A bomb had gone off in the middle of the city. It was that simple. No super powered lightning, no rock monsters, no insane gadgets made by mad geniuses. Just an average, man-made bomb, planted in a precise office building in the middle of the city.
And yet, the results were so horrible.
"Remember guys, right now we're in search and rescue mode," Don't worry about damages, just get people out and to safety. Rev and Tech," the two looked up at him upon hearing their names, "I want you two searching through buildings, getting survivors out as best as you can." They both nodded in response and Ace moved on. "Slam and Duck, you two are on rubble duty. Find anyone that's buried and dig em out." Receiving signs of agreement from the two, Ace turned to the last of his team mates, "Lexi, you and I will be helping wherever we're needed, but mostly we're working crowd control,. We need to keep things calm and moving smoothly." She nodded and sent him a comforting smile, which he quickly returned before turning his gaze back out to the wreckage below. "Let's go save some people."
Tech grunted as he lifted three collapsed support beams, leaving just enough room for Rev to run in, grab the two trapped women, and run back out. Once they were safe, Tech dropped the beams with a yell, doubling over and putting a hand to his pounding chest.
"Do-you-need-to-take-a-break?" Rev asked, suddenly beside him once again. Mo doubt the women were already safe outside.
"No," Tech balled his hands into fists and straightened up, "there's still more people who need our help. Let's keep moving." For just a moment, he could have sworn he saw a bit of hesitance in Rev's face, before the roadrunner was off again, searching for more survivors.
Shaking his head, Tech followed aster as quickly as he could.
Duck was making pretty quick work if he did say so himself. Enlisting the help of Lexi's super hearing, he quacked right into the piles she pointed out and quacked right back out with survivors in tow. Some were so badly injured that he had to quack them all the way to the temporary medic station, but otherwise most were pretty okay.
All of the praise and thanks he was getting was making him preen, feeling a swell of pride in his chest.
Finally, he was being recognized for the true hero he really is.
Quacking back onto the street with a young boy in his arms, Duck squawked as he was rudely knocked into.
"Hey," he snapped, glaring at the retreating form of a man in a baseball cap, "watch where you're going buddy. Us heroes are trying to work here." Turning back to the young boy and his praises, Duck very quickly forgot about the rude man.
"Right this way mam." Ace very patiently helped an elderly woman towards the medic station, allowing the approaching doctors to take her into their charge. Before he could go back to helping others, he was approached by the very familiar chief of police.
"Ace," he greeted, helmet tucked under his arm and a stern expression on his face, "we've been investigating into the situation."
"And what've ya found?" Ace was eager to get a better grasp on what the situation was and why it was currently happening.
"We have reason to believe that the suspect is still in the area."
Ace froze for all of a second before narrowing his eyes and nodding.
"Lexi, keep your ears up for anything suspicious," he whispered into his comm, "I'm gonna see if I can't help our boy sin blue here find the one responsible for this."
Waiting for Tech to move an office desk out of the way, Rev quickly raced up the now clear stairwell. Right onto the next floor, using his GPS, he was quickly able to locate the man cowering in a the corner.
"Hello-there-sir-if-you-could-just-come-with-me-now-please-and-thank-you." Rev gave the man no time to reply or argue before he was already safely on the street. With no time at all, Rev was back at Tech's side. "My-GPS-says-there's-at-least-five-more-people-left," he pointed out, panting from all of the flights of stairs he'd been running up and down, "and-we're-almost-to-the-top-I-think."
"Which means we need to be more careful."
Just as the words left Tech's mouth, there was a loud crash from somewhere down below before the building started to quake beneath them. Caught of guard, the tow heroes were knocked to the ground, struggling to stand back up with all of the shaking.
"Another bomb?!" Rev yelled, panicked by the very idea.
"The foundation must have been weakened in the initial explosion and now it's collapsing!" Gritting his teeth, Tech started up the stairs, "Come on! We have to get the rest of these people out of here!"
Slam watched as a bottom part of the building crumpled in on itself. People screamed and cried out as large pieces of debris were sent hurtling towards the ground, ready crush those below.
