Is he trying to manipulate me into believing something? Or is he simply implying that if I don't sate his curiosity right then, he's going to start obsessing over my existence and start following me around? If that is the case….Well, fuck that! I'm not going to let a young Kaiser stalk me like some kind of hilted-boyfriend from another universe!

    "So you mean to say that you're going to stalk me from now on just because you find me mysterious?!" Taylor asks angrily.

    At her furious accusation, Kaiser looks completely amused. In fact, Taylor notices the little twitches that graces the corners of his mouth as he gazes at her.

    "I believe you misunderstood the reason for my curiosity," Kaiser states, "I may be curious about your sudden appearance, but that won't be enough reason for me to resort into following you around everywhere."

    "Well, thank you for the assurance…" comes Taylor's sarcastic answer. "For a second there, I thought I might have acquired myself a stalker just based on your statement alone."

    "Well...believe me when I say that you are the last girl that I'm going to stalk," is Kaiser's wry reply.

    At his bland words, Taylor immediately is on a warpath.

    Oh no he did not! Her mind screeches. Did Kaiser just effing insult me?! That fucking wannabe Neo-nazi!

    "Are you implying something else to me this time, Max Anders?!" She snaps out, "Perhaps to tell me that I'm too far below your notice because of my ugly appearance?!

    Taylor instantly sees the moment when Kaiser tenses. His blue eyes locking into her furious gaze while Taylor seethes in anger.

    "I didn't say anything about your appearance," comes Kaiser's calm remark. "So you have no reason to be angry at me. Also, I don't find you unattractive."

    However, before Taylor can say anything more to the arrogant bastard, the school nurse suddenly arrives and hastily makes her way towards Taylor.

    "I apologize for the delay. I wasn't made aware that there was a patient waiting for me." The school nurse says as she walks towards Taylor, who is sitting upright in one of the beds of the clinic.

    "It's fine," Taylor replies as she looks at the woman.

    "My name is Lisa Osborne, but you may call me Lisa. And you are?" the school nurse says while the woman extends her hand towards Taylor.

    "My name is Taylor," She replies, grabbing a hold of the woman's hand before shaking it.

    "And I think I recognize you..." The school nurse, Lisa, comments when her gaze lands on Kaiser's tall figure. "Max Anders, am I correct?"

    "Yes, Ma'am,"

    Taylor hears Kaiser's reply while she watches him nods his head respectfully at the school nurse.

    "So what brings you both here to my humble clinic?" the nurse asks them shortly while she looks from Taylor and then back to Max.

    Taylor opens her mouth to reply, but Kaiser beats her right into it.

    "Taylor here is not feeling well. I brought her here since she is experiencing bouts of dizziness and nausea. Other than that, she told me earlier that she is not able to stand or walk on her own so I had to carry her here myself upon her request. If I hadn't done so, she would probably have fainted or vomited all over the floor."

    At Kaiser's words, the school nurse turns her attention on Taylor, who instantly fidgets when the nurse begins to scrutinize her rather closely.

    "Your symptoms...When did it start?" the school nurse inquires while she takes out a clipboard and begins to jot something down.

    Once more, it is Kaiser who answers for her, to Taylor's increasing frustration.

    "She told me that she shortly experience the symptoms the moment she arrives during the game,"

    "I see...May I ask when was your last menstrual cycle?" comes the school nurse abrupt and unexpected question.

    At the nurse shocking inquiry, Taylor's face is instantly flooded with color while she notices how Kaiser looks absolutely uncomfortable at that moment.

    This time, Kaiser doesn't even dare say anything else.

    "I...am...err…" Taylor stutters out. "I don't remember...actually."

    "It is really important that you remember, Taylor…" the nurse tells her in an almost reprimanding tone.

    "I'm not really sure when it was," She answers in uncertainty.

    What the heck?! Why is she even asking me these questions?! And right in front of Kaiser no less! She mentally wonders.

    "May I ask if you are menstruating regularly?" comes the nurse next question.

    Taylor glanced back at Kaiser, who looks like he's ready to bolt out of there, and Taylor doesn't blame him for it, not when the questions are just getting more and more awkward.

    "Yes, I believe so…" is Taylor's response.

    "And did you notice if you miss your period for the past months?"

    "It's hard for me to remember...maybe I did...I don't know..." comes Taylor's answer.

    How the heck am I going to recall that detail when most of my mind was almost subsumed by my passenger? Taylor thinks. She knows that her memories were affected during her Rise as Khepri, but she doesn't realize how many minor and trivial memories she's been missing, not until the nurse points it out to her regarding her menstrual periods.

    "One last question. The question that I'm going to ask you both is very important. So I want you to be honest with me because this is a serious matter," the nurse states in a severe tone while she looks at both Taylor and Max Anders, "My question is...In the past months, did the two of you often use protection while engaging in sexual intercourse?"

    For a second, Taylor thinks she misheard the nurse's question. It is only when she hears Kaiser making a choking sound that she realizes that she hasn't misheard at all.

    That's when her mind seems to cease functioning properly because...WHAT THE FUCK? Me and...Kaiser?! Did the nurse just -?! Did she just ask me if I'm using condom while engaging in sex with Kaiser?! Taylor Hebert thinks faintly while she sways on the spot. Holy fucking hell! What universe did I traveled into?! Am I dreaming this?! Because there is no way in hell that I was having sex with Kaiser for the past months like the nurse implied! Where the fuck did she even gets the idea?!

    "Like I said before," the nurse begins to say and Taylor instantly freezes with increasing dread when the nurse continues to speak, "My next action hinges on both of your answer. However, based on Ms. Taylor's answers regarding her menses and her current symptoms, I suspect that your girlfriend Mr. Anders might be pregnant. This, of course, is a serious matter. I hope you both already know that teen pregnancy is frowned upon in a private catholic school such as Immaculata High, especially when it concerns a male star athlete like yourself, Mr. Anders. If Ms. Taylor is found pregnant, I'm afraid both of you will face expulsion."

    After the nurse has finished speaking, there is a moment of stunned silence wherein they can practically hear the crickets chirping in the background.

    This, of course, is instantly broken by the sounds of Taylor Hebert and Max Anders bursting out rather loudly at the same time.

    "She's not my girlfriend!"

    "He's not my boyfriend!"

    In that moment, Taylor Hebert suddenly realizes that meeting Max Anders is probably the biggest mistake of her life.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2019
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  7. Blackenedthorn

    Blackenedthorn Too many ideas, so little time

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    What am mainly looking forward to is when Taylor explains she is a master who controls bugs and when she deploys The Swarm to prove a point, you don't fuck with a girl who can blot out the sun with enough iinsects to make the bible jealous.
     
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  8. dhazellouise

    dhazellouise Prolific Writer - Moodboards Maker

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    Ahaha...thanks for reading and leaving a comment! Yeah, Taylor is a complete badass with her Swarm
     
  9. Threadmarks: A Rainy Day
    dhazellouise

    dhazellouise Prolific Writer - Moodboards Maker

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    After the school nurse apologizes profusely, Taylor easily forgives the woman's mistake and is only glad that the bespectacled woman changes the subject thereafter. She seriously doesn't want to dwell on, or much less discuss about the horrifying idea of Kaiser and her in an intimate and sexual relationship.

    So when the school nurse begins to ask more about her situation, Taylor doesn't hesitate to tell the woman about what actually happened at the baseball field. Afterward, the nurse is able to inform Taylor everything she needs to know.

    "Your nausea, weakness and dizziness are something that can be expected for someone who is transported by a Mover cape, but judging from the strong side-effects you are experiencing, I presume that you travelled a long distance to arrive here?" the school nurse inquires and Taylor can practically feel Kaiser's interest being piqued at the question.

    Not wanting to reveal anything more, Taylor simply nods her head in response to the nurse's question.

    "Since you're still experiencing these side effects of your travel, I think it is best that you stay here for a while. However, I might suggest that you call your family and inform them where you are right now just to keep them from worrying." the nurse suggests. "And perhaps ask them to come and get you before the school closes for the day."

    Well, damn! She curses when she realizes that she doesn't have a good cover-up story for a family that doesn't even exist yet. What am I going to say to the nurse?

    "Amm...I don't need to call anyone at all since I am an orphan and I live alone." She lies instead.

    Kaiser at this time seems to have become more interested in her words.

    "I see…" the nurse mutters while she gazes at Taylor for a moment. "But how do you go back home? I presume that you don't have a car nearby since you were basically transported here in Immaculata High. And if you did have a car, I would still advise against you driving in your current state. Moreover, I also advise against you going home by yourself in public transportation, especially when you are still experiencing weakness and dizziness. So I suggest you ask someone else to take you home."

