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The Usual Suspects

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The Usual Suspects

Post by Guest on Mon May 21, 2012 3:07 pm

I've heard people say before that sitting by your brother's hospital bed and watching him slowly, painfully, and horrifically die is pretty much the worst thing in the world. Well, no disrespect meant, but I think that sitting by your brother's hospital bed and watching him, or, well, what's left of him, grapple for consciousness, brief windows of activated life, of comprehension and understanding... and watching him fail every time... I think that probably trumps the first in every way possible.

It's that feeling of being in limbo, sitting in an indefinite purgatory when a single dice roll could, a single breath, a stray breeze, could push the kindest soul you've ever known into life or death, into vigour or non-existence. It's that feeling of being in limbo that I fucking despise. It chills me to the bone, and causes every last strand of hair on the back of my neck to stand up straight like little mortified, undead soldiers. I don't consider myself an emotive person on principle, and my brother's situation has still brought me to the brink and caused tears to flow from my ever-dry eyes like rivers. It makes me want to drink acid and breathe fire, to drop a bomb into my stomach and sit there solemnly as the timer ticks away inside of me with every waking second. It roasts my heart at the very core, carves aside my rib-cage, and fires up the blowtorch on full, sizzling my ticker until I can't take it any more... and then it fries it a little more. It lets me drift back into recovery once the pain stops, and then the damn organ goes through the ropes again, that same fucking loop, over and over, no end in sight.

Or, at least, it would, if I had one.


*****

Beep. Beep. Beep.

A pair of deep emerald eyes flickered up to the 'no smoking' sign sitting fastened boldly to the wall, and regarded it with discontent, before raising the cigarette to his mouth and taking another, long drag. In some of his earlier visits, barely a spry young lad, Zachariah 'King' Krow had taken cigarettes in to cope, and he'd been shot down by the nursing staff, but as he'd grown from a mourning young boy into a mourning young man, they'd begun to acknowledge him less and less.

For all they knew, his brother's illness was terminal. When the grey-haired figure sat in Room W101-B, the door wasn't to be opened. The nurse's alarm wasn't to be answered. Hell, even if the entire fucking hospital was going up in flames, no-one touched that door. Once King went in, he was the sole conscious occupant, and that was that. Not a single ant crawled in or out of that bolstered metal threshold, as long as he sat back by his brother's body.

He'd tried a number of his own homeopathic remedies. Breathing cigarette smoke over his brother as he tore the plastic covering from another ten-pack of Marlboros; no avail. Hoping that the smell of smoke would cause his brother to arise and begin spouting omens of lung cancer and impending death; it didn't matter if he was angry, or if he was calm. He just wanted to see that waking face again.

And, even then, it wasn't like Jack had been out cold for these past eleven years without even showing a single sign of movement. He'd lapsed in and out of consciousness, but couldn't leave the room. Not his physical form, at least. Not hooked up to a dialysis machine, and missing both kidneys and a liver. Not any time soon.

Well, that... that had been the case. King moved to the edges of the room with a sigh, tapping the cigarette's ash into a tray he carried constantly in his right hand whilst inside the room's deathly ominous barriers, whilst contained in that eternal, nightmarish prison of furnished blue, white curtains, and all manner of monitoring equipment.

Pushing the window open to alleviate himself of that stench of death and smoke, he allowed the ambience of chittering Gelemortian-exclusive birds to seep into the room, at least allowing him to create the false illusion of more than one life in his brother's cell. Things... things had changed. Jack had undergone... procedures. The automail arm, the transplanted artificial liver, kidneys... he was fit, and healthy, save for minor muscle atrophy; but that was nothing that couldn't be fixed over a few months of physio. For all intents and purposes, a miracle had struck Jackyll Gauner Krow... yet, still, his brother stood, sombre as ever, removing his coat and stubbing out his cigarette.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

For months, Jack had lived on not in his own consciousness as the dangerous, prototyped procedures had been performed. It was a stroke of dumb luck and incredible precisions that his body hadn't been mutilated beyond belief by the implantation of almost half of his vital organs. No, for months, Jack had lived within not his own body... but King's. His soul had been consumed, and that was why King had restrained himself from consuming others, from accessing Gluttony's powers once more; that was why he'd fought desperately for innumerable hours, days, weeks, months... fought against the ever-growing tug of temptation that the homunculus soul within him held. That was why he'd accepted his sacrifice of a mortal life for a beatless heart and this immortal form.

For Jack.

Within his own body, an illusion had been crafted. Certain... certain discrepancies were awry, yes; a lot of Jack's memories were skewed, unreal, and not in keeping with his own. King stood back over him now with what should have been a look of pure and simple happiness and anticipation on his face; not one of grim regret and apprehension as it was.

When King implanted his brother's soul back into his mortal body, and removed the anaesthetic mask, there was no telling what would happen. The influx of memories could render him braindead, or reduce him to a jabbering wreck. He could just as easily go madly insane as he could ridiculously depressed, or lose any sense of comprehension of a former identity whatsoever. King very well knew that Jack might not recognise or remember even him - his very own brother.

Setting the ashtray down and hanging the coat upon the peg on the door, King clasped his hands together and made final preparations. He pulled up the sleeves of his silky Jeff Banks shirt, he rolled up his cuffs. He loosened his tie and cracked his neck from side to side, sighing. He pulled down the miniature blind he'd requested for suspended over the window. He overturned every picture of a happy, smiling, younger Jack that he remembered, not allowing a single tear to brim at the corner of his eye. He blocked out every form of emotion, positive or negative, just for that momentary window... because he had to. Not feeling anything for a few moments was more than a fair trade for his brother's life.

Then, finally, King grasped every cable he could, and ripped it from Jack's body. The catheter, the inert dialysis machine, the heart rate monitor... all of them flashed their warning LEDs and let their buzzers and sirens wail. The steady series of beep noises turned to a banshee's scream of a flatline. Stoic as ever, King flung himself around, and engaged the lock on the door, pulling the curtain aside proper, and tugging everything he could out of range of his brother.

Finally, panting, for a moment, everything was still within the maelstrom of homunculus-induced chaos of Room W101-B.

King snapped straight into gear. A hand went straight to his jaw, and tugged frantically once at the left side, a grimace and an involuntary groan solicited. His face twisted and contorted, the skin beneath his eyes stretching as he tried desperately to pull on the bone of his jaw. Another tug, but this time to no avail, except for another groan, the aching pain now amplified, the homunculus' entire body confused as to the nature of this... odd pain.

The room was still but for King's panting again. Firm fingers curled through open gaps of flesh left from simple, pale lips, and grasped downwards into the damp, wet, flesh of the new Gluttony's mouth, hooking over his teeth and grasping desperately. Eyelids flickered and closed shut over swirling green whirlpools, as, finally, King applied every last ounce of pressure he could, all that backed up power, everything.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!" Pain had no language. It seared through the homunculus' teeth, through his cheek, through his chin, that disconnected jaw, as it finally came loose, and dislocated. He didn't know how anacondas could do this every time they happened upon larger prey. The first was always the most difficult, and the worst, though; he hadn't done this in almost a year. Bloodied fingers flitted around from the sides, King's own incisors having carved into them, and gripped around the teeth of the right side of his jaw as he tugged again, grimacing, groaning, and almost howling with muffled pain as he did so, releasing another anguished scream as the jawbone finally came loose from its socket.

Trembling, blood dripping from the freshly-opened wounds on quaking fingers, King let his eyelids finally retract over those glistening emerald orbs, the desperation clear and twinkling, almost madly so, within his eyes. He was... almost there. Just the last stretch, and then it'd all be fine. Gripping the metal posts of the bed, King pulled himself up, and let rugged, thick, bloody hands grasp the cold flesh of his brother's limp, lifeless body.