Doing all he knew how, Slam spun out a massive tornado and positioned himself just beneath so as to catch the debris and put it somewhere else. But there was still trouble as it looked as though the building itself looked like it was going to fall into the street.
"Tech and Rev are in there!" He heard Lexi yell in his ear, and instantly knew what he had to do. Summoning all of his strength, Slam pushed himself up with a tall twister and threw himself against the side of the building, trying with all of his strength and power to keep it standing somehow.
As soon as the building started to collapse, Lexi desperately tried to reach Tech or Rev over the comms. Sadly, either they were ignoring her or something was blocking their signal, as she received no replies.
"They're fine, they can handle themselves." She told herself, trying to find some sort of reassurance in all of this. Turning back to the matter at hand, she focused all of her energy on appearing calm and worked to get people out of the danger zone.
"Everything is going exactly as planned." Feeling her ears twitch at the comment, she turned her gaze towards a man just a little bit away, baseball cap hiding his face as he talked into a cellphone, "The bomb worked just as you said it would."
"Ace," she whispered into the comm, feeling the energy of a brain blast building up, "I think I found our man."
Tech all but yelled as he tried desperately to hold the ceiling up as Rev dragged the man and woman out and away. The weight was a strain enough without the building all but collapsing down around them.
"Rev!" He yelled into his comms, making his way forward again, "Where's the last one."
"Should-only-be-a-few-feet-away-underneath-those-filing-cabinets." The speedy voice crackled in his ear before the roadrunner was next to him again. Taking a deep breath, Tech summoned the energy and started to lift the cabinets away, noticing the form of a young woman lying on the ground. Rev jumped forward to grab her when the ground quaked dangerously again and they found themselves being tipped to the ground. Loosing concentration on his hold, Tech watched in horror as the cabinets fell back to the ground, just as Rev was still running forward.
"Rev!!" He called out, his eyes widening when the corner of one of them caught the roadrunner in the arm, sending him to the ground. Feeling the ground shift and move dangerously underneath them, Tech moved forward and helped his friend up, noting the way he grabbed at his arm. "Rev, we gotta get out of here!" But Rev wasn't listening to him, just staring at the pile of filing cabinets where that woman had been.
Something suspiciously red looking was seeping out below.
"Rev, there's nothing we can do for her, we need to go, now!" But seeing the way the building was going down quickly and how shocked his friend was, Tech knew there was no way they were both getting out of there in time. Looking back and catching his eye on a window nearby, Tech swallowed past the lump in his throat. "Sorry." He mumbled as he used one of the cabinets to push Rev out the window, hearing his friend squawk in surprise and probably pain. He stared out the window as the ceiling fell in on top of him, hoping with everything in him that the others would be okay.
Duck just happened to look up in time to see a red figure fly out one of the windows and start falling. Feeling his breath catch in his throat, he waited for Rev to start flying, but when the roadrunner just kept falling, he jumped into action. Quacking onto one of the windowsills, he jumped out just in time to grab the roadrunner and quack them both to the ground, landing hard.
"What the fuck, Rev!?" He yelled, glaring down at the dazed roadrunner, "Why didn't you fly?!" Then he noticed the way he was cradling his arm and instantly regretted yelling at him, not that Rev looked like he even notice.d He was staring up at the building with wide eyes.
"Tech." he said, simply, and Duck whipped his head around, feeling his heart stop. Looking between his shell shocked team mate and the collapsing building, he did that only thing he could think of, finding himself inside a collapsing office.
"Tech!!" He yelled out as loudly as he could, hoping to everything he would be heard over the sound of a building literally collapsing. Receiving no reply, he proceeded to quack all around, desperately trying to find the coyote before it was too late.
Ace saw the collapsing building, knew at least two of his team were inside, but he couldn't worry about that right now. Not when he had a hand placed to the back of the man responsible's back, pushing him forward towards the police cruiser.
"Whatever," the man continued to act like he wasn't bothered, though his shaking voice betrayed his true feelings, "this is all part of the plan."
"I'm sure it is." Ace replied, not really feeling the mood to play with this guy. He'd drop him off with the police and then head back to help out his team mates, make sure Tech and Rev got out okay. He tried to ignore the panicked feeling inside him that said something was horribly wrong, because he knew something was horribly wrong, but he couldn't do anything about it right now, and he couldn't let it eat away at him. He'd be able to help soon enough.
