Coal

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Sine.Nomine

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She caught the way his eyes fell to the floor, the way he sighed, and the way he rubbed his neck. She didn't know what was in his mind, but she didn't like the impression it gave her. He may have been softening to her or he may have been softening in general. But it was definitely unacceptable. She knew how to handle a stand-offish opposition better than a peaceful coexistence. Life would be quite boring if she didn't piss him off soon. She had to erase what she'd just felt.

"What kind of information do you think you would need to kill them? What would you ask your contact to provide?" He asked from his place on the bed.

This was a great question. Her previous train of thought was derailed and replaced with a giddy glee. Her face finally became the ray of sunshine it'd been on the street before their spat. Her face beaming, her body perked, and thrill rushing through her mind once more, her gloom was all but forgotten. She let out a girlish squeal of delight and clumsily set the gun on the chair. From there she leaped onto the bed, bouncing repeatedly much the way a smaller child would. She even clapped.

"ALRIGHT! So... Of course I'd need a name and description. It could be useful to know their profession, it would help to determine a probable schedule. Also a a basic idea of the person's skill set. Any pertinent information about hobbies and home life as well. It seems to me that if you wanted to kill a person, it could be useful to know where they hung out and what they were into, right? Given enough information, one might even be able to make the death seem as though it would fit into their life, taking the blame from outside source. How am I doing so far?" She perked her brows at him twice expectantly. She bit her lip, hoping her answer had been sufficient. Unaware that she'd done it, she stopped her bouncing and froze, waiting anxiously for his answer.
 
Q

[Q]

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He watched her, staying silent, though he began to get somewhat irritated when she became so giddy. Why was she so excited about this?
All of this was foreign to him.

Or was it?

He thought back to when he was eighteen, and Vespasien had stolen a rifle for him, bringing it with them on the ship from France.
"This is an FR-F1," he had said. Bornes had eagerly grabbed for it.
"I know, I know! We trained with these once, remember?!"
Vespasien laughed, his shoulders bouncing. "Don't be so eager, Quatre Bornes. If I didn't know any better..."

Seada stopped bouncing and Q was jolted out of his thoughts at her question.
"Uh, yes. You're doing good so far..." It was obvious he was distracted.

But, he still managed to tack on "But you don't need that much information. That's only for high profile targets. Mayors, police men, etcetera. Or if you are staying one area for a long amount of time."
He tilted his head, looking into her eyes. They were green, like his own. And her hair, blonde like Vespasien's. Though she of course had much more volume than he did. His breath caught a moment, remembering.
But it was only a brief second before he continued, looking away. "I travel frequently and I take what are called safe hits. So all I need is a description or a picture and a place they hang out where they can be killed."

He scratched his head.
"Uh, I need a drink," he said, standing up.
The bar. Alcohol.
Seemed like a good idea. And she was underage, so she wouldn't be able to follow him.
Even better.
 
S

Sine.Nomine

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Her mouth dropped open. She wanted to keep going! She wanted to hear more about the business and to learn the ways of the trade. She snapped her mouth closed and it almost twisted into a pout. She was a lioness, and he'd just snatched a promised piece of meat away. She felt like an unsatisfied lover after a raucous encounter of the sexual kind. She'd been teased. She'd been tantalized. And now the only man who could give her what she wanted was going to leave her alone, brooding over the lessons she would have to put off until that night. She was more than willing to spend the next several hours packing her brain with whatever he had to offer, and yet her teacher seemed to lack the same enthusiasm.

Her moodiness returned with a vengeance, but she could tell it was useless to try to sway his decision. She sighed and her shoulders stiffened with irritation, but she made a shooing motion with her hand as if to say, "Go, I don't care." She leaned toward the end table next to the bed and swiped the remote from its top. With the click of a button, the tv flickered to life. She made herself more comfortable by flopping over and stretching out.

He left wordlessly.

She stared at the television without really seeing what was playing. She'd not even bothered to change the channel. All at once she sat upright with a twinkle in her eye. "Well, I for one will not be a slattern." She announced out loud to the empty room. She would tackle trying to get a fake ID, as Q had suggested. It hadn't occurred to her when he'd suggested it, but there was a guy some of the kids from her old school used. She'd never been one to hit the party scene since most humans annoyed her thoroughly, however she'd kept his number when it was offered. She was not one to pass up a potential connection. In her father's world connections were key, and this was a knowledge she'd picked up from him long ago.

She swiveled her hips to pull her cell from her back pocket. It brought with it the photo of Q's messy kill. She dialed the number and listened to the ringtone as she picked up the photo for another round of examination. Q was capable of true artwork, even though he seemed to regard clean kills so highly. She smiled at the gruesome picture, and hoped that soon she'd have a chance to do her own art.

A voice chimed from the phone. She switched her voice to her absolute friendliest, adding the faintest hint of seduction. It never hurt to flirt with someone you wanted something from. She thought of it as a type of insurance. She introduced herself and rolled her eyes when he responded with something akin to, "I could never forget." Teenagers were horny morons who only thought themselves clever, and he seemed to be among the worst. She played his game until he'd agreed to her wishes.

"...well, right now would be best for me." She tried to sound apologetic at the intrusion. "I need it tonight. You can do that for me, right? I mean, they did tell me that you were the best. That's why I called you."