    However, before Taylor can answer the nurse's question, Kaiser suddenly says,"You don't need to worry about that Mrs. Osbourne, because I am here and I don't mind taking her home myself."

    Taylor whips her head around to gape at the other boy, who simply regards her with an inscrutable look.

    "That's a terrible idea!" She blurts out without thinking. Taylor knows that if she allows Kaiser to drive her home, he'll soon finds out that she doesn't have a home at all to go to.

    "Don't be unreasonable, Ms. Taylor…" the nurse scolds. "In your current state, you definitely need someone to drive you home. So why don't you allow Mr. Anders to do just that?"

    Taylor grits her teeth while she considers it for a moment. She understands that she is not familiar with Brockton Bay at this time. Some buildings and other establishment she knows in her future might not even exist during this time. So she will probably have trouble locating a cheap apartment in the City, which she can use as her fake home if Kaiser insist that he drives her home. Hence, pretending to have a home somewhere in the City is out of the question.

    The other option she has is just to simply reveal to Kaiser that she doesn't have a place to stay at all and might need his assistance in finding a cheap motel for her to stay in a couple of days. And as Taylor continues to carefully analyze her entire situation, she even begins to consider the possibility of taking advantage of Kaiser's interest in her.

    Early on, she was determined to keep Kaiser from knowing more about her. However, now that she realizes that her lack of knowledge of this time, her meager resources and her non-existent connection to anyone will just simply put a wrench in her plans to stop Scion. Apart from those things, she understands that she will have a difficult time acquiring work, especially when she doesn't have the proper documents to prove her identity.

    Hence, Taylor decides that she might need to use Kaiser to improve her current situation. She knows that Kaiser is ungodly rich, has a lot of connections to certain people, and a vast knowledge of this time, which are things that she can take advantage of. Furthermore, she already knows that Kaiser is interested in her because he suspects that she is a cape. So why not use his interest to ingratiate herself with him this early on?

    If she allows herself to get acquainted with Kaiser at this time, she knows that he can procure fake ID's and documents for her, or even allow his Nazi-loving Father - the Allfather - to provide Taylor some work.

    Even though Taylor might have brought money with her at this time, but she knows that it won't last long. So finding a way to support herself during this time period is her top priority. The next thing she needs to do is build up her social connection, which she will start with Max Anders.

    "Fine," Taylor finally replies in a reluctant voice. "You can take me home Anders."

    At her answer, she observes the gleam of bemusement that seems to flash in Kaiser's brilliant blue eyes.

    "And here I thought you were going to be stubborn about it," comes the boy's wry comment.

    Taylor just scowls at him and says, "I may be stubborn, but I'm not unreasonably so. I understand my current situation very well. So if the nurse tells me to ask someone to drive me home, I'm going to listen to her, despite my negative opinion on the matter."

    "Well, I'm glad you see the reason behind it," Kaiser responds as he continues to regard her closely.

    "Since you two have come to an agreement, then both of you are free to leave once Ms. Taylor is feeling better." The nurse states. "Although I suggest doing so before the school closes for the day."

    "We understand, Mrs. Osbourrne." Taylor says. "In fact, I won't need an hour to recover some of my strength. Perhaps I will even be able to leave after thirty minutes."

    "If that is what you believe, then you may do so…I trust your judgement regarding your physical health, Ms. Taylor."

    "Thank you, Mrs. Osbourne…" is Taylor's reply.

    "Now, if you two don't mind, I will be going back to my office to finish some paperwork. However, if you need more medical attention or if something changes in Ms. Taylor's condition, please don't hesitate to knock on my door and inform me about it."

    "Of course, Mrs. Osbourne…" Kaiser responds in a smooth voice. "We will be sure to call upon you if something else comes up."

    "That's good," the nurse says while she nods her head. "I will be seeing you both later then."

    Afterward, Taylor watches as the bespectacled woman walks towards her office.

    The moment the nurse is gone, the tense silence which follows is deafening.

    Taylor, however, chooses to ignore it and instead searches the location for other arthropods to distract herself. She knows she still has the Master power to control people within her usual range, but she doesn't dare do it. Perhaps she will have to resort to that when it is absolutely necessary. However, at the moment, she has no reason to use her Khepri powers on anyone, not even on Kaiser.
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    .
    .
    An hour and a half later, after bidding their leave to the school nurse, Taylor finds herself sitting next to Kaiser, who apparently owns a brand new convertible.

    Filthy rich boy, is Taylor's grumbling thought when she settles herself in the leather seat of Kaiser's convertible. Gods, why did I even agree to this? Oh right, because I plan to make Kaiser as my new BFF now. I just can't wait to tell everyone I know in the future that Kaiser and I are best buddies in the past. Jesus-fucking-Christ!

    "So...where do you live?" comes Kaiser's immediate question the moment he starts the engine of his car. Instantly, the car comes to life, purring and rumbling as the Neo-Nazi rich boy revs it up. In that moment, Taylor can't help but feel like Kaiser is trying to show off his cool car or something.

    What an insufferable bastard! She mentally complains as she glances at the boy beside her, who is clearly waiting for her answer.

    Taylor knows that there is no point in lying now. Still, she hesitates for a moment and wonders if there are better option to her situation. She perfectly understands that she can't defeat Scion by working alone. Therefore, she needs to build an entire army like she had during her Rise as Khepri. However, she won't be able to do that at all if she doesn't know anyone in this time. That's why she needs to start with someone who has a lot of connections to capes so that she can easily build an army and access other parahumans when it is time to deploy them against Scion.

    Thus, establishing some kind of connection with the young Kaiser is absolutely paramount.

    The silence in the car is shortly broken by the audible pitter-patter sounds coming from above her and Taylor immediately realizes that it has started to rain. Thankfully, the car's roof is closed or else the rain would have drenched the two of them soon enough.

    "Taylor?" Kaiser asks.

    Even listening to him refer to her in her first name makes her feel slightly unbalanced. In fact, her name on his lips feels too intimate, like they are friends or something without Taylor knowing about it.

    "I lied earlier," She finally tells him while she meets his curious gaze. "I don't have a permanent home actually...since I travel a lot."

    "So you mean to tell me that you don't have a place to stay at all tonight?"

    "Yes," comes Taylor's honest answer. "However, I intend to stay here in Brockton Bay for an undetermined time. So if you know any cheap place where I can stay for a couple of days, you can drop me there and since I'm not really picky at all, you can recommend me any places you know in the area."

    "I don't know any cheap motels at all," comes Kaiser's blunt answer. "In fact, the only place I know that is moderately price is a hotel a few blocks from where my penthouse apartment is."

    Kaiser has a penthouse apartment? Taylor thinks in surprise. Why am I even surprise? He probably bought his penthouse for some privacy.

    "That's fine. So long as there's a bed that I can crash into at the end of the day,"She answers. It also doesn't matter that Kaiser is living a few blocks from her.

    Truthfully, she has a sneaking suspicion that Kaiser only suggest the place to her since he probably intends to drop by and continue to nose on her business.

    "I'll take you there then. I think the hotel is just fifteen minutes from here." Kaiser informs her.

    Taylor doesn't respond but simply watches when Kaiser slowly shifts the gear and drives the car out from the school parking lot.
    .
    .
    .
    Nearly an hour later, the rain continues to pour hard while Taylor's temporary driver has trouble finding a parking spot near the Crimson Hotel since the entire parking lot is full. In the end, Kaiser has to park a block from the establishment, where they have to move swiftly beneath the heavy downpour to get to the Hotel because apparently Max Anders doesn't have an umbrella stash in his brand new convertible.

    How-fucking-inconvenient! Taylor curses as she hurriedly walks beside Kaiser.

    Being a perfect gentleman and all, Kaiser had raised his black leather jacket over their heads to prevent the rain from completely drenching them both while they quickly make their way towards the hotel. This of course forces Taylor to be in much closer proximity with Max Anders, who constantly bumps into her side while they are walking. Well, it can't be helped, not when the boy is trying to protect her from the rain with his leather jacket.

    Nonetheless, the jacket is still a meager cover against the natural element. So when they arrive at the lobby of the hotel, Taylor and Kaiser are already dripping wet. But it seems that their trek through the rain is not only inconvenient, but pointless as well. Because Taylor soon discovers that all the room in the Crimson Hotel is fully-booked, which means that they are going to search for a different place for Taylor to stay.

    Afterward, the two hastily leaves the reception area due to the disapproving looks they have garnered from people because of their disheveled and soaked appearance. Their trek once more through the rain is as miserable as before, where they end up being soaked to the bones even more.

