Killing Time


ace_icon.gif odessa_icon.gif

Scene Title Killing Time
Synopsis Too late to beg you or cancel it, though I know it must be…
Date May 25, 2012

Fort Lee, New Jersey

The air is crisp, just the other side of chilled. The blonde woman on the rooftop could use more than just the black windbreaker around her shoulders that whispers in the breeze that catches and pulls a strand of hair from the messy bun atop her head. But the cool air is like a balm on her skin. It eases a pain that no medication can touch.

Well, all but one.

When the metal door creaks behind her, swinging open on rusted hinges, she doesn’t look up from watching the smoke from her cigarette waft in the air in front of her. Things aren’t yet so dire that it’s difficult to find things like cigarettes. Or coffee, which sits in a thermos in front of her on the half-wall meant to keep her from walking off the edge of the roof. Not without some effort expended at any rate. There are two tin mugs set out.

“I can feel them scurrying below like ants. Like mice in the ruins of the maze.” Odessa Price turns finally to address the man’s entrance. A look of cool sardonicism softens and gives way to open surprise. Mild surprise, but all the same. The man now on the rooftop with her is not the man she expected to see there. “Sorry,” she murmurs, as if suddenly acknowledging that she may have spoken out of turn. “Thought you were…”

The cigarette is waved nebulously. Someone else is implied.

Ace Callahan imagines that the someone else Odessa is looking for is someone out of uniform. Unfortunately for them both, she's stuck with him, and his eye's on the horizon rather than her. The strap of his sniper rifle seats the gun's weight on his shoulder, long muzzle directed down at the ground while he approaches the ledge.

"Bum me a cigarette," he suggests tiredly, "and I might forgive you."

Posture stiff, the barrel of the gun is nosed up, tripod of it set upon that halfwall. He goes through the effort of rolling up the sleeves of his fatigues before he shrugs the strap off, bracing the gun with one hand… while the other is extended out toward Odessa. Greenish-grey eyes snap her direction.

"But they do, don't they? Resemble ants." Ace concedes, the lack of expression in his expression shifting just a touch. A twitch to an eyebrow is the sole indication to the humor he finds in that, his demeanor otherwise flat. He looks again to the horizon, to the ambush being prepared on a camp of encroaching Resistance fighters. "Bugs, waiting to be…"

He lets out a hmph and twitches two fingers in a beckon for Odessa's compliance.

Five minutes ago, his presence might have frightened her. Reaching into the inside pocket of her jacket nice and slow, she mutters sure around the cigarette hanging out of the corner of her mouth. Rather than hand the prize over to him or even a smoke of his own, she shakes one out of the soft pack and places it between her lips with the other one. She lifts her lighter, flipping the top open and striking the flame to life, which she touches against the tip of the unlit cig, drawing in a breath until the paper catches and the embers light.

Lighter and pack slid away again, she plucks the fresh one out of her mouth and offers it to him between the vee of her fingers at the edge of the filter paper.

That’s an act of rebellion. Bravery. No one wants to swap anything with her. Take from, sure, but contact tends to be avoided, with one notable exception.

Squashed,” Odessa offers helpfully as she passes him the cigarette. There’s a tension that passes between them, but for Odessa’s part, it isn’t entirely unpleasant. “Or poisoned, if that’s your thing.” In the dim illumination of the evening, it’s hard to determine if that right corner of her mouth has ticked up in the barest of smirks or if it’s merely a trick of the artificial light.

Ace isn't entirely aware of just who this woman is, aside from the fact she thinks something that's been recently in her mouth is something that belongs anywhere near his. That alone is enough to merit a narrowing of his eyes, his hand sinking away from hers in displeasure before lifting again to pluck the cigarette for his own. Beggars can't be choosers.

"Poison?" he asks, disapproval just as plain. "You Humanis bunch like to suck the fun out of everything, don't you?" There's the barest shake of his head, and then Ace draws in a deep breath off the cigarette, turning the ember of it up so he can look the little deathstick over thoughtfully. It's not to his taste, but so very few things are.

If there's any features in particular that strike out about the stranger who's joined Odessa on the roof, it's that he's joyless. Whatever fun he once found in this war and its license to kill, it's long lost its sheen for him.

"Time to go to work, Cleo," Ace says into the air, taking another thoughtful drag as he examines the distant forces, gaze falling from the thin trail of smoke that gives away the resistance camp in the distance down to the antlike soldiers of the Administration, which can more easily be picked out by the naked eye, even for their forest-colored fatigues.

“Poisoning is an art,” Odessa insists without any sharp edges to the statement. She watches the smoke curl from the end of her cigarette, and the way it gets thinned out in the air the higher it climbs, until the wind sweeps it away entirely. Like dried leaves from the front walk.

Her vision focuses then where his does. She sympathizes with the state he seems to have found himself in. It all used to be fun and games. An ambush here, a skirmish there. After the humiliating defeat at Oceana — and subsequent reveal of her Evolved status — it’s all started to lose its lustre.