The first grasp only pulled him up to the midriff. Kneeling on the raised metal end of the bed itself, hovering barely inches above a body he'd longed to see awaken for over a decade, King pulled Jack a little further down, pushing his legs off to the side - it didn't look comfortable, but comfort was the least of his worries right now.

The white hospital robes had been tarnished now with dripping crimson, and Jack's motionless body looked like something out of a B-movie horror. Tilting his head from side to side once more, King allowed his head to dip downwards, falling in an arc, only stopping himself when he grasped the metal railings at the side, his entire body trembling as his limb, hanging jaw, disconnected, brushed Jack's covered chest. King hissed out a whisper, possibly his brother's name, a near-insane sibling longing hanging in that disconnected voice of his as another pang of pain shot through his jaw. He just had to grit his teeth - metaphorically - and bear it, for a few moments more.

Holding his head in place for but a moment more began to stir up all kinds of chaos in his stomach. For King, this was a ritual, the beginning to a process which some would call sacred, and others sacrilegious. He didn't care. For him? It was a safety net, and a security measure for his brother. Something which allowed King to ensure that no matter what bodily damage his brother's body underwent, the soul still stayed happy, and intact. One that acted as a last resort, a final-ditch contingency.

He felt the blue flames of Jack's life energy tickle the back of his throat as he bucked upwards and downwards, as if constant balls and chunks of solid vomit were sliding through his throat. It was a horrific, queasy feeling, normally, regurgitating something; and it was even worse when it was terrible enough that it held such important and drastic connotations; one slight fuck-up, and Jack's soul could end up in the body of a hummingbird. As interesting as it would be... King was in no mood to experiment, just yet. So much had been risked, so very much; and now it was time to get a touch, just a sprinkling of gain out of it. For this blood-soaked tree to finally bear fruit.

The orb slid upwards through the final stretches of King's throat and into his mouth, whereupon the intense heat began to gather. Retracting his jaw from around it, King unleashed a gargling, already noticing the feeling inside his stomach of emptiness; now, no longer just that hunger he always had for excess, but an abyssal, dank, black void, one that could never be truly sated, only temporarily. Jack had fulfilled that avenue in his unconsciousness and comatose state; but King's wellbeing and fulfilment was secondary: his brother's needs were of the highest priority, now. Even Alena herself didn't match up to this. Even he had to disregard and blow her off when it came to Jack. He'd been the only focal point of his life, and, ironically enough, in his coma, the only thing he really had as reasoning for him to keep going, to find reason.

Finally, King slumped backwards, and slid off of the bed, his legs too weak to hold him up; he buckled, and dropped to his knees with a thump, feeling as if nine months of energy had just been sucked out of him with a vacuum; but, still, the blue orb hovered, rotating, gyrating, spinning upon its own axes, above Jack's gown-clad chest. Whatever forces held it there weren't any that King had ever heard of or read about... but... well... the things he'd encountered in the last few months... this came as no real surprise.

It was beautiful, though. Like a thousand million drops of blue sunlight, the very base of the flame of a candle before a wick, the blue tinges of an inferno at its roots; so very dangerous, so very monumental, and so very powerful... yet almost entrancing. King forgot everything for but a moment, and those emerald orbs of his simply focused on it, the realisation that had been skipping through his head so prominently finally coming up to the front of his mind, and the impact of it hitting him like a hammer: this was Jack's soul.

One trembling hand fastened again around the bedframe, still, if only for a moment, as a look of tenacity crept back onto the homunculus' face. That hand of his, specked with blood, wounds still seeping from King's dislocating his own jaw earlier, smudged with his own life-fluid... it soared through the air, as graceful as ever, stopping barely an inch above the luminescent ball, before the homunculus brought his hand down like a hammer; the arm of decision, the single limb that finished it all off, made all the difference.

He didn't know how he knew to do it, but, somehow, it was just... the perfect thing to do. It was an unspoken truth, something that came with Gluttony's mantle; something he'd never needed to learn, or read. Something that was just ever-present with these double-edged blades of abilities. These simultaneous blessings and curses. The orb began to spin faster, falling downwards, searing a hole in the gown, before, finally, touching Jack's sternum, and gushing out into a wave, a flowing blanket of blue flames that washed over his brother's form, allowing his soul to seep back into him through every accessible pore in his body.

With that spectacle borne witness to, King let his head fall back against the floor, jaw still dislocated, finger still bleeding, as he released his grip on the bed-frame, his eyes flickering shut as nine months of lethargy and exhaustion he'd never felt grasped him, Jack's soul feeding him as much energy as it had anguish. Now... now it was Jack's turn. He had to come back into the world of the living. And as King groaned with absolute and complete pain, sliding his jaw back into its sockets, one side at a time, with two more sudden bursts of pain, and two more sequential screams, he finally released one simple, single, trembling phrase:

"W-wake up... wake up, Jack..."

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Re: The Usual Suspects

Post by Guest on Mon May 21, 2012 6:31 pm

Slowly, the dream ended in phases of irredeemable color, forced into dank shades of gray and meager wishes for everything to end already...though it felt as if it had just begun. Celesto and his head of stark blond hair paraded through thickets of endless snow that went on and on into nothingness. Hungry with travel, he ventured but further into the mirth of his birth country. After spending so much time being wrong about himself, he discovered his roots in Gelemorté with a man named Wolfy who enjoyed making snow angels as much as he did. Now, Celes saw no excitement in that...only work. Work formed about the entire mass of land, making him no longer know just what it was he wanted to do. The gears spun through his blind eye, turned off from the world, gazing into the gate of his own suffering where there was nothing left to seek out. Abandoned by all including his own twin brother, his feet continued on the frozen white path, contrasted against the black sky, nothing more, nothing less. He didn't stop to question why it kept going; he didn't stop to ask why was it that he continued on it; he merely kept going. Endless arms, crooked, malformed like sullen tree branches arched into the sky, scrapping violently against the stars until the sky too was etched away into white. How could one simply erase the world? Heart in his throat, he swallowed the fear, the frost bite. Foot in front of the other, soon his shoes were torn off with walking. Never tiring, the tundra tipped its hat to the footprints behind him until his coat too tattered away into invisible scraps of what once was. Arms bare: one metal, one not were equally cold. One day, he had nothing. The next, he couldn't see himself. And the next, there was no forward. Crying without tears, he froze still, having nowhere to go, no objective, and nothing in which to be. It broke, shattered, snow gone, cold gone until slowly each passing thought slowed to a drone, ending ever so...quietly.

Cacophonies of tones wrecked travesties against every tendril of hair on his body. Vibrations of sounds entered into a strange place he could not fathom. No, his name was not Celesto. No, it wasn't. It wasn't. Wasn't. Echoes transforming into thoughts burst through the surface, gasping for breath despite having breathed underwater for so long. Every pore was filling with something so warm it roasted his skin and made his head spin. He had a head, had a form--a body again. Returning, returning again to somewhere that made sense--somewhere with existence. It was tiring, exhausting so much that he dipped back in momentarily, nearly losing it all into the temptation of endless sleep. Death was an understatement in this case--in this case the word itself was so weightless that it challenged the prospect of gravity itself. This--this was something more, something less that encompassed all: that spiraling tunnel marred with waves...so many waves. Again and again they bumped into any sort of feeling, squeezing it until more salt water dripped out from eyes wide that saw into the very core of meaning. Endlessly churning, seasickness was inevitable, drowning had already happened many times, all that was left...was to wake up.