She paused and listened. Nodding without thinking that he couldn't see it, her smile broadened. "Yes, yes. I'm so pleased to hear you say that. Where should I meet you?"
He responded. She responded. The conversation drew to a close, and she hung up. With a deep breath, she basked in her satisfaction and returned the precious photo and her phone to her pocket. It didn't take long for her to leap into action. She was off the bed and all but ran into the bathroom to "freshen up."

Satisfied with her look, she returned to the room and crossed to the chair to put away Q's gun. Room service would just LOVE that, wouldn't they? It was better to hide it. She grabbed the M40 and laid it on the bed before hoisting up the violin case next to it. She popped the lock. As she lowered the rifle into the case, she noticed two smaller guns laying inside. A devilish smirk twisted her cherubic face. As an aristocrat, she had a thing for power. There was a gun. She was training to be a mercenary. It seemed as though she should carry a weapon now that she was in the business. She picked it up by the handle with two fingers, holding it at arms length from her face. She had no clue if it was loaded, but if anything unsavory should go down with this Ted character, she doubted it needed to be loaded anyway. Simply flashing it should suffice, she assumed. With a shrug she tucked it in the back of her pants, swelling with pride as the cold metal warmed against her skin. She put the other gun away and pushed the case under the bed.

She left the room then, setting the "do not disturb" sign around the knob. She looked both ways down the hall. Q would be long since at the bar, but she wanted to take no chances. She made her way to the lobby, praying he'd not see her as she passed the bar.
 
Q

[Q]

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Bornes went to the door but turned to face her, gauging her expression. He felt guilty again, but flipped his sunglasses back over his eyes when the television was powered on before he turned around and simply left with a frown regardless.

He quickly made his way to the bar, plastering a fake smirk on his face and asking for a scotch. He quickly downed it, getting some smart remark from the bartender about how he must've been up to something if he was drinking so hard so fast and early in the day. Q laughed and said "Well you know the type, I'm sure."

He asked for another, and then a third. At the third glass he actually took his time, not really touching it for the most part, instead simply looking to the television in the bar with a blank face. With his eyes, he couldn't see the TV. It just looked like it was emitting white light to him. Even with the sunglasses, that would probably never change. It was part of the reason he wasn't interested in technology other than guns. These simple entertainment things always managed to hurt him in some way.
Even now, he could tell some news station was on, but he could still hear the buzz of static electricity from the screen itself.

He frowned and took out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter, setting them on the bar as he began to smoke, becoming lost in his thoughts. It was the middle of the day and it was just he and the bartender. He supposed boredom finally got to her when she asked the dreaded question.
"You can take those off, you know?"

He looked to her, cigarette dropping from between his lips. "What?"

She nodded to his sunglasses. "Your glasses. You're inside. It's ruse to wear them, you know."

He gave a heh and made a motion of looking to the television again, pretending to be more interested in it than her.
"Doctor's orders," was his only response.

After about ten more minutes and a second cigarette, he finally looked back down to his still very full third scotch. He snubbed out his last cig and put the pack and lighter away before staring into the liquid, as if trying to validate its existence.
He should probably be getting back to Saeda.

"Are you all right?"
There was the bar tender being bored again.

"Yeah, I just have to get back to work is all," he snorted, debating if he should down the last scotch or not before leaving.
He stood up and gave one last look at the scotch. He appeared as if he was going to walk off, but he instead pushed the stool back under the bar and downed the scotch entirely before leaving.

All right, so he was a bit intoxicated, now.
Maybe he could take care of this kid and be some sort of teacher without being too weird about it.

He went back to the room- at most, 45 minutes had passed since he'd left. He went to open the door, but realized he didn't have a cardkey.
He knocked with the back of his wrist three times and rasped a "Hey," his breath stinking of alcohol and smoke, his voice a bit higher than it was before, sitting at somewhat of a high tenor.
"C'est Moi," he added, leaning his shoulder on the door.

He wasn't drunk yet nor would he be before quite a few more drinks, but he was tipsy enough for it to show if he wasn't set on trying to be serious.
 
S

Sine.Nomine

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Grabbing her car was merely a passing thought as Saeda decided having any connection to her regular life during her lessons would be reckless. She set out on foot, which took more time than she really wanted. But like a good little pupil, she wanted to please her teacher. This would be one hindrance removed. Somewhere along the way, Ted called her with an unfortunate bit of news. It seemed he was having trouble with his equipment and it might be an hour or two before he was ready. More likely, she thought, he lit up a joint and was now busy stuffing his face.

She verily disliked kinks in her plans. Q wouldn't be gone all night, and she wanted to be back at the room and ready to head out to the ranch whenever he thought it was time. A sour look took residence on her face, but the whole affair was out of her hands. The glare never quite leaving, she decided to treat herself to something special to help her relax. The last few hours had been full of strange emotions, from glee to hate to... who knows. She wanted to chill out and enjoy herself during this unavoidable free time.

