Drac invasion and running emotions
The draculoid known as Hawk, currently in charge of squadron 27 trained his ray gun on the the front door of Misfits. He grinned, internally congratulating himself for setting up this raid on the notorious rebel bar. He had seen the copious amount of zonerunner vehicles parked outside of Misfits and pulled his dracs off the road to investigate.
"Are you sure that this has been given the go ahead by Korse?" Hawk's second in command hissed.
The draculoid captain sneered at his subordinate. "Of course it has been, we will be rewarded greatly by the Head for our efforts." In truth Hawk had no prior permission from the Scarecrow and was acting under his own council. He was sure that by taking back evidence of mass rebel extermination he would please Korse and be promoted. "Misfits may have been classified as neutral ground, but why waste such a perfect opportunity..." his grin widened when he saw the infamous Trans Am parked on one side of the building.
His second in command nodded silently and waved the troop of draculoids forwards. They slunk towards the bar, firearms gripped securely, fully charged.
From inside Misfits came the thumping of illegal music, characterized by sharp drums and the heavy twang of electric guitar. The gravelly voice of the rebel singer floated out into the night air, lyrics seeping past the drugs in drac heads. They frowned, struggling to focus on the task at hand rather than the war waging between the lies and the truth in their mind.
Hawk growled, frustrated at the unfamiliar sensation and shoved the drac in front of him forward. "Go!"
The front line made it to the building and crouched beneath the windows. Hawk could feel his heartbeat elevate slightly and was confronted by a rare spark of fear. He swallowed any doubts, drowning them in the words of his superiors.
"Protect the peace, wage the war, exterminate the rebels!" he cried suddenly, smashing in a window and leaping through.
At first all the dracs could see was smoke and a mass of people, which they shot at randomly. It didn't take very long for the zonerunners inside to retaliate and fire back, taking down a decent chunk of the blind agents as they poured in through the windows and doors.
Hawk stood in the middle of the chaos, firing into the people crowded around him, not noticing if they were drac or rebel. In the dingy light he could see bursts of colour, winking eyes and the metallic flash of jewelry and knives. The smell of alcohol, cigarettes and sweat was almost overpowering for a man living in the sterile city and he gagged momentarily behind his mask.
Suddenly in his line of sight he could see the tell-tale shock of dark tangled hair and red-lipped grin of Russian Roulette. Her vibrantly streaked fringe swept across blood lust eyes as she shot down three of his men in succession. Before she could take out another he kicked out and tripped her over. The Gambler fell into a somersault and sprang back onto her feet, firing very close to his head. Hawk ducked to avoid her aim and pressed himself back against the bar table.
"Bleach!" Russian Roulette shouted about the roaring in the building. She looked towards Hawk, hesitating, before ducking back into the crowd still calling out the name.
'Who's Bleach?' the drac thought, pushing himself off the table and firing at the head of a zonerunner. As the rebel fell dead to his feet his eye caught the wide, lime eyes of a young girl. She darted between people, shrieking out names. "Kobra Kid!" her panicked voice cried, "Russian Roulette! Fun Ghoul where are you!?"
Hawk continued to fire at random zonrunners, following the pale haired head bobbing in the crowd before him. Her hysterical voice carried over the screams of dying dracs and rebels alike, constantly calling out the names of the Fabulous Killjoys and Roulette.
'Ah, so that must be Bleach.' he thought, fighting to keep the girl in his line of sight. 'Friends with the Killjoys and the Gambler... I bet she'd be good bait.'
All of a sudden a voice boomed out over the speakers.
Fun Ghoul would have dropped his guitar if it didn't have a shoulder strap when he saw the draculoids burst into Misfits.
"What the fuck!?" he shouted, tugging the instrument over his head and placing it carefully out of harms way, before grabbing his ray gun. Jet Star and Kobra Kid did the same all dashing to their leaders side.
"What do we do Party?" Mikey asked, firing at the dracs tumbling through the windows.
Gerard paused, eyes searching the crowd. "Kobra, you find Roulette and make sure she's okay. Jet, you grab the guitars and sneak them out back. Ghoul, you get a hold of Bleach. Take out as many dracs as you can, but make a bee line to the Trans Am. If I'm not out there in 15 then leave without me."
"But-" Jet Star began to protest.
"Don't argue, just do!" Party shouted, pushing them in the direction that they needed to go.
Frank, even though he was standing on the stage, couldn't see over the heads of the crowd and so climbed onto the nearest speaker. He frantically scanned the crowd, trying to see the familiar mess of blonde that would lead him to Bleach.
Party Poison grabbed the microphone once more, cleared his throat slightly and then shouted "Looks like we got some gate crashers guys!" his voice rumbled over the speakers, making every zonerunner in the room grin as they fought. "Before they join in the fun and games I think we've gotte lay down some rules." Gerard smirked.
