Fandom: Sky High
Characters: Magenta, Mr. Grayson/Stitches, Will, Zack, Layla, Warren, Ethan, Royal Pain
Word Count: 3,329
Spoilers: All of the film
Warnings: Horror story, implied gore and other things of a disturbing nature, insanity, disturbed minds.
Disclaimer: Sky High is owned by Disney. I make no money.
Notes: This is a sequel to Little One. This is a through-and-through horror tale. Bad things happen to our favorite characters and there is no happy ending. You’ve been warned.
Summary: When asked to free a trapped child, Magenta learns she cannot face the truth of her own making...
Magenta woke up instantly from her slumber, fragments of dreams shattering to dust in her mind. She could never remember her dreams, or much of anything actually. She drifted from day to day, knowing only one thing with a burning certainty: there was another girl out there, caged, that had to be freed. Her savior had told her that, and as soon as he found her, Magenta would free her. That had to be why he was here now.
Magenta glowed a soft purple as she rose from her bed, illuminating the narrow, careworn, bespectacled face of her savior. He said his name was Paul, or at least she thought he’d said that. In her mind, Ethan whispered other names to her, that he was an enemy, that he was using her…
She shook her head and Ethan was silent. Warren growled within her, chafing at the inaction, while Layla shushed him. Her friends had starting talking to her not long after she’d been saved, because she’d been so lonely. They didn’t always agree with what she was thinking, but then again they never had before. It was just part of being friends.
“Little one, I’ve found my little girl,” her savior said, reaching out to her. As usual, she was shifted, because things felt better that way. Safer. She felt protected, even more so when he gently picked her up and stroked her fur. Zack protested, jealous, but she silently admonished him that her savior was only being kind, not honing in on Zack’s turf.
From the back of her mind, Will tried to shout out a warning, something about a trap, and people drying, and supervillain tricks, but she pushed him farther away. Will was the one with the strongest sense of justice, and the one who best knew the difference between right and wrong. But he had been yammering about how her savior had trapped them, and they’d all died but her, and there had been horrible things…
She couldn’t believe her savior had anything to do with such blatant lies, so Will was relegated to a dusty corner. At least he had Layla and the others with him to keep him company.
“Where is she? I’ll help you get her free,” Magenta said, reluctantly shifting back to human as her savior put her down.
“She’s in a locked room in the basement of a large building. I’ll show you where, and help you plan, but you’ll have to do it alone,” he said earnestly.
“Why?” Magenta asked anxiously, not wanting to be separated.
“They think my little girl did bad things, and that I did bad things too, so if I go, they’ll try to put me in a cage,” he explained.
“They won’t! I won’t let them!” she said furiously, fire springing to life along her hands.
“I know you wouldn’t dear,” he said kindly, patting her on a shoulder. She carefully extinguished herself, Warren murmuring instructions. “But I don’t want to distract you if they try to go after me. You have to be brave and go on your own.”
“I-.” Magenta hesitated, fearful to leave this place where she was protected and secure, but then her friend plied her with words of encouragement. A chorus, a flood of words filled her mind, even from Will, strangely enough, and she nodded. She had to do this, didn’t she? Yes, even her friends said she had a duty to help… A subtle thread, a conspiratorial whisper of, “They’ll figure out what’s going on. She’ll turn herself in,” skittered across her thoughts, but she mentally glared at them all, and they subsided into silence.
“I’ll do it. How?”
Her savior smiled, and bent over a table, unrolling blueprints.
A day later, Magenta Rothschild walked into the Metroplex Superpowered Correctional Facility. She remembered being livid when her savior told her that his little girl was in a cage in this place. Will and Ethan had tried to interject notes of alarm when the location had been revealed, citing the danger, but oddly it was Warren who had silenced them, showing a quiet, deadly rage that rendered them both speechless.
Her savior had driven her to the outer gate, and just as well, because she was concentrating very hard on the plan. She had to be very careful, and Ethan had taken copious notes to help. She was very tough now, very strong, very smart and durable, but she couldn’t just leap in, breaking walls and blazing away. The guards here knew how to keep superpowered beings under control.