All Rev could do was stare up at the building where Tech was, where, he hoped, Duck had teleported to. He couldn't stop thinking about that woman, there one moment and the next, crushed beneath a bunch of filing cabinets. It made him feel like throwing up, remembering the all too obvious sound of crunching, the blood seeping out beneath. He clutched at his throbbing arm and tried to hold himself together, but it was hard when the same thing kept going through his mind, over and over again.
I wasn't fast enough. I wasn't fast enough. I wasn't fast enough. I wasn't fast enough. I wasn't fast enough.
Slam finally had to give in, realizing that he wasn't doing anything to keep this building up anymore. It was going down whether he liked it or not. Looking around, he tried to see if there was anyone still left around, noticing Rev, on his knees, not moving, just staring up at the collapsing building.
Moving over to him, Slam tried to encourage him to get up, to move, but he didn't seem to hear him. He just kept staring up.
Not knowing what else to do, Slam picked him up, ignoring his cry of alarm in favor of moving away, trying to get the both of them out of the way.
"Slam-no-put-me-down-Tech-and-Duck-are-back-there-we-can't-leave-them-behind!!" He almost stopped at that, wanting nothing more than to turn around and help his friends. But that building was coming down now and if they wanted to live, they needed to be out of the way. So he kept running.
Lexi was trying so hard not to cry, having heard so much of it; Duck yelling at Rev, teleporting away to find Tech, Slam trying to get Rev up, Rev yelling that they couldn't leave the others behind. She wanted to put her hands over her ears and pretend like none of this was happening, that nothing was going on, that everything was okay.
But she couldn't do that because everything wasn't okay and people needed her to keep going, to keep working, to keep her head focused on what she was doing.
But it was so hard.
"Slam, Rev!!" She yelled out, running up to the two of them, watching as Slam finally set down a struggling Rev but kept a hand on his shoulder so he couldn't run back. She didn't know what to say or do, between the guilty look on Slam's face or the panicked one on Rev's. Noticing the way the roadrunner was cradling his arm, she found something to focus on. "Rev, your arm," she said, reaching out and trying not to cry when he shrunk away form her, "are you okay?"
"No," he hissed, not at all sounding like his usual, cheery self, "Tech and Duck are still back there! We need to help them!"
"I'm afraid there's nothin we can do now other than just hope, unless we also wanna get crushed in the wreckage." The three looked up as Ace approached, a blank look on the leader's face, "W just gotta hope that Duck can quack them both out of there in time." Seeing the crushed look on Rev's face, he stepped forward and put his own hand on his shoulder, Slam pulling away, "We can't do anything, Rev. I'm sorry."
Lexi felt a ball form in her throat when Rev looked down, his body shaking as if he were trying to hold back tears, whcih, considering, he probably was.
Suddenly, all four of them looked up and gasped when they heard a familiar sound of energy as Duck and Tech materialized in front of them. They were both covered in dust and a bit bruised, but otherwise they both looked fine.
"Hey guys," Duck smirked, "what'd we miss?"
The only source of hope tech had had to hold onto when he pushed Rev out of the window was that maybe, just maybe, his regenerative abilities would be enough to bring him back. But he highly doubted it would work, thinking that a collapsed building was a bit much even for his near invincible power.
So, really, he'd pretty much given himself up for dead when Duck suddenly appeared. To say he'd been shocked would be an understatement, not at all understanding what he was doing there.
"Come on you stupid dog," he'd yelled, holding a hand out for Tech to take, "we're getting out of here." A part of Tech wanted to retort that he was a coyote not a dog thank you very much, but didn't think it really mattered all that much in the moment, taking Duck's hand and feeling the shifting of energy as they suddenly found themselves outside, standing in front of their friends.
He blinked in the sunlight, feeling the ground shake from the nearby collapsing building, and thanked the cosmic forces of the universe that he was alive. He was alive and so was everyone else.
Locking eyes with Rev, he suddenly felt his knees grow weak and a shaky smile formed across his face, before he found himself with a face full of feathers and arms heavily constricting his breathing.