"Rule number one, dress code is strictly colours only." There was a roar of approval from the zonerunners.
"Rule number 2, those who don't like real music are not allowed." A rebel out in the sea of fighters hollered out in agreement.
"And rule number three, any dracs here are now test subjects of everyone's ray guns." There was an increase in the laser beams blasts around the room, lighting up the smoke in rainbow shades. Gerard laughed as he saw the sea of rebels before him push the dracs back. He leant into the mic once more, "You guys look like your having so much fun, I think I might join you. Drac bashing for one and all. So long and good night my zonerunners!" And with that he dove into the crowd, blasting at the enemy as he went.
Russian Roulette was struggling to squeeze her way through the mass of people when Gerard's words washed over the bar. She felt her heart leap with happiness as each rebel was inspired to battle under his influence, side by side. Rebels were fighting back to back, regardless of crew, and the dracs weren't standing a chance. Suddenly Mikey was by her side.
"Oh Kobra it's so wonderful!" she shouted as Party's voice faded. "Everyone is fighting together, this is going just as planned!"
She had someone else's blood splattered across her clothes and half her face, her hair was tangled into a birds nest and there were definite scorch marks from narrowly missed laser beams, but the Gambler was ecstatically happy. The killjoy raised an eyebrow at her outburst of happiness, assuming she was completely insane and then dragged her through the crowd towards the exit.
Fun Ghoul finally spotted Bleach, who was making her way to the side of the crowd. He felt a pang of worry as he noticed the unmistakable mask of a drac heading in the same direction. After a moment of observation Frank knew that the draculoid was following the girl.
"Shit!" he exclaimed, leaping off the speaker into the crowd.
Bleach pushed through the last line of people and thudded against the wall. She gripped it's comforting surface, breathing heavily. Her ears hurt from the extraordinarily loud din in the bar and the metallic stench of blood caused her nose to twitch. She pressed her shaking body back against the wall, wishing that she could melt back into the solid bricks.
'I need to find the Killjoys!' her thoughts panicked, 'Or Roulette... Anyone who can help me.'
All the training Korse had put her through had gone pretty much out the window as the dracs came in. Instead of adrenaline giving her the courage to fight, it had fueled her need to run. Half of her resolution to get away was that she couldn't shoot the dracs, because they were on her side. And killing zonerunners was too risky. If someone saw Bleach betraying the rebels her cover would be blown. This was all added to the fact that she was shit scared of being hit herself.
As she slid along the wall her hand came into contact with the metal handle of a door. Bleach turned the latch and slipped into a dimly lit corridor, exhaling a breath she didn't realize she had been holding. There was a door at the other end of the hallway, which she ran to and tried to open. It was locked.
"Hmmm..." she hummed to herself. "Maybe I should just stay here till the dracs are gone."
Bleach couldn't help but feel a tide of guilt sweep over her at the thought of hiding. She felt so useless, but by going back into the bar she'd have to make a choice that she wasn't sure she was able to make right now. The idea of killing the zonerunners suddenly seemed repulsive, which threw her determination to complete her mission off balance. She envisioned the faces of the Killjoys as her opinions between right and wrong struggled. Granted she didn't like Party Poison, but Fun Ghoul and Jet Star had been nothing but kind to her. She also felt the beginnings of an attachment to Kobra Kid, who, behind his indifferent demeanor was thoughtful and compassionate.
"No!" she suddenly growled. "They are not my friends. They are the target. Nothing more!"
The sound of the door opening behind her cut through her thoughts. Bleach spun around to face the concealing mask of a draculoid.
"Hey pretty girly." he said, taking a step towards her. Bleach took a hesitant step backwards. "I hear you got some friends in high places. Wanna tell me where they're camped?"
As he took another forwards she slunk backwards again. Her heart was racing, eyes trained on the ray gun in his hand, which surprisingly was not aimed at her. He was after information first. 'What do I do?' she thought, eyeing his BL/ind badge and taking note of his name and ranking as a squad captain. 'I could shoot him, but if Korse found out....'
"A quiet one, aren't we?" he cooed, "However, if you want to live you're going to have to start talking."
His cocky tone sparked anger in Bleach, which caused her to assume her role as Toxin.
"You have no authority over me, Hawk. You should be begging me right now not to turn you over to the Head. You are interrupting my mission and risking my cover." her voice rang strong and true, betraying none of her anxiety.
The drac paused, taken slightly aback by the confidence in her stance. "You're bluffing zonerunner, if there was a secret agent out in the zones I'd know about it."
Toxin sneered at him. "You are making me angry. That is unwise, captain." her voice was laced with sarcasm as she addressed him. "Leave now and order your squad to retreat or I will report you."
