PAX East Confrontation
(A Darkiplier & Antisepticeye fic. Warning for some violence.)
It was around 3am and most of the con had quieted down. Guests retired to their hotel rooms to rest after a long exciting day. Seán lay next to Signe, still mostly awake. He was too excited to sleep. The panel had gone so well! He was giddy at everyone’s reactions to his video. He couldn’t wait to see Robin and high-five about it. He wanted to bounce up and down but didn’t risk waking his partner. The dark hotel room was suddenly lit from Seán’s phone. Though he hated checking his phone so often, he couldn’t help himself. He was too wired to ignore it, so he he gently rolled over and slid the phone under the covers so the light wouldn’t bother Signe. It was a text from Mark. It read:
“Hey Jack, you awake?” another text “Sorry, Seán. I’m still in the habit, haha.”
Seán replied “It’s okay. Yep i’m up! Today was awesome!”
“Hell yeah! Hey um, since your up do you mind meeting me to talk? I don’t want to wake anyone else but I need somebody.”
“Yeah okay, give me 5 minutes. Everything okay?”
“I’m okay. Um, i’ll meet you in stairway D, if that’s okay. I feel like walking. We can go to the balcony, it should be private at this hour.”
“Cool, see you.” Seán carefully left the bed and threw on some clothes. He grabbed his keycard and quietly shut the door. The hallway was colder than he expected, but he didn’t mind. He was too bouncy to mind the cold. At the end of the hall was the door to the stairs. Seán always liked the feeling of roaming a hotel at night. Hotels were inherently fun for some reason, and the empty halls felt a bit spooky but free. He entered the dark stairway and called, “Mark? You in here?”
Mark appeared from the shadows, wearing a smart suit. An odd change from his comfortable con-going clothes but Seán didn’t question it. Mark spoke, “Hi. Thanks for meeting me. So uh, you don’t mind climbing the stairs?”
“Nah, let’s go!”
Mark and Seán walked together in silence. After a flight, Seán asked, “So hey, what did you want to talk about?”
Mark said, “It can wait.” Something was off about his voice, but Seán decided to give Mark his space. Their footsteps echoed in the stairway. Seán found himself looking over his shoulder, suddenly feeling mildly unnerved that the stairs were so dark. The light looked funny in there. He glanced at Mark’s face and noticed how unsettling the shadows made it look. He laughed to himself nervously. “Hm?” Mark hummed.
“Ha, nothing. Too much coffee is messing with me, I think. Gonna drink more in a couple hours though,” Seán enthused. The two made it to the balcony.
The city was dark and so was the moon, offering no moonlight. Mark and Seán were barely silhouettes in the night. Seán ran to the edge of the balcony and marveled at the stars. “Okay I know I should be in bed but this is amazing!” he cheered.
Mark chuckled, “I knew you’d think so.” Mark joined Seán by his side. The two stood together, enjoying the quiet moment.
Seán sighed contentedly, and asked, “So what did you want to talk about?” It was then that Mark grabbed him from behind and threw him onto the ground. Before Seán could react, he was hit with a swift kick to the stomach, knocking the wind out of him.
“Alright Anti, come on out,” Mark said, his voice weirdly deep and distorted.
Seán gasped and regained his breath, “Mark, what are you-”
Mark kicked him again. “You can’t hurt your host, but I can. If you want to keep his body, I suggest you take over.”
Seán was so confused. He’d never seen his friend violent like this before. He scrambled to his feet and made a run for it. “Mark I don’t know what this is but it isn’t funny!” Mark caught up to him, grabbing him by the collar of his shirt and slamming him back to the ground. “Fuck!” Seán shouted, as his head hit the hard concrete floor of the roof. “Mark please!”
“I bet that hurt a lot. A few more of those and he’s gone, so come on out, glitch boy,” Mark said in a too-calm voice.
“Mark stop, you’re acting crazy!” Seán cried.
“Mark. I always hated that name. I mean Dark is pretty stupid too, but at least it separates me from him,” Mark, or rather, Dark, mused, holding Seán down. Seán struggled to push him off. Regaining focus, Dark struck Seán across the face and pulled his hair, “Come on, Anti, I don’t have all night.” Seán just stared up at him, bewildered. Dark breathed an impatient sigh and hit him again. Seán cried out weakly. His head was getting fuzzy. Another blow. His whole body jolted with the impact. His vision started to go. “Tick Tock,” Dark said, wiping the blood from Seán’s lips with a handkerchief. Seán just whimpered. Dark huffed impatiently and started to strangle him. Seán’s eyes rolled up into the back of his head, and just as he passed out, Dark released his hold. He stood up, adjusted his clothes, and began to drag Seán back towards the door to the stairs. “Next time I guess. You’re cutting it close though,” he said to the limp body.
After a moment of silence, the body started to glitch and fizzle. The sound of static sharply emanated. Dark smiled and let the body hit the ground. He backed up, eagerly awaiting Anti’s presence. The glitches grew more violent, and where bruises had appeared on Seán’s neck, now were self-inflicted gashes, gushing blood. Skin turned paler and hair faded into a washed-out, sickly mint green. The body twitched, and then, from it’s position laying on the floor, was at once standing up, albeit slumped.
“You…” came a garbled voice. The body lunged at Dark, who casually dodged, “You bastard, what the hell do you want?” Dark didn’t answer, he merely tipped up Anti’s chin to look into his bright eyes. Anti clenched his fists. “That was a dirty trick, even for you,” he said, hitting Dark’s hand away.