    "We need a change of clothes," Kaiser states the second they are inside his car. "If we continue to wear these wet clothes, we are going to end up sick. So I suggest we go back to my apartment and change before we continue the search for a place for you to stay. And since I know you don't have extra clothes to wear, I will lend you some of mine."

    Did Kaiser just invited me to his apartment? And did he just told me that he's going to let me borrow his clothes? A flush slowly creeps up Taylor's face at Kaiser's suggestion.

    She knows that Kaiser is just being rational about their entire situation and he is correct to point out that they need a change of clothes, but she is also a bit wary for any hidden intention. Even though Taylor doesn't want to end up sick if she continues to wear her soaked clothes, still the possibility of being alone with Kaiser in his apartment makes her feel ambiguous. For one thing, Kaiser just only met her that day. Taylor would expect him to be very cautious of bringing a mysterious cape girl into his apartment. So when he extended an invitation for her to come into his apartment and borrow some of his clothes, she knows that he has some kind of ulterior motive.

    Or perhaps he is too confident in his power that he doesn't fear her at all and even dares to bring her into his apartment, despite the fact that he already suspects that she is a cape? Either way, the only thing she can do is go with him and discover what he truly wants with her. Hence, she decides to accept Max Anders' offer and hopes that she is not going to regret her decision afterward.

    "You are right. I think it's better if we change first before we continue with our search." She agrees. She does not quite meet Kaiser's eyes, not when she can feel her face heating up at the thought of going to his apartment.

    "So...to my apartment then?" Kaiser inquires softly.

    "Yes," is her only reply and hopes that she is not walking into some kind of trap. If it is a trap, then Taylor will handle it. Between Kaiser and her, Taylor knows that she will easily win a fight against him if it happens. She will simply use her swarm to overwhelm and incapacitate him in case he becomes dangerous.

    "Alright," comes Max Anders' reply and Taylor carefully notes how the young man seems to put up an expressionless mask in that moment, which makes it all the more difficult for Taylor to gauge his thoughts.

    She wonders what prompted him to willingly invite her - a suspected cape - into his lair.

    Well, Taylor will have to find out soon.
    .
    .
    .
    The two did not talk during the car ride to the expensive-looking building, where Kaiser's penthouse apartment is located, nor they did not break the silence between them even when they stand side by side inside the elevator and on their way to the top most floor of the building.

    Taylor can practically feel the suffocating tension between them and she has no desire to address it. In fact, she doesn't know what to say to him at all.

    What are you going to say to the future Villain who invites you to his apartment? She thought. Why nothing of course...because that usually doesn't happen at all to anyone, except perhaps if your name happens to be Taylor Hebert.

    "This is my floor," Kaiser informs her the moment the elevator dings and stops at the last floor of the building. "We'll get off here."

    The moment the elevator doors open, she allows Kaiser to walk out first while she shortly follows behind him. Meanwhile, Taylor readies the bugs she senses within her current ten meters range and hopes that Kaiser is not foolish enough to attack her at close quarters.

    The other boy halts before a door and Taylor watches when Kaiser uses his key to open it. A few moments later, she sees how Kaiser waits and holds the door for her. Not seeing any other choice, Taylor slowly and cautiously enters his apartment. At the same time, she grabs a hold of her bugs in preparation for an attack.

    Yet nothing happens, except for the sound of Max Anders closing the door behind them.

    He has good taste, she can't help but think while her eyes surveys Kaiser's entire apartment.

    "There is a bathroom in the guest room to your right. So you can shower there while I get you some new clothes to wear."

    Taylor hears Kaiser say and she turns around to see him regarding her once more with an impassive look.

    "Alright," comes her answer while she glances at the door she can see on her right side. "But what about you? Don't you want to shower as well?"

    "I will be fine," is Kaiser's reply. "I have my own bathroom in my bedroom. So I will use that."

    "Ok," Taylor merely says.

    "I think the guest bathroom is already equipped with towels so I don't need to get you one. As for the clothes, can you wait in the guest bedroom while I get you those?" Kaiser asks.

    "Sure," comes her instant response.

    "I'll see you in a moment," He says to her before he turns around and walks away.

    Taylor watches him enter a room that must be his bedroom and silently wonders what he is currently thinking. Since he hasn't attack her yet, she suspects that he might do so while she's clearly vulnerable. Like when Taylor is showering or changing her clothes. However, after thinking about the possibility for a moment, she knows that it isn't Kaiser's style at all.

    Perhaps I'm thinking too much about this, Taylor thinks while she walks towards the guest bedroom to wait for Kaiser. But it can't be helped. I know I'm more than paranoid person and being invited to Kaiser's apartment is a good enough reason for me to be suspicious. I might as well prepare myself for a potential attack than let my guard down around a future Villain.

    As Taylor waits in the guest bedroom for Max Anders to return with some clothes to lend her, she allows herself to gather more bugs around the area and hides them in locations that will be easier for her to use them in a swarm if Kaiser decides to attack her.

    A minute later, there is a knock on the door which is followed by the sound of Kaiser's voice saying, "Taylor? May I come in?"

    "Yes," comes her reply.

    Taylor watches as the door opens and Kaiser enters the room with a bundle of clothes in his arms.

    "I hope this fits," is Kaiser's remark as he walks towards Taylor and hands the clothes to her. "Since I had to search for something that is close to your size."

    Without hesitation, she accepts the bundle of clothes. Afterall, this is the better option than continuing to wear soaked clothing.

    "Thanks," She tells him, "I'm sure it's going to fit."

    "Well…" Kaiser begins to say as he regards her carefully. "Since I usually take my time to shower. I suggest you hang out in the living room when you're done with yours."

    Taylor can't stop the mental image that seems to flash in her mind of Kaiser naked in the shower.

    Kaiser. Naked. In the Shower. Oh Gods! She thinks as a blush blossoms on her cheeks. I don't need that mental image right now! Goddamnit!

    "Alright," Taylor hastily responds while turning her blushing face away from Kaiser's scrutiny. "I will see you later then."

    "Yes, see you later…" is Kaiser's response. He briefly nods his head at her before he turns to leave the room.

    Deciding to forgo about showering, Taylor quickly strips into her underwear the moment Kaiser left the bedroom. With her bugs ready to swarm at a moment's notice if Kaiser happens to return, she scrambles to put on the borrowed clothes and is somewhat dismayed when she discovers that the clothes are still too large and practically smelled like the future Villain.

    Kaiser is certainly much taller than her, but he is also physically fit and has a bulk of muscles. So the shirt Taylor is wearing is broader around the shoulders and it is longer too, where the hem even reaches past her upper thighs. As for the cargo pants, Taylor has to triple fold the bottom part to prevent from tripping over it because apparently Kaiser has long legs.

    Now that she thinks more about him, Taylor recalls how the top of her head barely even reaches his jaw when they stand side by side. She guesses that the future Villain is probably 6'4 in height at this time.

    Apart from that, the clothes she is wearing smells like him. Like mint, pine-needles and something outright male. It is kind of distracting because Taylor realizes deep down that she likes the scent, although she won't acknowledge it out right.

    As Taylor finishes donning Kaiser's clothes and combing the knots in her wild dark hair, she is somewhat surprised that the Villain hasn't even attack her at all like she had expected. Even as she comes out of the guest bedroom and waits in the living room, she is still waiting for some kind of attack on her. Yet nothing happens.

    Not until Taylor hears the sound of the doorbell ringing.

    Ding dong!

    Instantly, Taylor tenses while she turns around to face the front door.

    Ding dong!

    The doorbell rings again and she looks towards Kaiser's bedroom door. She expects for the future Villain to burst out of it and answer his front door.

    Still, Kaiser's bedroom door remain closed.

    Ding dong!

    The doorbell continues to ring and Taylor becomes agitated.

    I think I better answer that, She soon decides when Kaiser hasn't appeared yet.

    Ding dong!

    A moment later, Taylor finds herself standing in front of the door while she peeks through the eyehole to see who is outside. Immediately, she sees a beautiful blonde-haired woman standing outside and shortly begins to gnaw on her bottom lip in worry.

    Is that Kaiser's girlfriend?! She thinks in concern. If I open the door, the woman will probably assume the worst about my presence here in Kaiser's apartment…But do I really care? This is Kaiser I'm thinking about. He's a goddamn future Villain who can't keep his nose out of my business. So if my presence here results in a lover's spat... Well, too bad for Kaiser...because I couldn't care less at all about his relationship with anyone.

    Ding dong! Ding dong! Ding dong!