Hawk tried to assure himself that the girl was a fraud, but her flat voice and the emotionless glint in her eyes reflected that of a Scarecrow. "Well... Where's your proof?" his voice shook.
Toxin leant down and pulled off her boot, then displayed the BL/i insignia stamped on the soul of her foot.
"B-but-" he stuttered.
"My name is Hypertonic, I have trained under the command of Korse himself and am in the process of earning the title of Scarecrow. As a fledgling I have been sent into the zones to complete Mission Assimilation, an operation to take down the Fabulous Killjoys." her voice was weighted with authority and she took a step forward, pushing him back. "You have obviously not followed standard raid procedure, as you would have been informed upon contacting Korse that I was in the field. Because of your interference my cover could have been blown or I may have been damaged by your men." Toxin took another step forward, alarming the intimidated drac. "You're disregard for jurisdiction and your lack of respect for your superiors will be relayed to the Scarecrow department, who will reprimand you as they see fit." Abbey marveled at her assertiveness as she pushed the cowering man back against the wall. "Right now I suggest you remove yourself and your squad from this vicinity immediately and report back to Battery City." she shoved him towards the door. "And when I say suggest, I am actually giving you an order."
Hawk began to nod, but suddenly stopped, clutching at his heart. Toxin froze, shocked as blood soaked through his white jacket. As the drac fell to the ground Abbey saw that the door to the bar was open and a familiar figure was standing at the threshold. Her eyes locked with those of Fun Ghoul, unsure as to what he had heard. Her gaze dropped momentarily to the ray gun in his hands, now pointing in her direction.
"Bleach?" Frank asked, studying her wary face. "Are you okay?"
Abbey crumpled slightly, her Toxin persona washed away by relief and a need for comfort. "Fun Ghoul, I was so scared!" she cried truthfully as he pulled her into a hug. She pressed her face into his leather vest and breathed in the calming scent of petrol. Abbey was suddenly reminded of Anton and she couldn't help the sobs that began to rack her body.
"Hey now Honey, don't cry." Frank said, rubbing her back. "We wouldn'a let the dracs get you."
Bleach sniffed and nodded, wiping at her red eyes. "Sorry, I'm just... He had a gun and... I didn't know what to do!" the state of shock she was in wasn't faked, Abbey was terrified at the thought of what could have happened. She didn't know either how the Hypertonic side of her had come out so viciously and was fearful of the control it had over her.
"Bleach?" Fun Ghoul lifted her chin up as gestured to her belt. "You had a gun too, but you didn't use it."
The thought of using a weapon against the drac had seriously not crossed her mind, simply because killing Hawk hadn't been an option for her. Ghoul had remedied that though. "Umm, please don't laugh at me." she started, coming up with the most appropriate lie. "I don't know how to use ray guns."
Frank didn't laugh, but he couldn't help the smirk that tugged the corners of his mouth. "Wow, you really are a beginner out here." he ruffled her hair and squeezed her tightly. "Looks like we're gonna have to teach you a bit before we set you free lil' birdy."
Bleach giggled, but then pulled her face back to the stoic expression she assumed for her rebel personality. Ghoul noticed and rolled his eyes. "It's okay to laugh, Bleach. Cracking a smile once in a while aint a sin." She nodded and let her lips curl upwards slightly, earning her a smirk from the Killjoy. "Yeah, you work on that one Sugar, but right now we gotta get going."
Ghoul tugged her towards the locked door, which she protested against. "We can't get through that way."
He shrugged and fired off a high frequency beam at the lock, blowing away the smoke from the tip of his gun smugly. "Looks like we can now." he said, kicking the door open.
They ran out into the parking lot, immediately spotting Party Poison, Jet Star, Kobra Kid and Russian Roulette. The zonerunners were idling by the Trans Am and greeted the newcomers with relief.
"Took you long enough." Party hissed, but smiled all the same.
"Yeah," Kobra joined in, "we were beginning to wonder if you got ghosted by some drac."
Ghoul smirk and ruffled Bleach's hair again. "This one would have been if it weren't for my heroics." he joked.
Jet Star immediately placed a protective hand on her shoulder. "You okay Bleach, what happened?"
She nodded, looking up at the Killjoys. "I'm fine, just ran myself into a dead end I guess..."
"What she means to say is that she doesn't know how to use a ray gun." Frank piped up, nudging the girl gently. "I said we aught to teach her before she goes solo."
Russian Roulette frowned. "Well Ghoul I hope you don't plan on playing teacher, you're aim sucks."
"Hey! That's not fair, I'm a great shot!"
"Yeah, at point blank range!" Rabid giggled. "If anyone should be teaching the girl it's Party, he's got the magic touch for firearms."
Gerard blushed and punched the Gambler lightly on the arm. "I know what you're doing Rabid, and it aint gonna work." he growled.
