Tale of Souls Chapter Twenty
“Justin, wake up – wake… goddamnit get up.” Kristoff’s voice sounded even more like mine than it did before. “Get the fuck up, we’ve got an emergency.”
“You’re not listening, get the fuck up before i kick the shit out of your existing balls and wrap your life cords around the kid’s neck.” Nevermind, there’s two of them. I’m not even going to calculate the distance between when and where we were and here. This isn’t anywhere in time, and somehow we’ve been both taken between the lines.
“What’s going on, we were just – we WERE on our way to minneapolis.” I tried to sit up, but all I could muster was opening my eyes.
“You’ve been requested to come here instead of the source.”
“The fuck is the source compared to where we are now.”
“ELSA. I SWEAR TO YOU.”
“Wait, FUCKING STOP CALLING ME that.” Kristoff stared at the younger version of himself and nearly took him out with a punch to the face.
“Why not? Rana calls you that all the damn time.” I quipped and laughed.
“Yello boys, I assume we’ve all met.”
Shoulder length auburn hair, with a large blonde streak. Iced, baby blue eyes and a tray of chocolate chip cookies that smelled like they were straight out of the oven. I swear this one was stuck somewhere, or busy or something.
“YOU FUCKING SHUNTED ME TO THE LINES Didnt’ you. You convinced my husband to flake out on driving because he knew you needed me more than they did in Minneapolis.” I snarled, knowing exactly who this was.
“No, not until you explain yourself.” I snarled again, “Michael, Gabriel, Williams also known as the younger half of Saitou Fujiwara.”
“Uh, uh .. UH. Yea? So?”
“What’s so fucking urgent you risk what you just risked?”
“I fucked up the first time, I didn’t mean to shunt you to your time after you got stuck in the past – I meant to get you HERE. I mean I’m not trying to kill you, but you going to the source hotspot is just going to get you and your crew up a shit creek without a paddle… The Makara kind are there. They brought their semi failed weapon, and I wasn’t fast enough trying to get Kaji back to his time.” Mike, the one I met in between times in the future, obviously has no sense of contacting people or else I’d be less at risk for a stroke after this one.
“Semi Failed?” I raised an eyebrow and looked at both Kristoff and the now nicknamed brother of mine – ‘Elsa’. Not sure I’m ever gonna let him live that one down.
“Yea, he’s got a conscience.” Mike smirked for a moment, and walked over to help me off my knees.
“Concious soul my ass, you wanna talk about fucking trauma” Kristoff isn’t saying something as usual, which is going to lead to him in 3 – 2 – 1 …. “He fuckin’ tried to lead us astray and look where the fuck that got me.” – I warned you he was admitting something he didn’t want to. “Whoops. Did i just. Spill beans that i didn’t need to?”
“Wow. Anyone got duct tape because ME IN THE PAST CANT KEEP HIS FUCKEN’ MOUTH SHUT” Future, and younger Kristoff quipping, making it known he feels he’s superior, as the younger generation has a habit of doing. We all do this, we all think in our twenties that we’re the asshole that knows better. Sadly, nobody knows anything these days.
“Yea uh settle you two, what the fuck.” Another voice, not nearly as loud – but severely familiar rings out from behind Mike. “Sparky, you’re here because future me is a semi clone like the baby Elsa over here – and while he’s got a soul, he doesn’t know how to break past his programming without screwing everyone up in the process. He’s the reason you guys are still financed despite Izuchi missing.”
“Wait what?” I’m severely confused.
“Yes, so he gives a shit about our time, and he keeps tripping and getting slapped onto the wrong team. Felix has his issues, and stupidly he’s got snagged to Izuchi’s team despite the knowledge that he’s worked his ass off to pay off the Haven so everyone can still have a safe place to live.”
“Can you just stop hiding behind MIKE? I CAN SMELL YOU.” Kristoff, in his stress of the moment let his bandana slip, and let his disguise roll off. Ears pinging straight up and eyes changing he stood up and almost fell over trying to run towards the voice.
“Stop trying to attack me dumbshit, I didn’t do shit to you.”
“THEN WHY DO YOU SOUND AND SMELL LIKE HIM”
“Because I’m part Makara, and I’m mostly Nazarenko. Here’s the deal: My uncle’s a shitfuck, and you and Rana fell for my clone somehow in the last few years and Felix got confused and fucked everything over for you. Nobody’s forgiving him for it, nobody’s excusing it – but it’d be nice if you stop blaming me for it.”
“Because you’re a fucking LIAR?”
“No, because I’m not him. Believe it or not, I’ve got my own life, and I’ve been stuck helping the walkers because I prefer not to be found by my asshole family.”
“Kaji settle, nobody’s asking you to tell your background to him.” Mike scratched his head and turned around to face Kaji, the one talking really loudly and angrily to my brother.
“I’m not. I’m explaining why I’m not Felix Nazarenko-Makara. He swapped the N in his name to an L so he could try and bat for the good guys – but when the timelines shunted the last couple times, he lost his crew to the shunting, and he went nuts trying to repay their debt. That’s how he ended up on Izu’s team. Because Izu snagged em’, said he’d kill the rest of OUR team if he even so as funded or looked at any one of us.” Kaji sighed, “Izuchi isn’t under the Makara control, but he’s allied with them.”
“But he’s meant to be our teacher isn’t he?” I blinked, I mean I know I’m missing a little of the story but I shouldn’t be with the headaches I’ve had all day.