“Oh?” Dark feigned innocence. Anti hated his calm, inviting demeanor. He was cool-headed even during a beating. It was rare to see the facade crack and true wrath show through the veil.
“You used their bond lure him out here. That’s cruel,” Anti said.
“Oh no, did I betray little Seán’s trust? How awful. Can you imagine if I did something like that to an entire unsuspecting audience?” Dark said, with dry sarcasm.
“That’s different! Those people, they’re just faceless masses. They don’t know him. They chose to trust him ‘cause they think he’s funny and kind. Even cute,” Anti said, wrinkling his nose at the idea, “A five minute meet, greet and hug isn’t real trust. Seán and Mark are actually friends.”
“Are you upset that I hurt him, then?” Dark asked, raising his eyebrows.
Anti frowned. “What do I care? I’m just saying it’s cruel and unnecessary. There are easier ways to get my attention.”
“That’s rich coming from Mister Throat Slitter,” Dark gestured.
Anti gently touched the wound, feeling the warm blood on his fingertips. He felt a pang of something, but it couldn’t be guilt. He’d never admit Dark had a point “What do you want, anyway?”
“I’m not happy with your little stunt,” Dark said, turning his back to Anti.
Anti snickered, “Oh my god, all this to tell me you’re a jealous bitch? I could have figured that out on my own! Jesus, Dark, you’re fucking extra. Drama queen prick,” Anti clapped Dark on the back. Dark’s body flickered and suddenly he faced Anti again, catching his wrist. He gripped it too tightly. Anti was able to glitch to break away. “I’m fucking off to bed, dude,” Anti scoffed, turning to leave. He got a few steps before Dark teleported in front of him, and knocked him back with a punch to the face. “Fuck! So it’s like that? Okay i’ll throw down!” Anti said, rolling up his sleeves. He hated how pretentious Dark could be, but wouldn’t mind a fight. It could be fun.
“Now now, I just want to talk. I only hit you ‘cause I couldn’t let you leave so soon,” Dark chided.
“Oh really? Not ‘cause I pushed your buttons?” Anti taunted.
Dark smiled. “How long do you think they’ll love you for anyway? How long until they get tired of the novelty and just want their precious Seán safe and sound? They’re starting to figure it out, you know. That without their attention, you’ll fizzle and fade. Sure you’ll manage blips here and there, but after a while you won’t even have the energy for that”
“Are you kidding? You saw the panel, they love me! At the first hint of me they screamed and cheered. They can’t help themselves. I hurt Seán, badly, and they begged for more. They’ll never love him more than the spectacle,” Anti gloated.
“Spectacle,” Dark pondered. He ruffled Anti’s hair as if he were a child, “You know, that’s a great word to describe what you are.”
“Ugh don’t do that! Personal space. Fuck sake. What about you, huh? What happens when they get tired of you?”
Dark looked perplexed, then a look of realization hit him. “Oh my god. You think i’m like you. Tell me Anti, where do you think Mark’s body is?”
Anti tried to hide his confusion. “Well obviously it’s…it’s uh.”
“Probably asleep or taking a shit, that’s where it is,” Dark answered for Anti, who crinkled up his nose. Not the imagery he wanted to think about. “You see, I don’t share. This body’s mine. Mark can do what he wants, and whether the audience believes in me or not doesn’t matter. I’m not like you, Tinkerbell. I don’t need admiration to live, i’m well past that point. I just like it. What I don’t like is sharing the spotlight with you.”
Anti was dying to ask how Dark was able to manifest his own body, separate from Mark. He’d ask, but more annoyed with Dark’s arrogance. He scoffed, “well, it’s a little late for that, now, isn’t it?”
Dark flickered up to Anti and twisted his wrist behind his back. Anti tried to glitch away but Dark’s energy was overwhelming. Anti felt a rare twinge of panic. Dark had grown in power. “I’m going to ask nicely. Cut the antics, stay in the background, and i’ll play fair,” Dark said cooly, too close to Anti’s ear. Anti went to hit him with his free elbow but Dark caught him and twisted harder, forcing him to kneel. Any harder and the bone would break, which even for Anti would take some time to heal.
Anti was defiant nonetheless, “Or what?”
Dark grabbed Anti by his hair and made him bow his head, “Or i’ll make sure you don’t have a body to go back to.”
The next morning, Seán awoke and checked his phone. No new messages, nothing to report. On the way to the vendors section of PAX he saw Mark with his gang. Ethan and Tyler were dabbing at fans. Seán ran up to them. Mark caught his eye and went to meet him. “Oh hey Seán! Did you sleep okay? You look a little out of it.”
“Oh yeah, i’m probably getting the PAX plague. That’s what you get for hugging a jillion people!” Seán laughed, “Throat hurts like hell but it’s worth it! I gotta tell you though, I had this super weird dream. You were in it and you like, punched me in the face? Then the dream switched over to Resident Evil 7. Fucking bugs in my face and this time I could feel them!”
“Gross! Sorry for being a dream asshole. Can you make it to our panel today?”
“Yeah i’ll see you then!” Seán waved to the crew and trotted off. He glanced back at them one last time, and for a moment, he saw a second Mark in the distance. He shrugged it off as a cosplayer, and continued. He coughed, “Ugh. Stupid sore throat.”