"W-wake up..."--a voice from the faraway abyss of another world--another place he hadn't been in so long. Vaguely, he remembered the owner of that voice--that the person was someone important to him. His name was not Celesto. It was only a dream, a dream somehow he felt he would never wake up from, but here he was waking up from it as told. The act of obeying kind of pissed him off, but this was a whatever case where he didn't have much of a choice. At the same time? When he had begun to question himself and moved to Gelemorté, leaving behind Euphie, Grimm, everyone...he felt that maybe those people had never really existed--that even Wolfy was fake. He suffered. More and more he digressed into a painful dream in which The World mocked him--in which the gears continuously spun as if being the constructors of such a place. Creaking wheels with divots, rusty from age, glinting right off the page as if it were from a printing press, made by hands that knew his real name, but preferred to have him not as himself. But did he really even know himself? No, who was he? He simply knew that he was not Celesto--simply knew that everything that he remembered to this moment was not real. Not real. His entire life to this moment was a breath in the throws of that unmentionable word, suspended in the air above his bed. Bed. Feeling seeped back, something under him, flat, long. The word bed hardly did it justice. It was something that was in the real world now holding him there--something with substance, more tangible than anything he remembered. Fingers of his skinned hand dug into the mattress, somehow remembering to breathe: large breaths of air that stung his lungs and burned his chest, rapidly hammering against something inside of him. Reason. The reason for coming back was inside of him--something that didn't belong but did the job of what had, but failed, taken out--out so that something else could be put in. A dull, bodily ache, there to tell him that he was in himself. "wake up, Jack..."

Who was that other than himself? He felt it strongly now, the pulling of memories, clawing at spilled filing cabinets, strewed about with ages of dust and the longing of a ticking clock skewed on the ground without a hand to wind it. Calling like the croaky voice of a crow, Jack realized that he was Jack. It was a name, but what was in a name if not to call something? He was something as well--something tangible entering the real world atop the bed also as real as he. That was surprising--surprising: a feeling. He was feeling things like stitches and dull aches--like emotions and cold, hard truth. Yeah, no, this wasn't a fucking dream anymore. Good fucking morning. A lifetime ago, he was a little boy named Jackyll Gauner Krow who was born to a mother like any other. At the same time, he did have a twin. He did have a twin. That much was still true. Karis... He never lived, would forever elude him, and was a mistake Jack made--a mistake that not only caused himself a multitude of suffering, but someone else. Someone else? That voice. The owner of that voice was that person. That person was...

"King," he mouthed, silently, no voice. His hand unclenched the sheets, letting them go, letting it all go--letting that dream sink into the recesses of his consciousness. King, his brother. He could see him in his mind now. Silver hair, cocky smile, always looming there just in case... in case of...what? Myocarditis. Fuck. An indescribable feeling simmered over him, holding taught his thoughts. Had he nearly died? When he tried to bring Karis back... He should be gone. He should have died. So how was he living now? Carrying his disease of the heart, how could he have anything left of worth to continue breathing? Why hadn't King pulled the plug--alleviated the pain of each day he didn't wake up? That dream...no, it wasn't just a dream. It was as if Jack had lived another life, survived through another means outside of his body. Outside? Another reality. He hardly believed it--hardly grasped any way that was possible, but... His eyes shot open, pupils shrinking into nothing as royal blue devoured it, flickering like flames brilliantly strobing before...going out. He slammed his eyes shut in shock from the brightness of the world. Had it always been so light? Eyelashes tickling his cheeks, he forced them to tempt focusing again, seeing nothing but blurred colors. He found himself trying to breathe steadily, but his heartbeat just wouldn't level out, body struggling hard to maintain the very fabric of his being. He almost felt as if he were leaking out...like being buried alive. Darkness slowly piling, reeking of wood and dirt, eaten by the worms, screwed by the nails. Nothing could save him, but screaming for help just might. Panting. He heard panting as labored as his own, smelled metallic lacings of blood, saw red splotches all over him through the bandages and on his bare chest. Help. That man there was King, his brother, the one that he grew up with, the counterpart to himself in which a balance was created. Help. Something was faintly glowing over him now, a ferocious blue hissing and sizzling like an egg on a frying pan too hot, too buttered to deal with the sudden onslaught of liquid turned solid. As soon as he saw it with blurred eyes filled with nothing but the intangible, it was gone. Vanished. Everything that ever was made him whole, suddenly clarity came about him, bringing a smell of disinfectant which licked the inside of his nostrils and nearly made him gag. His body was rejecting wakefulness. Or that's what it felt like. His head slammed promptly into a railing that was the headboard. As his vision spiked, a ding resounded, and he nearly went deaf with shock. Jack felt sick, nauseous, and he probably had a damned bruise now. Fuck, the noises made him want to crawl back into comaland and dream again about not being him. What the hell was even going on to make machines wail that loudly!?

Jack raised his head, using his left hand as a stilt to push himself up a little to see over the bed where the panting was coming from. That arm was made of metal. Just like the dream. Squinting into the relatively close distance, he managed to make out the outline of his brother who may or may not look worse than he did. Just what did he do, rob a bank? Sprawled on the floor with blood all down his neck and all over his lips, Jack second guessed reality for a minute. Wait, now vampires existed? This looked like a scene from Dracula or something, but really, that was his brother there. Jack sucking in a hitched breath, tried to pull himself closer to the edge, but his muscles retaliated with pain and it felt like there just wasn't enough strength there to use. There wasn't enough to get him there to see if his brother was okay. Now, Jack's face was practically in King's, mind you he couldn't see more than a half a foot in front of him. And finding his voice was definitely a work of art. Throat dry and tongue kind of swollen, he managed just a couple fragmented jumbles of concern.

"Youu kay? How long's it been this time?"

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Re: The Usual Suspects

Post by Guest on Tue May 22, 2012 1:31 pm

King heard his brother stir. An eye flickered open amongst the incredible exhaustion, his body sluggish and non-responsive; another emerald orb followed, vibrant as ever to contrast the feelings of invasive lethargy and sheer death-like numbness that his body had been engulfed within. He threw himself around, legs skirting over the bed, and outstretched hissing, hydraulic metal fingers to sustain himself, a stilt.

Gluttony's eyes closed once more, and when they re-opened, his brother was there, having moved almost like an apparition, flitted to a position barely inches from his own pallor. "Youu kay? How long's it been this time?" Breath, speech, as fragmented, slurred, and distorted as it was. King's lips twitched, then eagerly stretched into a smile; and the smile opened wide, to reveal a dank, dark pink abyss of a mouth, and then the strangest form of laughter either of the two had ever come upon hissed out.

Amestrian. Of all the languages he knew, of all the fluencies they'd had instilled into them, the first he replied to his own Gelemortian BROTHER in Amestrian? The smile widened even more, and King pulled himself up, pushing his brother's head away from his own, and shaking it gently, with a tired, pained sigh. Playing about with relatives' souls really took the life out of you. "Too long," He said bitterly, the chuckle following on, and now-bloodshot emerald eyes locking gazes with those sky-blue azure droplets in a sea of purest white. King smiled as he realised things were back to normal; even with the tables turned, Jack still looked good, whereas he looked... well, for lack of a better word, rough. Really damn rough.

"Fuck," He swore in Drachman, running a rugged hand, sticky with drying blood and clotting wounds, through his grey-silver hair, feeling as if he'd just had the wind kicked out of him and taken a shot to the balls at the same time. He looked back up at Jack, and, suddenly, the reality of the situation hit him: it had worked. There were no apparent defects; not initially, anyway... but Jack was alive. And that was what mattered, and what had mattered all along. That fact alone brought the brightest smile of years to King's face; a trembling arm made a stalwart support pillar against the ground as the bodyguard stood up and stretched, unleashing a monstrous roar of a yawn off into the air, the ambience of birdsong coming back into play.

Before, things had seen so fragmented, so disconnected. Birds chirping had just been random jagged noises; now, things flowed. The world wasn't quite so bleak and grey any more; Jack had only been awake thirty seconds, and, already, he was a drop of colour in this monochromatic pool of boredom and ill omen. "How... how do you feel?" Concern struck him once more, and he immediately went into 'overprotective big brother' mode, an archetype he'd developed when it had been just the two of them all along. "Anything unusual? Anything hurting that shouldn't?" He looked down to Jack's chest, remembering the Myocarditis. "How's the ticker?"

