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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
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Autumn was having some problems, it seemed. She was working herself up. Perhaps she felt judged. Her questions were clearly rhetorical. As she turned to face Claire, she practically whined, practically begged Claire to agree with her. It was just a little bit scary. Claire still had her gun in her hand, though. She would be fine.

And then, Autumn made a mistake.

She started talking about independence, talking like she was some paradigm of self-reliance trapped in a world of nepotism and handouts. She acted like she was the only one who'd been through bad things, like Claire had had someone holding her hand this whole time. That burned. After all, what had the trust Claire had extended to others brought her? Trouble. Pain. The only people she could have relied on were dead. She'd never even gotten to see Aislyn again. She'd determined to go it alone after all of that, determined that that was the better path, and now this girl was patronizing her.

"Yes," Claire said. "I can survive on my own. What, you think you're the only one who's seen shit? You think no one else is as tough as you? Well then, Autumn, why are you here lighting bodies on fire? Why aren't you already home free? Why is this even still going on?"

"Yes, I can say everything she said, and I suspect I'm being a damn bit more honest about it than she is."

Rising to this was, of course, not a perfect solution. It didn't resolve anything. It didn't do much except antagonize an unstable girl. But Claire was sick of being talked down to, and she had absolutely no reason to put up with it from Autumn. After all, she had her gun. It wasn't like Autumn would be able to try anything without Claire reacting first.
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
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I Was a Teenage Hand Model · The Key