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MK Kilmarnock
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Hate, hate, HATE!!!
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((Ivan Kez... kuzna... k... Kuznetsov, continued from Awe of She))

One hand held a shotgun pointed down at the ground. The other one had run behind Tabi's back and rested under her far shoulder. Ivan had supported Tabi periodically to ease the pain of walking and speed the both of them up. He thought it was a grand excuse, too. Tabi could have been perfectly healthy and he still probably would've put his arm around her, enjoying the closeness of the only companion he had on their long, long journey. Looking around the both of them, Ivan remembered back to their last visit in this particular location.

He looked to the spot on the street where the fateful encounter with Clio occurred. The imagination of a weary mind played out the events once more as they happened. The gun had been kicked out the door, and two kids made a mad scramble for what they both knew would be the tool to end somebody's life. Clio got to it first, and Ivan simply knelt in defeat. He should have died there.

And yet, there they both were.

"Do you want to stop here?"

The ghostly images of the kids fighting in the streets disappeared when Tabi asked her question. At first, Ivan's only reply was in the form of a short nod. Running around would do nothing positive, and in fact would just expose them from all sides to any would-be attackers. It would be better to play it safe and hole up in one of the residences again, wait it out the best they could. Much like an intangible chain tugging on the very real collar he wore around his neck, they'd have to be wary of that restricting rule the terrorists had placed: a student must die every 24 hours, or they would all die. He hoped they would get some sort of warning before that occurred, however; Ivan wanted for them both to stay safe the best he could, but that obviously couldn't happen if the collars decided to turn on him. There was simply no defense for that.

"Let's find someplace to stay for a while, Tabi", Ivan responded. There was a fraction of a second of silence before he turned his face to her, giving her a reassuring smile. Almost instinctively, the hand that had been placed around her drew out and swept a strand of her hair out of her face. He was glad that he had switched from his green-lensed glasses to his clear ones. He didn't have to hide anything from her anymore, almost like Tabi was a part of his family. At this point, she practically was. Maybe when all of this was over, she'd visit his old home, meet his mother, aunt and brother. She'd visit them for him, since... both of them couldn't go home.

With that unhappy though, Ivan turned his attention towards the rows of buildings. There were at least two he wanted to avoid: the one where both he and Tabi encountered Clio, and the one in which Maria's body was resting eternally. 'Luckily, both locations remained locked in the boy's mind. There was an inconspicuous residence just on the other side of the street that looked harmless enough, but they'd have to double check.

"On me," Ivan instructed, dedicating both hands to the shotgun as he approached the door. The door itself wasn't ajar, so he freed his off-hand to try the knob. The doorknob turned all the way, and the hinges operated without protest when Ivan pushed it inward. The pancor jackhammer led them both through the doorway as Ivan made sure to check every corner of every room, included closets, the backroom, the kitchen, and so on until the entire bottom floor was secure. Instructing Tabi to close the door, he peered up the stairwell. Nothing visible, at the very least, but they'd have to learn from their mistakes. When he went up, Tabi would follow close behind and cover their backs again. They weren't having another Clio. Not like this. Not this close to the end.

The upstairs, as well as the house in general, proved secure. With a sigh that held a mixture of relief and contentness, Ivan turned to face Tabi and sat on the bed, the pancor resting up against the wall near the headboard. He patted the mattress and failed to suppress a faint blush, looking to his girlfriend.

"This okay for now, then?"

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