She bought a new outfit consisting of a luxurious crimson wrap dress paired with an unbuttoned Victorian style jacket that hugged her body and hung to her knees. To make the sophisticated look complete with a little flair, she added thigh-high velvet stiletto boots, huge black sunglasses, and put her hair into a messy bun. She'd gotten a rush of adrenaline when she tucked the borrowed gun haphazardly into her garter belt. She imagined herself to be put together professionally now, though more likely she looked like she'd fallen right off the run-way. She was intelligent, but not always sensible. She pictured her new profession too much like it was portrayed in the movies, with a sexy heroin who got to wear awesome clothes and always got away. She somehow failed to realize that dressing too well draws the attention and envy of all those around; upscale fashion often times denotes social status, to which hers was quite at the upper end for this forgotten city. She was so reinvigorated after her shopping excursion that she was bubbleheaded. Spending money always had that intoxicating effect on her; it was the one thing that brought her true happiness in life. Her senses were all dulled from contentment, and she felt as though nothing could possibly go wrong.

She didn't even see the two men sitting in the nonchalantly parked, black van just around the corner. She definitely didn't notice them noticing her.

She went about her business and met Ted an hour and a half after she'd left the hotel. When he was preparing to take her picture, he complimented the choice of clothing, mentioning that it would help to add age to her childlike face. She beamed. The light flashed. And it was done. She paid the man, made some small talk, and caught the first cab she could back to the hotel. The van followed at a distance.

Once in the room she deposited her old clothes on the bed and tossed the bag they had been in into the trash. After making a quick scan of the room, it became apparent the room had been untouched since she left. Q must still be in the bar. A goofy expression made clear her puzzlement to whatever flies lurked on the papered walls. She didn't think a professional who was so hell bent on doing things correctly would want to teach her how to shoot after drinking for two hours. Then again she'd just met the man and it was possible she had him all wrong. She'd have to go investigate.

__________________

This was the moment of truth for her. She stood outside the stained glass double doors of the bar and deliberated the pros and cons of her plan. She had no ID, and if she were to try to purchase a drink her debonair attire would do nothing when she couldn't provide the identification. She hadn't been in the bar before, so it was unlikely the bar tender would recognize her for who she was. She flapped her hands at her side quickly, trying to force away her nerves. Three deep breaths inhabited and vacated her lung in concession to each other. She would simply go in, sit at the bar, and order a water. She'd allow her clothes to do the rest. She began to go over the list of pros and cons once more.

No. NOW! And off she went before her thought fragments even had time to align themselves into a cognizant order. She was through the doors and halfway to the bar when she heard a woman's obnoxious laughter. In the silent bar (aside from some soft jazz tune playing from the jukebox), the sound was piercing. Taken slightly aback, Saeda stopped and looked to the source of the laughter.

Q sat on the stool farthest from the door. He shook the ice around in his glass as a distraction from the bartender who was now all but throwing herself at him. The corners of his mouth flickered as though he were fighting a grin. Saeda could even see that the employee was smoking one of Q's cigarettes. She was leaned over the bar on crossed arms, pushing her breasts upward as she did so. What was tramp, the younger girl thought bitterly. And look at him! He's soaking it up like a sponge! She shook her head at pathetic games people played with each other. She watched for a moment more, giving herself time to tune into their conversation.

"..... going to be quite ze handful. Au contraire to ze pleasure it 'az been talking to a beauty such 'az yourself. You... you arrrrre a very pleasant woman." He winked and allowed his smirk to come forth. It appeared as if the two were so disgustingly engrossed in each other that neither noticed the 17 year old standing in the middle of the room. The man gave a stiff laugh, meant to keep the older woman at ease. She giggled like a school girl in response.

For one moment Saeda forgot that she disliked the man she stared at, and listened to hints of a beautiful accent. Since when is he French? In a short time however realization dawned, and her whole body grew livid when the knowledge of who they'd been discussing came to her in a moment. The twinge of jealousy she'd felt over her tutor giving his attention to another, less worthy woman was quickly dwarfed by the ferocity that burned her now. What had he been telling this stranger? What had he said of his student? What sort of terrible, misguided opinions had he entrusted her with? And what of laying low and staying hidden? She assumed he'd been here telling more and more of their most pertinent information with each swig of the glass.

Her hands flew to her hips and she stomped over to the pair. She stood next to him and leaned around him to put her head partially between his and the bar tender's. "Well hello there," She growled at Q, not even bothering to look at the bar tender. "Are you having a good time?!" She asked incredulously.
 
Q

[Q]

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Bornes had stayed at the door for ten or twenty more minutes, deciding that she had either decided to ignore him completely or that she had left. He hmphed and said "I'll be at the bar when you feel like opening the door" on the off chance she happened to be inside, and went back to the bar, sitting right back down.

"Back so soon?" the bartender questioned.
"Locked out of my room," Bornes offered.

Time passed and Bornes slowly made his way to more and more drunk. With nothing better to do and nowhere to go, he simply kept pounding the drinks down. It seemed like a good idea at the time and the bartender, Kristine, had been nice enough. They had gotten to flirting. She, like most women, had a thing for european accents. Bornes had been born in Mauritius, a french-owned island off the coast of Africa. His facial structure was a mix between South African, korean, and what seemed like German, but was technically French. He grew up in the country of France with his father in military academies. He was fluent in both French and English, and his french accent naturally started to come back the drunker he became, but as Kristine showed interest in him, he started to over-exaggerate its presence.

By the time two hours had gone by, he didn't have to exaggerate. He was three sheets to the wind, and he really felt like taking this woman to bed with him.

