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All's Fair; Private
Topic Started: Jan 2 2011, 07:24 PM (3,957 Views)
Grim Wolf
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
(Naoko Raidon continued from Surely God Is In This Place)

It was instinct that led him back here.

Dawn was creeping in, and sleeplessness had taken its toll. Raidon wandered as though he was mindless, no expression on his face and, mercifully, no thoughts in his brain. He was, for the moment, free from all that had been weighing on him, if only by virtue of shock and tiredness.

He hadn't been far from town to start out with. The sun wasn't much higher when he finally found his way into the suburbs he'd already spent so much time in. Here and there he'd wandered, still without thought, simply putting one foot in front of the other as best as he could. The first door he swung open led onto a scene of blood, a body sprawled at the end.

It was a moment before he saw the face. A moment before he realized it was Scott McGregor.

He stumbled backwards, bile surging up from his throat. He left the door open behind him as he threw up against the wall. It spattered, splashed against his jeans, against his shirt, and then Raidon was staggering away, winding here and there in clumsy zigzags, until he remembered that he was a vomit-and-blood-spattered mess with no sleep and that Simon Grey was dead.

It was at that point that things--memory, sight, sound, smell, taste--got very dim.

When he came to, he was kneeling (though his knees were still sore from the Parish) in front of a painting of death, one of which was entirely new to him. It made sense that he'd seen the others, of course; he'd interrupted Mizore when she'd been finishing them. But this one--the back of a skinny boy, covered in words--was new to him.

He wished he had the presence of mind to read any of it.

He made his way upstairs, dropped his bag, dropped his stuff, and pulled his clothes off without thinking about them. He was vaguely aware of a dim throbbing in his left hand; without really paying attention to his injury he hurriedly shredded through his dressing. The wound was a little cleaner now, although there were still some thin splinters of bone along it. He tossed his clothes into the shower and then stepped in himself, twisting the knob and letting lukewarm water run over his bruised, exhausted body.

Tears were pooling in his eyes, he still felt like throwing up, and the first weak sob escaped him as he sunk into a ball at the base of the shower and buried his face in his knees.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Raidon's skin had gone a sickly greenish-white as he leaned against the dank concrete wall of the alley. Beads of sweat rolled down his forehead and his hands and lips trembled violently. He couldn't stop thinking about each scene--the knife to the back of the head, the pit of needles, the-

It was just a movie. It was just a movie.

A hand--meaty, a little clumsy--slapped into his shoulder. Raidon whirled, his eyes bugging out of his head, and Simon took a step backwards. "You okay?" he asked, his eyes reflecting nothing but good-natured concern.




Jesus.

The water played a steady beat on Raidon's bare back as he stared at the drain. He had his left hand out in front of him and was staring intently at his missing finger.

I don't want to remember that.

He grabbed one of the splinters, pulled it in one direction. Pain sheered through him, stripped at his skin, burned through his hand, and he focused on it, relished it; it obliterated memory as he sucked liquid breath through his teeth, struggling not to cry out.

Agony like fire, agony cauterizing thoughts of Simon Grey, agony blocking out the memory of his murders and the sure, certain knowledge of what he was...

Pulling on the splinter, he could pretend that the tears dripping down his face were the result of pain.

The creak of the door opening sent him rocketing to his feet. Whatever guilt and pain he might be feeling, they had not eliminated the all-too-solid part of him still desperate to make it out of this place, whatever the cost. Someone was coming in, he didn't have time to sit here crying, he didn't have time to think. He threw himself out of the shower, rolling to avoid any assault, snatched his gun from where he'd left it by the sink, and aimed it towards the door, screaming, "FREEZE!"

This, at least, was the intention.

What actually happened was that Naoko Raidon's complete lack of natural athleticism, combined with the slippery tile, resulted in him taking a dive towards the floor, which ended in him slamming his head into one of the faux-wood cabinet doors and left his naked half-conscious body sprawled upon the ground, as false constellations blossomed in front of his eyes and darkness impinged on the corners of his gaze.

The force of impact also dislodged the gun from its place on the counter, so that it landed with an insulting thunk atop the back of his skull.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
As soon as the gun had smacked into his skull, Raidon had been struggling to his feet, ready to fight back against the intruder. As soon as he lifted himself into the air, however, pain hammered deep into his skull and a wave of nausea sent him pitching to the ground again.

Wow, that is a lot of pain.

