Origins do not make the creature in Vaccine; power does. Yet the most powerful figure is lonely until the night he meets a virus that changes the way he sees everything...
Papimilloviridae wiped golden blood from his lip with his hand, looking up at his opponent with a calm that belied his true emotion.
"You hit like an immuno-booster." he says with a grin that makes the crooked WBC who punched him shudder in fear. "Let's remedy that." Papi moved with the speed he'd been gifted, his claws wicked scimitars in the dim light of the alley. He digs his claws into the soft stomach, the serrated edges catching on the organs as he goes to pull out.
"AAAAAAAAA-Guk!" Papi twists his hand until his palm is upright and he removes his hand, eviscerating the WBC with a sneer gracing his lips. "W-Why?"
"Double-crosser. Did you really think you could get away from me?" He purrs softly as he takes the folded kerchief from the cop's pocket to clean his fingers. "I know everything about this city. Nothing escapes my attention." Papi drops the kerchief onto the exposed still-steaming organs and walks away, wisps of a golden fog gathering as the sound of his footsteps fade.
He's always been stronger than most of the viruses he meets. Power has been his from the start since he awakened at the sound of his name; but sometimes that same strength ruins whatever attempts he makes at socializing. The first time he asked a Rubella to dinner, she flat-out refused him. Further attempts lead to his frustration with the opposite sex entirely until they heard whispers of his power through the underground rumor mill. Then they flocked but he found himself immune to the pleading gazes, the soft touches and even the most beautiful of creatures could not make him crack a smile.
Papi's pretty sure his gang members missed his earlier days of gentle teasing and pats on the back for clearing out crooked cops on the Vaccine force. He's never ruled through fear; it sickens him and he does not feel the need to release his rage as he once had.
"Boss?" Commander Ires asks softly.
"Hn." he hums as he quietly fills out the paperwork it takes to run his gang and essentially the entire city.
"You gonna go to that Ball?" Papi sighs as he scrapes back his hair. It'd gotten longer than he cared it to be but none of his commanders had said a word. "There are some new viruses encroaching on our territory."
"Encroaching? Commander, if there is no chaos then there is no order. I hold dominion over the city but various sections are controlled by others to make it seem as though I am not as important. Hiding in plain sight is the best way to manage this place. Thier names?" he chides lightly as he sets his favored fountain pen down.
"Yersinia Pestis and Mononegavirales Rhabdoviridae, known as the Plagues and the Rabies gangs on the streets. Yersinia's gang has taken quite a bit of space with her hookers. Rabies is not as subtle. They've been killing the loyal cops." Commander Ires reports before his lips press thin at the last comment. He was married to one of the force, a lovely girl named Bán Sciath and had concerns with the force more so than most. "Bán's safe, thank Sudor, but we need to control them."
"Hmm. It looks like I will be going then. No one threatens the force on my watch, Ires. You may rest easy this evening. I believe a crew will be needed if Negavirales cannot be persuaded, however. Have one prepared?" Papi murmurs as he cracks his knuckles and then his neck with care.
"Yes Boss." Ires (usually his favorite commander) sounds relieved.
"I trust you, Ires. Do you have an idea as to how rare that is?" He asks as he manipulates his RNA to a fancier version of his everyday wear, even materializing a tie only to scowl at it.
"Yessir." Ires said respectfully before he looped Papi's tie around his neck and frowned as well. "Maybe a scarf; change the blazer from green to silver and have the scarf a deep green, Boss?" Papi grins at the suggestion and snaps his fingers to finalize his look. "You look... Intense."
"Good. Just the look I was going for." he purrs, the feral side of him pleased with the way he's going.
He saunters into La Muerte Roja with an affected air of boredom.
"What'll you be... having, sir?" Papi's intent is lazily snapping and curling at other customers passing by him.
"I'll have the Kill Strike." He's well-versed in the bootlegged drinks of his underworld and even those of the other two cities. The bartender's fingers pause over the bottle of intent (freely given, of course) that had been aging for the last eight years. The mix was intent (who it was from was never specified though the brilliant blue color suggested a powerful virus) and fermented chlorophyll that had turned a deep golden shade. The drink could kill if not prepared correctly; hence the name.
"Whoever is ruling this city better start getting used to having thier toes stepped on. I'm running this town now!" The loud boast from the very back of La Muerte Roja has Papi grinning into his drink to keep from laughing. "Hey, virus at the bar. What's so funny?"
"You." Papi rumbled as his intent darkened to a deep gold and snapped out like a whip to cut into Negavirales' coffee-colored cheek. "I don't think we've met, Rabies. The name's Papimilloviridae; I do not appreciate-What was it?-getting my toes stepped on in any manner." He downed the rest of his drink with a straight face, setting it down with exaggerated care. The flunkies reached for Winchesters, H&Ks and Derringers but Papi wasn't the city ruler for nothing. He's disabled them with pieces of his intent just waiting for them to fire the weapons. Papi wound his way around the tables and signaled Red (the bartender) to shoo out any stragglers.