But then Giggles showed up.
He looked to her, his grin not even weakened. He outstretched a hand. "Eeeeey!"
Turning back to the bartender, he smacked the empty glass on the bar. "THIS is that cousin I was talking about!" he proclaimed, accent still evident.

He gave a smirk and looked back to Saeda. "Nice clothes. Going on a date?"
He didn't bother waiting for an answer. "You locked me out of the room; I have no key card."
The next part he spouted off in french, "I could've run off and been free of your father, you are lucky I care about my gun!"
For some reason, he thought she knew french. He knew the bartender didn't, and had he been sober, he probably would've correctly assumed his new protege didn't either.

His attention went right back to the bartender. "When is your shift over?"
 
S

Sine.Nomine

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Shock. Pure and simple shock was plastered on her face. Q was completely intoxicated and whats more, he was asking this bartender out. Saeda ignored his jab at the results of her shopping spree, looked at the bartender and said with a serious look, "My cousin is recently an ex-con. He was imprisoned for necrophilia. If you could please accept his offer and meet with him tonight, it would be a GREAT help in his rehabilitation.

She looked back at him, and for the first time since they'd met he could see actual hurt on her face. Her nostrils flared in anger, but she spoke softly instead of shouting at him. She moved in closer in order to bring her lips to his ear. Her words sent a wisp of hot breath down his neck. "We had plans. I can see you weren't taking them seriously though. That will be a problem. Saito will not be pleased when he hears what you've done."

She pulled her head back just far enough to see his covered eyes. She couldn't conceive of how, but the scent of his smoke was even stronger than it had been earlier, but now it was joined by the overwhelming odor of booze. Regardless, she paused there just inches from his face to take in the look at him. She searched for fear, for regret, for anything that would let her know that the man was sorry he'd forgotten their plans. It would have been easier if she could see his eyes, if she could use the method of reading a person that she was so accustomed to, and her hand all but twitched with desire to remove them. She didn't because that would be an admission to herself that she actually cared enough to apply an effort toward the man.
 
Q

[Q]

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Q slammed his fist on the bar and glared at the girl from behind his black shades.
"Hey," his accent dropped for the briefest of moments. "That's NOT funny."
Especially considering it almost had some truth to it. He usually frequented exotic fetishist bars, and while the whores there were very much alive, they made themselves prettied up to look very dead.
Q'd never fuck a dead body but... The "zombies" were kind of hot, he'd admit.

Saeda then got up close to him, whispering something about plans.
Shit, he thought. He'd forgotten.

"What did you expect!" he shouted in french, throwing up his hands. Then, correcting himself, he said the rest in english. "You locked me out of the room, I had to do something to bide my time!"

He grit his teeth together, exhaling loudly through his nose. He was agitated. He got up from the stool and turned one more time to Kristine.
"I apologize," he said. "You know how kids are, I am sure."
He had said it in normal tone, but the condescension was evident even without needing to bring attention to it audibly.

He took his his wallet out and laid a hundred dollar bill on the table, half waving goodbye to Kristine before showing the thing in his back pocket once more and walking past Saeda.

"Well come on, then," he ushered, headed back to the room. "Giggles."

Q was lucky in that he could walk straight. It took years of drinking to do this type of shit all right. But he was damn near close to losing it. Just give it a bit more time for the alcohol to settle in. Hell, if they had to take a car to this place rather than the walking Q was used to doing, he'd probably be gone by the time they reached the highway.
 
S

Sine.Nomine

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She followed him quietly as they made their way back to the room. She didn't want to risk over exciting him and causing him to pass out. He was too heavy for her to carry. As soon as the door was closed behind her however, she snapped irritably, "Giggles? really?" She was going to say more, but at this point there was no use. He probably wouldn't remember anything she said anyway. That argument would have to wait.

She took off her coat and threw it over the back of the chair they'd used earlier. This was done with enough force to make the chair rise from two legs and teeter a moment. Luckily, it came back down on all four. She grabbed a pillow and tossed it at him with an equal amount of force. "You're drunk and I've never shot a gun before. We're not going anywhere tonight, since I'd rather not be shot...or shoot you, as pleasant as that seems. So I think I deserve the bed, since I wasn't the one to bail. Oh and you know what? There is an entire staff here that would have been willing to let you into our room. You being locked out was a sorry excuse for you to go get drunk. Mr. Lee, I hope you take your position more seriously in the morning."

With that she began to fight with her boots, trying to liberate her aching toes.
 
Q

[Q]

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"What?" he argued. "Giggles was the name YOU wanted!" he shouted back.

The pillow was thrown at him, and he caught it, but only after it slipping through his hands a few times.
"Listen!" He said, "You already know how to shoot a gun! I told you everything you needed to know. It's just up to you to gauge how to react based on recoil. That takes practice. I do not need to be sober for that."

He opened his mouth and gave a chuff sound through it, almost as if he were an agitated dog.
She then explained how the staff would've let him back in, and for that Q did feel just a bit stupid, but had no real response for.
Maybe it was a cheap reason to get drunk.
He dropped the pillow to the floor and gave another chuff, pacing in the area between the window, bed, and chair. He made an effort to stay away from Saeda, but his lines back and forth grew to be irritating, even for him.