He heard a distant sound--a stifled giggle. Through his fog of pain and confusion, Raidon groaned--his erstwhile assailant was laughing at him? Of course, Raidon supposed he must cut a fairly ridiculous figure, sprawled naked on the tile...

The person, whoever they were, stopped down. The dry click of metal against tile alerted Raidon that they had picked up the gun upon the ground, and Raidon tensed. His only chance was to rise and strike suddenly, to try and overwhelm his opponent before they took aim, but he wasn't sure he could--his vision was too hazy, and his head in too much pain.

Besides, perhaps he should be shot. Simon was dead, after all; there was no one left to stop Raidon, no judgment. The good were dying just the same as the evil, maybe Raidon should just...

With an equally dry click, the gun was set back in front of him. "Raidon," called a soft voice, infinitely, intimately familiar to him. "Raidon."

His head still felt too painful to lift, but that voice demanded nothing less than his best, and he forced himself to look up. "The offer of shooting me still stands," said Mizore Soryu, intense, lively, and lovely as ever. "If you don't want to do that, we should get you an ice pack."

His thoughts were vague, distorted. For more than twenty seconds, he could only gape in astonishment at her.

"Soryu," he said in disbelief. "I...Soryu?" The oceanic pulses of pain washing over him became too much for him to bear, and he sank his forehead back to the ground. "Christ," he whispered. "I didn't even hope to see..."

There were tears pooling in the corners of his eyes again. He was glad she couldn't see.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Aching head on the tile floor, naked to the world and tears dripping to the floor, Raidon felt as though he could sink no lower.

His finger was burning, and Simon was dead.

Hands closed around his head and pulled him forwards. He stiffened at the unexpected touch, but then relaxed as he came to rest against something soft. He tensed again when her fingers ran along his wound, wincing and pulling away. Her touch immediately became softer, and almost against his will he leaned back against her.

His finger was burning, and Simon was dead.

Fingers through his hair, pulling gently at the roots, and he found her touch as comforting as he had found it the first time. He stayed silent, welcoming the momentary respite from his thoughts, welcoming a chance for even a fleeting moment without terror and doubt and self-hate.

Silence. Sweet, empty silence.

"We should get you an ice pack," she said, after several seconds had passed. "Bandages, maybe. You're bleeding."

Bleeding? From where? His head? It had been a hard fall, no doubt of that, but it didn't feel that bad, and the pain was already somewhat less. Maybe there was still blood from his-

His finger was gone, and Simon was-

"I missed you."

Sweet, soft words. They didn't shock Raidon, didn't make him stiffen or pull away, didn't change him. They were subtle; they slipped through the layers of self-inflicted torment and made him pause.

He lifted his head off her chest and stood up clumsily, still a little dizzy. "I doubt we'll find ice," he mumbled. "And I'm...I'm feeling better already." She looked doubtful, and Raidon shook his head. A little pain, a little dizziness--nothing he couldn't handle.

"I've..." he started, standing there uneasily. "I..." Missed you? Had he? He'd been the one who left, how could he miss her?

"I've been thinking," he said simply. "Of you."
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She didn't say anything for a little while. Raidon was reluctant to take his eyes off of her; there was something entrancing in her eyes, a mixture of fear and excitement that attracted him in spite of the fact that he didn't understand it. She was entrancing, independent of her emotion; there was something so gloriously alive about her.

You looking for life? You, murderer?

A short, small intake of breath, too small for her to notice.

"Regardless of whether there are ice packs or not, we should get you dressed," she said at length, her eyes glittering on her face. They flickered down a little, then back up. "It'll get cold."

Ah, yes. I'm naked, aren't I.

His face flushed and he made a half-hearted effort to turn and cover himself. The moment he tried to move too quickly, however, his head swam dangerously, and darkness flooded along the corners of his vision. "Please tell me you didn't look," he mumbled, dazed, and leaned his head against the wall. "My...my bag," he said simply. "Over there." He looked at the bloody, dirty clothes on the ground and grimaced. "I need a change."

She rustled in his bag, brought him his fresh set. It was hard-going--when he moved too quickly his head ached, and no matter how cautious and careful he was he felt his aches--the pain in his throat, arms and back from his struggle with Maddy, the pain in his legs from his wandering across the island, the pain in his missing finger.

My fucking finger.

When it bit a little deeply--when he felt like he needed to break off, rest his head against something--her fingers would be there, pulling things into place, lingering for just a second and fluttering away like errant butterflies. The tingle each touch imparted was enough to get him moving again.

A little bit of machismo. Huh. Who'd have though that'd come out here.