"Rev," he choked out, trying, but not really, to pry the roadrunner off of him, "can't breathe."
Rev finally let up and pulled back, standing in front of him now. Tech continued to smile at him, but then felt his jaw open in surprise when he realized that Rev was, crying. In all the time that the two had known each other, in all the time since they'd become friends, Tech had never once seen the roadrunner cry.
"You idiot," he choked out, his slowed voice surprising Tech even more, "why did you do that?"
"I....I didn't know what else to do." Tech admitted dumbly, not knowing what else to say other than the truth. It really had been the only thing he could think of to do, in a hope to save Rev's life. He hadn't really had the time to come up with any other ideas.
"You idiot," Rev choked again, leaning forward to push his head into Tech's chest, "I thought I'd lost you. How could you do that to me?" Tech was at a loss for words, not knowing how to respond to that. After a few moments, he wrapped his arms around the other, this being the only thing he could think to do.
Duck watched the display between the other two and shook his head at how sappy it all was. That's what came about when you got too attached to other people.
"Duck," he felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to see Lexi smiling at him, tears running down her cheeks, "that was amazing."
"What?' He suddenly felt hot in his suit and wanted nothing more than to get back to HQ and take it off. He shifted in place and refused to meet her eyes.
"You....you saved Tech's life." Suddenly he found himself in a soft, warm embrace, feeling even hotter than before. Spluttering, he didn't quite know where to put his hands, opting just to wrap his own arms around her back.
"Yeah, well, it was nothing or Danger Duck." He mumbled, not really feeling his usual fire, even once Lexi pulled away, looking so grateful and happy and relived and beautiful and- wait, what?
When Tech and Duck appeared, Ace immediately felt like collapsing in his relief, just barely keeping himself up. Turning to look up at Slam, he gave the devil a smile.
"Good work back there big guy," he complimented, patting him on one of his big arms, "you really showed that building who was boss."
Slam grinned back and wrapped him into a hug, nearly squeezing the life out of him. Ace, despite the loss of air, laughed at it, especially when Slam moved and grabbed everyone else into the hug, everyone smiling and laughing and crying, until Rev let out a pained sound. Slam quickly put them all down and Ace instantly looked to the roadrunner, noticing the way he was still cradling his arm.
"I'm fine." He insisted, meeting Ace's eyes, his own still glassy and red from crying. Ace nodded, believing Rev enough that he wasn't in any sort of immediate danger.
Looking around at his team, his friends, and seeing that there wasn't really anything else for them to do at the moment, Ace took a deep breath.
"Loonatics, lets go home."
Just an hour later found the team back at HQ, each of them disappearing to do their own thing as soon as they were in the door. Rev would have gone off to change and shower if it wasn't for his throbbing arm and the fact that he really didn't want to be away from tech at the moment. So he followed the coyote to the medbay, allowing him to x-ray his arm and not even fidgeting, feeling too drained physically and emotionally to move.
"Well, thankfully it doesn't seem to be broken or fractured, probably just badly bruised," Tech said a few minutes later, going over the x-rays in his lab as Rev lay on his couch, "but I can still give you some pain killers if it hurts enough." Rev wasn't really listening to be honest, instead a bit too lost in thought.
He was happy that Tech was alive. So, very, very, very happy.
But now that Tech was fine, that the danger was gone, he found himself thinking back on that woman.
He hadn't been fast enough.
"Hey," feeling a hand on his knee, he looked down to see that Tech was sitting on the edge next to his feet. The coyote looked uncharacteristically worried, his ears drooping just a little bit, "you okay?"
"I......" Rev couldn't think of what to say, how to explain what the problem was. He wasn't used to this sort of thing.
"....Is it about that woman?" Rev's eyes widened, wondering if Tech had suddenly developed the power of mind reading, "Rev, you did everything you could. It's not your fault, what happened. If anything, it was mine."
"What? No way!" Rev sat up, nearly bashing his head into Tech's but not really caring, "No-way-Tech-there's-no-way-it-was-your-fault-I-already-knew-you-were-tired-before-and-with-that-building-shaking-around-of-course-you-couldn't-keep-holding-it-and-really-it's-my-fault-cause-I-should-have-been-fast-enough-to-get-her-but-I-wasn't-so-now-she's-dead-while-we're-alive-and-yet-we-call-ourselves-heroes-and-" His tirade was caught off when a gloved hand gently shut his beak, feeling his heart pounding in his chest as he and Tech stared at each other.