After pacing for at least a good minute and a half, he let out a guttural growl that grew in volume, ending abruptly with another chuff. This time it sounded almost like a cough to cut off the growl, his head jerking to the side with the movement. He shook his head angrily, communicating solely in body language now. His head was his center of gravity, it leaned forward when he walked forward, left to the left, and etcetera. He went to the door, twisted the knob but kicked it open with his boot. He offered no vocalization of where he was going and slammed the door behind him.

Once out in the hall, he walked to the lobby, then out the front door, then down the street. It wasn't until halfway down the street where he pushed his hands into his pockets and began to stand up straighter, gradually looking a bit more human with every step. And with every stride, the length seemed to widen. Walking faster and swifter with every second that passed by.

After two blocks was passed he had seemed to drop the weird bestial visage and was a person again. A very agitated, lost in his thoughts, wanting to be alone person, but a person nonetheless.
 
S

Sine.Nomine

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As he spent his time pacing and making some very bestial sounds, Saeda was elated by here free toes. She was just wiggling them to test out their new freedom when Q stormed out the door. She blinked at it for a moment debating whether or not she should go after him. She wasn't keen on the idea of being cooped up with him in this room... he was a bit of a jerk. But she wasn't anymore keen on the idea of him not coming back. Despite her distaste for him, he was all she had. Saito had given this task to Q because he was expendable. None of her father's other men had the time to work with her.

She wiggled her toes sadly and puffed out her cheeks in an over dramatic sigh. After a minute or so, she flew off the bed toward the door. She stumbled over one of the ungodly large boots and yelped over a stubbed toe. She didn't have time to fight with those stupid things. Barefoot, she left the room.

She didn't want to make a scene, so as she followed behind him at a distance down the hall, through the lobby, and out the doors, she said nothing. She simply smiled at the quizzical looks given to her and tried to look as nonchalant as possible. She was almost running since his strides her so much longer than hers, but the distance between them never stretched and uncontrollable amount. Once outside, however it became quite the task to keep up. Her feet were soft and the rough pavement stung with each step. Once or twice she stepped on a rock and had to take a moment to whimper and hold her foot.

He'd gone two blocks before she caught up with him completely. "Stop! Wait, Q.... where are you going?" She grabbed his sleeve and tugged to get him to just stop moving.
 
Q

[Q]

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He had a looming feeling Saeda was tailing him, but didn't care about it too much, pretty confident that he could outwalk her and pretty much anyone any day. Or night.
Especially night.

But she did catch up to him, pulled on his sleeve. He shrugged her away from himself, keeping his hands in his pockets and kept walking, but she caught up again and pulled at him harder again. He finally stopped and glared at her through his sunglasses which... Yes... Were still pushed up his nose and protecting his precious eyes.

His upper lip raised and he bore his teeth for a moment, as if to bite her, but then turned away, growling slightly. "Walking. what's it look like."
He shrugged her of himself again, taking a step forward, his back now to her, but suddenly stopped in his tracks, a slight squeak escaping from his throat.

His mouth opened, but no other sound came as he tore his left hand from his pocket and placed it on his chest, grip tightening on his dress shirt. He stumbled over to the wall of a building, leaning his shoulder against it and beginning to shiver.
If Saeda was such a mistress of pain, she would realize that from the way Bornes's muscles were tensing and his body quivering, that's what he was in.
He bent over, and finally it was gone, as quickly as it came.

Bornes's muscles loosened almost immediately and he breathed through his mouth, having held it during the small burst.
He didn't know for sure, but he'd guessed he'd just had some sort of heart attack. He purposefully was ignorant of medical things.

He hesitated a moment, his grip on his shirt loosening and finally moving to the outside of his pants, his prior excitement wearing off.

Well.
He was pretty damn sober now, at least.

Not a second later, he hastily grabbed at the cigarette pack in his right pocket and took out a cancer stick, attempting to light it. His lighter wouldn't keep a flame, and Bornes was beginning to get desperate, periodically switching between shaking the lighter and just trying to get it to spark at differing angles.
Finally he pushed himself off the wall and angrily threw the lighter across the street with a grunt.

He took the cigarette from his mouth and put it back in the pack, replacing that in his pocket and started to walk around the block again, going in a large circle.
"I'm walking," he repeating. "What's it look like?"

More like trying to run away from a personal problem, it seemed.
 
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Sine.Nomine

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Saeda was trying to get him to stop. She just wanted this tantrum of his to be over so they could go back to the room and she could get some shoes on. He wasn't having any of that, and he just kept shrugging her off. Suddenly he bore his teeth at her and growled, which took her by complete surprise. "Walking, what does it look like?" He barked at her. Her entire body jumped backward in recoil. "Ungh!" was all she said in return.

After shrugging her off once more, he finally did stop. A squeak found its way to the girl's ears, and had she not seen the expression on his face she would never have accepted that it came from him. She did and it did. Her eyes became wide with a fearful wonder as his mouth opened wordlessly and he stumbled toward a wall. Both of her brows reached for the sky above, but that was the only part of her taking any action. His muscles tensed, and his body quivered. She half expected a full on seizure any minute, but she still did very little aside from watch him as one does a monkey at the zoo. She even added a tilt of her as she struggled to comprehend his actions. It was clear he was in pain. She looked in both directions up and down the street, wondering if anyone else was going to do something about his declining condition. In an oddly coincedental fashion, there was no one. One arm crossed over her torso just beneath her breast. She rested the elbow of the other on the closed fist of the first, with its attached hand floating limply in the air about her head. There was no blood and he was still conscious so this hardly qualified as a crisis by anyone's standards. this being the case, Saeda was content to stand back with a tiny sneer and watch him eat his humble pie.