"Hold on," he grunted. "Who knows...when I'll get the chance to..." He trailed off and turned back to the shower, setting the water running before tossing his old clothes beneath them. Not perfect by any means, but he'd take what he could get. He sat on the mat in front of the shower--she, on the tile.

"I want to stay with you," she said.

Raidon stayed where he was, held himself completely still. He didn't look at her, and could see from the corners of his gaze. Didn't really listen, either; he was thinking about it. Simon was gone, his head was a mess, he was in pain. He had already discovered how much he liked her, how much his thoughts dwelled on her, and her name hadn't been on the announcements. Best he could tell, she'd kept her promise; he could trust her, couldn't-

"You'd kill me to live."

Those words surged out of the babble and speared their way into his mind. He stiffened. The rest of her words--her declaration of her romantic feelings for him, her willingness to take a bullet for him--passed by without him paying any attention to them. He was staring at the gun near his feet.

You'd kill me to live.

She lifted his hand--the injured one, the one missing a finger--and laid her lips upon it.

Missing finger. Simon's dead. I've killed.

I'd kill her to live?


He jerked his hand away from her suddenly, rose to his feet swiftly and ignored the pain that came with it. He stepped quickly away from her, over the gun, out into the hall. The stairs were close at hand, the door easily visible at their bottom. He froze where he was, staring at the door. He'd left before--left her with his favorite jacket, alone in that room. She was the last one he'd left alive of his own volition, come to think of it, and certainly the last one he'd left unharmed.

"Don't you get it, Mizore," he said weakly. "I've already killed to live."

Scott McGregor. Alison Walworth. Madison Stone.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"Noticed that now, did you?" Raidon asked, laughing a little. "Noticed that after you finished kissing it?" He lifted up the injured hand to show the missing finger, uncovered and somewhat raw. "Guess I know where your focus was."

Why was he being so spiteful? Why so much hate? Was he even angry? Was he even offended? Was he just scared?

"I tried to do it without hurting anyone," he said simply. "One gun's not gonna give me the edge on this island, not like when there are killers like-"

Like Maxwell Lombardi.

He broke off, swallowing, his vision going hazy with rage. Lombardi. Maxwell Lombardi. The man who'd shot Simon down, well, Raidon would see how long that-

"I tried to get their gun," he said simply. "And...and once I'd tried, I couldn't..." If he'd walked away, he would have been shot. He was sure of it, absolutely sure of it, you couldn't trust other people, except if he was absolutely sure of it than why was he working so desperately to justify it to himself.

"Shot one of them," he said slowly. "She's not...she hasn't..."

She hasn't been on the Announcements yet.

"I don't think she's dead," he continued. "But things...things got very hazy." He rubbed at his head. "And this part of me, this...I couldn't have..."

Couldn't have trusted them, but did he really have any proof that-

The concussive blast of the bullet shattered all consciousness, all doubt and fear. The bullet bit into the wall next to him, sending hard flecks scattering across his cheek. He reacted without thinking, hurling himself to Mizore and wrapping her arms around her. His eyes flickered to his right; there were slots in the railing, whoever their assailant was only had to move to fire, they could only have come from the door, they didn't have much time-!

He grabbed Soryu, hauled her to the bathroom, ignored his arms groaning in protest and the scream of fire that worked its way out from his pinkie the moment his grip tightened around her.
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The surprise Raidon might have had at his heroic gesture was somewhat mitigated by the push which followed it. Raidon was not very heavy, so Mizore's push not only got him off of her but also slammed him against the wall, hitting the place on his head where he'd fallen with special force.

A burst of stars, multi-colored sparks flaring in front of his eyes as darkness encroached on the edges of his vision. Mizore was stepping out, over and past him. He stayed where he was for two or three seconds, hearing only the pulse of his rushing blood and the hammering of his heart in his chest. He didn't want to get up, he didn't want to think; the idea of sleeping (and he'd had so little sleep) was so tempting, he almost lusted after it...

Not yet.

His eyes, which had been slowly closing, sprung open.

You've come too far to die now.

Ignoring the new wash of pain he got to his feet, scooping the gun up from where it was on the ground. He took a moment to breathe and listen; he hadn't heard a gunshot when she'd left the bathroom, and as the fog of darkness and agony left him he realized that they were talking to each other, just outside.

You don't lack for boldness, do you, Soryu?

He stepped out.

The bathroom was just off the stairs, and within two seconds he could see to their bottom. Soryu was at the top, sitting on the banister. She really did look pretty, he noticed distantly--precariously balanced on the verge of a nine foot drop, bright and alive even through the dirt on her face and clothes.