"Why don't we both agree to take a bit of the blame and call it a day, huh?" Tech cracked a weak smile, Rev realizing that he was trying to joke with him, "I don't know about you, but I'm pretty exhausted."
It was forty five minutes past midnight and Slam was in the kitchen, gorging himself on the contents of the fridge. He'd been unable to fall asleep, despite the exhaustion, and so did what he usually did when he couldn't sleep; ate.
He was deep in a nice cole slaw when Lexi walked in, rubbing her eyes and yawning.
He grumbled to her questioningly.
"Can't seem to sleep," she admitted, leaning against the island and noticing the multiple empty containers, "you too?"
Slam grumbled in agreement, setting the cole slaw down and falling silent, strangely thoughtful. He looked to Lexi and felt his ears draw back, grumbling another question to her.
"Yeah," she gave him a weak smile and put a hand on his arm, "I was scared to buddy."
After a little bit of more talking, the two of them had moved to the couch, hoping that maybe some conversation plus the comfort of the cushions would finally lul them to sleep. Instead, all it seemed to do was lure other residents out to them.
"You'd think nobody in this place had ever heard of sleeping." Duck grumbled, pattering into the room in his orange pajamas, glaring at the two on the couch.
"You too Duck?" Lexi asked, getting her answer from the redness of his eyes, "Come join the sleepless part then."
"Ooo-a-party-can-we-join?" Duck cringed at the loud and speedy question, though Lexi could only smile as she turned to see Rev and Tech enter together, pleased to see the roadrunner seemingly back to his cheery self.
"The more the merrier." She encouraged, scooting over to let the two sit down next to her, leaning over to give Tech a quick hug. At the look he gave her, she just continued to smile, "I'm glad you're okay."
"Okay, what's going on in here and why wasn't I invited to, whatever this is?" Everyone on the couch was bounced a little as their leader vaulted over the edge, landing between Slam and Duck. Ace was the only one still in his uniform, looking like he'd just been in the training room rather than trying to sleep. Which, knowing him, he probably had been. He grinned and leaned forward against his knees, "Well?"
"It would seem as though each of us is suffering from some sort of bought of insomnia," Tech explained, sounding way too matter of fact and normal for a man that had nearly died early that day, "probably due to the high stress of today's events." Lexi could kind of see the logic in that, even if she didn't fully understand.
"Well how do we fix it so I can get my beauty sleep?" Duck complained, leaning against Lexi and throwing a hand to his face in exaggeration. Lexi, unusually, didn't have the heart to push him off, figuring he'd earned himself the right to be a little dramatic after what he'd done. Though she did feel a little hot underneath her fur where he touched.
"Sleeping pills, or we can do something until we succumb to exhaustion."
"I'm sorry but I thought we were trying to figure out how to sleep, not how to keep ourselves up with nightmares." Duck gave Rev a 'your an idiot' look and Lexi finally shoved him off, smiling as he fell off the couch completely.
"I'd like to see it, I heard it's good." She commented, looking around for more consensus. The others seemed to agree and she caught Rev giving her a very grateful smile. Scrolling through the movie options, they quickly found the movie and put it on, settling down to watch.
Very quickly the others started to drift off until just she and Ace were still awake. He'd gone back to his room to change into his pajamas when it first started and looked like he was struggling to keep his eyes open.
"Hey, Ace?" He blinked and looked over at her, "That was really close today, huh?"
"Yeah, it was." They both glanced over to Tech, who was leaning against Rev, snoring away.
"It's a good thing Duck acted as quickly as he did, otherwise we might have lost him." Looking down at the Duck, curled up on the carpet and muttering in his sleep, Lexi couldn't help the swelling in her heart at what he had done.
"Yeah, did pull through pretty well today." Ace let out a loud yawn and Lexi looked back up watch as he closed his eyes, leaning back against the back rest of the couch.
Smiling at him and all of the other guys, fast asleep, she closed her eyes and drifted off as well.