Part II - Live Another Night (Die Another Day) -
By Mercedes - Collab

“If he bothers you so much, why don’t you get rid of him?” Nicaise’s voice soft like silk with a trace of sweet hesitancy. The boy was rearranging his bookcase, actions that Shawn recognized as excuses to stay in his bedroom. The mood was calm enough that Nicaise thought he could speak his mind with no consequence and Shawn even thought he heard the barest trace of wanting in his question. Wanting Shawn to kill Jyzal.

“Come here,” Shawn murmured.

Without missing a beat, Nicaise was by his side. By now Shawn stood from where he was reading and editing a letter on his desk. He raised his hand, ready to drive his fist into the mouthy servant. Then, he paused. Jyzal once stopped him from hitting the younger male, one of the few times his blonde directly raised his hands against him in turn.

Under his breath, Shawn snorted softly. “Forget it.”

“No!” At the borderline desperate cry, Shawn glanced at the boy, who babbled to continue, “If you want to hit me, do it.” His melodic voice rose adoringly, “It’ll be my honor, to …”

“Puppy doesn’t like it,” Shawn snickered. He watched with increased interest as Nicaise’s face morphed into one of indignant rage and unmasked irritation. Just a flash before Nicaise had himself under control.

“Mr. Alveckson has nothing to do with our relationship,” said Nicaise. He nearly spat out the name.

Shawn was quick to correct him, “We have no relationship.”

There was only a heartbeat before the boy’s face crumbled, falling like pieces of porcelain. Puppy indeed doesn’t like it, but Shawn couldn’t deny a twist of guilty pleasure watching the much more innocent blonde fall apart. Falling apart the way he did every time Shawn touched him in the last three months since imprisoning Jyzal.

When Nicaise quietly turned around resume organizing the bookcase, Shawn caught him around his waist, purring dangerously, “But we can have one.”


When you weren’t looking him directly in the eyes, Jyzal was nearly too pretty to take seriously. Temperance knew it was a dangerous line of thought but he couldn’t help but wonder if Death was as deadly as legacy whispered. For three months, the story was the same. Death would read, draw, meditate, occasionally hold conversation and wait for His Highness.

Temperance couldn’t fight the impression that he was living in a limbo, swimming through oil. Then, Jyzal’s eyes were focused on him, cutting through all his resistance like a hot wire through butter.

“What are you thinking about? You’ve been staring at me for the past five minutes.”

Five minutes? It felt like five seconds, but Death’s presence seemed to always distort his perception of time. Temperance scrambled to find an answer, “I—His Highness’s orders. Keep an eye on you.”

“No bullets,” Death reassured him, catching his wary glance at the .32 S&W. Suddenly, Death was in front of him and Temperance involuntarily took a step back before he realized he’d been standing in front of the table and found the edge of a marble table digging into his back. Death seemed unconcerned and pressed forward.

They were alone, Temperance realized. The two other men sent with him to watch Death this shift were out on a break. He was a major arcane, so he stayed here, alone. Despite holding a gun with bullets, and His Highness’ entire blessing to use it, Temperance felt helpless.
He needed a way to stop Death from coming closer.

First thing that came to mind, “Does it hurt?” Stupid and dangerous, but at least Death paused to look taken back. Temperance quickly pushed on, gesturing at Death’s body.

Death gave him an odd look. “Yes.”

Temperance felt the world closing in on him.

“You’re going to leave him alive?” was the first question out of Regime’s mouth as he stepped into Jyzal’s apartment. He watched as the blonde lowered the unconscious man to the floor. Not the way you’d treat a dead body.

Instead of an answer, Regime found himself on the barrel end of Jyzal’s gun. A smile pulled on his lips as Regime reminded him, “No bullets.”

“When did I need bullets to kill you?”

But, by now the assassin was pulling on his coat, actions he quickly followed with clicking a new magazine into his gun. So the gun really had no bullets before.

“All the surveillance is looped, time is managed and changed accordingly?”

“Derrick already took care of that,” Jyzal answered. Anyone watching the surveillance camera would show Temperance standing idly and Jyzal studying ancient mosaics through four borrowed books. “I’ll take you to Mr. E and I’m coming back before Temperance wakes up, before the rest of his team comes back.”

“You realized letting me see Mr. E will destroy Shawn’s standing more than killing Ronald?” Regime questioned.

“That’s only if Mr. E agrees to help you,” Jyzal replied smoothly.