At the bottom of the stairs, light streaming in from the open door behind her, was Victoria Logan, gun in hand.

You were right from the beginning. You couldn't trust them.

He lifted his gun and fired--two rounds in quick succession.
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"Soryu!" Raidon yelled, barely able to hear his own words over the ringing in his ears. She had pitched over the banister and Raidon was after her in an instant, pounding to the edge.

By the time he'd gotten there she was already moving along the ground, dragging one damaged leg behind her and screaming as she moved. Raidon felt the blood in his veins turn to ice, a glacier forming in the pit of his stomach and making its implacable advance to every one of his limbs. He watched as she made her way to Victoria Logan, crying, tearing off her shirt to try and staunch the blood. Raidon watched, the cold still rising in him and weakening him further.

It was Logan who stopped Soryu from moving. Started to speak, though Raidon couldn't hear what she was saying. Lifted a hand to Soryu's cheek and caressed her cheek. Raidon watched this, held himself completely still on the hand fell back to the ground. Victoria's lips didn't move anymore; her chest ceased to rise and fall, as well.

He'd killed her.

As though there were another choice. She came after you.

Because I hurt the girl she loved.

You tried to settle it without killing them. Accept responsibility.


Accept responsibility. Right.

He swallowed and moved to the stairs, starting to descend them as soon as he reached them. It didn't matter if she hated him right now; she had fallen because of him, and Raidon would be damned if he let her try and run away on an injured leg or something. She could run after he treated her, if she chose. For now, he was going to-

The door slammed open.

Raidon lifted his head. There was a boy standing there--Jacob, Raidon thought. Strong-looking, muscular. Staring at Victoria Logan and the bloodstained Mizore Soryu.

Who he immediately charged at.

Without a thought, Raidon lifted his gun.

Raidon couldn't see a weapon in Jacob's hand. Maybe he could have been talked down. Maybe he could be prevented some other way. But here, on this island, Raidon had realized that there was no time for second-guessing, no time for diplomacy, no time for stupid wastes of time. Victoria Logan had sought Raidon out and fired without hesitation; Raidon had extended her the same courtesy. Jacob, likewise, was racing towards Mizore Soryu.

And the fact was that Raidon was not going to tolerate that.

He pulled the trigger before Jacob had crossed halfway across the room. The trigger clicked emptily, devoid of any accompanying gunshot, and Raidon's eyes flashed wide.

Oh sweet fuck I never reloaded.

So he was now holding an empty gun while Jacob charged towards Soryu and sonofabitch he was not going to let that happen because he had dropped his useless gun on the stairs and he was already running forwards without thinking about the consequences, without thinking about his sense of self-worth or the fact that he'd killed or about how stupid he had been to forget to reload He vaulted over Mizore, slipped when he hit the ground and fell to one knee. Ignoring Jacob (hard to do; his steps thundered in his ears), he searched the ground for...

There. Victoria Logan's gun. Did it have any bullets left in it? What did he do if it didn't? What could he-?

Raidon lifted the gun from where it had fallen, aimed it towards Jacob (so close now that Raidon really could see the whites of his eyes) and fired. There was no empty click, this time around.
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Jacob fell backwards, the hat knocked off his head. Raidon watched as it floated gently down to earth, to alight softly upon his face and obscure his features. His chest heaved for a few seconds, and then Raidon could detect no further movement.

Fast. Surprisingly fast.

You can't afford to be careless.

No. After the vengeance attempt, Raidon supposed he really couldn't.

He moved to Jacob and pulled the hat off his face before placing his gun up against his head. The shot that followed was deafening, the force of it always blinding; a thin spray of blood shot up and coated one cheek.

He didn't stop to look at the mess he'd left behind; only turned, wordless, and placed the barrel against Victoria's head.

BANG.

Cold and clean. The human body could endure a great deal of punishment before it ceased to function; he had no desire to be killed by angry victims on the verge of death.

Cold and clean thoughts did nothing to make it easier. Cold and clean thoughts did nothing to stop his trembling, stinging hand from dropping the gun it held.

Retching greeted his ringing ears, and he turned; Mizore was heaving over the bodies, her eyes wide and panicked. Without thinking he placed his hands on her shoulders; with a little hiss she twisted, trashing her way out of his grip. An icy shock of mingled guilt and shame crawled across his skin and tore at his insides.

She hates me.

She pulled back farther, her lips trembling. "You didn't need to be so scared."

