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The Lagniappe; Private
Topic Started: Nov 5 2016, 03:42 PM (1,042 Views)
Deamon
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((Kimiko Kao continued from Robber Barons))

The door to the hunting cabin gave a low groan as Kimiko pushed it open and crept inside. She had only slowed her run once she had come to the cabin. There hadn't been much hesitation in her decision to enter it, there was no other safe haven. The library and pub were too close to the gym and Kimiko didn't like the idea of that group leaving and searching for her. Instead she had retraced her steps nearly all the way back to the housing blocks. They had proven to be far less secure and safe then she had originally thought so that left the cabin as her only choice.

As things stood she regretted just walking straight in without properly checking the perimeter or through the windows for signs of life. Instead of that she had to settle for a different way of checking. Slipping the nodachi's rope off her shoulder Kimiko lightly tapped the end of the sword on the wooden flooring. When nothing seemed to stir, she did it again but this time harder. The noise almost seemed to echo through the expansive emptiness of the building but she knew that was ridiculous. After there was no response Kimiko finally allowed herself to relax, letting out a breath she didn't know she had been holding.

The encounter at the slopes had reminded her that there was no safety and that she needed to be constantly vigilant and alert to any threats. The whole thing could have been much worse for her if that other person hadn't shown up. Kimiko wondered if they were still behind her, they had followed her across the slopes she knew that for a fact but she had lost track in her haste to escape.

Her fingers played with the tantō that was in her pocket before closing around its handle as she withdrew it, removing the sheath which she tucked away Kimiko stepped to the side of the door and crouched in the corner waiting.

If they intended to do harm to her, she'd be able to strike before they could.
Forrest Quin - At the Zoo
Bret Carter - On a date
Aliya Kimia Nemati - In Training
Arizona - Practicing
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Kimiko let out a sigh of relief and tucked the tantō back into her pocket when she heard the voice. It was Caleb. She assumed he had been the one that had followed her from the slopes, which in turn meant he had saved her. After everything that had happened, despite her killing two people, when she needed help the most Caleb had been there to give it to her. She almost felt like crying. Instead a stupid grin tried to work it's way across her face.

Moving out of the corner Kimiko pulled the door open. There he was, tall as ever, she had to crane her head up just to see his face. Still it was the first person Kimiko was genuinely happy to see since she had woken up. It was good to know he was alright and selfishly she was happy that it appeared he didn't hate her for what she had done.

In a sudden rush of emotion that she couldn't help Kimiko dove forward and wrapped her arms around Caleb.

She wondered if he'd mind, but truthfully she didn't care. She was just glad he was there.
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Kimiko allowed Caleb to gently guide her into the cabin and place her down. He followed it up by collapsing, and then making a terrible joke that she couldn't help grinning at as she sat herself cross-legged on the floor. It was pleasant to forget even for a moment that everything wasn't normal. Unfortunately, it was just that, a second. Reality immediately followed when he asked her how she was and her grin fell away with its coming.

It was a question Kimiko wasn't sure she could answer. Honestly she wasn't sure how she was, she wasn't good but at the same time things seemed good for her now. Caleb's appearance had made her happy and she felt guilty about it. She had ruined two families lives.

Kimiko raised her hands to answer but they fell limply into her lap. No words or ideas were forthcoming, just an empty feeling of regret at everything. Maybe she thought everything would have been different if she had woken up and found Caleb. It was an empty train of thought, she knew that.

Raising her shaking hands again Kimiko managed to sign out a response. It was the first time she had said something since they'd been kidnapped.

"Better now." She managed, a weak smile appearing again.
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Kimiko appreciated Caleb not probing any further more than he may have realised. He didn't want to ask and she didn't want to talk about it. She was scared of how he would react when he heard about Bradley though and that tempered her feelings of happiness at them finding each other. Thankfully Caleb didn't dwell on the point either, quickly moving the conversation on before things became awkward.

She smiled at the frown he put on and raised her hands to respond.

"Is my company not good enough for you?"

Again she found herself escaping her surroundings, enjoying the moment briefly before everything snapped back into place whenever she blinked. Caleb rolled over and adopted a pose like a sleeping dog...or a lazy cat. Kimiko couldn't immediately decide which, but Caleb had always struck her as more of a cat. She smiled again at his question even though she knew that she shouldn't be losing herself in his company. Not after what had just happened on the slopes. But she was finding she couldn't help herself.

"It would help if I was because no offence, not sure the superpower of being able to vacuum up cigarettes is very useful. She grinned at him as she said it, to make sure he knew that she was only playing around with him. "But thanks for saving me back there." She meant that part.

Her ears pricked up momentarily until she realised it was just Caleb's stomach, which reminded Kimiko that she still had part of her prize left. Her pack dropped off her shoulders as Kimiko searched until she found the wrapped up pizza slices. Carefully placing them on the floor she unfolded their bandage covering and pushed it into the space between of the two of them. She hadn't been able to bring herself to eat all of it when she had been alone, but sharing it helped alleviate her guilt.

"Here they gave me this."
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The pizza did not go down well. That was overselling it a bit but Caleb wasn't impressed that it was a vegan. Kimiko had forgotten about that detail due to everything else that had been happening. He took the disgust in stride though, spinning it off into another joke. This time Kimiko couldn't help herself and her body shuddered as she laughed.

Laughing wasn't something she did often, in fact she tried to avoid it as much as possible because people always reacted with shock or surprise. It was the combination of her body making all the movements and actions for laughter but no sound coming out so because of the reactions she always tried to contain it. Caleb had managed to break her down though and the relief of just being with someone she trusted and liked helped loosen her up. She stopped quickly however and took Caleb's hand to stand up.

