Ghost Devlin – Devil Out Of Time: Chapter Nine

    is anyone else seeing a pirate ship outside rn or do i need to go to the hospital
  • Black-Knight@super.heroes:
    Hey @Coatimundi there’s a guy at the harbor who wants to talk to you apparently. Kind of surprised it’s not @therealghostdevlin – how many pirates do you know?
  • Coatimundi@super.heroes:
    @Black-Knight be right there!!

“Fill me in on the boat guy,” Coatimundi said, dropping down from a nearby crane. It had been kind of a pain to get on top of the crane, but she’d felt like the drama was warranted. She was having that kind of a day.

“You know as much as I do,” Black Knight said. The screen on his faceplate displayed ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. “Couldn’t exactly learn a lot when he says he’ll only talk to you.”

Coatimundi shaded her eyes with one hand and squinted at the old-timey ship sitting in the harbor, trying to get a better look at the man standing at the front of it. The head? The… aft? She didn’t know boat terminology.

“It’s a caravel,” Black Knight added.


“The ship. I looked it up. It’s a square-rigged caravel.”

“Oh. Neat?”

“Yeah, I thought that would be useful. Don’t think it is. Still good to know.” His faceplate was back to blank. “My sensors aren’t picking up on anything dangerous from here, but I still don’t like it.”

“Think he’s a time traveler?” she asked.

“Why would a time traveler want to talk to you?”

“Because I’m cool.” She wiped her hands on her skirt, swishing her petticoats in the process. “Do we have a little raft or something? I feel like if I do a big heroic leap I’ll put a hole in his boat.”

“Caravel. Yeah, I’ll—” He cut himself off abruptly, grabbing Coatimundi with one arm to push her behind him. She immediately bypassed his protective instincts by pulling herself up by his shoulders, balancing on her hands to see what he was seeing. The man on the Caravel fell into the water. “Something got him,” Black Knight said. “There.” A robotic glove pointed to one of the cranes.

A shadow of a person holding a spyglass, outlined before the setting sun.

“Coati,” Black Knight began.

“No,” she said. “I’ll take care of this. See if you can save him, okay? Your suit does better in water than I do.” She leapt over his shoulders, bounding as much as running, heels shoving against the pavement to propel her forward with too much airtime. Her heart raced, her stomach churning.

Her target was on the ground by the time she reached him.

“What the fuck, Ghost,” she said, her hands balled into fists, her ears pinned back in her hair and her tail lashing. She thought of the figure of a man falling into the water and felt sick.

“Language,” he said.

“Don’t start with me,” she said. “Did you kill him?” Her eyes raked over him, found the empty loop at his hip. “A knife? You threw a—that’s too far to throw a knife.”

“Maybe,” he shrugged.

“You can’t just kill people,” she snapped.

“It won’t keep,” Ghost said. “I’ve killed him before. I might need to do it again. I’ll keep doing it, if I must.”

“Who is he?” she pressed, trying to get over her revulsion long enough to figure him out. “Was that the guy from our date?”

“It was,” Ghost said. “He was my neighbor.”


“He is henching for someone,” he said. He wasn’t looking directly at her. She didn’t want to look directly at him. “They seem not to like you, whoever they are.” His hand went to where his knife had been and found nothing there to grip.

“You should have told me,” she said, sicker still at the thought that he was going around killing people for her.

“It was taken care of,” he said.

“I didn’t ask you to do that,” she said, stepping closer. “I would never ask you to do that. If you told me, I could have taken care of it myself. Coatimundi can’t lose.”

“Maybe,” he said, which made her grit her teeth. “He will be back, if it makes you feel better. Or else he will never have died. I am not sure, with him.”

“Ghost,” she repeated. “No killing. I thought we agreed you weren’t going to kill anymore.”

“Did we?”

“We did,” she insisted.

He pulled out his cigarette case, took his time getting out a cigarette and lighting it. The longer he took, the more she wanted to scream. He exhaled smoke. “Must not have written it down,” he apologized.

The fur on her tail was standing straight up. “Ghost,” she snapped, with more teeth than she intended. “Don’t do this to me. I can’t—you need to promise you won’t kill.”


She hissed in frustration, and he raised an eyebrow. “You’re so—you’re full of it! All that my life is in your hands but now you won’t even—it’s not a big ask! Don’t kill people!”

He frowned, exhaling smoke through his nose. “I,” he said, “don’t make promises I cannot keep.”