Roulette just laughed. "I don't know what you're talking about Killjoy. Anyway, best be off before the boyfriend starts worrying." she waved and skipped away towards her car.
The others watched her go, unsure what was meant by her and Party's exchange.
A sudden crash from within Misfits prompted them to leave as well.
"No need to wait around and get shot at!" Fun Ghoul exclaimed happily, jumping into the Trans Am.
Kobra Kid steered Bleach towards his car which they slipped into quickly and began the drive home.
About half way back to the Diner Mikey turned to his passenger and placed a hand on her knee gently. "Are you sure you're okay Bleach? You look pretty shaken up."
She looked at him and tried to pull a convincing smile. "Uh yeah, of course I'm fine."
Kobra Kid sighed. "You know it's pretty obvious that you aren't. What's up?"
"It's nothing." she huffed.
Mikey frowned. "Look Bleach, whatever is eating you up inside, you gotta talk about it. You can't just let it pile up because then one day you'll snap and everything will go pear shaped. I know this from personal experience. Me and my brother... Well we've had some rough times in the past too, and we both tried to hide from it. But when we opened up we realized that there were people there for us, who loved us and wanted to help."
"Well that's all fine-and-fucking-dandy for you to say because you have family and friends!" As soon as she spoke the words she gasped and slapped her hand over her mouth.
Rather than being offended Kobra burst out laughing. "You should see you're face! You know Bleach you're allowed to swear, I'm not gonna be offended."
She blushed. "Yeah but I didn't mean to say that, it was so rude."
He shrugged. "No, it's fine. You're right in pointing out that I shouldn't have said that, because I don't know if you have family." He slowed down and slid the car into the Diner garage before turning to Bleach and placing a hand on her shoulder. "But even if you don't have family, I hope that one day you will trust me enough to call me your friend, because that's what I consider you."
Russian Roulette crept towards the figure sleeping on the couch, blissfully unaware of his impending assailant. She placed each foot carefully on the ground, having ditched her heels at the front of the cave. However it wasn't her feet making noise that she was really concerned about, it was holding in the giggle that she was finding hard.
Eventually she made it close enough and leapt dramatically onto Maverick, who awoke with a shout of alarm.
"I got you!" she cried triumphantly, squirming in protest and he tackled her back onto the couch. "No!" she shrieked as he began to tickle her sides, "Someone, anyone, save me! Rape! Rape!"
Maverick chuckled, pressing his body down on hers. "Well, I wasn't going to call it rape, but if that's what you want..."
Rabid slapped his cheek playfully in mock outrage. "You scoundrel!"
"Hmm you know I am." he rumbled, pressing kisses along her neck. "I've been waiting for you to get home you know..." he continued his way up her jaw line until he reach her mouth.
"Oh really?" she breathed, suddenly distracted by his dark, smoldering eyes.
"Mhmm. I was thinking about all the things we could do tomorrow; sleep in then go for a picnic somewhere nice, maybe head to the coast for a few days. Get away from here, just you and me." He ran his hands up under her shirt, tracing the feminine contours of her belly.
Roulette bit her lip and closed her eyes, trying to block out the sensation of his rough fingers and his pleading eyes. "Mav... You know I'm busy. I can't just drop everything on a whim and disappear for a week. My crew needs me..."
"Fuck Rabid!" he growled, pushing back off her roughly. "Obviously I've forgotten why I broke up with you in the first place, because I sure as well wouldn't be stuck back in this rut with you if I remembered. All you care about is your fucking crew and your never ending schemes."
Roulette felt her bottom lip tremble dangerously as Maverick flung open the door to their bedroom, grabbed a fistful of clothes and stormed down the corridor to a spare room. He didn't even spare her a glance as he slammed the door shut, leaving her shaking on the couch.
Bleach decided to take a short shower before going to bed. She stood under the cold water, scrubbing at her skin, trying to wash away the guilt she was feeling. Kobra Kid's words kept going through her mind, constantly reminding her that she was working to exterminate him. The thought of destroying the Killjoys sent a pang of distress through her, which she tried to thwart.
"Stop thinking about it!" she growled, slamming a fist against the titled wall. "They aren't real people, they're terrorists. Any affection I feel for them is a charade. I am only here so that I can save Anton."
Immediately Abbey's thoughts turned to the man who she loved. A wave of longing for him swept over her, weakening her knees and sending her heart thumping. She closed her eyes and leant against the cool wall, reminiscing what it felt like to lie against his hot body. She could still taste his sweat, still recall his scent. Behind her closed lids she could see the luminescent gleam of his hair and the pulse at the hollow of his throat, beating through his soft skin. The hiss of the shower was drowned out by the rumble of his laugh, still echoing through her ears. As she washed the grimy soap from her body, Abbey couldn't help but remember they way hands felt on her body.