Scared? I wasn't-

She took a moment to collect herself, and without thinking Raidon did the same. No need to get defensive; he had, at this moment, nothing to defend. He had killed them. He knew how Mizore felt about killing--she had never made any attempt to hide it. Now he had to deal with a simple, and very basic, reality.

Before, there argument had been theoretical. Now, it was all too real.

"Raidon," she said. "You shouldn't have done that." Incensed, Raidon opened his mouth to reply; she immediately thew a hand over it and he stiffened, tasting blood on her palm. "No, she said, softly, implacably. "You don't get to do that yet."

He couldn't stop her from speaking. No matter how hard what she said might be, she was the one saying it, and Raidon couldn't help but listen.

And listen he did. To every accusation, every harsh word she delivered. And the more she spoke, the colder he grew, until his insides ached with it. She was speaking about killing, and death; she was challenging him as an immoral hypocrite; she was accusing him of being scared.

"We're all going to die!" she screamed. "Do you want to die doing this?!"

He watched her as she scrambled on the ground, searching. She found the gun he'd dropped and pushed it towards him. "What are you waiting for!" she demanded.

He stared at her for a second. Two. Three. Waited for the punchline, the follow-up. Waited.

Nothing. Wide, furious eyes.

He picked the gun up and examined it for a moment. "Don't be an idiot," he said, and without further admonition he turned his back on her and moved to the stairs. "Back against the wall," he called over one shoulder. "And I mean it, Soryu, your leg is in no state to be supporting you. I want you sitting and leaning against something."

It was only the faint tremor at the end of his words that betrayed what he was feeling.

Ignore her. You are in the right.

As if. I've been in the wrong since I got to this damn place.


He grabbed his bag from the bedroom (right where he'd left it the first time), left his gun on the endtable, and headed back downstairs. He wasn't sure what had gone through her mind, but when he'd come back downstairs he found her leaning against a wall with her leg extended. He frowned at it; there was a considerable amount of blood and a great deal of bruising. "This will probably be useless," he muttered, mostly to himself. "I'm shit when it comes to first aid."

But then, he had plenty of first aid kits to help.

He set everything out, including a tin of those godawful crackers they'd been provided with a bottle of water near her right hand. As he started pulling bandages and other gear from his kits, he started to talk--gave voice to the thoughts as they came to him.

"Scott McGregor and Alison Walworth died because of my stupidity," Raidon said. "Because I couldn't keep my fear in check. Neither could Scott, of course..." He trailed off, closing his eyes; he'd left the hat upstairs on the bed. "Alison...Alison I killed because it was better than the alternative." To die, slowly strangled by her own body; to die at the hands of those who would follow him. The shards of her in his pants upstairs--he'd have to go retrieve those.

"Madison Stone I killed because she attacked me," he said simply. "Nearly strangled me." He drew his fingers away from her leg and frowned at the bandage. The bruises on his neck shone duly in the weak light that made its way into the room.

"You don't care about them, though," he said softly. "You care about these two. The two you saw."

He made no accusation of hypocrisy. He understood that much, at least.

"Scared?" he asked, looking up into her eyes. "Is that what you think I was? Scared?" He shook his head. "She fired without hesitation, Soryu. She saw us and shot. You could talk to her, good for you, but I could care less whether you reached a diplomatic solution, Soryu. She'd come back. She'd come after me. For the same reason Jacob died." He tightened the bandaged around her leg.

"There isn't time, Soryu," he said. "There isn't time to talk about who deserves it or why we did what we did. Victoria fired at me without hesitation; I returned the favor." He sat back up. "As for Jacob, he attacked you." He paused for a moment, uncertain--he didn't know what he could or should say, how much was allowed. "He was stronger than both of us, and he attacked you." He waved about them. "I don't have time for diplomacy, and neither do you. If I can gain an edge without killing, great, but all I have of value here is violence or the threat of violence, and I..."

No no no. He was getting distracted, unfocused; he had to say what was needed, what would convince Soryu.

"We're not all going to die," he said simply. "Someone is going to survive. Maybe more than one person. Maybe a whole fucking army of us. I don't know." He got to his feet. "Maybe you're stronger than I am, refusing to kill. I know I was weaker than you, when I was tempted to." He smiled without a trace of humor. "I'm not anymore. Tempted. But I can."

The complete lack of dispassion in him when he realized this--when he realized that he could kill, without regret--chilled the part of him that realized how inhuman it was.