    It seems the woman has gotten impatient and has started to abuse the doorbell with a vengeance. The woman only stops pressing the doorbell when Taylor finally opens the door to Kaiser's apartment.

    For a moment, the blonde woman can only stare at Taylor with a frown on her face.

    "Who the hell are you?!" the unknown woman suddenly demands.

    "Hi, My name is Taylor...and I'm -" Taylor tries to finish, but is immediately interrupted by the woman.

    "Are you my little brother's new girlfriend?" the woman asks rudely, but before Taylor can say anything else. The woman continues to speak without preamble. "I didn't even know that Heith and Max broke up already…not unless you are the girl he's cheating with behind Heith's back?"

    Taylor can only open and close her mouth in surprise.

    Little brother? She thinks in shock. Is she Kaiser's sister? And why does everyone seem to think that I'm in some kind of relationship with Kaiser in this time?!

    "Are you his sister?" Taylor manages to asks while she ignores the woman's wild presumption.

    "Yes, I am. I'm Max's older sister. Elizabeth Anders." the blonde woman replies. "And you are? Are you his new girlfriend or the girl he's cheating with?"

    Well, shit! I'm currently speaking to Iron Rain! The brutal racist bitch who presumably got murdered by Marquis. She mentally realizes.

    "I'm neither actually," comes Taylor's calm response to Iron Rain's question.

    At once, the older woman narrows her eyes at Taylor, who quickly starts mobilizing her bugs in case Iron Rain decides to attack her right then and there.

    "If you aren't his lover, then why the heck are you wearing my brother's goddamn clothes?!" Elizabeth, or Iron Rain, inquires in a harsh tone.

    Fortunately, Taylor is saved from answering the woman's pointed question when she hears the sound of footsteps from behind her.

    "Elizabeth? What are you doing here?"

    Taylor hears Kaiser asks and she turns around to see the future Villain standing there with only a towel wrapped around his lean waist. Apparently, he just got out of the shower because she can practically see the water droplets, which slides down his sun-kissed skin.

    Oh good lord! She can't help but think as her eyes land on Kaiser's perfectly muscular torso. In the future, Taylor never associated the word six-pack with Kaiser, until her gaze catch a glimpse of his abdominals and her mouth just simply drops.

    What the actual fuck?! Her mind supplies almost stupidly as Taylor can't help but ogle the young Villain.

    "Max!" Iron Rain suddenly exclaims while the woman harshly pushes Taylor to the side to speak to her brother. "This girl here won't answer my question! So I'm going to ask you instead! Is she your new girlfriend? Or are you cheating on Heith with her?!"

    "Elizabeth, Taylor is not my new girlfriend and I'm not cheating on Heith," Kaiser informs his sister in a sharp tone.

    "If she's neither of those things, then can you kindly explain to me why this girl is even wearing your clothes?!" Iron Rain demands once more.

    "I promise that I will explain everything to you Elizabeth if you just let me put on some clothes first," comes Kaiser's reply. "In the meantime, you and Taylor can both wait in the living room while I dress myself."

    "Fine! You go ahead and change, but don't make me wait long!"

    Taylor hears Kaiser's sister say.

    "I promise I won't be long," is Kaiser's next words right before he leaves for his bedroom.

    Once more, Taylor is left with the woman, whom she knows as Iron Rain.

    There is only a tense silence while Elizabeth Anders scrutinize Taylor rather closely.

    "Now that I look at you closely, I now believe that you can't be my brother's girlfriend or even a secret lover for that matter because I know my brother's type. Well, at least I did before he left the house and got himself this penthouse apartment…" The woman says to her. "I think you are too tall and slightly skinny for his taste. Although your somewhat pretty and expressive face might appeal to him. However, Max usually prefers his woman a little bit on the short side and especially with the right curves in them. But I could be wrong...Max might have changed his preference in women for all I know...perhaps he prefers woman like you now, long-legged and slender and too much emotion on a face."

    Taylor silently bristles at the woman's description.

    I'm not Kaiser's girlfriend! She inwardly screeches. What's with people assuming otherwise?!

    "I'm not your brother's girlfriend," Taylor repeats in a cold voice.

    "Well, I will just have to hear what my little brother's explanation is going to be regarding your relationship with him. More than that, I'm sure there's a good reason why you are currently wearing his clothes." Elizabeth Anders replies in a saccharine tone while she gives Taylor a savage grin.

    Instead of retorting back angrily, Taylor decides to question the woman instead, "Why are you even here? Do you have some business with your brother?"

    "As a matter of fact I do…" the blonde says cooly. "But I won't discuss the matter until I have Max clarify things about your presence here."

    "Why does it matter to you if I have some kind of relationship to your brother or not?" She inquires in both curiosity and exasperation.

    "Well, I have always loved to butt into my brother's business...and your presence here is just simply too strange and suspicious that I can't simply dismiss it without finding out the truth. Max probably told you already the main reason he decides to leave the house and bought this apartment. You probably know that he likes his privacy very much and he definitely doesn't like me sticking my nose in his affairs."

    "Hmn…" is Taylor's only response while she considers what Iron Rain told her.

    The woman already presumes that Taylor is a close friend to Max Anders. So she chooses not to correct the woman because Elizabeth Anders is giving Taylor free information regarding the Anders family dynamic, which she can use to her advantage at the moment.

    However, before Taylor can find out more about the Family of Villains, that's when Kaiser walks in.

    What a waste of perfect opportunity, Taylor inwardly sighs while she watches Max Anders stride into the living room fully-clothed this time. Perhaps I can find out more if I continue to stick with Kaiser. Well, that's my current plan at least...
     
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  10. Threadmarks: When Misfortune Strikes
    dhazellouise

    dhazellouise Prolific Writer - Moodboards Maker

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    Using her bugs discreetly, Taylor manages to hear Kaiser's and Iron Rain's conversation in the other room while Taylor sits in the living room like she was asked to do by the two Anders siblings.

    "So let me get this straight. The girl outside is someone who happened to get transported in the middle of your baseball game, where you accidentally hit her with a ball. A girl you happened to meet today, but still invited into your apartment without a second thought. If I don't know you well little brother, I would have thought you to be an idiot for allowing a complete stranger into your apartment. However, since I know you better than you do yourself, I know that there must be a great reason you seemed inclined to act like a good Samaritan towards the unknown girl."

    Taylor hears Iron Rain say.

    "Yes, there is a reason for my actions," comes Kaiser's calm voice. "The first reason is that I suspect the girl to be a cape and the second reason is I'm very interested to know more about where she comes from originally and why she ends up in the middle of the baseball game quite by accident. I find her sudden appearance curious. There is simply something about her that I find strange and interesting, mainly because when I look into her eyes, I see someone who appears like she's been fighting in the front lines of a losing side of the war recently...She looks like a world-weary veteran soldier, although a bit lost and somewhat paranoid at the moment…Furthermore, my instinct is strongly telling me that she's hiding something...something which I intend to find out soon..."

    I should have never underestimated Kaiser's power of observation. Taylor thinks grimly after listening to him speak. I know he's a calculating and manipulative man in my time...but perhaps I should have guessed that most of his success and influence is probably contributed by his expertise in carefully observing the people and situations around him before he makes the right move. He is akin to a master chess player where every person he encounters is just another chess pieces he can use to advance his own end and win. I should have known that his every action is deliberate and premeditated and I am a fool for not being extra cautious when I discovered who he truly was.

    "I see...that's the reason you brought her here. You wanted to figure out more about her and all the secrets she's hiding. I can understand that letting her go so soon was never your option in the first place. So you must have a plan to prolong your interaction with her... Perhaps even manipulate her into staying in your apartment for a while until the rain stops, hmn?..And if you discovered she's a cape, what then? What do you intend to do with her?"

    Taylor hears Iron Rain's question and listens carefully for Kaiser's response.

    "Yes, I did plan to convince her to stay here for a while until the rain stops. I think it's more reasonable than to continue with our search for a place for her to stay under this terrible weather. Other than that, I've also considered offering her something to eat because I'm certain that she will be more open to conversation and lower her guard down if I show her that I only mean her well. And if I learn she's a cape by the end of the day, then I will have to continue getting acquainted with her and might even offer my help if she requires it. However, I doubt that I will be able to learn this within a day so I will have to make adjustments to my plans if I'm not able to acquire the information that I needed. Once I find her a place to stay, I have every intention to resume my investigation and perhaps offer her my friendship until the time that I have gotten the truth from her. If she's a cape, then good...I can recruit her to our father's cause. We need more powered followers for Empire Eighty-Eight and I am sure father will be happy with the addition. If she's not a cape, then I will cut ties with her completely at the first opportunity.'"