Bleach sighed, squashing her desire, and turning the shower off. She wrung her hair, trying rid it of the icy water, and stepped out of the shower. As she wrapped the towel around her, Abbey couldn't help but wonder, if the Killjoys were nothing more than terrorists, then what was Anton?
That disturbing notion plagued her as she got dressed, stepped out into the hallway and collided with Fun Ghoul.
"Hey you!" he grinned, latching onto her arm. "I was just coming to find you and ask if you wanted some dinner." Bleach shook her head but he wasn't paying attention. He frowned instead, noticing how cold she was to the touch. "Bleach you're freezing!"
"Cold shower." she mumbled, smiling slightly.
Ghoul shook his head, "No, you're really cold! Let's go grab you a jumper." And with that he dragged her back to her assigned room and dug through the box of Gerard's wife's clothes. "Here we go" he exclaimed triumphantly, tossing her a black hoodie.
"Thanks." she said, slipping it over her shoulders.
"Now let's go get food." he announced happily, pulling her along towards the kitchen.
Bleach tried to resist. "Umm no thanks Ghoul, I'm not very hungry."
Frank turned and looked at the girl disbelievingly. Mikey and Ray also look up at her skeptically from where they were in the kitchen.
"You haven't eaten since at least lunch time yesterday." Jet Star pointed out. "You must be hungry."
She shook her head, determined not to budge on the topic.
Kobra Kid looked at her, slightly distressed. "Look Bleach, I know that the food here isn't as good as what you eat in Battery City, but-"
"Oh no!" she cried, aghast that he thought she was being a snob. "That's got nothing to do with it, honestly."
"Well," Ghoul forcefully pulled her over to the table and made her sit down, "why wont you eat?"
Bleach avoided the gaze of the three men, opting instead to fiddle with the strings on the hoodie. She didn't want to reveal to them why she was refusing their food, but her ability to make up excuses seemed to desert her momentarily.
"If you want us to go and find some better food tomorrow all you have to do is ask." Party Poison said gently, appearing suddenly.
Bleach looked up, flustered. "N-no! That's not what I want at all!"
The Killjoy leader looked at her calmly. "It wouldn't be a problem, really. The only reason why we don't have much to choose from currently is because we haven't collected supplies for a week or so. It's understandable that you wouldn't be warm to the idea of eating Power Pup, you aren't used to it like us."
Ghoul, Kobra and Jet all exchanged a look of surprise, not sure why Gerard was suddenly being so kind to the girl. Bleach, on the other hand, was still adamantly against what he offered.
"Please don't feel the need to cater for me." she implored, tugging at the sleeves of the jumper. "The reason why I don't want to accept food is because..." she relented and told them the truth "... Well I know how valuable it is in the zones. You've already been really kind to me, but I don't want to take you're food as well." Abbey knew that this was foolish, considering that soon the Killjoys would be exterminated, but deep down she hated the idea that she was leaching information as well as resources from these people. She had come to the conclusion that if she was going to do as Korse asked her, she'd only do it by the bare minimum.
There was an incredulous pause among the Killjoys, who all looked at the girl, stunned. Jet Star was the first one to break the silence. "Bleach, you aren't doing us any harm by eating. I understand that you believe all zonerunners to be fighting for food, which is true in some crews. However we are one of the lucky few who have more than enough food. We are good friends with the people who smuggle supplies out of the cities, so we very rarely have a shortage."
Kobra Kid went and sat down next to Bleach. "We aren't going to force you to eat anything, but it might be a good idea. And if you choose not to, then at least don't do so because of a wish to stay on our good side. We share food with those who need it often, because we believe that as rebels we need to watch out for everyone in the zones. In fact, taking care of you makes us happy. We don't begrudge you anything for it."
Bleach kept fiddling with her clothes, unable to meet the eyes of the Killjoys. "Thanks." she whispered. "I really don't deserve your kindness."
Fun Ghoul protested and hugged her from behind. Kobra and Jet agreed with him, encouraging her not to feel like a charity case. Party Poison stood to one side quietly, feeling slightly strange as he watched his friends bantering with the girl wearing Lyn-Z's hoodie.
Bleach then excused herself from the table, explaining that she wanted to get some sleep. Gerard noticed that she still hadn't eaten anything, as did the others, but they didn't push the subject. He watched her leave the room, finding her far more likable from behind, when he didn't have to confront her lime green eyes.
Roulette eventually dragged herself off the couch and plodded into her bedroom. She automatically stripped off her gory clothes and slumped onto her bed, not bothering to wipe away the excess blood splattered on her skin.
It was a typically Russian Roulette thing to do to go out and wreak havoc upon the man who had hurt her, usually ending in his death or the loss of various limbs. She was notorious for having the shortest temper and the best team of assassins perfectly willing to do her dirty work if she didn't want to. And yet there were plenty of men out in the zones willing to take a crack at the nut that was the temperamental Gambler.