"Every murderer I kill, every resource I get, every weapon I acquires gives me an edge," Raidon said. "Every enemy I eliminate leaves one fewer complication. Of course killing boosts my chance to survive; probability alone dictates that it will." His eyes bored into hers with all the will he could muster. "I'm sorry about Victoria Logan," he said. "I'm sorry we were enemies. But I won't apologize for Jacob Charles." He shrugged and glanced up the stairs. "Victoria came after me because I hurt Alice," Raidon said. "The innocent Victoria you talked to was willing to kill me in cold blood for the sake of the woman she loved."

He looked over one shoulder, to poor Victoria Logan. "I intend to live," he whispered. And then he glanced towards Jacob, only his forehead (shattered in blood, grey matter, and bone splinter) visible. "And I couldn't...couldn't stand to watch you die."
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He listened.

That was all. He did not try to speak, he did not try to protest; this, whatever it was, needed to be said. His eyes didn't stay on her, of course; they flickered frequently back to the two people he'd just killed.

Jacob and Victoria Logan.

Victoria deserved to come after him. Perhaps he even deserved to die, for what he'd done to her and Alice--for the terror he'd put them through, the unnecessary violence. What mattered it that he'd lost a finger? What mattered it that he'd tried to resolve things without violence? Alice had every reason to stop him from taking the only thing that could protect the two of them.

Raidon looked at the gun in his hand

"...people so drunk on hope that we pick up guns and shoot our friends because maybe we can put our life back together once we’re done..." The words drifted into his consciousness without him paying them much mind, and he kept staring at the gun he'd picked up from besides Victoria's broken, bloody body. No life to put together, one this is done, he thought vaguely. I haven't once thought about what I'm going to do when I get out of here.

Odd, that. What did he have to live for, really?

She wiped a bead of sweat off his forehead. He didn't react to her touch, not physically; he was still thinking about what she'd said.

Maybe we can put our life back together once we're done.

“I can’t stop you from killing on your own.” There was a dread, weak, and determined finality in her tone. “And I wouldn’t, even if I could. This is your fight.” Her eyes were closing, no longer forced dryly open by the pain in her knee. “But I will not let you kill on my behalf, and I will not—I’ll do everything in my power to prevent anyone around me from murdering anyone else. It’s what I do. I suspect this means I’m leaving you now, and that’s okay.”

Raidon's throat felt suddenly dry, but he nodded and stood up. "It's probably for the best," he conceded, as she started to get up. "I don't..."

I don't want to have to choose between you and me, if it comes to that.

And then she was falling, and without thinking Raidon dropped the gun and caught her around the waist. It wasn't an easy catch--Raidon had little arm muscle to speak of--and his arms trembled as he tried to keep her aloft. His exposed left pinkie dragged over her bare skin in the process, and he hissed through his teeth. Without thinking he moved closer, so he could support her with his whole body rather than just his weak arms.

"Yeah, you're leaving," he said, his sarcasm eclipsed by exertion. He started to pull her in the direction of the stairs--he'd carry her up if he had to. She resisted, and he turned back to her. "You can leave me if you like," he grunted, the words coming out sharper than he'd intended. "But you're not leaving me like this. You're going to walk out of here standing..."

He trailed off.

In the process of trying to lead her towards the stairs, he'd pulled her closer. His hands were wrapped around her lower back, entirely bare since she'd taken off her shirt; her breasts, shielded only by a ragged blue bra, were pressed against his chest. And her lips were close, so close it seemed to him that they were all he could see...

His throat felt very dry.

"I should..." he started, still staring at her lips. "Should find you a place to..."

What was he thinking? What right did he have to be looking at this girl, to feel this momentary absence of guilt? Simon was dead, and he'd killed Scott McGregor and Alison Walworth, Madison Stone had deserved it and maybe so had Jacob but had Victoria? Hadn't she just been acting as he would have, to stop him? Hadn't she just-

"Soryu," he said, his tone suddenly much softer. "I don't want to think anymore."

He pressed his lips to hers.
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Oblivion.

Sweet, rose-colored, heartening oblivion. Complete absence of thought. He pulled her closer without thinking. She was salty and spectacular; she tasted like fear and desperation and everything poignant in life, and for the infinite space they kissed he wasn't thinking about survival, about morality, about Simon or God or duty or what had brought him here. He wasn't thinking about his brother, about his father, about the meaning of death and murder. He was thinking only of the lips of Mizore Soryu.

No wonder people are so afraid of lust. So much fucking better than alcohol.

