Thursday, August 28, 2008

A lick and a promise... pt4

"No." The man shook his head a little. "You can't. That's how it always is. One more job, then one more after that, then they forget you. Or make you forget them and make anyone you ever knew forget they ever knew you. I'm sorry." His eyebrows arched a little with the sincerity and a bit of dismay. "Like I said... we know people. Don't go back. Let us help."

"I don't know anyone." She shrugged and made a face as it shifted her neck. "They already made me forget.. your friend doesn't want me here and doesn't want you to help me." She stated the 'facts' quietly as she stared up at the ceiling.

He chuckled and looked up where she did at the ceiling. "My brother just doesn't like anybody much. Don't take it personally. We just need to be careful, but you know. You can be so careful you never get to do anything." He sounded like a rebel teen in some ways. "I got your back, okay? Don't worry about Marc being a sh*thead about it. He'll get paid."

"Brother.." She echoed in a soft whisper, she wondered now and then if she had siblings and what happened to them if she had. "I wasn't taking it personally." Tully half smiled, almost looking like she might start laughing. "I'd probably feel the same way if I were him." Her eyes shifted and seemed to be searching for something but it wasn't anything she'd find on the ceiling. "Why.. why are you..why have my back?" She started, stopped and then restarted her question, trying to word it right. "I don't understand... why you'd risk anything for me?'

"Why not? Seriously. Why not? It's not like you were trying to actually kill me or you would have." He sat up slowly, feeling better for at least staying still a few minutes. "Gotta live a little. Never know how long it's gonna last. Someday Marc might figure that out and get the cattleprod out of his a**."

"If I hadn't been distracted I would have been trying. I was sloppy. I'm not usually sloppy." She told him quietly, slowly turning her head toward him. "It's not personal, i just have a great desire to get this chip out of my head. I didn't expect I'd actually be speaking to you or anything."

"A girl without expectations? That's cool, babe. Look, if you want it out, you'll get it out, but you shouldn't have to go through all this bother to do it. Killing people for money is nasty business." He for one knew that well. He rolled his way around to standing up and took another look out the window. "So, he's not back yet. What do you want to do?"

"What do you mean what do I want to do?" Her head shook a bit in confusion as she watched him move and look out the window. Her hand ran over her forehead, she wasn't up to full strength yet. "Given your earlier warning about him. I should probably leave before he does get back." She rolled to her side and pushed herself to sit up. "I never really thought about it while I was doing a job.. or after. It's easier not to, thinking about it being nasty ends you up on the wrong end of the deal. It's all I've known really. I can keep myself alive, I can fight, and I can kill stuff... I wasn't given many options. It's not like one night someone attacks the transport you're on and hands you a guide of how to live once you're free. It was more run, duck, hope the bullets don't hit you and try not to leave a trail."

"Maybe it's time to live free, then," he shrugged. It was only fair to show her to know whose side he was really on. He moved the collar on his neck, turning his back to her to show her his own scar. "Freedom looks like shit, but it feels like nothing else on this godforsaken hellhole of a planet, believe me. That's what he's afraid of is ever going back. He'll be fine. I'll make sure he's fine."

She was stunned to silence, only a small gasp that came at the unexpected sight of the scar he revealed. "You.." She rose from the bed, taking the step to reach him as her hand lifted, lightly touching the mark. It was almost as if she was afraid of it as her fingers barely brushed over it. "You know what-..?" So many questions were tumbling out at once. "How.. how long has it been?"

"Two, almost three years for me, five for him since he did the same for me that I'm offering for you. I didn't know about the chip, that's not why I wanted to help you. It's because they know what we are and they want us dead because of it that I'm on a mission to show them .. I'm not what they think I am."

"But I'm not them.. I don't understand how this shows them.. and I don't know if we're talking about the same them anymore." Her finger traced the line on his neck and her hand dropped away. "Four years. I haven't met anyone like me.. us.. that I know of, before now. I've been alone."

He spoke over his shoulder, hearing her, smelling her as she moved away. "No, you're not them. You didn't start the war and you weren't part of it. You and me, Marc, others out there like us, we got pulled in and tagged for a reason. They think we're all beast, heartless killers and that that's all we know... well because I'm a mutant. So, if you have a chip, then someone thinks you are too. So what's your specialty, hm? You know mine," he said quietly, turning to face her, wondering what the rest of her story was.