“Don’t say that like you’re taking the high ground!”

“Promise me you’ll remember me tomorrow,” he snapped, and she recoiled, ears pinned back in her hair again. “Promise me you’ll wake up tomorrow in Metro City. Promise me that your parents lived, that your grandmother lived, that Black Knight lived long enough for you to be Coatimundi.” He was gesturing wildly with his cigarette. “I can ask for promises too, see? But I don’t. I will keep my promises to you, Pizote, even if you forget them. If you forget me. So I don’t make promises I can’t keep. “

She took a deep breath, trying to calm herself down before she said something ill-advised. “I understand,” she said, “that your situation is complicated.”

“You don’t have to believe me,” he said.

“I didn’t say I don’t believe you, but—”

“I’m aware of what it looks like.”

“You killed a guy!” she snapped. “I just watched you kill a guy! All I want is for you to not do that! Don’t make me sound like the unreasonable one, here! There are steps you could have taken that weren’t killing a guy!”

“Maybe,” he said, and she was so annoyed she stomped on one of his toes before she could stop herself. He yelped, hopping back on one foot and cursing through his teeth.

“Stop with the maybes!” she said, feeling for all the world like milk left on the stove too long. “I’m trying to have a conversation instead of kicking your ass like anyone else would have!”

“Start a fair fucking fight, then,” he said, cigarette hanging off his lip, sounding like an underwater cowboy again.

“I am de-escalating,” she insisted.

“Horseshit,” he said. “All my playing housewife got you convinced I’d been domesticated, and now you’re pissy because your pet bastard still bites.”

“That’s not what this is,” she said.

“Ain’t it?” He stood, took the cigarette out of his mouth and held his arms wide. “Maybe it should be.”


“You want to kick my ass, let’s see you try it.” He gestured with his fingers, inviting her to come closer. “Let loose, live a little.”

“That’s—no, absolutely not,” she said.

“It’s been a while, hasn’t it?” he asked. “Since last time we fought?”

She narrowed her eyes at him. “Is this a sex thing?”

He snorted. “I mean it.” He dropped his cigarette and crushed it under his boot. “You’re a good girl, you don’t tolerate a killer. Show me that violence in you, teach an old dog a new trick. See if you can keep me down.”

“I don’t want to hurt you, Ghost,” she said. He snorted again. “I can hurt you,” she reminded him.

“So can I,” he said. “It ain’t hard.” He unsheathed the machete on his back, and she sucked in air. He hesitated. “What?”

“Sorry,” she said. “For a second I thought you were going to cut yourself to prove a point.”

“What? No.” He pointed the machete at her. “I was going to try and get that big bow off the back of your dress.”

She stiffened, fur standing on end. “Excuse me?”

“Yeah,” he said. “I thought it’d be funny.” His sharp-toothed grin had her tail lashing behind her.

“You’re not convincing me this isn’t a sex thing,” she said, goosebumps on her arms.

“Could be,” he said, starting to step closer, lowering the machete. She stepped backward, but his legs were longer. He came close enough to slide the blade sideways behind her back, and she twirled away from him, unsure yet if he was fucking with her. “Might be that I’m a little bit frustrated,” he said, twirling along with her, the blade still nearly touching the fabric of her skirt. “Gotta work it out somehow.” He grabbed her wrist to pull her closer, but she dug her heels in and tried to pull away.

“You’re being weird,” she said.

“For me?” he asked, eyebrow raised. She felt on edge and jittery. Was this weird for him? She was forced to confront the reality that she only knew some of him. She knew that he had episodes, a hair-trigger temper that had made him the villain he’d been. But he’d always let her talk him down, before. “Knock me down, babygirl, you want to make the rules then you better enforce them.”

She hesitated. Then she stopped resisting, let him pull her closer so she could hook her leg around his knees. He let himself fall but grabbed her in the process, pulling her down with him. She took the wrist of the hand that held his machete, trying to keep it up and away from them both but letting him get the upper hand in the process. He pinned her to the concrete with a hand on her other wrist, and they paused.

“That didn’t take long,” he said, grinning again. She scowled at him, felt her face turn red.

Under other circumstances, she would have been perfectly willing to admit that the situation was actually kind of hot. But he’d just killed a guy, and also, was being an asshole about it. Which was definitely not as important as the first thing. But she really wished he weren’t being such an asshole about it.

So she rammed her forehead into his nose with a noisy crack.

He swore, letting her go and rolling away from her as she released her grip on him. “Cheap fucking shot,” he muttered, muffled.