She walked up to the visitor’s desk, putting down her driver’s license. It hadn’t bothered her that her savior had been keeping her purse before he’d given it back to her the night before. She thought that maybe sometime in the past she would have been mad about it (Layla had been very miffed on her behalf), but really it was only trinkets and pieces of paper and plastic in the end.
The guard at the desk barely looked up as he took her license and shoved the sign-in sheet at her. His name take proclaimed him to be Chuck, and his watery blue eyes were fixed on something on his desk.
“Who’re you here to see?” he asked distractedly, attention clearly elsewhere. Probably monitors below the level of the window or something.
“Sue Tenney,” she said quickly. Will had tried to go off on another round of warnings last night when that name had been mentioned, but Layla had distracted him. The name meant nothing to Magenta, and Layla was glad for more time with her boyfriend. She seemed particularly concerned that Will not dwell on Sue Tenney.
The guard repeated the name with surprise and looked up at her more closely, eyes going from the license photo to her face with growing disbelief.
“Sid. Sid! Get out here!” Chuck called over his shoulder. Another guard, this one tall and rangy, ran out from an adjoining office and stopped dead when he saw her.
“My God kid, you’re alive! Everyone’s been looking for you. Are you ok?”
“Why wouldn’t I be?” she asked, curious. Hadn’t she been better now than she ever had before? Wasn’t she?
Sid and Chuck stared at her, unbelieving, and then practically fell all over each other to spill the gory details.
“They found the bodies of Will Stronghold and his friends just a day ago, and everyone assumed the worst because you were supposed to be part of that crowd-,” Chuck started.
“They’d been there a week, starved, dehydrated, power-exhausted, and partially eaten-,” Sid said.
They’ll try to trick you with false stories. Be strong. Be brave. Don’t listen to them.
The words of her savior were clear in her mind.
Eaten. Eaten up. Part of me…
That was clear in her mind too.
“No, you’re wrong,” Magenta said calmly, casually as Zack would have. “They’re fine. It’s all ok. I’m here to see Sue. Where is she?”
The guards stopped babbling and began to look alarmed.
Don’t let them sound the alarm, don’t let them stop you. Do anything you have to. They’re keeping my little girl caged.
They were the enemy. Magenta could see a few small potted cacti on Chuck’s desk. Quick as thought, they grew massive, needle-like thorns that suddenly skewered the guards.
“What? What?” Sid asked weakly, uniform stained dark red as the thorns withdrew from every organ. Gasping and choking, they slid to the floor and were still.
Magenta felt curiously unmoved by their deaths. In her mind, Layla was revolted, but the adrenaline pumping through Magenta’s veins made her heart sing. No one would call her power weak now. Not ever again. Will shouted at her, a sob in his voice, but Layla quieted him.
Stooping, Magenta took their passcards and began walking down a memorized corridor to the power-neutralizer generator. Ethan remembered the route from the blueprints, and she was at the heavy door in no time. Though the passcard got her in the door, only an expert could have turned off the generator and its backup without tripping alarms.
From her bag she pulled a small device, marked with a V-shaped mask, and attached it to the generator.
My little girl made this to help get her out of her cage. But she couldn’t take it with her and I couldn’t get it to her. You can do it.
Within a few seconds, it began to wind down, sending overrides to the alarms and preventing the backup from starting. In a few minutes, it would shut off the main completely. That left her only a short time to reach her goal.
Looking up, she spied an air vent, and melting, flew up and oozed through it. She could have just pounded through the walls and floors, but that would have tripped the alarms. She couldn’t do that yet. So she shifted to her guinea pig form and began to skitter through the ducts, flying down where she needed to, oozing through spots where she had to. Places where no one person could go, she could: flying over sensors and oozing through meshes, protected from dangerous heat, too tough to let any trap stop her.
Finally, she came to Sue’s cell, and oozed out of the duct, shifting back to human form as she landed. Sue looked up, startled, her long brown hair swinging every which way in confusion. Will’s half-hearted warning was smothered by Layla. He seemed to have stopped trying to fight her.
Magenta smiled at Sue and said a phrase her savior had made her memorize.
“Stitches sent me. I’m here to free you.”
“Stitches?!” Sue said incredulously, rising from her chair, eyes wild. “Sent you?”