A barrage of questions would require a fusillade of answers in response: but nothing stopped the simple fact that his brother was alive. Breathing, speaking, smiling, staring... even the simple heaving of his chest was enough to relieve King, to wash over him the most pleasant feeling of exhaustion he'd ever had, the trembling of his tired, aching limbs a relief; everything that should have felt bad, or just unpleasant, felt good. Life was vivid, vibrant, and colour was bursting at the seams of a portrait of true happiness. He'd waited for this moment for too long; a moment that he thought he'd only visualise and conceptualise in dreams and hazy precognition... and now, Jack's waking state had slammed into him like a hammer mounted on a cargo train. Somehow, it was just the glue that held everything else together; without it, the image of idealism had simply fallen apart, but, now it was back? King had this little voice in his mind, a little voice that just said 'everything will be alright'.

He was nine years old again, marching through the barren desert wastes of the Lior orphanage's humble back yard, exploring, conquering, and firing his machine gun made of toothpicks and tree bark over and over into the foul, horrid super-zombie enemies from a couple of movies they'd snuck into the contraband section. A grin, and he shook away the reminiscing, remembering his place, and sinking back into his chair, coat and all. Not a moment later, from an inner jacket pocket, he'd produced a half-empty pack of Marlboros and his Zippo once more, clutching two quickly between his fingers, propping one up between his mouth, and pausing to hold the second up in the air between them, in stasis, still limbo. "Want one, kid?" God, he knew that'd piss him off. But even if he was happy to have him back, he wasn't letting the little bastard get any delusions of grandeur or superiority - he was sixteen years old again, telling people that they couldn't belittle him, they couldn't insult him, and they couldn't hurt him, because that was King's job, and King's job alone.

He sparked up a flame with one hand, still holding the cigarette in the air for jack to take. The Zippo was weathered from his grip; he knew the ins and outs of it as he did his Automag pistol, his Defender shotgun, or his prize Challenger that sat outside, an orange-and-black stallion to soon carve back through Vaingloria's streets with a triumphant, sonorous thrumming roar. Lighting the end of the smoke was a simple affair, and a moment later, he closed the top of the Zippo with that signature, aging click, soothing him to the very bone; it was an action-movie anti-hero thing. Every time he heard that click, it brought him closer and closer to terminal lung cancer, and every time he heard that click, it made him feel better and better, digging him just a little further out of the blackened, dank depths of the whole he'd dug himself.

But... now, Jack was back. He wouldn't need it. The whole was a pointless, stupid obstacle, King now realising its heights... scaling the inner walls were child play. He began to regard the cigarette in his hand as a symbol of true futility - he had nothing to sustain himself through, and enough willpower to stamp it out... so, why did he need it? Why did he matter?

Another look to Jack, face lined with those messy, grimy golden locks, and the stench of hospital and musty smoke about him from too many of King's visits, and he shook his head, chuckling again as the first drag seeped from his mouth. Yeah, he'd keep the cigarettes... for now. Just to let Jack acclimatise, break him back in slowly to what he knew, to what he recognised; life was going to hit him like a wall the moment they stepped out of the surgery. King had so much to explain, so much to say, and yet his tongue was a frozen popsicle between warm, clammy jaws.

All he could force out was a single sentence. "You missed a fuck of a lot, Jack," He smiled, shaking his head and taking another drag, letting the smoke float from his mouth once more like a grey-haired, green-eyed, shirt-clad bloody dragon. "But... it's good to have you back." King nodded slowly, his eyes focusing on the middle-distance as he scrolled through an age-old catalogue of memories. Lior, Constanza's house, their mother's visits, planning an expedition to find their father... God, with a life as shitty as theirs had been, at least they'd had some moments to savour within it all. Moments to mark down as milestones - they'd been two tough as hell kids to survive through all that.

He wished now that he'd brought beers along for them. The weather was nice enough, though Jack was probably doped up on a cocktail of painkillers to keep his body from reacting adversely to his new bionic organs; ah, well. One beer wasn't going to do the kid any harm. King knew the little bastard was a lightweight, but he could handle just the one... haha. "Jack... let's head back. You look grimy as hell, you can have a shower and a drink at mine, and I've taken care of all of the forms already," King rubbed the back of his head eagerly. "I've still got all your old clothes, too, and bought you a new set from what I remember of your 'fashion'," A grin carved its way onto the stoic homunculus' face, and he continued, a dangerous glint dancing upon his emerald inner irises. "But rules still stand. No drinkin' the top-shelf without my permission, no sex with girls - or guys - in my bed, and no driving my fuckin' car," The last one had been an age-old creed, that even through two years of coma, Jack definitely remembered.

The machines continued to flatline in the background, but it was nothing more than a little buzz to be ignored. King smiled, chuckled once more, and shook his head from side to side another few times, the surreality of it all still not fading properly, and the truth that his brother was finally awake - for good - not having hit King's system properly. When it would, it would come slowly, in little pangs of pride, familiarity, appreciation, brotherly care; just about everything. But for now... King was just doing the best he can, and trying to convey this explosive molotov cocktail of emotions in the simplest sentence he could construct. "God knows we've got some catchin' up to do,"

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Re: The Usual Suspects

Post by Guest on Wed May 23, 2012 2:56 pm

At first that smile was comforting--that smile was normal, what Jack expected, but it shifted, changed into unrecognizable laughter by which made him think that his brother had lost it at some point down the line...while he had been sleeping like a baby. In a way, he wasn't surprised, but in another, he could feel inklings of foreign happiness bearing inevitable teeth that looked a lot like King's. Okay. He took his first steady breath and removed his left hand from the bed, sitting up like a normal human being. Then, religiously, he crossed his arms across his chest and gave his elder brother a level look as if saying 'I'm waiting for answers.' Quick, before something happened like it always did--before Jack sunk once again into a murky abyss much like the bed itself was his grave and the head board his ungrateful grave marker.

King pushed his head away, which undoubtedly made his equilibrium hate life and spiral out of control. Jack down! King: 1, Jack: -72. He muttered a string of Amestrian curses under his breath and ended up flopping over sideways regardless of how pathetically weak the push was. Couldn't he just answer the damn question? He let out a muffled huff from somewhere half-sunk into the stuffing, reemerging barely in time to see his brother shaking his head. Was that disapproval? Not of him, but of something else? Jack bit his lip, realizing then how horribly dry they were. His eyebrows furrowed and he scanned the short distance in which he could see for some sort of glass of water. Finding none, he was a bit aghast. Weren't all beside tables in hospitals supposed to sport some kind of glass of water however dusty?! What, was his bedside not subject to that accommodation or something? He was somewhat annoyed by the lack of liquid substance, but he wasn't really that surprised considering. He noticed each time he woke up that King looked older--that he himself felt different. This time, he wouldn't be shocked to find that he had wrinkles and gray hair. Though, King always had gray hair (haha); just the wrinkles were lacking (thank god). So it seemed it hadn't been too, too long since the last time he was awake. Despite that, King still looked a lot different and the dried blood was a strange addition. Hell, when was the last time he had actually seen bl--

...