    "That's a good plan little brother, but you also might have to consider the girl's personality. I suspect that she can't be easily manipulated like most of the people you have encountered."

    "Judging from my previous interaction with her, I know that the girl is stubborn, but she can be easily reasoned with. I'm certain that I will be able to influence her one way or another into agreeing with me if I give her good reasons," is Kaiser's answer.

    As Taylor listen to Kaiser's intention with her, she decides that she might be able to use this to her advantage as well. Although she will make certain that Kaiser won't be able to get any information from her this time around. Taylor will have to keep her face blank and her answers short when talking to him.

    If you want the truth from me Kaiser, then you have to try very hard to get it out from me and I'm not a fool to be easily swayed by a handsome face and a few choice words. So you will have to amp your tactics. Taylor thinks.

    "Well, good luck on that Max. I hope you are able to get the information that you need from her... However, enough talk about the mysterious girl and let us discuss the reason I am here."

    "Of course, so why don't you tell me why you came here Elizabeth..."

    "I came here because my old armor has been badly damaged during a brief skirmish with some of the Protectorate heroes a week ago, so I will require a new suit of armor. If you can make it within three days, I will be sure to make it up to you next time."

    "Since you came all the way here to commission an armor, I assume that you brought the design that you want me to make?"

    "As a matter of fact, I do have the design,"

    As Taylor continues to eavesdrop, she listens to the sound of Iron Rain taking something from the bag that she had seen the woman carry. There is the crackling sound of paper and it doesn't take much for Taylor to guess that Iron Rain must have given the piece of paper to Kaiser, which probably contains the design of the armor that Elizabeth Anders wants.

    "This looks doable to create...Although you have to ask someone else to paint the armor with the desired color schemes you wanted."

    Taylor hears Kaiser's remark.

    "Yes, I have already found someone who will paint my armor once you are done making it. So you don't need to worry about that."

    "Well, if that is the case...I don't have a problem making your armor within three days."

    "Good and after you are finished with it, be sure to call me at once Max. Other than that, the second reason I came here today is because our father wants you to come and join us for dinner this coming Wednesday."

    "I see...tell our father that I will be there for dinner."

    "Considering that you haven't seen our father for nearly a month, I am glad that you have accepted the dinner invitation little brother lest our father will be displeased if you decide not to grace us with your presence."

    "Hmn...I'm sure our father will understand if I suddenly decided not to come for dinner this Wednesday. Apart from attending school, I'm also busy taking care of the small businesses that he has asked me to look after."

    "Our father might understand if you decide not to come, but I won't at all. It doesn't matter if you are tasked with something important or not by our father. I still believe that you need to attend all our family dinner no matter the case."

    "As you say, sister…"

    Taylor hears a momentary pause right before Iron Rain starts talking again.

    "Well, seeing that we've already discussed what I came here for, I think I will be taking my leave then."

    "Before you go, do you have any suggestions to help me with getting the information from the girl quickly?"

    "Since torturing the truth out of her is out of the question, perhaps you might have to use your charming personality and seduce her for information. I seem to recall that you are very adept in that regard after I've seen your strings of girlfriends and lovers for the past years. Apart from that, I have nothing else to suggest. So I leave everything at your discretion little brother."

    If Kaiser tries to seduce me for information, he'll be surprised at what I will do in return to get what I want from him as well. After all, two can play the game and I have every intention of winning in the end so long as it further my main objective. Taylor inwardly thinks mercilessly. She decides that she won't hesitate to use everything in her arsenal to gain access to the things that she might require to help with her goal.

    "Thanks for the advice sister."

    "No problem Max. Now, are you going to walk me to the door or not?"

    "Right, of course."

    Taylor hears Kaiser's reply and she knows that the two siblings are about to come out of the other room and so she schools her facial features into a semblance of nonchalance.

    Not a moment later, she hears the sound of the door opening and their muffled footsteps.

    Taylor slowly looks up from the magazine that she's pretending to read and turns her attention at the two Anders siblings.

    "Taylor was it?" comes Iron Rain's question.

    "Yes?" is Taylor's answer as she assesses the blonde woman. She remains seated on the leather sofa while the woman stands beside her brother.

    "I believe I owe you an apology," Elizabeth Anders says, "My brother has already explained everything to me concerning your presence here in his apartment. So I apologize for making a hasty and wrong assumption the moment I saw you."

    "It's fine. I am not in the least offended about your assumptions earlier," comes Taylor's cool response as she meet the woman's brilliant blue eyes, so similar to her brother.

    "I'm glad then that you weren't offended at all... Anyway, I will be taking my leave soon." Iron Rain informs her. "So I'll have to say my goodbyes. It was nice to meet you, Taylor and I hope to see you around."

    "Yes, it was nice to meet you too Elizabeth," Taylor responds.

    Afterward, she observes how the woman pivots around and walks towards the front door with Kaiser closely following behind.

    "I will see you on Wednesday Max."

    Taylor hears Elizabeth Anders say to her brother while Max Anders just says, "Of course,"

    There is the sound of opening and closing of the door and Taylor knows that Iron Rain has finally left. A moment later, she hears the sounds of footsteps approaching her and she glances up to see Kaiser making his way towards her.

    Taylor watches the other boy when he comes to a halt next to the leather sofa she's currently sitting. A tense silence followed as Kaiser simply scrutinize her with his cold blue eyes. Meanwhile, Taylor simply waits for Kaiser's next move, like a Queen facing an Emperor in a game of chess.

    "It's still raining very hard outside," comes Max Anders' slow comment. His handsome face is an inscrutable mask but Taylor can sense his calculating mind working swiftly and methodically to acquire the desired result from this conversation.

    "Yes, I can see that," is Taylor's cool reply while her storm grey eyes remain locked with his pair of sky blue eyes.

    "Do you think it wise to continue with our search under this weather? Because to be perfectly honest, I am not looking forward to walking outside and weathering the storm even when we have an umbrella this time. Aside from that, I think it's more reasonable if we stay indoors for a while until the rain stops...and once it does, perhaps that's the perfect time to look for a place for you to stay…So what do you think of my suggestion?" Kaiser states in a reasonable tone while his face remained as blank as ever.

    Taylor's face is as expressionless as his when she finally answers.

    "I can understand your reason and I have to agree," she tells him. Taylor doesn't see any point in refusing his suggestion, not when she also has her own agenda. "I think it's better to remain indoors at this point until the rain lets up. However, what do you recommend we do while we wait in your apartment in the meantime?"

    Another pause follows as Taylor notes the contemplative look that graces Kaiser's handsome features.

    "I was thinking about ordering something for us to eat. A proper nourishment before we set out again when the rain finally stops?" Kaiser says to her.

    "Yes, you are right. Getting some warm food in our belly is a good idea before we leave once more. I, for one, am famished. So what do you plan to order?"

    "I was considering calling the restaurant downstairs to order something up. They serve a variety of food, which you will find delicious. Do you want to eat something specific?" comes Kaiser's question.

    "No, I'm not really picky with my food. So you can order anything for me." Taylor responds.

    "Alright. I will do as you wish and order something that you might like." Kaiser says to her. "I will call our meal order soon and I trust that you will find something to entertain yourself while I make the call?"

    Taylor simply waves the magazine at him and says, "You don't need to worry. The magazines that you've provided me is sufficient enough to hold my interest, albeit temporarily."

    "If that is the case, I will be in my room to use the telephone. But I might take awhile for me to finish since I have to call someone else as well,"

    "It's alright," Taylor replies. "I don't mind waiting here while you conduct your business."

    At her comment, Kaiser's face takes in an apologetic look as he says to her, "I know I invited you here as my guest and I apologize if I appear to be a terrible host to you. I promise I will make it up to you and come back as soon as possible once I'm done making the call."

    Even his facial expression is perfectly calculated. Taylor thinks while she regards the future villain.

    "Anders, you don't need to apologize for anything. I perfectly understand that you may have to attend some important matters while I am here. I know you may perceive me as you current guest, but I can assure you that you don't need to feel obligated to entertain me at all. "

    "Still, I will feel quite remiss if I leave you to your own devices for long…" comes Kaiser's comment.

    "Like I said before, I'm perfectly capable of finding something to entertain myself in your absence. So you don't need to worry about me at all Anders."

    "If that is the case, then I will go and make the call…" is Kaiser's uncertain words.

    "Yes, you do that...and I will wait for you here." Taylor replies in an assured tone.

    "Alright. I will see you in a few minutes." The future leader of the Empire Eighty-Eight finally says to her.

