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The pit of doom
Nik cut him off. "You will earn it. Now, Danjou has already agreed to your involvement. You'll serve under Commander Vellas and take your orders from him rather than the Legion."
It was a difficult role to define. He remained a member of the Legion, but he would be taking Vellas' orders.

"I called you forward to discuss something else. You'll learn the details of the mission soon. This is in regards to something else - or rather, someone else."

He paused a moment before continuing, "I was paid a visit by one Miss Northbrook."
He searched Jay's gaze for recognition sure to come, but of what sort, he was unsure what to expect.

"She is not fond of me, I think,"
he smiled to put him at ease before his whole affect softened significantly. As much as it could while channeling, anyway. "You will see her at the ball. When you do, reassure her of your well-being. You are needed here, Jay. Your service will make the world a better place. You must believe that."
Dom glanced at Julian and then, after a moment, at Leweski walking away along with everyone else to change or freshen up or whatever for their show and tell with Ascendancy. In a low voice that only Julian could hear at the moment, he said "I don't know about you but I am sick of being trapped down here while golden boys like Carpenter keep getting sent top side."

Julian laughed with a weary sneer. "Yeah really. So tired of your fucking ugly face every day. Least Ascendancy could do is send down some companionship or something. Or at the least give us online access."

Dom laughed. "Yeah pretty sure your only girlfriend ever has been your laptop."
There was no harm meant tho.

Stir crazy was the term. And Carpenter was the final straw. He was done. Still, it would have to wait till after.

Changed and lined up, the super duper mighty high Ascendancy man showed himself along with some asshole who stood there with a shit eating grin. For some reason, though, when his glance caught Dom's he found himself looking away. Can't give myself away, he told himself. That was the only reason. Ascendancy had no need to know what was really going on.

And then he started talking and all thought of Carpenter flew away. Outside. They were going outside. Out-fucking-side!!! Ball or whatever, he found he didn't care. Well he did, but less than he expected.

And then he forced himself to listen and started to care. And when he felt the man- god, just a man, and yet the power he wielded was like a hand grasping his spine, making his knees turn to jelly. Paralyzed him. Such power....he felt it call to him. If he could hold that....fuck. He couldn't even begin to imagine what he would do. He would be a god. A living god. Able to bless those who pleased him and worshipped him and pleased him. And what an angry veangeful god he would be against those who spurned him. A fire that would burn alive those that decided to treat him as nothing.

It was the sweetest image he could imagine, so much so that he barely paid attention to what Ascendancy said. Dominion. This heavy pendant. A ball. (He was sure Ascendancy didn't notice anyything odd on his face when he have him his.)

Africa. None of it mattered. Well no. It did. He was being released with honors. With power. One of the original nine. Him. He would find his opportunity. Africa was a shithole. They would worship when a real god like him showed. Showed them real power.

He didn't even care when Ascendancy took buttboy off for a private conversation. Freedom. Power. They called to him.

He squeezed the pendant and felt the prick of the needles, kept squeezing until he was sure he pierced the skin. But he didn't flinch. Gods dont flinch.

Ascendants were more than human. He was a god. And now he was being unleashed.

God- him- help anyone who stood in his way.

"Good and ill. 
We're like the wind, 
we blows both ways."
- Mad Sweeney, American Gods
It was like the dome blocked out the whole world. More than just sound. Light. Life. It all disappeared when he said her name.

Why? Why the hell? For fuck's sake. HOW did she get in front of Ascendancy in a fucking day? For a chat?

Jay was speechless. What did she say? Was Danjou with her? No.. Something stirred in his mind. Her file. That first day when he read her file in the transport on the way to Freetown. He knew that her mother, Eleanor Northbrook hired the Legion for her personal protection. But there was something else. Her name wasn't really Northbrook. Her birth certification said something else.


Natalie Grey. Her father's name.

That's how he knew her. He remembered her father. The scandal. Court. News. Prison. The family of Ascendancy's right hand man in Western Europe. The man that ran half the continent - Edward Northbrook. That's how he knew her? Goddammit and this whole time Jay had been so fucking obsessive over his own demons, he didn't even think to ask--
--No. He'd not ask. But he should have known. Kept that card close to his chest. Maybe never reveal it, but play the game knowing the hands that were dealt.

He rubbed his forehead a moment and nodded along with Ascendancy's order. "I'll talk to her."

They parted after that, but Jay was left otherwise speechless.

There was a lot of ground to cover in two days.
Only darkness shows you the light.

Maybe it was two days. Maybe longer. Keeping track of time was difficult. They weren't completely isolated from the world. There was tv, for one thing. Problem was, every time Jay fell on a bunk and opened a screen, all his good intentions of watching it were tossed out the window. He slept hard. As hard as when he first hit basic training. That's what this felt like. But with far less of an idea of what exactly he was suppose to do.

"You're holding back,"
Karim told him at one point. Jay frowned at the accusation. It sure as hell felt like he had given everything right up to his soul for this. Maybe the soul was included.. Bad analogy.

"What else can I possibly do?"
He replied, to which Karim shrugged, answerless.

"Thats your own demon to exorcise, Jay. I don't know what you're afraid of, but its eating at you. Trust us. Trust this. Trust Ascendancy. You're here for a reason."
Not exactly the guidance he was hoping to hear.

The first real chance to think didn't come until time for a shower. He'd never been one for long showers, even as a kid. Call it locker-room training. Whatever. But showers were a get-in, get-out affair in his life. Otherwise, there was no other chance to be alone, except in his bunk, but having already established that nothing happened there except falling into the sleep of the dead, that was a no go.

He used the power to heat the water for the shower, and stood there for quite some time until he summoned the will-power to release it and actually get in the shower. Dominick apparently had the brilliant idea that luxuries in life (like a hot fucking shower) were not allowed unless they could channel it themselves. Course, the only one who couldn't do it was Jay. He learned, though.

Standing there amidst the steam and fog, scorching water flaring his shoulders red, he tried to make sense of what he was withholding.

No epiphany came.

When he left the shower, dripping wet and towel knotted at his hip, commotion reigned in the dorm. He fell in alongside Samuel, "Whats going on?"

"Delivery," Sam explained just as his name was called, just before shouldering his way forward. When Jay was handed his own, he realized it was a clothing bag. The kind that held suits or fancy dresses. He winced and prayed it wasn't a tuxedo.

When he opened it, he blinked at what lay within.

"Definitely not a tuxedo."
He scrubbed his hair and swallowed the excitement growing in his gut.

He hurried to try it on.

Only darkness shows you the light.


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