In a moment it was all over and his body became more or less relaxed. She took a step toward him now, thinking it appropriate to check his well-being. While it'd been great fun to witness, somewhere in the back of her mind was a gnawing feeling of apprehension that she couldn't shake no matter how deserving she considered him of this episode. He pulled out a cigarette and fumbled with the light. No flame came. She hung back, unsure of what she should say- of what she could say. He seemed quite agitated. At length he disassociated himself with the wall and hurled his lighter into the vespertine air. Somewhere on the other side of the street it clattered with a few sharp tinks before coming to a rest in some forgotten gutter.

He needed to be left alone, and she was in no mood to deal with his snarky comments. He started forward but without the previous hobbling sort of gait. Saeda hung back for a moment, taking in the sight of him in. He was so serious. He wore a deep scowl, and she suspected that behind the glasses was a thousand mile stare. She didn't know this, but his mind did not currently seem to reside within his being. If she was going to make this situation work to her advantage, she was going to have to be personable until her lessons were complete. It would do her no good if they stayed in a permanent stand-off until he suddenly keeled over. She rolled her eyes at this thought and muttered to herself, "oh brother."

He ambled along. She turned back, leaving him to wander forward. About 15 yards back there had been a tiny convenience store that she intended to make use of. A short jog found her through the door in no time, and she gathered a bottle of water before grabbing the true reason for her visit. Seeing no one behind the counter and fearful he'd walk too far before she returned and be lost to her, she quietly slipped out the way she'd come in. She hoped there were no bells chiming in whatever back room the attendant must have been in.

A few minutes of searching brought her in a full circle around the block. She fell into stride beside him again, and she heard him repeat the phrase that had started the whole ordeal. "I'm walking. What's it look like?" Wondering why she'd just put the effort into her next action, she followed through with her plan. She held a pink bic in front of him and asked, "So what was all that? Are you going to croak any time soon?" Afterward she offered the water.
 
Q

[Q]

Guest
Original poster
Bornes kept walking, and once Saeda left him, he began to slow down, coming to much more of a sauntering pace by the time she caught up to him again. She offered him the lighter and she said some words he didn't really pay attention to.
As if she actually cared about him.
What a nice actor she was.

He stopped, turned, and snatched the lighter out of her hands, walking toward a nearby bench and sitting in it after he took the pack of cigarettes out and laid it in his lap. He took out a cig and put it between his lips, bringing the lighter up and producing a flame, quickly sucking in the fumes from the cancer stick and putting the lighter down. A small cough followed, and he looked away from Saeda, across the street.

He spread his legs on the bench, leaning back into it lazily, his right hand behind the bench's back and his left periodically holding his cigarette so it didn't have to stay between his lips.
Bornes hated smoking. He wanted so badly to quit. He disliked the taste, the smell. He didn't like how it made his head feel. The one thing it did for him really was make him look more intimidating. But his face was intimidating enough. Long grey hair, huge scar over his face, permanent sunglasses, weird slash 'whisker' tattoos on his chin. He looked like either some freakshow that had run from the circus to kill people or a character straight out of an animated television program.

But he needed them.
He didn't know what else to do to stave off his illness... Or whatever it was.
He wasn't addicted to smoking, no. He had to smoke.

It was the alcohol that he was addicted to, and it was that that'd probably end up killing him.
"Don't let me have more than two drinks," he said to no one in particular, looking up at the moon, a plume of smoke leaving his mouth.
"I get stupid."

His accent had left and his stomach churned slightly, not liking the idea of a second cigarette, which Q was currently reaching for after tossing his first butt on the ground, and the amount of alcohol still technically in his system.

After lighting another one, he looked down at the pack in his lap. The stuff that saved him from passing out periodically would probably give him cancer. If it hadn't already. He flipped the pack over in his lap, studying the box. Benson & Hedges, this time. It was a gold box with a European emblem on it.
Ha. Figures, for someone like him.
These were the very first brand of cigarettes he'd ever tried.
"I bought these for you," Vespasien had said.
Quatre Bornes looked at the man wide-eyed. "You want me to smoke?"
Vespasien chuckled, opening the pack. "You don't have your father's medicines anymore. This is the only thing I can think of that will help you. Besides! In America, it makes you look cool."
Quatre Bornes had looked down at the pack, hesitant.
"I will help you smoke your first one, Quatre Bornes. It is not as bad as everyone says it is. And for you, smoking will actually be a good thing."

Bornes frowned and looked across the street again. He needed to just forget about Ves. The guy should be dead to him. He put his hand to his face, cigarette between the two fingers as he took yet another drag.
As he exhaled, he gave a small choke again.

"Look," he said, turning to Saeda, finally. Acknowledging her existence.
"I'm sorry I forgot about the farm thing."
His voice didn't seem like he meant that, but it took a lot of guts to say that regardless.