It was his own--his own blood that he saw last, pouring from him, pooling against King as he carried him somewhere he didn't care. He had made a mistake--the largest mistake he would ever make. Jack was already sure that it was the end. He had already felt his heart slowing--had already began to dim away into a sleep he was sure he would never rise from. It was terrifying--so terrifying and so unfathomably cold. He shivered into the netherworld, drowned in the seas of purgatory until next he woke, dragged back into seldom consciousness again and again only to realize more solidly that he was on the verge of not existing. Whatever tears were cried dried on his cheeks once his eyes closed--whatever whispered words breached his trembling lips were washed away into the inevitable. In all actuality, Jack gave up on life a long time ago, he felt it slip through his grasp so many times that he was sure his hands were too slippery to hold tenaciously to anything anymore. Grab and grab again only to fall onto thin ice, barely breathing, cracks forming. But in the end, Jack found out that the whole time he slept--all the while he woke up, he was still alive...he was still living. It wasn't the end.

But how long did his sleep torment King this time, he asked? "Too long," but that didn't answer his question; however, "Fuck," did. Too long was an undetermined amount of time. It was always too goddamn long. Jack knew that. It wasn't like he could help it. It wasn't like could decide how long he slept. He wasn't normal; he no longer was able to function like regular people. He faced that fact and tried to swallow it no matter how much he choked and how much he despised it. And even so, he would fall back again into equivocal sleep. Last time he talked to King was painful. He remembered each time regardless of how lucid he was--how cloudy the images were. The dialogue was always there in his memories, staining them with unprecedented hope in which he clung fervently because all people wanted to keep living, especially him. That word uttered seemed more like a curse than anything, but it was not in a language Jack knew nor in one he remembered King knowing. His hands balled into fists and he tried his mightiest to overcome the intense astonishment that overtook him for a moment. Silenced by the response, he managed to only stare into the blurry outward land of his hospital room, musty with some unknown odor he couldn't place at the moment. His growing worry was stamped down when King pushed himself up and stretched, even extorting a yawn. This added to that surprise, making Jack blink wildly in response. What, I mean, what? So he had been asleep long enough for King to learn a new language or at least have interest in learning a curse in it. That itself was a damn long time. Ugh damn! He ran a hand through his own hair, trying to ignore how horribly long it was. On its way, he grazed his beard and kind of wanted to die when he felt it. The joke wasn't funny about dying, but still JESUS CHRIST. He must look like fucking orange-haired Santa on a clown fix!! PLEASE NO. RAZOR NOW. He needed one. RAZORRRR!!! His eyes screamed it, but he said nothing, too hung up on the fact that his voice sounded like king of the cracked-out bullfrogs.

"How... how do you feel?" That was a good question. Maybe like a cross between an amphibian and a holiday card? But now that he really thought about it, he was only vaguely tired; he didn't feel as though he would fall asleep at any given moment anymore. In fact, Jack was sure he could stand up and walk across the room. He even had the desire to. This was wakeful living--this was life! He felt rekindled as if the dying flame had been held to another candle or more wax had built up to extend what had unmistakably been on its way downhill. Fuck, what was this? He felt so dizzy, but at the same time so filled with a strange confluence of energy. Bewilderingly, he answered King's question with another vacant stare. Just what...was going on here? What had he done, why was he bleeding? "Anything unusual? Anything hurting that shouldn't?" Slowly, Jack lifted his shirt, having time for once to be interested in his condition. He glanced down and saw what could only be described as massive lines pinned together with tiny wires and reddened flesh gasping to be let go, but held taught instead. He met Kings eyes again, his own no longer empty, but holding so many questions they spilled out in tears. How old am I? What is this? What did they do? Why...why are you bleeding? What have you done? Why am I okay? Why haven't I fallen back asleep yet? Why...did you forgive me? He sucked in a breath and quickly shooed away the tears, unbecoming. Jack wasn't a crier never had been so he wasn't about to start now. "How's the ticker?" It was Jack's turn to shake his head, trying to keep himself stable from the effects of the drugs he was sure he was pumped full of. Gelemortian sounded strange, Amestrian came more natural now, sapped from the dream into his current state of consciousness. He didn't understand it himself, but the words came first in that tough-sounding language before ever translating in the language of their birth.

"Right now, it...it's like it was back in Lior," he managed to say, his voice failing here and there before finally picking up into his normal pitch, laced with a bit of slur from the drugs. "I feel unusually calm though, so I can't see there being any danger. What are these stitches from? ...It seems to be working..." He didn't know how else to answer that question--didn't exactly know how to put words to the dull aching from the stitches and the weakness of his muscles. His chest felt heavy and his heart beat was so strange he couldn't quite place why it was double-beating instead of skipping beats. He didn't feel threatened--didn't feel like he normally did when he woke up. He had reached a point of such clarity that he really felt the weight of living. Let this not end, he echoed in his mind as he swung his legs over the bed and played with his terribly long beard. Ho ho ho...fucking no.

His attention was diverted from himself the instant he noticed that King was reaching for something. He silently prayed that it was a razor of some sort that would act as a perfect means with which to save this jungle off his face. He felt like a Viking with a load of hair dense enough to hold so many crumbs there was plenty for tomorrow night's dinner. It made him want to shave his entire body and be a monk for a couple centuries, but that was just him being dramatic. When his brother pulled out a blurred pack of something and a metal object that looked like a lighter, Jack's eyesight strengthened enough to conclude it was a pack of cigarettes. Now, the last time he saw something like that, he had been ten or something, the idea of partaking far from his mind. He wasn't really shocked to see that King had taken up the cancer-inducing addiction. "Want one, kid?" He winced, not really okay with being called that, but it wasn't like he really had a chance to prove that wrong in what, some years? Okay, okay fine. Strangling a bleeding man with pathetic muscles wasn't a good idea anyway. Jack felt his lip muscles cooperate into a bitter, somewhat murderous smile. He'd get it later. For now, wait. Him, Jack, smoking? King was offering him a cigarette...to smoke? He slid back slightly and looked around the room for any indication that he was being duped by one of those stupid Television shows. Finding nothing, he stared at the thin white and orange object, lost in the possibility. Wasn't that a bad idea? He had trouble breathing normally. Certainly doing it now would kill him, but wasn't he dying anyway? There was no way he was going to ever make it out of this room again. Sure, he could probably walk across it now for once, but then he'd collapse, relapse, and all that fun stuff. So, then what was one more experience in life? He'd never smoked. Did he want to die without ever having tried it? King would have had him try it if he hadn't had all these problems anyway. Hell, he was offering now. But it scared him. You know how people get better before they get worse? Well... maybe this was that. Maybe King knew something about his condition that he did not yet know. Maybe he was hesitating on telling him that he was about to die--that he was on the very verge of death that he had outsmarted until this small window of sunlight before night peaked its scaly nails across the small minuscule of hope he had harbored until today. No, or maybe he was just offering him a cigarette to celebrate the success of some unknown procedure that transpired not in his waking state that resulted in those stitches. Had...had he gotten organs to replace those that he had taken from him--no, that he had sacrificed needlessly?

"You missed a fuck of a lot, Jack." Really now? He glowered and took the cigarette hovering just within reach. Fiddling with it in his hands, he examined it closely. No shit he missed a lot. The smell in the room was of smoke. It meant that King hadn't just started smoking; it meant that while he slept King watched and King smoked long before Jack could ever know he started. Mm that's how it was. He nodded and held it out to be lit, pulling it to his lips as he had seen his brother do. Hesitating a moment, he threw himself into the fray and inhaled a helluva lot, feeling his lungs fill with an alien aroma. He choked for a moment, coughing it out and feeling his vision spike into white dots, clouding everything around him in that unclear air. He kind of missed the other half of what King said, drifting away into a world full of calm and laced with so many drugs he just hung there like a child sitting in crashing waves. "Jack..." Adrenaline. It was cold and hot at the same time. He looked up, pupils dilated to all hell. What? "Let's head back. You look grimy as hell, you can have a shower and a drink at mine, and I've taken care of all of the forms already." Yeah, what was right. He let the cigarette drift away from his mouth somewhere outside of his sight and proceeded to stare at King some more. Was he the only sane one right now or what? Head back? Head back where? Did he not know that he couldn't go anywhere or risk it all? A shower...sounded perfect, but... wait, forms? Release forms?! How did they even let them within reach of his brother? Jack wasn't calm anymore.