"You ain't shit-" His intent, a weak grey, attempted to push back Papi's more golden intent but with no success. The empty bar resonates with Papi's intent, absently caressing the wallpaper and smoothing over edges and corners that are roughed from use.
"I am better than you; I am stronger, faster and smarter." He crooned softly as he pulled a chair out to sit on in front of Negavirales with a cold, pleasant smile. "Listen well, Negavirales, as I will only include this warning once. Do not kill innocents, do not kill my cops and last but never the least, you will not attempt such a pathetic coup again. I rule the city for a reason. I have yet to run across a creature who cannot obey those three simple rules."
"And if I don't?" comes the weak, oh-so-stupid response.
"Then my answer is simple." Papi's intent lifted the virus with a speed that astonished the Rabies flunkies. "You die." Red slides down a Kill Strike as Papi lifts the idiot to the ceiling and tightens the cords around Negavirales' neck with increments so fine as to be almost unnoticeable.
"Ires. I thought I told you to take it easy?" He hums absently as he sets Negavirales into a spiked nest of his intent.
"Just saying that the crowd outside is getting awful rowdy." Ires glances out to where Papi can hear the disgruntled customers.
"Let them in, Red. I suppose business must go on." Papi murmurs wryly, finishing his drink and releasing the gasping leader. "Next time I kill you. No warning past this; second chances are for those who deserve it."
-Sixteen Years Later-
The years flash past and then... Well, he finally meets the virus who supplies the intent for La Muerte Roja. The sly, almond-shaped eyes are the same brilliant blue color as his intent. Something in Papi cannot resist the tight control he sees, but the rejection comes as a challenge.
Enza is powerful, intellegent as well as endearingly sweet. Thier second date has him feeling awkward and hesitant as they walk through the park, fingers linked in solidarity. His eyes flick down to their gloved hands, glancing up to see Enza's blue eyes glowing with laughter.
"You're nervous?" Enza's eyes crinkle at the corner as he laughs. The sound turns the heads of various creatures, all of them startled from thier daily routines by such a beautiful sound. The centrosome birds chirp back Enza's laugh with higher pitched bird-song and now it's Papi's turn to laugh as Enza blushes. Thier breath comes out in little white puffs in Vaccine's autumn air and Enza scoots closer to Papi for warmth.
"This is different. It's... softer than I'm used to, Enza." Papi explained as they passed a coffee stand in the cold weather, "Would you like a coffee?"
"That sounds good." Enza tugs them over to the stand with a wide grin, "Hi. Two coffees? One with cream?" Papi shakes his head, indicating that he'd like for both of them to be the same. "You like cream too? Vari says that I'm weird for not drinking it black."
"Vari is English. He drinks tea over coffee every chance he gets. I don't know how he and his husband do things in their house." Papi snarks as he stirs in his three packets of sugar.
"Bianco makes Vari's tea first and then fiddles with the fancy coffee-maker. Apparently it's a matter of taste." Enza murmurs as he looks at the WBC children going into the museum with a wistful expression.
"Would you like to see the museum?" he asks gently; apparently this is a sensitive subject for Enza.
"They wouldn't allow us in as kids; Vari, Vera and I. Something about being infectious to the others." comes the soft answer, his fingers squeezing Papi's as he attempts to tug them past it.
"I think not. Would you like to see the museum?" Enza turns around with wide eyes and then he sighs.
"It's for kids." The reluctance isn't something he's seen from Enza yet and it bothers him more than he would like.
"Says who?" Papi discreetly points out the adults with no children, several of them going straight back in after having come out. "Well?" Enza tugs him down for a happy kiss that leaves Papi looking down with a smile on his normally reserved face.
"Come on." Enza tugs him up the stairs, back to the cheerful virus Vari had so lovingly described. The intent spiked and curled, showing Enza's happiness as they bought the tickets and slipped inside with their coffees in hand. The sly blue eyes widened as they landed on the center hall of Vaccine's only museum. Weak sunlight filters though the vaulted glass ceiling, illuminating various pieces up for exhibit, including the first and only weapon forged to hold intent. "Wow." Enza grinned and tugged him from exhibit to exhibit, actually startling some of the school-aged children with his enthusiasm.
"Maybe I should just takes us here from now on? There are far too many exhibits to see in one day." Papi asks as Enza takes in the history of the city that supports them both.
"Oh no, you're not going to be an immuno-booster. We're going to see all of them before it closes. Race you?" The challenge in the gorgeous blue eyes is something stronger viruses would bend under but Papi matches it with a smirk.
"Whoever loses gets to buy dinner." He chuckles as Enza winks before he starts chasing down the farther exhibits.
