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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
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Aaron had made it to the top of the stairs. The plan had worked. Ivan and Tabi had never seen it coming. What under any other circumstances would have been an act if suicidal desperation had seen Aaron through, and now he had managed to pin the gun out of the way. Ivan was unable to bring it to bear, at least as more than a prod or club, but Aaron was equally unable to get into position to fire his own weapon at the other boy without letting Ivan regain control of the shotgun. It was an impasse, but one that was sure to break soon enough.

Aaron was not a strong close quarters fighter. There was a huge difference between being hit by a fake sword and being punched. He was unused to serious pain. He was running on adrenaline and confidence now, though, and was sure he could do what needed to be done. He had Ivan off balance. He was able to fire a few more shots in the direction of the girl, then she was gone. She must have fled or something, but she presumably wouldn't risk hitting Ivan—assuming, of course, that Aaron hadn't managed to kill her flat out. It didn't matter. She wouldn't risk friendly fire. She hadn't seemed that hardened a killer.

Besides, Aaron was fairly sure he had at least wounded her. That meant he just had to wrap up here, then finish her off. He struggled with Ivan, using his elbows and knees, trying to keep the boy off balance and drive him back. Somewhere in the fray, the pistol was knocked to the side, held, along with Aaron's hand, against the wall. It didn't matter. He had more, and it wouldn't do to let Ivan get his hands on it and use it for his own purposes. Better to leave it out of play for the moment. He kept struggling, kept trying to get it in line, as a diversion more than anything else. He would let it fall soon enough, maybe. That would give Ivan a false sense of confidence, would make him cocky. Aaron knew that he simply had to beat Ivan back and knock him down. Then, it would be a simple matter of pulling out one of the other pistols and finishing things off.

Ivan was competent, though, and probably stronger than Aaron was. He was giving as many hits as he was taking. It would have been worrisome, if Aaron hadn't known Ivan, hadn't known that the boy just didn't have what it took. He'd spent days hiding. He'd never been quite willing to confront. He was a coward. Soon enough, Aaron would grab the gun. He didn't even have to disable Ivan first. The other boy probably wouldn't be able to resist, not when he didn't see it coming. Aaron just needed to sneak the pistol free and make one perfect shot.

Then this would all be over, and he would be one big step closer to winning this game.
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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The Mighty Sparrow · The Residential Area