She broke off and immediately looked away. Raidon felt something hot and heavy and guilty and anguished race up from the bit of his stomach and clench around his throat; he was choking on his own need. "We should go upstairs," she said, distant and stiff and why are you distant, Soryu, I'm not sure I can take- "If you could help me. I should put my knee up. Drain the swelling."

Raidon cleared his throat, trying not to speak or yell or cry or...or whatever it was his body so wanted to do right now. He forced a nod and draped her arm around his shoulders, serving as a crutch while they made their way to the stairs.

In order to do it, he had to step over Victoria's feet. He tried not to look at her.

"Hang on," he mumbled, stepping away to grab the gun from where he'd let it fall--from where Soryu had offered it to him, telling him to kill her. A flash of anger broke the anxiety that racked him, and his grip tightened on the handle. Who the fuck did she think she was, telling him what to do, judging him?

He got to his feet, the gun still in his hands. He'd never made any pretensions about what he was, about the immorality of what he was doing, and he wasn't going to be lectured at by a...

A...

A beautiful woman willing to die for what she believes in and who has every right to hate a murderer like me.

All the energy, all the violence, all the anxiety went away. There was no certainty, no gladness, not even sadness; only emptiness. He was resolved to whatever was coming, and he was going to take care of this girl as best as he could in the time she allowed him to stay around.

He turned, gave her a soft smile, and put the gun in his pocket. "You may not like it," he said, to the mute judgment in her eyes. "But if someone comes after us, you don't get to die." He shrugged. "You can do that by yourself."

He walked up to her before she had time to say anything and backed up into her, so that her arms went around his shoulder and her legs went around his waist--he didn't think he was strong enough to carry her up the stairs using only his arms. He took her up and into the master bedroom he remembered--the one where she'd first pulled off his shirt.

Seemed an awfully long time ago, now that he was here again.

"Here," he said, setting her down with her back on the headboard. He grabbed some of the pillows from behind her and positioned them under her leg.

And it him all at once.

He was tired. He hadn't slept properly since he'd gotten to this damn island, and he hadn't slept at all last night; he'd been too wracked with doubt and guilt. He'd killed two more people within a matter of minutes; he'd ended lives.

Christ. He was tired.

You can't sleep yet. You have to be ready.

Right. Right.

"H-hold on," he slurred. "I'll...I'll be back." He pushed himself away from the bed and set about the house, gathering everything together. He went to the bathroom and turned off the shower he'd left running, hanging his clothes to dry (he fished the broken inhaler from the pocket of his pants and slipped it into the pants he was wearing, trying not to dwell on how he'd gotten it). He grabbed Scott's bloodstained hat from where he'd left it by the sink and grabbed his bag from by the door before heading down the stairs, stopping only long enough to grab his gun from where he'd dropped it in his hurry. Ignoring the bodies of the people he'd killed, he quietly reloaded.

He was running out of bullets. He'd have to hope Victoria had brought some with her.

One quick look at Victoria Logan. He stepped over her and to her bag, fishing through its contents. His mouth dropped a little when he saw what she'd brought with here. Were those...were those grenades?

Hmm. According to the manual, stuffed deeper in the bag (underneath some clothes which she'd never wear again, God, what had he don't think about it.), they were flashbangs.

Interesting. He could use those. But he was not so lucky on the bullet front; there was no sign of any bullets in Vic's bag.

He moved over to Jacob next. No such luck with him--just some food, along with the hat. Raidon stared at the hat, his fingers alighting upon the one he was wearing (the hand he used to reach for it was the one with the cross tied around his wrist; it fluttered against his skin).

He already had the one hat. He didn't need two.

With a shrug, he stood up. He'd transferred as much food and water as they'd had left to his bag, and the flashbangs were safely stowed near the top for easy access. He'd read how to use them when he had time; for now, it was all he could do to stay on his feet.

Nonetheless, he took a moment when he got back to the stairs to take care of his exposed finger. It didn't look to be getting infected, thank God, but it still hurt from his catching Soryu earlier, and he couldn't let himself be incapacitated. He'd need to be in the best shape possible if he was going to make it through this.

After he finished sanitizing the wound and dressing it as best he knew how, he got to his feet and turned back to Victoria and Jacob. "I'm sorry," he whispered to Victoria's body. Sorry I drove you to this, sorry I hurt the girl you loved, sorry I threatened you. Doesn't matter if I wasn't going to hurt you, not really, you...you... "You deserved better." His eyes hardened when he faced Jacob's. "You didn't." He turned and went up the stairs. Mentally he added, I'll remember you.