As Rabid lay silently on her bed she tried to recall what was the final straw in every relationship she had had over the past eight years. Although she knew she couldn't remember every man, it was clear that the most popular excuse for a breakup was her devotion of so much of her time to her crew. She felt like someone had slapped her across the face when the realization dawned on her that she was pushing people away because of her work.
"It's not fair." she whispered to the empty room. "I just want to do everything I can to put an end to BL/ind. Why can't I do that and have a relationship with the man that I love as well?"
Roulette cringed as she felt tears welling up in her eyes. They trickled disloyally down her face, making lines in the blood caked on her cheeks. She hated crying, it was weak. She had been emotional as a teenager, easily offended and quick to feel rejection. As the years passed and the takeover took hold of the country she had thrown up so many walls not only to keep people out, but also to keep her feelings in. It had seemed that she was always waiting to see who would love her enough to break down those defenses, and she had eventually found it in Maverick.
Their first relationship was quick to start and fast to finish, full of passionate ups and violent downs. The only reason why he had avoided her wrath after the breakup was his own formidable crew.
The past week that they had been reunited was bliss for Roulette and she had cherished every moment of it. There was something far more beautiful about rediscovering a person, rather than learning for the first time. And now that she was attached to him she found that she couldn't stand the thought of loosing him again. That pain was still relatively fresh in her memory and she wasn't keen on reliving it.
However as much as she loved him, she was reluctant to put a halt to her plans for Dice. Her crew needed her, and if she was honest, she needed them as well. There was something incredibly fulfilling about being at the reins of hundreds, even thousands of people. She needed them to fill the void that had appeared gradually over the past eight years. As her tears continued to fall she began to wonder why that hole was even there, and what had started it.
Bleach slipped on a pair of sweat pants and a tank top, then sat on her bed. She sunk into the softness happily, not noticing that the mattress was older than she was and that the sheets were ripped and patched over. She stared out the window into the starlit sky, wondering how long it would be until Anton was able to breathe the crisp night air once more.
A knock on her door startled Bleach, but she called out to whoever it was to come in.
Jet Star opened the door and gave her a sheepish grin. "Sorry, I know you said that you were going to sleep, but I thought it would be a good idea to check your head beforehand."
"Oh yeah, thanks Jet." she said, touching the jagged line of stitches on her forehead vaguely. "I almost forgot about it."
The Killjoy smiled. "Well that's good, it can't be hurting you much if you're forgetting that it's there." He sat next to her and brushed her fringe back from the wound.
As he inspected the stitches Bleach decided to ask him something. "Hey Jet Star, are Kobra Kid and Party Poison brothers?"
Ray paused, hesitating before replying carefully. "Yes they are brothers, any reason why you ask?"
She shrugged. "Just curious. They have a slightly different relationship which I've noticed, and they also have similar eyes."
Jet Star nodded. "They're very close, I don't think either would survive if something happened to the other."
Bleach's thoughts turned away from prying for information and she pondered this. "I wish that I had a sibling, it would have been nice to have someone other than my parents to talk to when I lived in Battery City.... Not that they talked much anyway..." she trailed off absently.
Ray observed the conflicting emotions on the girl's face. "Didn't you have friends at school?"
"I don't want to talk about this, sorry." she replied blankly, cutting off the conversation.
"That's okay." Jet Star replied, dabbing a small amount of alcohol on her laceration.
Bleach winced at the sharp stinging sensation and tried not to swat his hand away. There was an awkward silence before he screwed the lid back on the bottle and stood up.
"Sleep well, Bleach. I'll see you tomorrow."
"Yeah, thanks for that Jet Star. And I'm sorry that... I just don't want to talk about my past." she offered him a shy smile, which he returned.
"Don't be sorry, I understand." and with that he left the room.
Bleach was confronted once more with silence and felt a lump rise in her throat. She had been purposely not thinking about her parents the past week, but right now she felt vulnerable and in need of their presence. To her great embarrassment the door swung open as Party Poison knocked on it, and he saw the traitorous tears sliding down her cheeks.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't meant to... the door was open slightly." he tried to explain.
Bleach scrubbed the tears away quickly and shook her head. "That's okay. Come in." She was slightly less frightened of him after his words in the kitchen.
Gerard took a few steps into her room and then shoved his hands in his pockets awkwardly. "Look, Bleach, I'm actually real sorry about how I've been acting around you. You didn't deserve it and I just wanted you to know that I'd like to start over."
Bleach let herself smile and nod. "I forgive you, and I'd be happy to start over."
Party let out a breath and grinned. "Great, because I was thinking about what Russian Roulette said, and if you wanted to I'd love to teach you how to use a ray gun."