“I will beat you up for real,” she warned him, huffing as she stood upright and tried to fix her skirt. His nose made a terrible sound as he set it, wiping blood from his mouth onto his sleeve. He stood, twirling the machete as a flourish before pouncing toward her blade-first. She yelped in surprise, dodging sideways, but when he pulled away he looked pleased with himself.

One of the ribbons fell out of her hair.

“Got one,” he said.

“You jerk,” she said, more irritated than anything as the hair over one shoulder fell loose and got in her eye.

“You’re not even trying,” he said.

“Are you?” she asked.

He pounced toward her again, but this time when she dodged she caught his hand, pulling him into a spin before tossing him aside. He skidded on his feet instead of losing his balance. He stalked closer, holding the machete backward so the flat of the blade was against his forearm. She got a running start and leapt higher than human legs would allow, high enough that she could clear him entirely; her plan was to get behind him and catch him by the throat. But he was almost as fast as she was, spun around to catch her. His machete touched her neck before she could roll backward to get away from it.

She touched her throat to assess the damage and realized he’d cut away the bow around her neck along with a few of the buttons, leaving her collar open.

“Seriously?” she demanded, and he laughed. She realized she was blushing again. She pulled the remaining ribbon out of her hair so that she could tie it all back into a ponytail.

“I’m not nice,” he reminded her.

“Is that what this is?” she asked. “Trying to drive me away, make some kind of point about how you’re a bad guy?”

He shrugged. “You’re angry with me. I’m annoyed with you. We’re working it out the old-fashioned way.”

“You know, it’s possible to be emotionally intimate with someone without beating each other up first,” she said.

“I’ll have to take your word for it.” He stalked toward her again, and this time she aimed a kick at his sternum; he blocked it with his forearm, and as her right leg fell she twisted to hit him with her left. His machete followed the shape of her skirt, but this time when she grabbed his arm she spun her whole body around to throw him over her head and slam him into the ground. It knocked the air out of him and probably broke some of his ribs—which she did feel bad about—but while he tried to breathe again she took the machete out of his hands and tossed it aside.

She could have bent it in half, but she thought he might want it later, and didn’t want to be rude.

“Stay d—OW!” Still on the ground, he grabbed her legs and pulled them out from under her, holding onto them so she couldn’t catch herself. She kicked him in the stomach so he’d let her go, putting her weight on her hands so she could rise into a crouch. He rolled onto his stomach, palms against the ground and watching her as he worked his way toward getting up. Some of his hair had fallen loose from his ponytail, and there was blood on his teeth.

It was, if she was honest, a good look on him.

“I’m not imagining that there’s, like, a weird horny energy happening here, right?” she asked breathlessly, and he laughed. “I didn’t want to say anything the first time because we’d just met, but this is definitely a thing.”

He pounced on her in earnest, and they were a tangle of confused limbs on the pavement as each tried to get the upper hand. She managed to straddle his chest long enough to punch him in the jaw, but it was hard to figure out how hard she could get away with. He rolled hard enough to slam her into the ground, grabbing her ponytail as stars swam behind her eyes.

“It’s kind of fun, isn’t it?” he said too close to her ear, and she laughed before trying to bite his face. He retreated in time, but not fast enough to keep her claws from swiping at his cheek. He hissed through his teeth, letting her hair go to try and grab her wrists. “Don’t think I won’t use this goddamn rope, I swear to—”

“Hey,” said Black Knight, and they both froze. His mask was amplifying his voice so he could stay at a distance, standing on top of a shipping container. “Not to interrupt, but should I be interrupting?”

“Hey,” Coatimundi said, turning her head to look at Black Knight and pointedly not looking at Ghost’s face. “We’re, uh. I got it.”

“Okay,” Black Knight said. “Because my mics picked up on the phrase ‘horny energy’ and now you’re on the ground. And I think I heard him say something about a rope? So.”

“Yeah,” Coatimundi said. “It’s under control.”

“I get if you guys have a whole thing going on,” Black Knight said, “but he’s about a million years old and you’re twelve.”

“It’s vampire rules,” Coatimundi insisted. “I’m twenty-six, it’s fine.”

“What? No. You’re in high school.”

“I was in high school when we met,” Coatimundi said. “That was ten years ago.”

“Jesus,” Black Knight said, looking down at his gloves. “Am I old?” he asked.

“So old,” Coatimundi said.

“What’s vampire rules?” Ghost asked.