His heart first started beating awkwardly, making his raise his free hand to his chest where pain was building up. He shut his eyes and tore himself away from those words, trying to clear his mind of anything that wasn't calm. He remembered the cigarette in his hand and quickly sucked in another breath, half-lidded eyes opened to focus dully. It worked. Solemnly he felt himself nod, subjecting himself to anything that King wanted. If he wanted him to follow him, Jack would to the ends of the Earth. Clothes...he was wearing hospital garb just as he had for as long as he remembered--hardly even recalled his own style that King was now speaking of. He removed his hand from his chest and felt the growing pain disperse, tapering away into the recess of memory. "But rules still stand. No drinkin' the top-shelf without my permission, no sex with girls - or guys - in my bed, and no driving my fuckin' car." As if he could even drive right now. He didn't even have a license! He didn't...even know how old he was, what year it was, what month, what day--anything!! But still, the rules made him laugh, albeit harshly. It sounded more like a cough than a laugh, but his blue eyes were on fire, glimmering with the humor. So it seemed he was of age now at least. He remembered the joke, but it appeared now it had become reality, no longer the imaginary plaything of children.

He kind of felt dead. The machines were saying he was and it was kinda unsettling. It made him want to get out of there--actually get out of there. The thought in and of itself was exciting beyond measure. His feet were brushing with the ground; he was smoking. Jack could leave. He could leave! Eyes filled with desperation, he clung to the edges of the bed and stood on wobbly feet next to his brother who more or less had just saved his life. "God knows we've got some catchin' up to do."

"Thank you," he breathed, walking a few steps to the end of the bed where he nearly fell back on top of it. "I don't think I can walk it."

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Re: The Usual Suspects

Post by Guest on Fri May 25, 2012 6:34 am

Jack took the cigarette from him, and began to answer, slowly. Slowly was good. Too many times he'd seen his own brother get caught up in words and what they meant - King ran a finger across his own fluffy stubble and then looked to his brother's off-ginger beard, grinning. He did need a razor. Badly. "Right now, it...it's like it was back in Lior,"

King's brow furrowed, and he began to release a slow growl in the form of words, as distinct as he could make them. "That's... not as good as it could be," Snippets of scientific journals and online news articles flickered over his mind as it lapsed into overdrive momentarily, King taking another drag as he wondered what he could do still for his brother, despite Jack's being awake - however, the man's speaking further snapped the homunculus out of it, and he sighed.

"I feel unusually calm though, so I can't see there being any danger. What are these stitches from? ...It seems to be working..." King chuckled, rubbing his chin gently, and taking another slow drag on the Marlboro, releasing the smoke and shaking his head. His own little brother, doped up to all fuck. A site he'd never thought he'd ever see. Well, one that he'd always wanted to, especially with all his yapping as a kid, but... the reality was significantly less hilarious. "Morphine's a helluva drug," King smiled.

The homunculus watched, as his brother tried to take steps off into the room, lighting up his eyes in an emerald blaze, and at the same time making King think 'what the fuck are you doing?' Finally, he slumped back down, and the older brother finished his spiel, looking at Jack as he sighed and spoke again. "Thank you. I don't think I can walk it."

King smiled. "What, to the car? Pussy." King grinned, and pulled himself up to full height, just about ready to hoist his brother up and act as a pillar of support once more, when his hand seemingly spun around involuntarily, twisting the cigarette accidentally into his hand, and glancing all along the flesh with the heated embers at the tip.

With a pain threshold like he had, King didn't realise until what would normally have been too late for those of a regular metabolism and healing factor; however, as the grimace on his face turned to that trademark grin of his, he spun around, and placed the hand on full display, so Jack could watch as the skin around the burn re-shifted and re-aligned, growing back over - King healed in a matter of moments from something which would otherwise take... days. Possibly weeks. The wound he'd sustained on himself, on the finger? That too had long-since healed over, and was nothing but a splotch of drying blood upon the pad of his finger. "Like I said," King spoke with a grin. "You missed a hell of a lot."

With a smile, he turned back around, leaving Jack to stew on his brother's newfound abilities, and offering his muscular shoulders as an open support for the man's atrophied own upper body. "C'mon," He smiled off into the distance, and stamped out the bloodied last ember of the cigarette butt on the floor. Normally, he'd have paid the room more heed, but he'd been spending money on it for just about the last eleven years - King looked around at the disarray he'd caused, the room seeming as if it'd been ransacked by a pack of barbaric ancient warriors... and realised that he had every right to do this, with all the money he'd been paying. "Let's get you to the car,"

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Re: The Usual Suspects

Post by Guest on Fri May 25, 2012 12:45 pm

"That's... not as good as it could be." What was as good as it could be? That's what he wanted to know. All his life he was tormented by Myocarditis, so why would it be any different? Answers. He wanted answers. He was strung on by his own questions, confused as to why King wasn't dishing out anything, and instead just looking mildly intrigued by the fact that he was awake at all. Jack was taken aback by his own consciousness as well, but more so about the fact that he was allowed to walk out of here. Well, not actually walk, but leave the hospital in general. How long had it even been since the last time he was outside...? But damn the floor was really cold. He felt like he was standing on an ice cube--a giant ice cube. Weird. But it was just a floor. He couldn't exactly understand it...until he realized that his feet were bare. Hell, it wasn't like he could just stroll off down the street without shoes. King hadn't mentioned shoes. Jack frowned slightly, his brows furrowing in strange contemplation in which he certainly would not normally partake in. "Morphine's a helluva drug." Well, shit. No wonder he couldn't grasp some most things. The world felt floaty and everything was moving so awkwardly around him that he could barely hold himself upright let alone walk coherently. Jack took another drag of the burning stick in his hand, staring listlessly at the door as if it would fall off its hinges in the beckoning of freedom. Yeah, it was a helluva drug that was for sure. Words that King said previously came back to him suddenly, locking and loading against another minute of information surfacing in his mind. "You can have a shower and a drink at mine." By drink he definitely didn't mean water. Jack could tell, actually, he was adapting pretty quickly to the fact that they were no longer kids and some unprecedented amount of time had already transpired without him. Alcohol. Alcohol and Morphine were not pals. He shook his head: tiny movements that felt almost violent in the side effects. Jack smiled back.

"Tell me about it." He half laid, half held himself up on the end of the mattress, turned enough to just barely make out the blurry silhouette of his brother. He just wouldn't drink it if offered again...because it would probably kill him. Yeah, he had to stay focused so he remained awake and didn't ingest anything lethal before the drug wore off. Actually drugs. He felt like there was probably more than just Morphine raging inside him. He was sure of it.

"What, to the car? Pussy." What it just him, or did that contradict what King just said? Jack narrowed his horribly blue eyes at his brother and scoffed in disbelief. Yeah, Morphine was strong as shit. He was bouncing off the fucking walls, but he was a pussy because he couldn't walk to the car. Okay, alright fine if he wanted to play the game like that... Jack ran a hand through his hair, stopping to hold his bangs up from his forehead which had begun to throb with the decline of constant drugs in his system.

"Yeah, my head kinda hurts." He took it. He let the insult slide right past because right now it was so true that he wanted to melt the ice cube under his feet and drown in the water. He kind of lost his balance a moment, noting as King's hand swooped to the rescue, but as Jack's own cigarette slipped from his grasp, his brother's jutted viciously into his hand, making a hissing sound as the skin put out the embers and smoked of burning flesh. Jack doubled backwards, hitting the bed so hard the locked wheels under it moaned as they were threatened. King held out the hand before him, in front of his face--a wound on display. Jack, seeing through messy bangs gaped silently while right before his eyes it healed. Something that would take weeks to heal and months for the scar to vanish all but disappeared...