    With a brief nod in her direction, Taylor watches when the blue-eyed boy leaves her vicinity and enters his bedroom shortly after. The moment he is gone from her sight, Taylor allows her bugs to trail after him and listen to his conversation while he makes his call.

    "Yes, this is Max Anders. I would like to order something from your fine restaurant - "

    Taylor hears him speak to someone on the other line as the boy orders their food to be delivered in his apartment. Once Kaiser is done with that, Taylor continues to listen as the boy makes another call to someone else thereafter.

    "Hey, Heith…It's Max."

    Taylor hears Kaiser say and instantly knows that he is speaking to his girlfriend - or rather Theo's mother and Max Anders' first wife. She doesn't exactly know when Max Anders is going to marry Heith and bare him a son, but Taylor understands that it will be sometime soon.

    "I am sorry but I will have to cancel our date tonight because something else came up…"

    Taylor listens to what the future Villain is saying to his current girlfriend. However, she has trouble hearing what Heith is saying on the other line. Although based from the intonation of the voice, the girl must be outright displeased.

    "It's something important which requires my full attention…"

    So Kaiser is ditching his girlfriend just to remain here with me. Taylor thinks in dismay. Somehow I feel bad for Theo's mom. I hope Kaiser won't make this a habit of his while he pursues to know the truth about me.

    "Perhaps we can reschedule sometime next week?" Kaiser is saying, but Taylor's focus is abruptly broken by a loud mewling sound, which she can hear somewhere nearby.

    Taylor searches the room for a moment until she slowly looks up and instantly sees a black, drenched cat pawing at the glass pane of the sloping skylight in Kaiser's living room.

    The cat's bright green eyes are directly looking at Taylor as it continues to mewl pitifully. The heavy rain from outside clearly soaking the black cat all the more.

    Somehow Taylor knows that the black cat probably belongs to Kaiser since she did recall Theo mentioning that his father prefers cats over dogs.

    The black cat resumes its pathetic attempt at trying to get her attention. It obviously wants to enter the apartment and as Taylor looks at the skylight closely. She realizes that she might be able to open it and let the poor cat in if she climbs on top of the table full of figurines which is placed below the skylight. With her height, Taylor knows that she can easily reach the glass panes and open the lever of the skylight.

    In the other room, Taylor hears Kaiser continues to talk to his girlfriend and he seems to be heavily flirting with her. Deciding that she has enough of listening to Kaiser's conversation with his girlfriend, she begins to consider the black cat's current predicament.

    The black cat hasn't cease its mewling and Taylor finally chooses to do something about the poor cat's situation. Sitting up from the black leather sofa, Taylor makes her way towards the table that contains the glass figurines. She stares at the various glass figurines for a second right before she starts to carefully set them to the side with the intent of making a room for her to stand and reach the skylight.

    I'm sure Kaiser will understand the reason I'm moving his stuff. If he sees the state of his poor cat, I'm certain he will forgive me for touching his prized possessions. Taylor inwardly reasons.

    After transferring most of the figurines, Taylor slowly climbs on top of the table and is glad that the table is sturdy enough to support her full weight. As she reaches her hand to open the skylight, she realizes that she has to tip her toes up to do so.

    A second later, she is able to pull down the lever. There is a faint clicking sound as the skylight opens outward and Taylor watches when the black, soaked cat leap inside and lands on the table she is currently standing in.

    The black cat immediately starts shaking its wet body to remove some of the water from its fur. However, with the skylight now open, the heavy rain begins to enter the apartment and straight down unto Taylor and the small area around her.

    For sure Kaiser is going to get pissed at me for getting his furniture wet. I don't think it's a good idea to keep the skylight open at all. She inwardly decides.

    Not wanting to get more in trouble, Taylor hastily stands on the tip of her toes with the intent to close the skylight. However, she fails to account or notice how the table beneath her has become slick with water from the rain. So when Taylor moves to reach for the lever once more, her shoes skid over the wet surface and Taylor instantly finds herself losing her balance and tipping to the side without warning.

    Taylor's mind flares with alarm as she begins to fall. A shout of surprise burst from her lips while she senses her bugs react to her emotional distress. Despite her wide range of awareness due to her bugs, Taylor can't stop the gravity from pulling her down or avoid her inevitable descent on top of the antique vases and sculptures that Kaiser use as his home decor.

    Even though she is able to twist mid-air but Taylor still ends up falling heavily on top of Kaiser's fragile decorations. A second later, the back of her head hits the grand sculpture of a nymph right before she hears the loud shattering sound of glass breaking from beneath her while she feels an instant flare of agony all across her back and head.

    Then, she completely blocks out. Her control on her bugs suddenly lost.
    .
    .
     
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  11. Threadmarks: Hidden Agendas
    dhazellouise

    dhazellouise Prolific Writer - Moodboards Maker

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    Taylor slowly regains consciousness a little later when she senses someone carrying her. As her awareness increases, she also begins to feel excruciating pain from the number of cuts she can sense on her back.

    Based from the familiar masculine scent, Taylor knows that it is Kaiser who is carrying her. The future villain is carrying her in a way that her stomach is press on his shoulder. It’s probably because this is a better option than carrying her bridal style, which will force him to wrap an arm around her shoulders and will become painful for her due to the numerous glass shards still embedded on her back.

    With her increasing awareness, Taylor can feel each of the glass shards buried in her flesh. She can even feel the tiny fragments that have burrowed into her skin and sense the blood trickling from her many wounds which soaked the shirt that Kaiser lent her.

    Slowly, she begins to offload her pain towards the bugs that she can sense in her range. However, after considering it for a moment, she knows that Kaiser will notice immediately if Taylor acts like she’s not in pain. So with some reluctance, she allows herself to partially feel some of the pain while she lets Kaiser carry her to where she soon learns is his bedroom.

    A moment later, Taylor lets out a groan when Max Anders lifts her off from his shoulder. Using both of his hands on her waist, Kaiser slowly begins to lower Taylor’s feet on the ground, where he immediately wraps an arm around her waist to keep her standing and press against his tall, masculine frame.

    Their somewhat intimate position should have caused her some discomfiture, but Taylor is too preoccupied with the number of shards buried into her skin and the blood flowing freely from her wounds that she simply does not notice how Kaiser is supporting her injured body at the moment.

    “Taylor?”

    She hears Kaiser’s question and she tilts her head up to meet the boy’s eyes. Taylor vaguely notes that her body is pressed tightly against his while his face is just a foot from hers.

    “I don’t know exactly what happened but you are wounded pretty badly. I think you might need to go to the Emergency room.” The boy states to her in a concern but serious tone.

    “No, no hospitals please…” is all Taylor can say as she grimaces.

    Going to the hospital is a terrible idea. Not when I don’t have a fake identification with me yet to provide the medical staff when they asked for it. Taylor thinks.

    “Why don’t you want to go to the hospital?” comes Kaiser’s curious question.

    “It’s because I just don’t want to, alright?” She says to him.

    There is a temporary pause as Max Anders regards her contemplatively.

    “If that is your wish, then I won’t stop you. However, I hope you understand the situation you are in. Judging from the wounds on your back, you definitely require immediate medical attention. I know First Aid and I am properly equipped with the necessary things to help with your injuries but I may require your entire cooperation to assist you.” Kaiser informs her as he continues to support her.

    “I am willing to cooperate with you Anders. So you just do what you need to do to get the fucking glass shards off my back.” Taylor says while she looks up at him.

    “Then, I hope you won’t have any objections at all if I ask you to remove your upper clothing so that I may have access to your injuries and apply the necessary First Aid that you will require,” Kaiser tells her in matter-of-fact manner.

    For a moment, it doesn’t register to Taylor what Kaiser is implying until a few seconds later.

    “You want me to remove my top?” She asks him with wide eyes.

    “Yes and everything that might prove to be an impediment when I tend to your wounds,” is Kaiser’s calm answer.

    Taylor becomes speechless at what the future Villain is asking of her.

    Kaiser wants to take my shirt and bra off while he provides me medical aid?...Even the thought of it makes Taylor feel both apprehensive and alarm. However, after considering her entire dire situation, she knows that it will only be foolish of her if she refuses Kaiser’s help. There are glass shards embedded on her back and she knows that she will have a difficult time removing each of them on her own. So Taylor obviously needs Kaiser’s help for that.

    “Alright, fine…” She says to him albeit reluctantly while a flush slowly creeps up at her face at the thought of baring herself to him. “I will follow your instructions even if it is something that I am not looking forward to.”

    “Good. I’m glad that you see it my way. Now, may I ask if you are able to stand by yourself?” Kaiser inquires.

    “Yes, I think I can…” is Taylor’s reply.

