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half Iago, half Fu Manchu, all bastard
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
Everything was happening too fast. Kimberly was behind him and then she wasn't, slipping forwards instead and telling him to wait and that he shouldn't get involved and that she'd be back and then she was smiling (an unbidden picture rising in his mind of those bloody fingertips slipping one by one off the edge of her cliff of sanity) and launching herself at Kris. He stumbled backwards and watched in horror as Kris came back to life and Kimberly wavered under her assault. His body froze as adrenaline flooded in great waves through his veins, caught in that horrific moment between flight and fight where there was nothing but the world and the knowledge of not doing anything--

And then there was a grenade launcher.

Had it been there the whole time?
It must have been.

And there was another boy. He had a gun. There was a grenade launcher and there was a gun and they were being pointed at each other and there was Kimberly, right in the middle of it all. Partners, she'd said. Partners. Partners stick together. They protect each other. And yet here he was standing stupid and frozen in fear. No. No. Couldn't let this happen. He had to go help her. He had to.

He bent down, one hand grabbing for a rock. It fit his palm snuggly -- not much of a weapon, but the best under the circumstances. He was already planning how it was going to go as he stood up, already seeing it in his mind's eye the way he used to visualize his runs. He had height and probably strength advantage over everyone. It would be okay. He could do this. Partners. Protection. He could--

The gunshot was the sound of a whipcrack in the air. The pain was a line of white-hot fire across his ribcage (that wasn't fair, he thought dazedly, they always said shock took care of the pain but this fucking hurt) and the blood that came immediately was a tiny waterfall that soaked his shirt. His knees buckled and dumped him to the ground.

Shot. He'd been shot. He'd been hit by a bullet. Someone had pointed a gun at him or somewhere near him and a bullet had gone into his skin or his body and there was blood. There was blood. He'd been shot. His eyes were squeezed shut but tears still forced their way out hot and wet and salty copper where they mingled on the lip he'd bitten. He'd been shot. And Kimberly was still there and maybe she was dead now or shot too but he didn't know because he. Had. Fucking. Been. Shot.

His mind was blank. His hands were both pressed reflexively to the wound, slipping in crimson. When the explosion came in a wave of hot air and blown-up dust, he couldn't even be sure what it had come from. Someone was screaming but they were far away. Or maybe just sounded far away. The ringing in his ears distorted their voice. It was a boy. He thought he knew that much. The world spun and slid around him. Shock? Blood loss? Maybe. He pressed his face to the earth. Thought dizzily, the bracelets are going to be ruined and choked on a laugh that felt like swallowing razor blades.

Someone was crying. The boy again. Or was it? Kimberly was out there still. And Kris. Kimberly and Kris. He'd been her partner. He was going to protect her. Sorry, Kimberly. He hadn't done that. Was she dead? The explosion. Maybe it had been her.

His eyes opened. The world swam into focus just in time for the knife to come down.



Oh. Kris was dead. Oh. The panic was gone now. Everything was calm. Kris was dead and someone was dead or probably, anyhow. He thought you might need more limbs or less charred skin to live. There was another boy crying over the corpse. And there was Kimberly in the middle of it. Swaying. Dirty. Alive.

Still alive. Blood from his lip washed around his teeth as his mouth curved into a smile. Still alive. Still there. And okay she'd just killed someone but normal, what was it they'd said? Normal was relative. Lot of crazy going around. People were dead but, but Kimberly wasn't and they were partners and that meant that it was still okay.

He could feel the wound on his side with his fingers. Deep, but not too deep. A graze. He'd gotten, hah, lucky. They'd all gotten lucky. And hell he hadn't done much, or anything to help, but now that part of their lives was over. The piece of shit that was Kris in the fucked-up crapsack of their life was gone. And that was good.

He was slowly pushing himself to his feet when he saw the gun leveled at Kimberly's head. The other boy was shouting something at her and now she was talking back, angry, voice dripping sarcasm but that didn't matter because someone was pointing a gun at her and no, you know what? She wasn't allowed to die now. Erik had just taken a goddamn bullet and still hadn't done shit-all to help and that was not the definition of partners.

She was saying something to him over her shoulder even as he pushed hard and managed to stand. Swayed for a moment, finding his feet again. But they wouldn't let him down. He wrapped his right hand around his side and took a limping step forwards, ignoring the way the world pulsated delicately around him.

"Hey!" Was that really his voice? It was hoarse and strange-sounding and it almost made him pause but no, no, he had to help. Had to protect. Had to keep her safe.

"You heard the lady. Put the -- put the fucking gun down. Just put it down." Or what? He wasn't sure. He took another few steps, drawing level with Kimberly. Under his breath to her, "Sorry. Got, uh. Held up." A bark of not quite laughter again. Considered saying more, decided against it. He thought he sounded like enough of an idiot already.

marc st. yves
light it up or burn it down we'll all die in fire
{food for thought}

phineas rosario
fall down seven times stand up eight

sebastian conway
can't see the forest for the trees
{book of sparrows}

(so you've got to keep in mind, when you try to change the world for the better not everybody's gonna be on your side)
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Burn On · The Mountain