“You’re his little girl, and he promised he’d get you out.”
Sue’s eyes narrowed in suspicion, and darted around, looking for some kind of trick or trap.
She’s been alone for a long time, and she might not believe you. Just be persistent. Give her this; she’ll know what it is.
“He said to give you this,” Magenta said, pulling out a small metal box no larger than a deck of cards. “The generator is off. You can use your powers.”
Like a starving woman that had just been given a feast, Sue pounced on the box. It unfolded at the touch of her mind, revealing collapsible, hyper-thin armor plating. Throwing her arms wide, Sue summoned every scrap of technology around her, dismantling the cameras, pulling out the sensor nets in the walls, even cannibalizing the lights. In seconds, new weapons and electronic sensors filled the suit-shell, and Sue folded it around her, sighing in bliss.
Magenta stared at the V-shaped helmet with a feeling like a loose circuit had just been joined in her brain. Memories of cruel laughter filled her mind, of heroes turning into helpless children, of revenge against the whole school, of being trapped and having to run. Of gnawing on wires as Sky High dropped from the heavens, stomach churning and thinking she was going to die.
“Royal Pain,” she whispered in disbelief. Stitches… her savior was Stitches. He’d been the one to trap them, to kill her friends, to poison her mind with feelings of security. He’d manipulated her, made her think she had to depend on him, that she’d do anything for him.
“Of course,” Sue said proudly, in a gravely electronic growl that made her break out in a cold sweat.
“No… No, no, no, no, no, no, NO!” Magenta began to scream, louder and louder, faster and faster, as the full extent of what she’d done just hit her. Mindlessly she pounded her fists into the wall, anger and embarrassment and rage forcing her to make an outlet. The walls pulverized under her strength, the ceiling cracked, and Royal Pain screamed in fear as her cell collapsed around her.
Magenta laid there in the suffocating darkness, crouching as a guinea pig in the tiny space, keening and screaming in despair. She could smell fresh blood, and knew that Royal Pain’s new armor hadn’t protected her from the tons of falling metal and stone.
I killed her, like I killed Will, she thought, and expected to hear the chorus of her friends’ voices. Instead her mind was silent and empty. They’d been with her throughout her new life, and their absence made her panic. She couldn’t do this alone, couldn’t face up to what she’d done without their help.
All her life she’d put up a tough front, kept her classmates from knowing her except on a superficial level. Her friends at Sky High had changed that. She’d let herself be drawn in my Layla’s friendliness, Will’s awkward kindness, Ethan’s nerdy knowledge, Warren’s temperamental loner façade, and Zack’s goofy antics and unselfconscious love.
She could be an adult and face up to her choices, be a real hero and try to make up for the fact that her friends were dead by using their powers for the greater good. Always alone, always lonely, with people out there who would consider her evil and hate her for doing what she’d needed to to survive.
Or she could give in to madness and be safe and secure. Her friends could never leave her there, and things were simple. Just save the caged; that was it. She longed for advice from Will, Layla, anyone to help her make the right choice. Then another surge of the fresh-blood smell and her stomach clenched with growing hunger.
Maybe she could do both; save the world from Royal Pain, do some real good, and still bring her savior back his little girl.
The connection broke in her mind, and with profound relief she heard the clamor of her friends’ voices. Don’t’ leave us alone Magenta! Don’t leave us! She smiled in reassurance to them all, and began to glow in the darkness.
“I have to free her,” she whispered, and began to crawl through the rubble. Hunger was driving her now, hunger of body, mind, and spirit. Chunks of rebar and concrete that a crane would have trouble to lift she smashed through with ease. Following her nose, she found Sue. Her armor wasn’t designed to withstand the weight of the whole ceiling, and she was smashed open like an egg. The hunger was overwhelming now; hunger to fill her stomach, hunger to complete her mission, hunger to make her savior proud of her.
“I’ll free you,” Magenta whispered. Sue wasn’t quite gone yet, and wild pained eyes stared at her, astonished through her agony. “It won’t hurt, I promise.”
“You-,” Sue whispered, and died.
“Us,” Magenta corrected.