    “Then, I will let you go now.” Kaiser informs her while he slowly release her.

    Still wincing in mild pain, Taylor allows herself to step back away from him.

    “Since I don’t think it’s such a good idea for you to be lifting the shirt over your head, which will only aggravate your wounds. I believe I may have to cut the back of your shirt to better access your injuries."

    “It's not my shirt. It's yours so I don't particularly care what you do with it." Taylor states.

    "Very well then…" Max Anders say to her. "You may turn around."

    Taylor frowns at him for a moment before she does what he asks her and presents her back to him.

    She offloaded another portion of her feelings to her bugs within her grasp while she senses Kaiser does something behind her. She hears the familiar sound of grating metal and she instinctively reacts when she realizes that Kaiser is using his ability in that instant.

    Without a second thought, Taylor is already calling for her swarm in and she is about to turn around and attack the future Villain when Kaiser suddenly moves close to her.

    "Relax bug girl," His deep voice whispers right next to her ear. His breath brushing the shell of her ear that Taylor instantly freezes from both his proximity and the name he calls her.

    Somehow he must have seen her bugs at work earlier when Taylor probably lost consciousness and thus outing her as a cape.

    Goddamnit! He knows what my power is! She thinks.

    Taylor remains frozen even as she becomes hyper-aware of him directly standing behind her.

    "You have no reason to be alarmed," Max Anders says to her in assuring manner. "I am simply going to cut your shirt open."

    After she heard him say that, she nearly lets out a gasp of surprise when Kaiser reaches forward to splay his large hand over her stomach and keep her in place. Taylor swiftly offloaded most of her emotional response to her bugs to keep herself calm, especially when she can feel Kaiser lifting the back of her shirt up and sense the kiss of a cold blade against her skin.

    The room is buzzing with her bugs now as Taylor calls them to her. Ready to attack the boy who has a blade currently pressed on her back.

    “I said relax,” Kaiser says to her. His lips brushing against her ear and Taylor can’t help the shiver at the contact.

    “How can I relax when you have a knife press against my back at the moment?” is Taylor’s only retort as she slowly gather her bugs around her, which include a wasp, a fire ant and black widow spider. All of which can deliver a degree of hurt on the boy if he as much as dare stab her with his blade.

    “If I want you dead, you would have not been alive right now when I could have killed you while you were still unconscious. So trust me when I say that I’m only going to use the knife to cut your shirt apart. ” comes Kaiser’s statement.

    Max Anders has a point. If he wanted her dead, the boy would have killed her when she was unconscious. However, it still makes Taylor feel wary of him despite knowing that fact.

    Taylor decides not to say anything and waits for Kaiser’s next move.

    “Now, I trust that you won’t question my methods of helping you this time?”

    She hears Kaiser say from behind her.

    “Just let’s get this over with,” is all she says to him.

    “As you wish,” comes Kaiser’s monotonous response.

    A moment later, she senses it when he swiftly runs his blade through the back of her shirt.
    There is sharp tag and a rendering sound as her shirt is cut open with such ease that it surprises her momentarily.

    There is a brief pause afterward as Taylor wonders what Kaiser is going to do next. She doesn’t wait for long when she hears Kaiser asks her softly, “May I have your permission to take off your shirt?”

    After transferring most of her emotional response to her bugs, Taylor now has a perfect clarity in what is required of her and understands that she can’t afford to delay the medical assistance that she clearly needs considering that her injuries are quite severe. So when Kaiser asks her the question she doesn’t hesitate to nod her head and grant him permission to do what is necessary.

    Shortly after, Taylor senses it when Kaiser slowly and gently begins to pull her shirt off her. She can also feel it when the glass shards poking from her flesh gets hustled as the blood-soaked shirt is peeled from her skin.

    Taylor can’t help but shiver once more from both the cold air brushing against her exposed back and the warm masculine hands moving methodically to slip the shirt off her shoulders and down her arms. Fortunately, she is still wearing a bra. However, it seems that Kaiser is not done with her yet.

    “Permission to remove the last article of your upper clothing?” comes his next question as soon as her bloody shirt drops to the floor and this time Taylor doesn’t easily grant him the request.

    “Is it really necessary?” She asks without looking at him.

    “You know that it is...there are some glass fragments that may be embedded into your skin just beneath the back of your last clothing.” Kaiser tells her. “Unless you want me to ignore that altogether as I remove the rest of the glass shards...Do you want to risk the chance of you getting an infection?”

    There is another pause as Taylor considers the boy’s statement.

    “Very well Anders. You have my permission to take it off,” She replies grudgingly. Taylor knows that she is not able to do it herself, not without reaching behind her which will simply aggravated her wounds further.

    Not a second later, Taylor feels his hands moving to finish the task. He does not fumble or hesitate at all when he unclasp the hooks of her bra. Soon, he is slipping the straps off her bare shoulders and down her arms while gooseflesh immediately erupts on her exposed skin from where his warm hands touch her.

    The moment her last upper clothing drops to the floor, Taylor crosses her arms in front of her to cover herself. She can practically feel Kaiser’s gaze on her exposed back while he remains standing behind her.

    “Taylor, I can’t properly administer First Aid while you are standing, so I want you to lie down on the bed...but you have to lay in bed facing down since your injuries are on your back.”

    Taylor hears Kaiser say to her.

    “I understand,” comes her nearly automatic response. “Do you want me to get in bed now?”

    “Yes,” is the boy’s short reply.

    “Fine,” Taylor says without giving any of her thoughts away.

    The situation she finds herself in is so surreal. With Kaiser asking her to get in bed while she stands there half-naked, was definitely not something she expects when she ended up in this timeline.

    With her arms still covering her chest, Taylor climbs into the bed while she allows herself to lie face first into the dark silky sheets. The moment her face touches Kaiser’s pillow, she is instantly flooded by the scent of him. A scent that her feminine senses finds appealing.

    “Please wait here while I get the First Aid Kit,”

    Taylor hears him say.

    Not waiting for her reply, Max Anders immediately leaves to do as he says. With Kaiser temporarily gone to fetch the First Aid Kit, Taylor allows herself to settle comfortably in the bed while trying to ignore the temptation to simply lie there and sleep. Suddenly, she feels downright exhausted. Today is an ordeal for her and it seems the days of sleepless preparation prior to her arrival has finally caught up to her.

    Some time later, Taylor is partly aware when Kaiser finally comes back. She sees him set a red box on the bedside table while he sits down at the edge of the bed right next to her.

    “You look like you are about to fall asleep on me Taylor,” is Kaiser’s remark. He must probably have noticed her half-lidded stare as she regards him almost sleepily.

    Taylor feels it when he uses his hands to gently move her long, dark hair to the side and exposed more of her injured back to him. She notes how his bright blue eyes carefully assesses her wounds before he meets her gaze once more. “I know you hit your head when you fell. So I don’t think it is such a good idea for you to sleep right now. Can you please stay awake for me until I’m certain that you have not suffered some kind of concussion?”

    “I’m just tired, but I will try my best to remain awake.” comes Taylor’s soft response while she observes the future Villain opens the red box, takes out a pair of blue gloves and starts putting them on. Then, she watches as Kaiser pulls a pair of tweezers and some clean gauze probably to staunch the bleeding once he starts removing the glass shards from her back.

    “That’s good then…” Max Anders says to her.

    The blue-eyed boy regards her momentarily right before he tells her, “Taylor, I’m going to start pulling out the shards now. I know this is going to hurt...so I apologize ahead of time for causing you pain.”

    Taylor no longer feels any pain after she has completely transfer most of it to her bugs. Still, she knows that it’s not such a good idea to inform Kaiser of this ability so she simply says to him, “It’s fine. Just do what you need to do.”

    “Alright then,” comes Max Anders statement right before she senses him move his hands over her back.

    Taylor feels the sharp tagging against her skin when Kaiser pulls out the first glass shard embedded on her back with the use of tweezers.

    “May I ask the true reason you fell?” Max Anders inquires after a moment of silence as he works on slowly but methodically removing the sharp foreign objects from her flesh.

    “I fell because apparently the table I was standing on top of got wet from the rain,” is her only reply while she senses him clinically removing the shards one by one and staunching the bleeding afterward.

    “But what prompted you to climb my furniture in the first place?”

    She hears Kaiser’s puzzled question and her only reply is a dark statement, “It was your cat.”

    “My cat?...You mean Adolf?”

    Typical for Kaiser to name his black cat after the german leader of the Nazi. She inwardly grumbles.

    “Yes, your cat, Hitler, is the reason I fell.” Taylor states with displeasure.