“Okay, well,” Black Knight began. Coatimundi considered doing something about the fact that Ghost was still on top of her. “He did kill that guy. For the record. He’s dead.” Black Knight’s faceplate showed Xs for eyes. She swallowed hard. “But he was also already dead? Something about death certificates, I don’t know.”

“Ah!” Ghost sat up straighter, letting go of Coatimundi’s wrist to point at Black Knight. “I knew it!” He pointed back to Coatimundi. “You see? And now we know it’s—there’s two, in one timeline. This is the same timeline as when I killed the other one. This is useful information.”

“Wait, so you’ve murdered that guy twice now?” Black Knight asked.

“I—we’re investigating,” Coatimundi, still on the ground with Ghost practically sitting on her stomach. “We have an ongoing investigation.”

“I’ve heard that one before,” Black Knight said. “But this is very uncomfortable for me to look at, because he’s creepy and you’re a baby—”


“—so I’m gonna bounce before I start fighting him on principle. But maybe find an abandoned warehouse or something. Somewhere with privacy, you know?”

“Oh my god, Kenny.”

“That’s sexy nemesis 101. You have a safeword, right? You don’t have to tell me what it is, but—”


“All right, all right, I’m going.” He activated the thrusters in his boots, hovering briefly in the air. “I still don’t like him,” he added. Ghost gave him the finger as he flew away. She reached up to half-heartedly slap him, smearing blood across his cheek. He made a sound of irritation and tapped her cheek with the backs of his fingers.

“The moment’s gone,” Coatimundi admitted. Whatever the moment had been.

“Seems like,” Ghost said. “I can still tie you up, if you want.”

She exhaled an echo of a laugh. “Not—not this time, I think. Is this… what is this. What was that.”

Ghost shrugged. “It seemed we were about to start yelling. I thought this might be better.”

“That says more about you than the situation,” she said, watching as he dug into one of his pockets. He pulled out his phone and held it suspiciously aloft. “You’re not taking a picture.”

“I am.”

Ghost!” she shrieked, rising onto her elbows. “Why?

“You know why.”

She felt herself turn hot. Her hair was half out of her ponytail and lopsided, the top buttons of her shirt all missing. She couldn’t tell if it was sweat or blood rolling down her temple to her cheek. “That’s messed.”

“I am messy,” he agreed, tucking his phone back away. He took her chin in his hand, and she could feel a slight tremor to it, pain or adrenaline catching up to him. It made her heart hurt despite the circumstances. “Coatimundi can’t lose,” he said, “yet here you are.”

“Don’t push it,” she warned. She could keep going. She could beat him to a paste if she wanted. She didn’t want. She could feel him shaking.

“When a man makes clear, repeatedly, his intent to kill you,” Ghost said, “self defense is warranted.”

“You can’t die,” Andi reminded him.

“You could have hit me harder,” he said.

She didn’t want to. She didn’t know how many of his bones she’d broken. The slash marks she’d left across his face still bled. She didn’t know what it would do to him, having his head twisted backward or his limbs ripped off.

“There are worse things than death,” he confirmed.

“You shouldn’t kill people,” she said, sounding petulant to herself.

“For this, I will,” he said, “and you cannot stop me. I will have your hate if it keeps your life.”

“I can take care of myself,” she said, but he shook his head.

“You misunderstand me, Pizote. It isn’t for you. You survive, always. But it is this life, this girl that I want. I will accept no less than this. I would have my treasure untarnished.”

“That’s an unhealthy way to think about a person.”

“Yes.” He was still holding her chin.

“It isn’t good for you,” she said. “Killing.”

“You would save my soul the stain?” he asked. “It’s been dyed black too long to matter. Death is nothing to me. I’ve fought in three world wars.”



“There’s only been two world wars,” she said.

He let her go with a frown. “Really?” he asked. “Which two?”

“The German ones,” she said, but his expression didn’t change. “Franz Ferdinand and Hitler.”

“Huh.” He wiped blood from his cheek. “I wonder what that did to my pension.”

“I don’t think they pay that based on number of world wars fought.”

“No?” he said, aghast. “I don’t see why not.”

“Do you even still get a pension if you try to kill the president?”

“It was Reagan,” Ghost said. “That hardly counts.”

“I’m not disagreeing,” she said, “but the government has pretty strict rules about that kind of thing.”

Aha,” he said, tapping her nose with a finger. “You see? You agree. Murder is fine sometimes.