It didn’t take long to eat her fill, and she crouched, listening, as she rested. Screams and shouts filled the air as the other prisoners discovered their powers now worked. Magenta whispered to her friends to play nice with Sue as she began to sense the infinite number of circuits and controls throughout the jail.
Sue recklessly shouted at her to open all the doors, but Ethan gently admonished her. Sue subsided with a grumble as Ethan laid out his logical arguments, and Magenta smiled. Maybe those two would be able to work something out. But she hadn’t been asked to free anyone else today, so they could just stay in their rooms.
Warren growled at her, the threatening snarl of a predator denied its rightful prey, and she listened.
“Not this time, but soon,” she promised him. “If he hurt you, he’ll regret it when we go after him.”
Baron Battle wasn’t on her list of priorities today, but maybe later… She had to live with Warren, after all, and it was only fair to help him too. She could help everyone. And maybe she could start a little now.
“He can’t hide from us, you know that. None of them can. And if they mess up, we’ll find them,” Magenta whispered, promising.
Reaching out mentally to all the circuits at Sue’s patient instructions, she shut them all down. The doors hadn’t opened, but they were unlocked now. Some people would get themselves free from this. The strong would always get themselves free. And that was ok. If anyone misbehaved, Magenta and the others would get them later.
Will would like that, wouldn’t he? Giving people a second chance, freeing them to live their own lives. Will offered a weak agreement, muffled as Layla distracted him from another tirade. They were all learning to work together as a team.
Breathing a lungful of the dust and blood-filled air, she felt a lightness in her heart. Everything had gone so well!
Fast as thought, she began to fly upwards, pounding through the ceilings and soaring high into the afternoon sky. Sue marveled at the great outdoors and Magenta laughed giddily at her astonishment.
“Come on, I’ll take you home.” Leaving the broken shell of the prison below her, supervillains spreading in all directions, Magenta flew home to her savior. She was going home, and they’d all be safe and happy there.
Stitches kept his face in a frozen smile as Magenta flew in the window in her guinea pig form. Surviving as Royal Pain’s loyal minion took an incredible amount of courage, acceptance, skills, and love, but nothing in his experience had prepared him for this. Nobody could have been ready for what he’d just seen on the news.
Magenta hugged him fiercely as she unshifted, with a mind to her new strength, not sensing the cold horror in his gut when he saw her red-stained hands and mouth.
“Where’s Sue?” he asked softly.
“I freed her. She’s here,” Magenta said simply, looking up at him with trust. She stretched out a hand and a cell phone on the table flew to her, converting itself into an I-pod and then a small blender before returning to its normal form. Sue used to do that when she was bored.
“Oh,” he said faintly, not sure what was safe to say. This creature, this innocent with a child’s morals and godlike powers, had been his own creation to free the woman he loved. He wouldn’t have raised Sue as his daughter, he wouldn’t have risked everything to capture Will Stronghold and his friends in a plan to help Sue escape if he hadn’t loved her more than his own life.
But he’d wrought greater than he knew.
“Sue’s here?” he repeated dumbly. Magenta giggled like a little girl, her eyes not quite seeing him.
“Yes. She’s here with the rest of my friends. They’re getting along. I think she likes Ethan.”
“Oh,” he said again, starting to hear blood roaring in his ears in a presage to passing out.
“Did I do ok?” she asked, as eager to please as any ambitious child. “Some of the others got out I think, but maybe I can help them later.”
“Free them?” Stitches asked without thinking.
“Maybe. If you want me to,” she added quickly. “Did I do all right?”
Stitches hugged her harder, not daring to let her see his face, feeling her small, blood-slicked hands on the back of his shirt, her body relaxing in trust. He was still her savior in her eyes, and if was very careful, maybe he could keep himself alive. There could always be someone else to “free” if she became hungry, always another way to keep her wanting to make him proud of her.
And in a strange way, maybe Sue would have approved. Surely no one else in history would be so feared as what he’d created. She could take the revenge Sue never could, if he played it right. Stitches could be remembered as the henchman behind the world’s most powerful superbeing.
Assuming she didn’t kill him by “accident” first of course. Swallowing bile and fear, he gently stroked her hair, like a father would a daughter.
“Yes, you’ve done very well, little one.”