He hesitated at the door to the bedroom. He had all his stuff back together; he was ready to go. But what if she was still...could he blame her for hating her? He had violated everything she stood for, knowing full well the consequences of his actions. She was right; he wasn't acting out of panic or out of some sense of moral righteousness. He was acting knowing exactly how immoral his actions were. He was acting monstrously, and he could not demand she love a monster.

But he could make sure she was okay.

He swallowed, letting the emptiness take him again. He stepped back into the room. "Hey."
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"Hey," she said.

Her knee was wrapped in bandages, her stomach was covered in another person's blood, and she still looked imperial, regal, even. He felt his throat tighten at the sight of her, and at the immediate certainty that filled him and eroded a hope he hadn't even been aware of--she can't care about me.

His killings had been a matter of intellectual exercise to her, when she'd said she wanted to stay with him. He could hear it in the way she spoke--with complete disinterest, without effort.

There's another room down the hall, he thought, to try and stifle the ache. I'll be fine.

"Are you-" he started, before breaking off. "I just wanted to check if you were okay."

She swallowed. "I'm fine."

I won't argue with that. His eyes flickered away from her, and he started to back out of the room. "I guess-" he started weakly, glancing over his shoulder. "I guess I'll-"

"Raidon?"

He stopped. "Yeah?"

"I want you to kiss me."

Oh thank God.

He didn't remember crossing the room or leaning against the headboard; one moment he was standing in the doorway and the next he was over her bed, and the weariness that had overtaken him changed, slowly but surely. It didn't exhilarate him, as had their first kiss--he was far too tired for that. Rather, it illuminated him; it made him feel like he had stepped into a familiar place, a comfortable place, a safe place. Her lips were a blanket he could pool around his exhausted body, and he relished them.

Relished them until his legs gave out and he topped forwards, to land with his head comfortably against her bare stomach. She reeked of blood and sweat and dirt and beauty and life.

"Tired," he said apologetically, after he had taken a second to drown in the scent of her.

"Hush," she said, pulling him up closer to him and kissing him on the forehead. "Go to sleep."

He was out before she pulled the covers around the both of them.



He slept long, and hard. When he awoke, so much time had passed that the sun was starting to crack at the dark horizon. Christ, he thought vaguely. We were out for awhile.

Not that he was complaining. Not as he was.

Sometime during the course of the night they had rearranged themselves--now Raidon was lying higher up on the bed and Mizore was hurled into him, her head on his chest and one of his arms wrapped protectively around her. Raidon had never slept beside a woman before, and he now had to conceded that it was the single-most comfortable experience he could have conceived of. It felt warm and safe and right; she belonged under his arm, as he belonged as a pillow beneath him.

A moment of peace he didn't deserve. But at that moment, Raidon didn't care.

Like all moments of peace, it was all-too-brief.

"Once again, good morning, kids!" Danya's voice boomed from one of numerous speakers. "I feel like we're really getting to know each other now, in a way..."

He stiffened, and against his body he felt Soryu do the same. They listened in absolute silence as Danya named killers and kills. Without thinking Raidon noted the death of Clio Gabriella--that was one serious piece of competition he was not going to have to deal with in the future. Still, this Gweneth girl was the better-armed for her death, and it must have taken a pretty serious kind of creature to take out someone with as murderous a reputation as Clio--he'd have to stay wary.

"...and the Residential Area."

Beep

Beep

Beep
.

"Fuck!" yelled Raidon, without listening to the rest of the announcements. He scrambled off the bed, digging around the bag he'd brought with him until he found a spare shirt. He thought of the spare clothes he'd left hanging in the bathroom--there wasn't time to retrieve them, not now. "Soryu," he said, tossing it to her. As she pulled it on, he hastily checked everything--food, water, first aid kits, weapons. Two guns, one fully loaded, one with just one bullet. A case of flashbangs.

Soryu.

"On my back," he grunted.

"Raidon-" she started.

"No buts, you're in no condition to walk." He hunched over before the bed as she climbed on and then stood up with some difficult, readjusting his bag and grabbing hers as he went.

Beep

Beep

Beep
.

This is going to royally suck.

And down the stairs and out the door, not even bothering to watch his back--he didn't have time to worry about ambushes or enemies, he had to keep moving. He had two things left on this island to care about, and both of them were entirely dependent on him getting the hell out of here.

(Naoko Raidon and Mizore Soryu continued in Broken Like the Sun).
Edited by Grim Wolf, Oct 10 2011, 11:48 PM.
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