She chewed her lip for a moment and then let her gaze meet his. "I barely remember my own name. This chip is a cage I can't escape and I can't remember who I was before or what I did or even how long I was in their cages.. I don't know much about what I did while they had me. Flashes, images here and there. I know there was pain, it always hurt, it still hurts but if I can feel it, I know I'm still alive. I don't know if I had brothers and sisters, I don't remember my mother, I don't know if I was born in a cage or not. I don't know much.. only what has been in the last four years. Well a little bit from a damaged piece of my file.. It told me my name and my father's and that the chip in my head inhibits whatever I am. He was furry.." Her eyes closed as she tried to pull up the faint memory she had of her father.

"Furry? But you'll kill others with fur. That's nice, babe. For all you know we're from the same litter, heh?" He chuckled dryly at that irony. It wasn't like he and Marc didn't scrap on the best of days, but they never really did that much damage, let alone tried to kill each other. "Don't try to break past the inhibitor. It only causes more pain. It's also a question of how much you try, it might bring them right to your doorstep. Take it easy and lay down a while. I'll deal with Marc."

"Look, I don't know what your deal is here.. and I didn't know you had fur until you showed up in it. I took the job same as any other, I do what I need to and I don't spend time pouting about the choices I have to make after it's done. It keeps me alive and it keeps me fed and it was my way of paying to get this chip out of my head and be done with it. For better or worse to finally be finished. They've had four years to find me if they wanted to, if they are even looking.. fours years I've survived on my own without anyone holding my hand or patting my head or telling me what to do. I don't need you to tell me about the chip like I have no clue about it. It is the one thing I remember because I live with it there everday.. until I get it taken out. When that happens then.. actually I don't know what happens then and I don't care."

He listened and slowly folded his arms. "Finished? I was trying to be helpful. So why I don't I tell you something you don't know. You won't need a scarf. In about two hours, it'll just look like you and your boyfriend had a good time, but that's it. I offered my help if you want it. The door's there, help yourself. Bed if you want to sleep in it. I'll be downstairs trying to care as little as you do about the future."

"I guess I really don't understand much of anything you've said to me.. I really have no idea what you're even talking about anymore. You tell me not to go then make remarks about what I do to survive.. and talk about my chip like I haven't been living with it in my head for at least ten years.. I'm lost. What scarf? What boyfriend, who is going to see me? What help? Can I have my weapons back?"

She didn't fold her arms but raised her hands to her temples, fighting off the pain the surged through her head. Four years totally alone, other than making contact for jobs and there was little conversation during those meetings.

"Okay. Sit. Sit down, don't talk and try not to think of how much you hate me right now. You can't have them back until I'm convinced you're not going to fall over dead as soon as you walk out the door. One.. the scarf for your neck I told you to tie there to hide the scar. There isn't one, okay? Two... the mark that's left right now that someone, anyone, might assume was some guy snacking on you for good times. That is if you remember anything about good times, and trust me, they're hard to come by. Three... whether you want or need my help, you need to rest. Here, on a street corner, under a damned bus if you need to, but cut the tough girl crap and the 'i can do it myself' and ... would you please, just let somebody...let me help you? What difference does it make about why? I just do. So, do you want to hit the street, going back to your ... your boss or whatever he or they are... and explain to them why I'm still alive or do you want to bypass that touchy little issue and understand they're probably not going to want to hear it?"

The first reaction was shock and her staring at him as her hands slowly moved toward her neck, afraid that she was going to find cloth there that she didn't remember putting there. She didn't remember tying a scarf around her neck to hide the scar or wanting to or caring that there was a scar there. That was scary in itself to not know something she must have recently done. "Good times?" She looked at him blankly, for a long moment before she realized what he meant. "Oh.. I think.. me and some guy.. having good times.. You mean breeding? I hadn't been used for that yet to my knowledge." She shook her head a bit, backing away from him, still terribly confused even about her own self. "I have never needed help.. this.." She waved her hand around the room. "I don't know this.. I don't understand this, you.. here.. why you help.. There was the cage and then there was the streets.. I was young when they took me or I was born in the cage.. I'm not positive.. " She shook her head, trying to clear it. "I don't have a boss to explain anything to.. I don't go back to anyplace but where I stay.. I don't work for a certain person.. I.. independant.. contracts, jobs, whoever needs my skills and pays.. I don't have to explain, I don't do the job I don't get paid."

"And if I'm alive... then your job isn't done, right? Your options are... kill me now and go and get your paycheck so they can drill a hole in your head. You may even survive it yourself. Or, you sit still a minute and try to understand. You stay alive, I stay alive, you get what you want... everybody's happy.... except whoever wanted my hide for whatever reason they wanted it."

"I decided not to kill you when I woke up to find out you hadn't killed me." She admitted softly, she stopped backing away, but was almost against the wall anyway. Her eyes watched him warily, it seemed like she was lost and confused, which she was. The more time she spent with him the more obvious it became that her real interactions with people had been limited. "I want to understand.. please."

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