"Like I said, you missed a hell of a lot." ...What did that mean? Certainly he was hallucinating. So that was a side effect from what was pumped through his system as well? He definitely was hearing King right though, but...that didn't necessarily have context with his hallucination, did it? No, no way. Jack laughed nervously, trying to right his body again so that he was standing on his own...to not much avail. "C'mon, let's get you to the car." That didn't answer anything. The car, so what about the car. He just saw his own brother's hand heal right there. He still smelled the smoke from when the end of the stick gauged a hole in his hand. The was no evidence. It was just so completely, utterly gone. He was like Wolverine from Xmen or something. Yikes. Maybe this wasn't reality. He'd mistaken a dream for reality before. I mean, he could definitely tell the difference, but what he was seeing now...

"So uh...when will the effect of these drugs wear off completely?"

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Re: The Usual Suspects

Post by Guest on Sun May 27, 2012 8:32 pm

King didn't consider the insult at all, no matter how much Jack could've been hurt by it. It was their long-established sibling rivalry, brotherly banter; he loved his brother and always had done. He'd spent a long eleven years trying to pull him back from the brink of death, from the edge of hell, and figured that a joke or two was possibly good recompense for the expense of his efforts. "Yeah, my head kinda hurts." 'A youthful ever-spring of witty banter,' the Lior nuns had called him, chuckling in their room as they'd scolded him for rudeness.

King shrugged. "Drink of water and you'll be fine, bro," He grunted, flexing his arms once more, gyrating them to keep them from doing something, instead of just hovering in the air like two useless, pointless fleshy appendages. Well, unless Jack took him up, they would be two useless, pointless fleshy appendages. Certainly took his time, didn't he?

"So uh...when will the effect of these drugs wear off completely?" King smirked, and let his arms fall back to his side as he turned. The interrogator wasn't just done yet, it seemed, eh? King shook his head and collapsed back into the chair momentarily, humming as he pensively ran through his head, thinking about a reply.

[INITIATE THEME]


"Most of the dope should wear off by tomorrow morning," King explained, before continuing. "But you'll probably be feeling groggy for a week or so. I guess it comes with eleven years of painkillers and heavy sedatives, eh?" A dry, weak, hoarse chuckle; no matter how absolutely exhausted he was, King could always spare a laugh, and an offhand, backhanded, veiled remark about his brother's physical state.

God, that little resurrection gambit had really knocked the wind out of him. A tickling emerged at the bottom of King's throat, quickly turning to a burning, hacking sensation at the base of his mouth; before long, the homunculus was curled over, whooping in a coughing fit, an automatic shotgun launching globules of spit into the patchwork PVC flooring. Before long, King was seriously regretting those two packs a day he'd managed to wean himself onto, just to cope, sprawling back into the chair and panting when, finally, he was done.

The reddening in his face finally softened, and slapping his own cheeks and rising to his feet, King unleashed the longest sigh of his lifetime, and extended a hand down to his brother. "No more screwing around. Let's head to the car," It wasn't long before Jack finally obliged him, and the two of them were making their way out of the hospital - slowly, but surely. They were met with no resistance, either, with all the discharge forms luckily signed, even with the room left in the state it was.

The car was parked out front, and King beamed from his brother to the Challenger beneath the pale Gelemortian sunlight. "Forty-two years old," King began, descending the steps outside the front of the hospital, doubling back to take a quick look at the embossed, raised text at the front, a plaque, a testament to one of Vaingloria's oldest surgeon legends. The Charles Bateman Hospital. A private practice, one of the world's largest - and where Jack had spent his last eleven years.

King, however, skirted about, with a hand trailing upon the glistening orange hood, single, thick black stripe running down it, consistent with the roof and posterior, too. "Repurposed, with an engine that could tug a half-ton of steel," Another sigh as he produced an extensive keyring from his pocket, and slotted it into the door. "Genuine leather interior, and a specially-inserted CD player and MP3 dock," He tugged open the driver door, and skirted around to pull open Jack's, the passenger door, too.

King then ascended back up the stairs to provide further support for his brother as he helped him back down, grunting the last of his spiel. "Gloss paint-coat, nitrous oxide injection system, racing tyres and Goldstein rims," Almost done... thank God. "And that old, irresistible 1970s old grainy-movie style you just can't help but adore..." He helped Jack back along to his door, and jogged around to the other side, slipping into his seat as he grinned at his brother.

"Zachariah Krow's very own 1970 Dodge Challenger," He beamed once more, grinning with all his might and checking his glimmering grey fringe in the mirror, swishing it around as refracted pale light danced across his emerald irises. He picked the aviators from the dashboard and quickly shed his coat, pistol and all, the Defender shotgun lying underneath a sheet in the back - the fact that he now guarded the Sekretar of Drachma, and required sufficient ordnance to do so... well, it could wait, at least.

Finally, he flicked out the props of the sunglasses, and slid them on, tweaking the mirror a final time and grasping the steering wheel with his iron-strength vice grip that King was so renowned for, looking forwards with a cheeky smirk. "And a car you're most definitely not allowed to drive," With that, he jammed the key into the ignition, and twisted it, the entire car's ancient dashboard thrumming to life, and engine releasing a powerful, clean roar - it was obvious that King had gone to insane lengths to ensure this relic ran as cleanly as possible, and, in all honesty, he'd probably salvaged it from near-death with the amount of care he'd used in its maintenance. The car ran smoothly and beautifully, the engine chugging and thrumming as it should, thick, black petrol fumes creating deep clouds above the car itself.

Reversing quickly, and jolting the car to the left as he sped away down the road, tyres squealing and leaving nothing but smoke in his path, King grinned to himself, and then to his brother. It felt good to be back in the Challenger, again, showing his brother exactly what it was like in this decade. "You've been out cold for too long to actually have a decent music taste, what with your affinity for 80s hair metal," He grinned over at Jack, and let the aviators slip down. "But, I did put in a Bon Jovi and an Asia CD just for your little wake-up party," The grin widened, revealing a set of pearl-white teeth. "Take your pick," King said, turning back to the road and wrestling with the fickle weight of the Challenger.

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Re: The Usual Suspects

Post by Guest on Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:30 am

"Drink of water and you'll be fine, bro." ...Somehow he wasn't exactly trustworthy of that statement. Blue eyes narrowed pensively, orange hair contrasting evermore. His beard felt heavy, weighing his chin down into a lengthy half smile, half jar-dropping bewilderment. Just what was transpiring--some kind of sick joke? His temples throbbed, shaded sunlight hissing into his unadjusted, pin-pricked pupils that continued to stare pointlessly. There were no answers. The thought trickled slowing into his mind before the floodgates opened and he was drowning in a deluge. No answers defining the reason why his brother's hand simply healed before his eyes. No further dialogue had transpired regarding what he had seen, but the croaking of the bed wheels licked the quiet as Jack prepared to right himself and stare at the linoleum as if an explanation was written there. Yeah, he really needed a glass of water.

King flopped back into a chair that looked more than a little sat in, edges worn with use, bent to comply with his shape. Jack's mind tumbled through ideas, scanning over scenarios with which he was there and yet not there. The thought itself was terrifying. How much of his life had he lost with a simple mistake such as alchemy? Bringing...the dead back to life. Jack had been as good as dead, a failure in the act, and a failure as a brother. But here he was being forgiven, allowed again to open his eyes and receive a look back. He was indulging in a conversation that wasn't shrouded in a haze of mindless mutterings and his brother's responding tears. This felt entirely different, normal, but most of all...entirely real.

