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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
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Kimberly waited. Kris was stumbling, staggering, looking beat to hell. This was, this was fucking wrong. This was a fucking disgrace, a complete and total violation of everything Kimberly knew. Kris wasn't weak. She wasn't wounded. She wasn't the sort to be beaten and broken after only a week and a half. Kris was the grinning demon. Kris was her Moriarty, her Darth Vader, her Walter O'Dim. She wasn't supposed to turn up like this, at the one moment Kimberly could be normal again. Certainly, she wasn't supposed to turn up like this, a wretched wreck.

It wasn't supposed to happen like this.

But it was. It was happening, and it worked, it worked well enough. It was enough, this failure to meet expectations, to fan Kimberly's fury once more. It was enough for Erik to step in front of her, reminding her why she was doing this, what everyone else thought of her capabilities now. It was enough to carry her a step forward. It was enough to clench her fist.

"Hey," she said under her breath. "This'll just take a couple minutes. I don't think you'll wanna help with this shit."

Not a rejection. Not exactly. Fuck, she liked Erik. She really did like him. That made this hard. She didn't want him to see. Everyone else, the world, her grandparents, Bridget and Sarah, they could all watch and Kimberly wouldn't give a damn. She was about to torture a girl, and the only person in the world she didn't want to watch her do it was right here.

Tough shit. She'd explain when she was done.

It was a simple plan, really. Fuck Kris up. The girl had staggered to a standing position. Kimberly would run to her, and she'd hit Kris in the face, and she'd knock her down, and she'd sit on Kris' chest, just like she had with Rhory, and she'd put her knife to Kris' throat and she'd say, "Kris, you're gonna fucking die, you know? Nothing you can do about it. But because I'm not a bitch like you, I'm going to let you say goodbye," and she'd let Kris say her tearful goodbyes and all that shit, and she'd drag her knife across the girl's throat, just enough to leave the slightest stinging cut, and she'd laugh, then, yes she would, and while Kris was wondering why she wasn't dead, Kimberly would slam the knife into her shoulder and she would twist, and once Kris had stopped screaming, why, then Kris would ask Kimberly to kill her, and Kimberly would say, "Kris, this was never about killing you. You hurt me. You made me live with some awful shit these past few days. You think I'd do anything less than return the favor?" and when it sunk in and Kris begged, Kimberly would drop the knife in front of her and she would say, "Fucking kill yourself, then, but if you want me to do it, find me in two days. When you come crawling over the ground, broken and bleeding, with that knife in your teeth and murder in your eyes, fuck, maybe then I'll deign to kill you."

Of course, she wouldn't. Not even then.

And it would be beautiful. It would all be so pretty, so poetic, the poetry she had never captured with her pen. It would be a show of exactly what Kris had done to her. Kris would be forced to bare herself to the world, to lie there, powerless and scared and alone, and then she would have to work damn hard to survive, and she would do it, she would try, Kimberly knew she would, because she had so far, and in the end, it wouldn't mean shit, because someone would kill Kris anyways.

So Kimberly stepped around Erik, and she flashed him a quick smile and said, "Be right back," and before he could do anything, she was running at Kris, not the clean run she'd wanted, but a stumbling, staggering jog, hampered by her stiff joints and her fatigue and the fact that she'd been sitting in the sun for hours.

It didn't matter. She wound back her fist, her one good fist, and, as she drew close to Kris, she prepared to launch the first real punch of her life.
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
Library Vee
Misty Browder drawn by Ryuki
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Burn On · The Mountain