    “His name is Adolf. Not Hitler,” Kaiser corrects her. He sounds both amused and exasperated at the same time. “And why are you blaming my cat for your fall?”

    “It’s because your cat was trying to get into your apartment from the skylight. I feel very sorry for it considering it’s raining heavily outside. So I did not hesitate at all to let your goddamn cat inside your apartment.”

    “That was an unwise thing for you to do. When you saw my cat outside, you should have called me instead of taking matters into your own hands.”

    “You were otherwise preoccupied at that time and I don’t want to interrupt your conversation with your girlfriend just because of your goddamn cat,” is Taylor’s response and instantly regrets it.

    The hands on her back seems to freeze when she mentions his girlfriend.

    Goddamnit! I shouldn’t have said that. Now, he knows that I’ve been listening to his conversation this entire time. She curses mentally.

    “How do you know I was talking to my girlfriend?”

    “A lucky guess,” Taylor hastily answers. “Your sister mention her to me and when you say that you plan to call someone else after ordering our food, I just simply assume that you are calling your girlfriend.”

    For a while, Kaiser does not say anything while he simply stares at her. Meanwhile, Taylor forces herself to keep her face blank as the future Villain continues to scrutinize her.

    “Yes, you are correct. I did call my girlfriend.” Kaiser informs her as he resumes the task of pulling the shards from her skin.

    A long, tense silence followed after while Taylor can feel Kaiser tending to her wounds. Still neither of them speak up again, not even after Kaiser is finish removing most of the glass fragments and shards. Now, Taylor sees the boy cleaning her wounds with some saline solution and wiping the blood off her skin with gauze pads.

    Taylor knows that injury like hers should be seen by the medical profession, but she also understands the risks of being discovered that she is not from this original time. Hence, letting Max Anders tend to her is a better option than seeking professional help.

    She is nearly getting drowsy when she feels Kaiser using his gloved fingers to gently rub antibiotic ointment over her open cuts. The soothing, slow motion of his hands on her makes her sighs out loud as she presses her face against the silken pillow.

    “I’m almost done putting the antibiotic ointment,” Max Anders finally breaks the silence a little later and Taylor half-turns her head to look in his direction.

    “Thank you Anders,” is her only remark as she inspects the boy’s handsome face.

    “Don’t thank me yet, Taylor. I still have to put the sterile dressing around you.” He informs her.

    “Hmn…” comes her mumbled reply.

    It takes another few minutes when Taylor feels a hand shaking her.

    “Taylor, we’re almost done. I only need to wrap a dressing around the wound, but I need you to sit up for me so that I can do it.” Kaiser tells her.

    “Alright,” Taylor simply says as she slowly rises up from the bed while carefully covering her front.

    “I’m using a cloth dressing. So I will need to wrap it around your entire upper torso. You may need to raise your arms when I put the dressing on.”

    At Kaiser’s words, Taylor understands what the boy requires her to do and she lets out a sigh when she says, “I’m not going to raise my arms up, but I’m going to place my hands on the headboard. Is that alright?”

    “That’s fine,” is Max Anders reply. “Just don’t hit me if accidentally brush against...something.”

    Taylor simply snorts and does not say anything else.

    Afterward, she can feel him sit close to her back and hear him unwrapping the sterile dressing behind her. With her arms held perfectly aloft before her, Taylor senses him lean forward to begin the process of putting the dressing on. As Kaiser’s hands move clinically around and behind her, Taylor forces herself to remain still even when she can feel the occasional brushes of his hands against her front that left her skin tingling with heat.

    Soon, the sterile dressing is wound securely around her chest and back area that she knows that it’s not going to fall apart when she moves.

    Nonetheless, Taylor also begins to understand that she might require Kaiser to change her dressing again sometime in the future, considering that she is entirely on her own in this timeline.

    “Fortunately, most of the cuts are shallow,” is Max Anders comment the moment he finishes. “But you still need time to recover from your wounds…”

    “I know…” comes Taylor’s answer as she turns to look at him. “And I thank you for your assistance. I’m greatly in your debt now…but I’m sure I will be able to recover just fine.”

    There is a temporary pause as Kaiser regards her for a moment.

    “I understand that you wanted to look for a place to stay on your own…” the boy begins to say and Taylor immediately guesses what he wants to suggest to her. “However, do you think it wise for you to do so now? You’re wounded and still recovering and I know that you don’t have anyone else to help you change your dressing...or help you when you need it in general…”

    “What are you trying to say Anders?” She asks him although she already understands what Kaiser plans to do with her situation.

    “If I give you the choice to stay here while you recover, will you accept my offer?” Max Anders proposes to her.

    “And what do you get out from this arrangement once I agree?” She asks, raising a brow at him.

    “Nothing much...I only want the truth from you…and perhaps I don’t mind your company as well,” as he says the last words, Taylor forces herself not to react when Kaiser slowly reaches out to brush aside a wild curl from her left cheek and tuck it behind her ear. The callous pads of his fingers almost a caress as he grazes her cheekbone while Taylor’s storm grey eyes remain locked with his brilliant blues orbs.

    Trying to seduce me already, are you Kaiser? She coolly muses. How about I turn your methods against you? I wonder how you will deal with that…

    Taylor allows herself to smile at the blue-eyed boy while she slowly leans close to him. She doesn’t need to move further of course, since the two of them are already sitting next to each other. They are so close that Taylor can feel the heat radiating from him while her knees brush against his.

    As she moves forward, Taylor lets her hand settle on his thigh and she feels only amusement when Kaiser shortly tenses at her touch. Then, he simply becomes still as a statue when Taylor finally stops to whisper right next to his ear.

    “Your offer is too tempting to resist, Anders...” She says to him, purposely brushing her lips against the shell of his ear that she can feel him tense all the more.

    “So I will have to accept, but on one condition...” She tells him in soft and dangerous tone.

    She allows Kaiser to wait for her to finish. With this close to him, Taylor can sense the anticipation building up in his mind and something else that she thoroughly wants to ignore for her peace of mind.

    “I’m not going to ever sleep with you. So you might as well give up trying to seduce me.” She finally finishes in an icy voice while she digs her fingers into his thigh ruthlessly and is rewarded by the sound of his pained grunt. Her words are a vow while her action is a warning.

    However, instead of becoming wary or even angry at her actions, Taylor is somewhat astonished to sense something dark and hot flaring at the surface of his mind that she fails to move in time when Kaiser suddenly retaliates.

    A hand shoots out to grab a hold of her neck where Max Anders instantly forces her to face him.
    At once, Taylor’s gaze locks into a pair of deep indigo eyes.

    “You are very interesting bug-girl,” is Kaiser’s low remark as he regards her with dark, burning eyes. His breath is a pant as he seems to have trouble gathering his composure. Taylor knows what causes it. She can practically see it lurking in the depths of his eyes and feel it in his tensed muscles. She has completely unravelled him by her mere actions alone. This is not how she expects him to react with her open threat. Instead of anger or fear, she got something else unexpected.

    Raw-fucking-desire.

    “I like your ruthlessness Taylor...very much so,” The hand on her neck tightens but Taylor remains calm in the face of Kaiser’s wrath. She knows that he is not going to kill her. In fact, with this close to him, she can only sense him desiring to do the exact opposite.

    However, you should have known not to threaten me in my own home…Now, tell me one good reason why I should even help you now after you unsheathe your claws on me?”

    “Anders, why don’t we discuss this like civilized people?” She says to him calmly. “I know you want something from me and I want something from you. Perhaps it’s best that we negotiate.”

    “Trying to negotiate with me now, are you? And what made you think that I want something from a complete stranger like you, who clearly doesn’t have a home of her own, or even perhaps money and connections? I already help you as much as I could, but you turn all my good will to ash when you threatened me. So what makes you think that I am even willing to negotiate with you now?”

    “I know you want information. Information that you desperately need,” is all Taylor says.

    “Hmn,” comes Kaiser’s answer while he regards her thoughtfully. “Is that all you have to offer? Information? I think you can give me something better than that.”

    “Since you already know I am a cape, I am willing to work for you if that is what you want.”

    “Now, you simply sound desperate. I know you can find work somewhere else, what makes you think that working for me will be better?”

    However, Taylor is not given an opportunity to answer when she hears the doorbell rings.

    There is a short silence as both of them just simply stare at each other.

    “That’s our food,” Max Anders’ states.

    “Let’s finish our discussion later then,” she comments in rational tone.

    “Save by the bell, hmn?” Kaiser remarks. “Fine. We can discuss everything while we eat.”

    Taylor doesn’t say anything more to him even when he finally released her.
     
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