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Who is this sassy lost child
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Jae had never liked Michael. Fake accent, fake bravado, probably-fake loser friends who congregated around him and basked in the kind of power trip that you only got from making people like Brendan cry. Michael was the kind of bully that Jae knew people tried to lump him in with, and he despised them all the more for it. The Isabels and Michaels of the world weren't his people. They were hardly even the dirt under his boots.

This was what he had expected to see from Michael: the swaggering, blustering, filthy coward that he was, talking big to try and cover the fact that he was just another name on the long list of people that needed to be put in their place. Like he was so subtle, edging behind Asha for cover as the crossbow unsteadily followed him. Jae gritted his teeth, struggling to breathe in deeply. Michael was taller than Asha, but not by much. She had traded standing within pickaxe range to regular axe range, and he couldn't trust his aim enough to be sure that he wouldn't hit her if he took a shot.

And if there was anything Jae hated more than people like Michael overestimating their importance, it was their telling him to pity them.

"Boo-fucking-hoo," he ground out in response to Michael's tirade. "If you think I give a blistered, bleeding fuck about what kind of problems you've had, you haven't been paying attention for the last few years. You want to whine about how hard you've had it, running around trying to kill people with your buddies? Quit hiding behind Asha and come tell me to my face why I should feel sorry for you, you phony greaser piece of shit."

Was Michael even telling the truth? Who knew? On some level, Jae must have decided that he trusted Brendan's account of things more than whatever bullshit Michael would undoubtedly come up with. So. On the hierarchy of "Who Does Jae Most Want to Destroy Today", Brendan was in a slightly sweeter spot than Michael. He should tell Brendan he ought to feel honored, assuming that they both lived long enough to see each other again.

"The way I see it-" he had to pause, swallow thickly, remember to breathe, "The way I see it, Jeremiah deserved what happened to him, and if you so much as look at her wrong, you will too."

His hands were shaking noticeably now, and the crossbow along with them. He was starting to feel a little lightheaded. He kept his gaze on Michael as firmly as he could, eyes dark and challenging.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."

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Devil's Choir · Crematorium Chapel