Tomorrow morning. So soon. "But you'll probably be feeling groggy for a week or so. I guess it comes with eleven years of painkillers and heavy sedatives, eh?" ELEVEN YEARS?! How old did that leave him now...? Hell, he'd lost track. And who was to say that they had been drugging him the whole time he'd been sleeping? IT COULD BE LONGER. Yikes. Onslaught of mind-boggling shit. He shuddered inwardly, but managed to maintain his cool on the outside, nodding sagely as if he could just accept it...just...like...that. LIKE HELL he would! A hoarse chuckle followed, making Jack wonder aside from this mindrape why exactly King seemed so tired. Long drive or something? Pulled taught from the--the ELEVEN YEARS that he had been ignorantly sleeping life away? Jesus. Jack cracked his neck and tried to wish away the dizziness that nearly made him stumble off into the expanse of room never to be found again. Of course, it didn't work. And the answers never came.

Save for what could only be described as premature lung cancer. Jack could have had a heart attack in that quick turn from silence to rib-shattering coughing. His eyes widened, watching his brother lean over the armrest and wrench his guts. He half stood, half leaned there dumbly, staring as if he were supposed to do something aside from stand there and be overwhelmed with life. What. King never coughed or--or just what? He leaned forward slightly, eyes narrowing into slits of contemplation. King slapped the red out of his cheeks and bounced back into a sigh. Okay, that sounded good. His lungs still worked...breathing was kind of essential. That...was actually something he could do. AHAH one up on King now! His heart stuttered, hand flying to his chest where he took a similar deep breath. Eyes darted to the dropped stick on the floor. He needed to calm down. The haze of drugs were only helping so much. He shot a deer-in-headlights look at his brother, panicking slightly, which only seemed to hinder rather than help his tormented heart. King didn't seem to notice, and held out a hand to him, which he took without thinking.

They waltzed out as if Jack had never been a patient--had never be omitted or subjected to ELEVEN YEARS of treatment. He was horrified, thankful, and at the same time having so much trouble seeing straight that the moment they go outside he felt like he was in paradise. Relishing in the sunlight, the simple breeze, fresh cities noises...this was no longer a dream. He barely registered, barely could focus on much of anything, but he noticed how utterly different this was from being eternally suspended in a place trapped between life and death. "Forty-two years old." WHAT. Jack whipped his head around, stumbling into something while he was at it. A loud, garish ringing noise erupted from where his knee had smashed effortlessly into something tall and metal. A street sign. A parking lot. A car. Oh. For a second there, he had nearly thought King was referring to his age now rather than... "Genuine leather interior, and a specially-inserted CD player and MP3 dock." ...a car. Jack stared at the orange hunk of metal, slightly taken aback at the fact that his brother could drive let alone own such a thing. It was...gorgeous. He wanted one.

However, stairs were the first feat. He nearly face-planted six times before he made it down them in a panting wreck. Wait, did he just black out for a second? "--row's very own 1970 Dodge Challenger." Somehow he was now sitting in it, quite confused as to how he got there. Missing a huge chunk of what his brother just said, he didn't miss the giant smile taking over that face he was so used to seeing looming over him. Jack couldn't not smile back, feeling the satisfaction wafting off of King. Had he wanted to show him this for a long time? That genuine happiness was almost foreign to the two of them, but it was happening now.

"...What is an MP3 dock?" He blindly fished in the glove compartment for sunglasses, obtaining an old, dusty pair of aviators and slipping them over his eyes before he went blind and died from a migraine. "It's an awesome ride..." He faded out, eyes closing briefly with a long intake of breath. "Sorry it's acting up..." Jack motioned to his chest, trying to be distracted by something to dispell the fear that only made his heart race rather than calm.

"You've been out cold for too long to actually have a decent music taste, what with your affinity for 80s hair metal." Jack found himself nodding, not really agreeing, but not having it in him to argue at the moment. "But, I did put in a Bon Jovi and an Asia CD just for your little wake-up party." Jack shot his head back around to see King with a creak of his eyes and a wild grin.

"Hell yes. Bon Jovi" was all he said.


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Re: The Usual Suspects

Post by Guest on Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:58 am

"...What is an MP3 dock?" King chuckled as his little brother found one of his age-old backup pairs of aviators, when he hadn't been so sure on the make, shape and model, back in his earlier days. Hell, they must've been almost eight or nine years old now, evoking the biggest surge of emotion he'd felt all day as the opening to a huge pit within him slid open inside his gut.

No matter how much he mellowed and thought on it, no matter how much he assured himself that family was family, and no matter how happy he was that Jack was finally awake... he couldn't help but feel something would go wrong. Maybe Jack wouldn't like the man he'd turned into. Or his job. Or perhaps he wouldn't accept his new... form. Eleven years' work and waiting, all down the drain, for one simple fluke, a single occupational hazard that he'd had to take.

The thoughts hitting his mind like nine-millimetre rounds from a sub-machine gun smoothed the smile off of his face and caused cracked furrows to appear on his forehead, reaching back with a single hand to scratch his bare neck with a sigh. "An MP3 dock's a little port, where you can put..." He stared over to the bemused Jack, and, suddenly, all the reasons that he'd brought the poor bastard back to life rushed back into him with one great big moronic grin, freezing him mid-speech for a moment, before he waved the issue away. "Ah, fuck it."

"It's an awesome ride..." King nodded slowly, scratching his neck once more. Damn, that itch was getting fiesty. His jaw was still aching a little from the internal tissues knitting themselves back together - and dislocations were sore, even for a homunculus like he. He pulled out of the general area of the hospital in a matter of minutes, played around with a few more straits through the city, drag-racing just to flaunt to Jack the power of his baby.

Alarm bells made that signature ringing in his head once again as Jack gestured to his chest. "Sorry it's acting up..." The Myocarditis. King's expression quickly scrunched into one of concern, and he gestured to the glove compartment, but knew it was no use. A year ago, he'd have carried the odd bottle of painkillers around, but now, what with his newfound artificial vigour and, well, immortality, there was no real need to.

"Fuck..." King muttered, his brow crunching again into dozens of little lines, waves of skin and excess flesh, lines that had formed so often because of Jack, or because of this whole ordeal. Before long, he just knocked his head back against the seat and muttered to Jack solemnly. "I'm sorry. Forgot to bring any pills along, but your doctors gave me a little something for the ticker, for when you woke up," King explained slowly.

"Home's just around the corner. Don't worry." That signature, textbook phrase rang through the air between them, stale and heated as it was on a morning in Vaingloria. King rubbed the back of his neck once more. All his life, he'd been telling his brother not to be scared, not to cower, and not to worry. It was that simple, and that straightforward. He had to be the big guy, the laid back one, so that Jack could get on and do what he had to. King had seen the kid work, and dominant as he'd used to be, despite intelligence and knowledge of tactics he'd possessed, simply put, street smarts, Jack always dwarfed him in anything academic. Years ago, it had perplexed him. In the years to come, it was doubtless that it would save him. And not from any harm, given King's new regenerative abilities: no, in the years to come, it was doubtless that Jack's intelligence and charisma would save him from himself.

"Hell yes. Bon Jovi" Now THAT was something they could agree on. Punching the stereo button with a finger, the opening wah-wah noises of Living On A Prayer resounded through the car, King eagerly bobbing his head back and forth. So what if things weren't perfect? At least they could enjoy themselves and savour the moment. For now.

"TOMMY USED TO WORK ON THE DOOOOOOOOOCKS..." The Challenger sped off through the sunlit day, carving a shallow path through the city as it took in the air of its surroundings through that mean-looking badass grille, and exhaled in a near-deadly array of sputtering noxious fumes, trying in every way possible to pierce holes in the ozone and contribute to global warming as much as it could. King smiled to his brother as the sound of song and off-note karaoke joined it. Maybe life wasn't perfect... but at least it was good.

Well... only so good.

He could've really done with a beer.

[EXIT THREAD]

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Re: The Usual Suspects

Post by Guest on Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:10 pm

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