"There's...." He hesitated, closing his mouth and debating with himself if he should even tell her. He decided not to.
"I'm used to working alone. I don't normally have to stay sober. I fucked up. It happens."

He stubbed out the cigarette and stood up, putting the lighter and pack in his pocket.
"Thanks for the lighter."

He took a step forward to the hotel, but lost his balance and stumbled a bit. He managed to catch himself, but only by holding onto Saeda's shoulder.
Shit, he was more gone than he thought he was.

When he regained himself, he hastily let go of Saeda, a look of concern filling his face. "Sorry."
He put his hands back in his pockets and began to walk very slowly back toward the hotel.
 
S

Sine.Nomine

Guest
Original poster
His hand fell against her bare shoulder, and the same wave of recoil from earlier washed over her. Too close, she hissed in her mind. But then she noticed the speed at which he made his way back. She wondered if that episode was more serious than she'd previously believed. A losing racing snail moved more quickly than he was right that moment. Some strange new emotion filled her then- sympathy. The tugging at her heart displeased her, but if she didn't obey then there could be consequences. Denying that she was feeling human at that moment, she justified her next action by reminding herself once more that her lessons depended on him.

With a heart hammering so loudly she could hear nothing else, she rushed forward to move in next to him sliding one arm around his waist. "Lean on me. We'll get you back quickly so you can rest." In the same moment, she gently grabbed his hand and put it around her shoulders. She stood as tall as she could so he'd not have to lean too awkwardly, but she could still feel the way their bodies didn't quite line up.

Her throat was dry which made talking difficult. She was content to move in silence, hoping he would be too. She wasn't sure her voice would be steady if she had to respond. She didn't trust the wooziness that had taken over her; it was like a thousand tiny ants marched their way around every inch of her flesh from the inside out. People were strange creatures and she wasn't sure she wanted to become more acquainted with them. Up until now, her life as a solitary predator had been fulfilling enough. Her personal space was cherished. And this new kindness she'd been practicing in the past hour or so was making her question herself. Maybe she'd sneak a drink herself. Maybe she'd already been snuck a drink and didn't know it. Probably not... but why else was she acting so unusually?

_________________________

The two men watched the mercenary walk around the block while the little blond ran back to some store. The van crawled slowly behind Q, being careful to not draw any suspicion. When the girl returned and exchange of words took place. He man in sunglasses began to walk back the way he'd come from, and the girl came to his aid. Inside the van the men looked at one another. The man with broader shoulders spoke in a deep rumble, "Is that the one?"

"Yes." was the other's response. The van crawled slowly after them.
 
Q

[Q]

Guest
Original poster
Bornes swallowed as his arm was maneuvered in position. He felt a little awkward, taking advantage of this. With a sigh he simply let her do it, let her lead him on. How unpredictable was she? One second she hated him and the next it seemed like she wanted to be his mother. Maybe that's what teenagers were about. He could remember doing stupid things as a teenager. His tattoos were one of the more major examples. Only idiots got tattoos on their face.

In no time, they were back in the hotel room and Q sat himself in the corner of the room, near to the window. He leaned his head against the converge of both walls and pretended to fall asleep, his sunglasses still on. He waited, watching Saeda through his lenses, hoping she would fall asleep soon.
What felt like at least an hour later she was in the bed and her breathing had slowed. He finally let out a large breath himself and readjusted how he sat, grabbing the pillow and putting it below him. He unbuckled his belt and pushed his pants down to his ankles, not wanting to take his boots off to release himself from the clothes entirely.

After this, he reached down and pulled something out from his boxer's leg, his breath becoming a slight bit uneven as he pet it, pulling it up closer toward his face from between his legs. He held his right hand at the base of it, near his boxers, and the other hand added pressure as he stroked upward to the tip, his teeth gritting at the subtle pain and soft cracks of bone that followed the motion.

Why do you drink so much, he thought to himself. You know it just makes it more sore.

After the several small bones had cracked, he let it fall to the floor between his legs, scrubbing the rug from side to side slowly, as if testing the waters to see if it still worked. It was a long, sinewy, feathered tail of black fur. He kept it in his pants during the day or when he was outside. It was his shame, his terrible secret, probably the source for all his pain. And it was also part of what Saito was holding against him. Q would rather die than let the general public know he was a freak again.

He let it wave around freely for a few minutes before pulling his pants up and walking to the bathroom. He locked the door and stripped, taking a long needed shower, taking special consideration for his furry appendage, stretching it out and cracking it some more. He took good care of it, despite it being the source of most of his hate. He had to, though. He had learned early on that if he didn't take proper care of it, he'd be greeted by almost debilitating pain. Getting this thing pulled was right on par with being kicked in the nuts. The pain didn't last quite as long, but it was certainly very high up on the pain scale.

After his shower he sat naked on the toilet for quite a long time, letting himself air dry. He had no real reason for not using a towel, other than probably to waste time away. He wasn't exactly tired, yet. He was used to working nights. After he was dry, he put back on his dirty clothes, having left everything aside from his gun back at Saito's, and went back into the main room, lying his head on the pillow on the floor and sleeping on his stomach.

When morning came, the light woke him up. His glasses had fallen off at some point in the night and when he awoke, he hissed, shoving his face into his pillow before blindly looking around with his hand to try and find his shades. Saeda must've woken up before him and opened the curtains.
As his hand searched pretty much every inch around the pillow that his head was smushed in, he growled.
He had been making general padding motions around his face area. Now that he was flustered, he made a huge sweeping motion over the rug. No glasses.