Enza wins, though he's breathless by the time he spots Papi by the entrance with a simple mitochondria hotdog as a snack. Papi shakes his head as Enza scarfs the food without so much as breathing.
"I won." the teasing is slightly out of breath but the feeling of it is light.
"I know." he chuckles as Enza seems to remember his manners and sheepishly wipes his mouth with the napkins he's offered.
"Sorry." Papi's flashed that incredible smile that most don't get to see. Enza proceeds to capture his hand and walk them across the square to the fountain before he flops down, looking up at a bemused Papi. "Sit down. I want to cuddle."
"In the freezing cold?" he asks just to make sure.
"Yup." Papi rolled his eyes and did as he'd been asked, surprised when Enza sat in his lap and does exactky what he'd promised. They attract a few stares but the child commenting just makes them laugh.
"Yes tesoro?" her tone is one of long-suffering.
"Why are they sitting on top of each other?" Papi and Enza laugh, Enza breaking into giggles each time he glances at the child. "Mama?"
"Umm, it looks like they're cuddling." Papi can sense the embarrassment and lifts Enza off, lacing their fingers almost instantly as they head for the coffee shop that's closer than their original plans. He can be flexible when it comes to changing things up.
"Do they love each other?" They glance at one another and smile, Enza playfully swinging their hands back and forth.
"I think so." now she's just trying to get her child to move away from them. Though thier relationship could be classified as unusual, it was by far not the worst someone could encounter.
"Good. Amore is better than hate." Papi silently agrees with the child.
"Darling... It's-" the cell is wavering and the child pounces easily.
"Ai-yah. Sí é amore." Papi indulges Enza as he sets their hands in prominent view of the public with nothing more than a risen brow when the other virus just giggles when several creatures do a double-take. Yes, Papi thinks, this was certainly the one for him.
On thier way back from dinner, Enza's sharp hearing saves them from the ambush that's at the edge of Vaccine and leading into Viridae. The black-gloved fingers shoot out and hold his chest before he silently motions with his head. Papi hears them; this is why he had driven Zaire Ebolavirus out of his city nearly a decade ago. The alley is fairly small compared to most and it's a dead end as well. A perfect killing ground for an ambush, but not if they were stronger than the enemy planning said ambush.
"We'll take the city back block by block or we'll tear it down. Papimilloviridae has held the reigns for too long. This is unacceptable! He's allowing the Guaridano line to reproduce, the PD to flourish and several creatures that we know do not belong here but in Bacta. Disgustingly low-standarded bastard." Zaire was an idiot for thinking that Papi would not eventually catch on.
Papi grins as he looks at Enza, whose eyes have taken on a eldritch glow. Neither of them will stand for the fool lingering at the edge. They take off thier gloves, getting ready to shift to full-virus mode. It takes less time than a blink before thier bodies are deadly weaponry and even stronger than thier usual forms.
"Enza, what do we usually do with the trash?" He croons, making sure to project his voice.
"Burn it. Depends on what kind it happens to be." The cocky smirk makes Papi's normally blank mask slide into a perfect match for Enza's expression.
"You read my mind." They glided on silent feet into the alley only to be faced with slightly shaking guns. "Ebolavirus, you never learn do you?"
"I just need to topple this stupid system you have in place-"
"And what? Rule two cities? It can't be done. There is a reason for that, you utter incompetent." comes Papi's scornful reply. "Only one virus attempted that and she was a Goddess. It's the reason we swear by her."
"Sudor? Please, I can do better!"
"Care to test that theory?" Papi's intent curled into a razor-tipped cat o'ninetails, landing in his hand fully formed.
"Sure!" Zaire cackled aiming his Tommy gun loaded with WBC rounds and pulled the trigger. Papi's smirk spread to become a fully-fledged snarl as he cracked his whip with vigor, cutting right through the bullets and landing with a thud in Ebolavirus's chest. "Weak! That was barely even-Hurk! Kak! No! Don-" Papi tugged, then tugged again before he tightened his muscles and snapped it back with the full force of his strength, spattering all of them with ruined entrails, viscera as well as blood. He turned his glowing gaze to the others only to find that his Mate-to-be had finished the job.
Enza was cleaning his claws and face of blood absently, looking up as his raspy pink tongue scraped across the glowing spikes that topped his knuckles. Papi extended one of the tentacles that unfurled from his shoulders, mid-back and lower-back to wrap around Enza' emphasized waist, lifting him to show the slightly younger virus the damage he'd caused. Enza looked at it then looked at him with a pleased expression.
"We make a great team." The slanted blue eyes conveyed mischief and pride rolled into one.
"I never thought otherwise." Papi purred softly as he chuckled, "This is not how I had imagined our date to finish."
"You know you've got a bit of... blood right there?" Enza quips before he starts giggling. Papi rolls his eyes before his date mutters with a smile, "Eh. Makes one heck of a story though."