She was encouraged by the huge smile on his face and found it slightly infectious. "I'd like that a lot Party."
"Wanna start tomorrow?" he asked.
"Sure." Bleach felt suddenly light at heart knowing that she was no longer hated by the Killjoy leader.
"Well I'll let you get to sleep then, goodnight Bleach." he walked back to the door, and before leaving added, "You know I'm really happy that bitch Toxin didn't get you, because I think you'll make an amazing freedom fighter."
Bleach kept the smile plastered on her face until the door was fully shut. Then, she let her expression slump.
"But I do deserve your hatred Party Poison, because 'that bitch Toxin' deserves to be ghosted." she whispered and slumped onto her bed. The moment of happiness she had felt was gone, submerged by repressed memories of her parents, her dead friends and Anton. Her thoughts twisted and turned as she rolled over constantly, fighting against the bed sheets. An hour, maybe more passed of sleepless time, filled with anguish and self hatred. She constantly replayed the words of the Killjoys as each one of them revealed their friendship for her. She knew that if they discovered who she really was, what she had really done, any liking they had for her would be replaced by hatred. Bleach felt despair knowing that she had murdered their close friend in cold blood, and was now seeking a way to destroy them and everything they stand for.
"It's not fair!" she cried, balling the sheets around her fists and pressing her face into the pillow. "Why did it have to turn out this way? I don't want to like them, I can't like them!"
Kobra Kid's face crossed her mind, his words haunting her, promising her his friendship and his support. She was overcome by a desperate need for comfort and pushed herself out of bed, stumbling to the door. She ran silently down the dark hallway, cold tears on her hot cheeks. As she reached his room, Bleach began to doubt what he had said.
'What if he was just saying that to be nice? What if he doesn't really give a shit about how I feel?' her thoughts cried, freezing her hand as she went to knock on his door. 'What if-'
"Bleach?" a groggy voice asked next to her.
She shrieked and clamped her hand over her mouth, trying to calm her frightened heart.
Kobra Kid stood next to her, squinting in the darkness. "What are you doing hun?"
"I..." she bit her lip, wiping her wet cheeks. "I... Never mind."
She went to turn away but he placed a hand on her shoulder. "You're crying! What's wrong? Did something happen?"
Bleach shook her head but couldn't help the tears that kept falling.
"Hey now, come here." he cooed, pulling her into a hug.
She clung to his thin frame gratefully. "I'm sorry, I just didn't want to be alone and I remembered what you said in the car and-"
"Shh, you don't have to explain. I'm just glad you believed me when I said I'd be here for you." He tugged her into his bedroom and shut the door. "Tell me what's wrong Honey."
Bleach sniffed, trying to decide what was bugging her most. After a minute of struggling to find an answer she broke down and declared that it was everything.
"Everything?" Kobra repeated, placing an arm around her shoulders. "Ummm is there a definition you want to share with me of what 'everything' means?"
"I miss my parents.... No actually I miss my dad, I never got to say goodbye to him. I never got to say thankyou for accepting me, regardless of what I am..."
Mikey frowned. "What you are? What does that mean?"
She buried her face in his shirt. "I can tell you." she whispered.
He hugged her to him, respecting her refusal to explain.
"I miss my friends." she continued. "I wish I could see them again... I'd do anything."
"Well," Kobra suggested, "why don't you go back and bust them out of Battery City? If you love them you should show them the truth."
Bleach shook her head sadly. "I can't. They're dead. I haven't seen them since the takeover."
Mikey felt a pang of sadness wash over him, remembering the amount of people lost during that terrible time. "What about you're friends at school now?"
"I don't have friends. I'm different, they didn't like me." she chocked on each word, wanting to keep her weaknesses to herself, but finding it almost impossible not to talk to the man.
"But why didn't they like you?"
"I can't tell you." she whispered.
"Is that why you ran away?" he pushed.
"I can't tell you." she repeated.
"How did you get out of the city?"
"I can't tell you."
Mikey stopped asking questions, frustrated and confused by what she was saying.
"I'm really sorry, but if I tell you, then you'll hate me." Bleach sniffed, pulling away from him.
Kobra was shocked by her blunt statement. "Of course I wont hate you! Whatever you've done doesn't matter to me, you're a good kid Bleach."
"No." she began to cry again. "I'm not. You're only saying that because you do not know the truth."
He shook his head adamantly. "I refuse to believe that anything you've done could make me hate you. I've only known you for two days but I'm pretty god dam sure that you're a good kid."
Mikey was distressed to find that all his words did was make her cry harder.
"I can't explain." she whimpered. "I just can't tell you why, or else everything will be ruined."
"Okay, it's okay." Mikey murmured, pulling her down onto the bed and tugging the covers over her. He held her shaking body close and stroked her hair. "It's going to be okay, whatever this is, you'll pull through."