It was reassuring to have physical contact with someone that didn't involve violence or the imminent threat of it. It brought into stark focus how wrong everything had gone and how quickly. Caleb's grip helped set that off, something tangible that she could rely on. Someone whose company felt removed from everything around them.

She knew she didn't deserve what he was giving her. Not after everything she had done. But she was happy to abandon any worries and enjoy the feeling of being taken by it all. It was the closest she had come to Wu-wei since she had woken up. She didn't want to do anything to break the harmony they had found.

Then Caleb asked about the nodachi and Kimiko's smile dropped away, as her hand left his.

"Yeah," She paused, hands hanging in mid-air as she thought about how to answer. "It was part of the prize."
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Caleb didn't say anything more about the nodachi. The whole conversation was peaks and valleys, every time they seemed to be getting comfortable something else would pop up and ruin everything. Then it went back to square one of them falling into a silence that Caleb was forced to break. She hated that she was putting the pressure on him to keep the conversation moving but she couldn't help it. The physically and mentally she struggled whenever she was reminded of what she'd done.

She raised her hands to start to tell him how much what he was doing meant to her but he was moving a chair so she just let them fall down by her sides. When he turned around again he was already talking and the moment slowly drifted away, joining the dust floating through the room.

He made her smile again though. That was enough.

As soon as he mentioned sleep a wave of fatigue washed over her as if brought on by his words. She didn't treat it as a potential danger though. The door was barred and Caleb was with her. She was safe. Eventually she felt the overwhelming need to rest. There was a bedroom on the ground floor so Kimiko moved herself into it, dropping her pack and resting the nodachi next to the bed. Lying down on the soft bed she realised how badly her back hurt, she thought she may have jarred something in her back.

It didn't matter though, for one night at least she had friendly company and a bed. For at least one night she could have peace.
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She felt the hands tighten around her throat and lashed out in panic, ramming her own hands into the wrists and arms, there was no give however. As Kimiko's vision came into focus she saw Caleb's tear covered face over hers.

Why?

She felt the pressure on her throat and the wetness as tears started to form in her eyes and roll down her cheeks.

Why was he doing it?

The pressure wasn't letting up and she tried to get him to stop, mouthing his name but he didn't let go.

She was crying openly now. She didn't understand why Caleb was doing what he was, but she didn't want to die. So she only had one choice.

Her right hand fumbled in her pocket until it got a hold of the tantō, she pulled it out and pushed the sheath off with her thumb, she felt a dull pain but ignored it.

She tried mouthing one more thing as she looked up at Caleb's tear streaked face through her own tear filled eyes.

"I'm sorry."

Then in one quick, jerky motion she ripped the tantō along his throat.
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He let go, pitching sideways and she gasped for air, only to be greeted with a splash of his blood hitting her in the face. It was so warm. She saw what he signed as he lay on next to her on the bed but it didn't register, not at first.

It became clear what had happened as he continued. She was sobbing, watching him explain himself.

She hadn't wanted him to die. She had just thought he was trying to kill her, but that was what he had wanted.

Painfully he touched his hand to his lips and then to hers.

He gave her one final message, that brought a tearful smile to her face. Then he was gone.

Kimiko pressed her hand to her lips and gently placed them against his.

Then she buried her face in the bed and wept.

______________________________


Kimiko didn't know how long it had been.

She was sat knees pulled up to her chest in the corner of the room. Caleb still lay on the bed, his blood dried onto the sheets, she could feel it on her lower jaw and around her mouth as well. It had dried and become itchy but she hadn't touched it. Instead she just started at nothing in particular. She felt an emptiness she had never felt before. There was a longing as well, a longing for everything to be over. She knew that she couldn't give up though. She couldn't let Caleb's sacrifice be for nothing.

He had loved her.

He had given up his life so she had a better chance of winning; letting that go to waste would be an insult to his memory.

She had to make sure that didn’t happen.

Shakily Kimiko pushed herself to her feet and walked from the room. There was an emptiness in the way she walked, like a vessel that had been hollowed out and was waiting to be filled. She climbed the stairs and moved into one of the bedrooms, tearing the sheets off of it before heading back out and back down, back into the room with Caleb. She stopped in the doorway, not wanting to move any further. He looked peaceful, she wondered if he would have ascended to Tian.

She sincerely hoped he had.

There was nothing for her to give Caleb the proper funeral he deserved, on top of that she didn't have the time. Then again he probably wouldn't have cared anyway. She moved closer. Kimiko didn't want to cover Caleb with the sheet, it meant she would never get to see his face again but she couldn't bring herself to leave his body in full view of the cameras. Blinking away more tears Kimiko laid the sheet over Caleb, then she gathered up everything and left the room.

______________________________


Kimiko was sat with her back against the kitchen counter, hugging her pack to her chest. The nodachi lay beside her along with the tantō. She had heard the announcement come and go. Her name was mentioned again as they spoke of Bradley's death. Caleb's murder wasn't mentioned. Occasionally she would start to drift off to sleep but all she saw was Caleb's face and fresh tears would form.

The guilt was eating away at her, in her isolation she nothing to think about besides Caleb. She had replayed the previous day over and over in her head, embedding his eyes, his laugh, his smile. His final message to her. And whenever she closed her eyes she saw the moment itself in all its detail.

She hugged her pack tighter.

______________________________


Eventually Kimiko forced herself to leave. She had taken Caleb's supplies, the Nixon mask she had propped against her megaphone on the kitchen counter, next to the half-eaten slice of pizza. She was stood at the door, scared to open it and continue on down the path the stretched before her.

Make your life what you want it to be now. The rest will follow.

What did she want?

Taking a deep breath Kimiko steadied herself and opened the door, leaving the hunting cabin without looking back.

It didn't stop the pain she was feeling.

((Kimiko Kao continued in Why We Fight))
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