“He himself lost a few screws, he lost Shiro to the first wave – Mike saved him, but it wasn’t enough. The first wave was before most of us were born, which makes everything a lot more confusing.” Kaji breathed through his nose and walked over to Kristoff, “I don’t expect you to forgive Felix. I expect you to know the difference and know where the fuck i stand. ELSA.”
“Yea that’s way more than confusing.” I Blinked for a second, “First wave, is that when Mike went back in time to Save Sai?”
Mike sighed, his hair turned blonde and his eyes changed from blue to golden brown. He sat on the ground quietly and growled lightly.
“You’re risking Mike jumping by even mentioning it, but yes. The details are blocky and blurry, but yes. Back to the subject at hand, we’re in trouble far more than you know. It’s not just Izuchi, nor is it just the Makara army placing spies everywhere.”
“I’m sorry I don’t mean to.”
“For you, I forgive. You may not be mine, and I may not share my other half’s adoration and love for you – but I respect his feelings, and I understand him.”
“I didn’t marry mike dummy.”
A growl, and a middle finger struck my face – I struck a chord.
“I MEANT YOUR HUSBAND DICKHEAD.”
“That’s the Sai I know and love regardless of which one he is” I smiled, I laughed and snorted. I know how to rile up Mike enough to get Saitou’s younger half out. Better yet, I know how to get him out of his masked maturity. “You’re fine, I know you don’t love me the same way your other self does – and I respect and love you like I do my brothers – as I do Mike the same way.”
“Yea but you’re missing the fucking point sparky, we’ve run out of time.” Kaji sighed, “It’s a fair call you wanna rile Mike up – you’ve always been good at that, but now’s not the time to even start bucking more than that. Our time is the last wave, our time is the final tsunami, and the nail in the coffin.”
“Holy shit, wait what?” The younger Kristoff darted his eyes towards Kaji and took a deep breath, practically losing it in the process. “You mean.”
“The last shunt means there’s only two or three parallel lines left.” Kaji responded, “Which means that we lost the timelines that baby Elsa came from. We lost the timelines that Felix had a crew of his own, and was helping them just like Mike did me and others.”
“So we’re fucked, and we can’t fix it?” Kristoff, the one that can’t trust anyone but his own finger to the wind, quipped. “I mean, why are we even here if it’s all going to shit.”
“Because you’re the only fucking family I got left in these lines, and i’m not letting you DIE.” The younger of the two ‘ELSA’S’ as Kaji called them – quipped back.
“What the hell do you mean by that?”
“I may be a clone, and I may have my own personality by now – but I’m related to you in my time, my version of time. You give a shit more than you realize, and despite you getting depressed that you’re not entirely a single entity because of Rana – you ARE you and this is not the time to give up.”
“Ok so you lose your own time, and you think that gives you the right to code me. Great.”
“Give up the depression for five minutes asshat, you got a new lease on life and you’re gonna waste it whining that you’re not gonna win so you’re giving up a fight?” My turn to quip. “I’m calling your bullshit on this one, we’re out of time – so we HAVE to fight. We can’t just take the whiskey bottle and chug it until the technicolor yawn comes – We use that bottle to hit the shit out of the enemy and WIN.”
“But we won’t regain what we lost.” Kristoff speaking of the whiskey bottle that he tried to literally fucking chug and waste our mother’s money. Valid reason sure, but uh – try not to waste top shelf whiskey when you’re grieving.
“Not entirely true.” Mike’s eyes returned to blue and his hair back to brown with the streak of blonde. “The source, our people in the lines – all can walk. We can walk back and fix what was broken. We can walk back and give people the rulebook so we can fight better each time.”
“It won’t be perfect, we won’t regain everything, but we’ll win the war. We’ll get back a percentage, and make this place easier to live and work with in the future.” Kaji smiled.
“You can’t rewrite the trauma. What gives you that right.”
“Give it up for Felix when you meet him during the war, I’m not rewriting your trauma – I’m only asking you to trust me. He’s only got a soul because they managed to up their game in the cloning.”
I snorted, REALLY LOUDLY. My thought process after this was that my brothers were now soulless and I was too. I grinned, and I walked over to Kaji and tried not to laugh more, but I couldn’t help it, he accidentally branded us as soulless bastards. The only one with freckles and red hair was Rana, so he’s at least a fourth right?
“Different sort of clones, they weren’t looking at cloning a teenager, they cloned a toddler. They cloned a toddler that was me from another time, and tried to treat him as if he were me. That’s why he’s so fucked up, they treated him like he wasn’t the devil until they put him in programming.” Kaji opened up his palm and started finagling around with a ball of flames. “I didn’t bother to pay much attention to programming, and in my time they killed my mother and replaced her with the Makara Alien that sired my half-brother Evan.”
“I wasn’t meant to be in your time, but Mike found me on one of his walks and here I am.” Kaji sighed, “In your time you haven’t even met me – let alone found me – I’m normal in 75% of the timelines – well not normal, I mean just as fucking flamboyant and brilliant – but uh, human and no abilities.”
“Met myself this time? I mean, I’ve met myself most times I’ve had a chance to engage with. The time Felix is from I was only like three months old or that version of me was – but they infected me with a virus so I didn’t exist after the age of thirteen. They’ve tried to do that to even the human versions of me. I’m fighting less because of Mike or anyone else – but for the humans who’re losing their lives due to my Uncle’s fucking plight.”