“Take it off.” Regime was referring to Shawn’s collar that sat snug on Jyzal’s neck. Jyzal stared at him. Impatient, Regime walked over, hands reaching to unclasp the black leather. To his surprise, he met no resistance from Jyzal.

“s**t—!” Regime watched with a kind of fascinated horror as fresh blood swelled up when a few barbs under the leather pulled away from skin. Quickly, he released the assassin, stepping back as if burned.

“Now he’d wonder why I tried,” Jyzal’s voice was still mild, seemingly unbothered by the new injury. “And we’ve wasted two additional minutes. I only planned 10 minutes of time-waste.”

Without another word, Jyzal stepped out, fixing the clasp. He took a path in the back alley, path as empty as it’d always been.

“Shawn’s ******** Nicaise.” Regime felt the need to say it, felt the need to work something into the suffocating superiority Jyzal carried himself with.

A pause.

“I can smell it.” Jyzal didn’t even break his stride.

“He’s keeping you locked up like an animal while he sticks his d**k in the next pretty face,” Regime said. Then he corrected himself. “Mouth, rather.”

Now, Jyzal paused to look at him. Pretty blue eyes suddenly pierced into him, crushing him like a falling stalactites . Regime wondered why he’d said what he said. They both knew who killed Ronald. Keeping Jyzal prisoner was akin to holding water in your hand.

But that wasn’t his point.

Just get it done, Regime reminded himself. Let Jyzal get him through the security and checkpoints, negotiate with Mr. E and go home. But as soon as the assassin turned to continue walking without another word, he found himself chasing the enigmatic figure, “How did you do it? Ronald was killed in another country. You would have needed at least four days to travel there and back.”

While having Shawn and the three Cards watching him think he was in his prison the whole time.

“Hypnotism is Derrick’s specialty. More so than technical manipulation,” said Jyzal. By now they’d approached the shabby back alley where Mr. E indicated they would meet. “You’ll be surprised by how easily people believe what their clocks and calendar tells them.”

“Yeah, but you never know when Shawn needs a ********.”

Regime thought Jyzal’s hand lingered too long as he tapped an extremely long access code on a keypad hidden under a decoy mailbox. As the rusty metal doors opened, Jyzal responded, nonchalantly, “Shawn’s ******** Nicaise.”

Fully ignoring the door, Regime gaped. “Nicaise’s your—”

“During our walk here, you wasted a full seven minutes and forty one seconds discussing your brother’s sex life.”

In the shocked silence that followed, Jyzal turned his back on the second prince.


Temperance coughed when he woke up. His throat was itchy, scratchy as if he’d swallowed a bunch of straws.


He’d woken up in Death’s arm, with the blonde staring down at him. How long had he been out? A mad twist of his head towards the nearest clock told him he’d only past out a few minutes at most. He passed out roughly five minutes before his men were due back and there were still three minutes.

“What happened?” Death inquired politely.

“Didn’t sleep well last night, I guess,” Temperance answered. It was true. The electronics in his apartment were acting up. His phone rang at random, disruptive intervals and his upstairs neighbors made far too much noise. He rubbed his eyes tiredly. Death was apparently pulling away now that Temperance could stand up again and Temperance suddenly missed the contact. “Hey, you’re bleeding. Your um….neck.” A puzzled look. “Wasn’t there like a minute ago.”

A shadow fell crossed Death’s face. “It sometimes bleeds when I bend my neck.”

Death was bent over when watching him wake up. Temperance flushed. “Oh. Sorry about that.”

“Doesn’t matter.” Death began turning away.

Then, it was another of those moments where Temperance wondered why Jyzal was locked up under such close watch. It seemed as if the blonde did nothing other than float around, minding his own business. He wanted to say something, knock some kind of sense into the blonde. Was what used to be the widely feared Death Card and Ace of Spades really so…passive?

Without filtering the idea through his mind first, Temperance reached out to grasp Death’s wrist. His move was reversed and Death had caught his hand before his body began to turn. That speed! Temperance began a flustered apology as Death released him, still without turning around, murmuring, “I thought you were going to attack me.”

Temperance didn’t speak and Death walked away, back to the bed, apparently ready to replace the bloody bed sheets. Left by himself, Temperance’s gaze was caught by the silver gun Death left on the table. Tentatively, he reached out to touch it.

The S&W .32 was loaded.