He hit his right fist on the pillow while systematically raising his face quickly.
"What'd you do with my sunglasses?!" he demanded, a scowl on his face.

His eyes were squeezed shut and his hair was messed, actually revealing his tanned face and his square jaw. A long slash-scar ran from under his left eyebrow, through the bridge of his nose, to stop on his right cheek, and his tattoos, the black triangle-like 'whiskers' actually were formed in the vague shape of gills, flowing from his bottom cheeks and chin area to below the chinline, stopping at the tender flesh beneath his chin toward his neck.

He obviously couldn't see, so he didn't know if Saeda had taken them. But it was his assumption she had, otherwise why wouldn't he have been able to find the glasses with his hands?
 
S

Sine.Nomine

Guest
Original poster
Drip. Drop. Drip. Drop. The sound tinkled in a cavernous blackness that whispered echos for eternity. In the darkness grew the faintest crimson. With each splatter of droplets, the crimson grew while around the edge of the blackness came a bright white. The rusty color merged with the white until Saeda was looking at a white wall. Hand prints of some indiscernible color dragged across the virgin blanch. Then she was looking at herself, down a long white hall. With each step the other her grew smaller and smaller until she was a tiny child. The tiny child held a red ball. Inside the ball was a velvet ribbon. She was running on the ribbon, and it grew and grew until it spread forever in each direction. Everything halted. She held a photo of a smashed in face, given to her by Q. Drip. Drop. Drip. Drop. She tested the glossy surface, just as she had done in the office an eternity ago. When she checked her finger, it was covered in a crimson. A child laughed. She laughed.

Saeda sat up in the smoldering blackness, flinging sweat into the areas just beyond her field of vision. Shallow breaths moved slowly through her, quickening as she fell into awareness. When at last she was able to recount her dream with words instead of fragments of memory reeling through her mind, she giggled to herself. Her best ideas came to her in dreams.
________________________

She stood over Q, staring at down at him. On her lips was not a sign of emotion, no smile, no frown, just the determination that comes after careful prepping.

Q began to stir slowly. But as he started his morning in the half-aware fashion, slowly she saw her plan begin it's execution. She stood as still as and stared as distantly as a porcelain doll, but no doll would ever be painted with a en expression so wicked as the one she wore while watching him fumble for his glasses.

She sucked at a cig she'd stolen from him and imagined Bette Davis, posing as though it should gain her some respect. She felt the swell of pride that she imagined one felt when breaking out the cigars. She was congratulating herself.

"What'd you do with my glasses?" cut the silence she'd been listening to for hours.

"I took them." She said matter of factly. "You need to tell me whats wrong with you. I don't like secrets." With that she bent and picked up a large floodlight she'd purchased in the hardware section of the 24 hour super-mart. With a flicking motion she switched it on and off over and over.
 
Q

[Q]

Guest
Original poster
I took them.
You need to tell me what's wrong with you.
I don't like secrets.


Bornes jumped to his feet with a snarl. Eyes still closed, he turned in the direction he thought the nearest wall was. He opened his eyes just for a moment to make sure he was correct, only to be greeted with a huge flood light shines directly into his eyes.
He called out as if someone had just kicked him in the gut.

That obviously wasn't where the wall was.
He turned himself completely around but didn't dare to open his eyes again. One hand stuck to his face, palm squeezed against his eyes sockets to block light, and the hand outstretched, waiting to make contact with the wall.

It finally did, and he slid it in the direction he thought the window was. Fortunately for him, he was correct. After some initial fumbling, he turned toward it and used both his hands to close the curtains, significantly dampening the light in the room. But all the while he could hear the flood light being turned on and off, and he knew that if he turned around he'd be assaulted again with the light. He kept his back to her, his hands on either side of the window.

"What are you doing?!" he yelled.
And how did she figure out he was light sensitive? Most people just assumed he liked to hide his eyes to remain mysterious, but her...
Good god, the kid went all out just to torment him!

The light from the bulb of the flood light reflected of the walls and he could see it through his eyelids. He angled his face down at the floor.
The thought of killing her passed his mind.

"I'm sensitive to light! I think you figured that out all by yourself, you know?! Jesus turn that thing off!"
 
S

Sine.Nomine

Guest
Original poster
She didn't respond to him. It was all of no consequence to her. He stood near the window, protecting his eyes. She turned off the light and held it close to her chest.

"I'll turn it off when you agree to tell me everything. I want to know who you are, what your problem is. Why are you sensitive to light? What was that crap you pulled outside? If we're going be committing crimes together.... I have to know I can trust you!" She readied herself to flick the switch again if his answer was not to her satisfaction.
 
Q

[Q]

Guest
Original poster
Bornes's shoulders raised and fell as he breathed , his hands falling to the window sill as he listened to her. For a moment, it appeared as if he had given up. But he heard her flick the light off and waited for her to finish her piece before he took a few more breaths, and opened his eyes very slowly.

"I'm sensitive to light because...."

And then, as if a tightly wound coil had just broken, spun around and lunged at her, jump-tackling her like some crazed football player, his only aim was to get that light away from her hands.