Bleach didn't doubt his words, she knew that she would be fine. It was him and the other Killjoys who she was crying for. Every moral bone in her body was screaming at her to tell him the truth, but her love for Anton kept blocking that. In the back of her head she could also hear the beginnings of those awful voices that plagued her with self hatred. She sniveled against Kobra Kid's chest, burrowing close to his comforting body. He responded by hugging her closer and murmuring words of reassurance, stroking her head tenderly. After a while his hand stilled and he relaxed into sleep. The tears soaking his shirt slowly dried as Bleach stopped crying.
"One day," she whispered sadly, "one day you'll understand, although now I wish that day would never come."
Maverick groaned and pushed himself off the bed. No matter what he did sleep would not come for him. He kept reliving his argument with Rabid, envisioning again and again the shock and hurt on her face. He meant what he had said, but he was regretting leaving on such a sour note. He knew that they needed to talk through their problems, not blow up at each other and just expect everything to go back to normal the next morning.
He began to pace back and forth across the room, trying to think of a way to settle the anguish threatening to bring tears to his eyes. Maverick swallowed his feelings, telling himself that it was unmanly and weak to cry. Crying solved nothing as well as giving him a headache, so he tended to avoided it.
"Fuck." he growled, slamming a fist against the wall. The pain that shot up his arm bought temporary relief to the aching in his chest and forced the lump in his throat back down. However as the throbbing of his hand subsided he was once more confronted by his mental suffering.
For the thousandth time Maverick wished that Harlequin Diamond was here, but she was out on a mission of her own. Roulette had been very shifty about the location of her friend, only letting slip that she had taken the best of her crew with her to retrieve something valuable. He felt a fresh wave of anger that Rabid didn't trust him with the whole story. He couldn't understand why she was so hell bent on putting every second of every day into her crew. He knew that if it came down to it he'd gladly abandon his crew for Roulette, it's importance paled in insignificance compared to the love he felt for her.
He hesitated, replaying that last through his head. It began to dawn on him that he was right, there was nothing more important to him than Rabid, she was his everything.
Without waiting another moment he barged through the door and sprinted down the hallway, skidding to a stop outside their bedroom. Without bothering to knock he pushed open the door and tumbled into the dark space.
It took a moment for his eyes to adjust, but when they did he saw that Roulette was curled up on the bed. He stepped closer and saw that she was fitfully asleep, mumbling softly to herself, crying silently. The big man leant down until he could make out her words.
She was repeating his name, over and over. Constantly saying that she loved him and that she was sorry.
Maverick's normally hard heart melted and he picked up the Gambler, pulling her onto his lap as he leant against the headboard. She stirred in her sleep, sighing before opening her eyes. He watched silently as she wiped away the tears and cleared her eyes, looking up at him in bewilderment.
"Mav? I..." she waited for the stereotypical burst of violent anger and the threats that came with seeing someone she was angry with, but they never came. Instead she was filled with apologetic sadness. "I'm so sorry." She broke away from his gaze and pressed her face back against his leg. "I don't want you to feel like you're some second priority, because you're not. My crew, my life means nothing if I don't have you." she curled her fingers over his open hand hesitantly. "I know that I'm far from perfect - I'm constantly changing my mind and changing my mood and I work too much, but I'm trying to change for you." She sniffed and prayed that he believed her. "Can you give me a second chance?"
Maverick pulled her up so that she was sitting on his lap and tucked her head beneath his chin. "You're right Roulette. You work too much. You spend so much time organizing your crew and gathering supplies for raids that I can barely get a moment of you to myself." Rabid felt her heart shrinking with every word. "You're all smiles once moment and then you're furious the next. One day you tell me that you want me with you always, the next you're shouted at me to get out of your hair." He held the woman tighter, breathing in the sweet scent of her hair. "You're anything but perfect, but that's what I love about you."
Roulette's eyes flew open, surprised. "Mav?"
"I thought about it and I realized that I'd give up everything, my crew included, just so that I can be with you." he continued. "And then I thought, why should it matter to me that you love what you do? Who am I to demand that you choose between you're life and my love? Because that's what I know I'd be doing. I love you Roulette because of the passion that you feel for what you do. It's because of your determination and you're crazy antics that I want to be with you. Every moment is surprising and I can never complain of being bored." He cupped her chin in his giant hand and tilted her head up so that he could look into her brown eyes. "By forcing you to give up Dice all I am doing is trying to mold you into someone you aren't, someone I don't love." He pressed his mouth gently against hers, tasting the tears on her lips. "I love you Russian Roulette, just as you are. I'd never have you any other way."
"Mav?" she whispered, snuggling close to him.
"Yes babe?" he rumbled, pulling them both down and under the covers.
She smiled up at him, placing soft, teasing kisses on his lips. "Ditch the clothes."