Others, 34

“They’re here.”

Frederick shifted in place, not able to contain his grin. “Finally.”

Silas chuckled, standing in front of Frederick, who was sitting on the bed. He kissed Frederick, tilting his head up. “We put Donny to bed two minutes ago, calm down.”

“No,” Frederick said. How could he possibly calm down when he and Silas were going to have a five-way with Ignatius, Gus and Jacob? He’d heard that five people actually made an orgy, and Frederick had never been to an orgy before. He had such high expectations, he’d woken up this morning a tiny bit dizzy from looking forward to it. It was going to be the best night of his life.

“Fine,” Silas said, patiently. He pulled Frederick to his feet. “Go let them in.”

Villain, 81

Sam was standing on what felt like a pile of jagged rocks that could have been bones in a room that had residual scarring from a fight. He could feel traces of his power and of Scott’s, both still lingering in the air. He was in the centipede pit, where he’d disappeared. He wondered if he could open his hold wherever he wanted, or if it would always open in the last place he’d used it.

It didn’t matter with Hadrina in there. Sam wouldn’t be returning there anytime soon. He had no reason to, not now that he was home, and with new toys to try out. Carefully, he picked himself over the rocks, climbing for a minute until he found himself on solid ground.

The castle felt the same to Sam, and the pit didn’t smell like blood or even like Scott. He must have been gone a while, which meant he’d be having a word with someone over the fact that this mess hadn’t been cleaned up.

Chosen One, 99

“Hey,” said Garrett, hanging out outside Juno’s classroom at the end of the day.

“Hey,” Isaac said. “What’s up?”

“Two things,” Garret told him. “First, I want to go on a date.”

Oh. Isaac broke into a grin. “Okay. Are you free tonight?”

“No,” Garrett laughed. “But in a little while. I got tickets to that minstrel show next week and I figured we could go if you were still interested?”

Villain, 80

You should be happy, Henry.

Everyone but Henry walked down the hallway in silence. Their footfalls were softened by the carpet, replaced yesterday. Nobody spoke, not him, not Derek or the dragons, not Archer or Hutch.

They were all quiet, but Henry didn’t walk in silence. A year of screams walked with him, swirling around him, raking every part of his body at every opportunity. They pounded at his chest, tore at his hair, ripped into his eyes as he walked, doing his level best to look strong, to look regal.

To look like a king.

Chosen One, 93

“It’s not like you not to know what to write,” Ariel said.

Isaac jumped in his chair. “I didn’t see you there.”

“Yeah, I’m stealthy,” she agreed. She’d put a dark streak in her hair, which looked nice. “Nobody pays attention to the girl in the mail room. You okay?”

Isaac nodded. “Yeah,” he said, smiling. “Your hair looks nice.”

“Thanks, that’s a great deflection from the question.”

Villain, 74

Henry stood nude in front of the tall mirror in the bedroom that nobody used. He hadn’t looked at his reflection for so long, because why did he need to? He knew what he’d see.

I break everything I touch, Henry.

He started dressing with his loincloth, tying it methodically. He’d stopped wearing one for a while, started wearing smallclothes instead, like Terry. But Henry wasn’t interested in dressing up like a dead man anymore. No matter what he wore, he was dressed as a dead man.

Chosen One, 91

Thomas had Klaus’s threads on him. So did Neil and Ezekiel, and Samantha and Darla, and Isaac wasn’t done checking all the girls yet because he didn’t share a dorm with them. It was harder to check apprentices and faculty, but Isaac had found strings on one apprentice he didn’t know well named Rita, as well as on Elijah, Audry and two other faculty.

He was everywhere, even more than Isaac had thought he would be. Doing this spell had been a huge mistake. How was Isaac supposed to live his life knowing this about so many people? How was he supposed to spend time with his friends knowing that Klaus could be controlling them, watching him?

He didn’t want to think like that. It had been one thing when he’d known it was Nicholas, because Nicholas was one person. He didn’t want to spend all his time worrying about everyone he met. But he didn’t know how to make himself not think about it now that he knew. Klaus was everywhere.

Nighttime Friend

Bob is being held by at least two of the eight naked people he had been sleeping with, and touched in different places by at least three more, and that’s a really nice way to wake up.

Except he has to go pee. And he could just transport the matter in his bladder somewhere else so he doesn’t have to get up, but that’s profoundly lazy in a way that Bob doesn’t like to be if he can avoid it, so instead, with great reluctance, he gets up, disentangling himself in increments from them all and stepping over them to get to the door. It’s a tiny bit chilly, so on the way he grabs a shirt and pulls it on. It’s Wes’s and it’s huge on him, immediately falling off one shoulder, but whatever. It smells nice, Bob thinks.

Bob doesn’t exactly know where his unireader got to, but that doesn’t matter. It’s in his hand by the time he’s out in the hallway, lighting the way for him as if the micro implants in his retinae weren’t already letting him see in the dark. He swipes away a few holographic messages, uploading the report he’d let the nanites in his little toe compose about his actions over the last little while.

Noble, 23

“There’s no sign of them,” said Carlotte. “Nobody saw Dahlia leave. We know where she is, obviously, but she was whisked out of here without any of the guards seeing so much as a shadow.”

“He has to have had help,” Danai said, rapping her knuckles on the table. “He couldn’t have pulled this off alone.”

“I don’t see how he could have pulled it off at all,” Janus disagreed. He had a habit of leaning on the table, which he shouldn’t. He was getting taller and looked short when he did that. “He’s smart, but he’s no criminal mastermind.”

“He could have pulled it off,” Geoffrey disagreed, feeling tired and sick. “He could have. But I don’t see why he would have.”