Her footsteps are whisper quiet on the rooftop as she approaches the edge, bracing one hand against the half wall and looking down, while leaning away instead of over, staring down the end of her nose at the terrain below.

“How can I help?” The blonde asks in a soft voice, under no illusions that he thinks her name is actually Cleo. Odessa has seen a man and his gun before. She knows a committed relationship when she sees it. “You seem the sporting type,” she observes casually, sliding a furtive glance his way from the corner of her eye.

What she’s saying is that she doesn’t think he’d like her to make his quarry stand stock still like targets at the gun range.

Odessa's protest on the behalf of poisoning is such a surprise it draws a laugh from Ace, his attention sweeping back to her. He eases the cap of his uniform away from his head, tossing it on the ground between them. Then the cigarette is next to go, one final rushed breath taken in before he leans forward to stub out the ashes. "Well, I suppose if you're passionate about it…" Ace concedes drolly, taking the barely-smoked cigarette and tucking it behind his ear. "All the power to you. Everyone has their kicks."

How Odessa can help him isn't immediately clear to him, even though she's roused his sense of humor and an interest in unexpected ways.

"The targets at the far end of this scope aren't particularly sporting, to be quite honest. When all this started, I thought to myself it could be fun. That if the Resistance couldn't figure out how to stand on its own two and fight back, it didn't deserve to go on. That they didn't deserve it. Survival of the fittest, in a sense." Ace begins to crouch down on one knee, adjusting his posture, bracing his shoulder against the stock of the rifle. "It was different abroad. Sniping was winning a cunning game of chess; finding your target before they found you, or gaining some kind of advantage…"

"This?" he voices dispassionately. "It's all begun to feel like shooting fish in a barrel before a man with a knife goes to finish them off. The odds are so grossly stacked against them with the sheer…" How to phrase this? "tools at disposal against them."

“You aren’t wrong,” Odessa agrees, watching him make his preparations. The cigarette is held away from her now, between two knuckles while her palm is pressed to the top of the wall. “I used to think that way, too.” She smiles thinly and clarifies, “Survival of the fittest.”

Turning her head to properly regard him now, she looks him up and down, preparing herself for the moment when he inevitably pulls the trigger. By now, she no longer jumps when a gun goes off near her. Not when she’s expecting it, at any rate. “But I’m not so sure this outfit,” she means Mitchell’s regime and Humanis rolled into one, “are so fit either, some days.”

That’s dangerous talk around here, but Odessa likes slowly sliding one toe over the line and waiting to see if someone’s going to make her step back. Her gaze stays fixed on Ace’s expression, his focus, and her mouth curves up slowly into a smile. It’s not a nice one.

Ace doesn't look up from his preparations, though he does pause in it, a glint in his eyes. A huff of a laugh escapes him. "Careful, groupie—" He thumbs down the cap down on the scope of the rifle. "Someone might overhear you." A glance down the glass is brief, the muzzle adjusted better in the direction he needs it to be, finger still off the trigger.

"What would you suggest," he asks, lifting his head without looking to her still, "To make it more sporting?" There's something odd about that question, something in it alluding to the sense he's dancing near the same line she is.

Groupie,” Odessa repeats with a breath of husky laughter. “That’s a new one.” If she’s offended, she doesn’t show it. “What’re they going to do? Spank me?” Yes, she has a healthy fear for what many of the soldiers and their civilian fanatic cohort would like to do to her and everyone like her. But she can feel the pull of time in her bones. It bolsters a little bravado.

Casual as you please, she picks up one of those tin mugs - the one that happens to already have coffee poured into it, naturally - and takes a sip while she mulls over his question. “Nothing about what I do is terribly sporting, I’m afraid.” After a moment’s consideration, she admits, “Although I’m rather fond of infiltrating a camp and picking them off in their sleep with a knife.”

Not sporting at all.

Fun, but not sporting.

“I can make them all stop moving for you,” she reveals, turning her attention back to the tableau ahead and below. “But I think you like to watch them scurry after the first one drops, don’t you?” Kind recognizes kind.

The realization that Odessa has some sort of supernatural ability is one that takes only a moment to sink in. She's not doing a very good job of guarding her language to indicate anything but. Ace's head turns, studying her with unguarded curiosity… and a smile. It's a small thing that grows as he lets out a faint laugh.

With each thing this one says, her mask changes its shape just a little more. Interesting.

He runs his tongue over his teeth. "You know," Ace confides, "In this case, I think I would rather the satisfaction of getting them all myself rather than giving them time to scatter… react… let someone else claim the fun for themselves." His smile widens just a touch more.

At this point, most people are aware of the status of Michal Valentin’s chained mongrel. Odessa hardly feels the need to be cagey about who and what she is. And there’s a sick little thrill that comes with finding someone who doesn’t know her by reputation already and letting them figure it out on their own.

Especially when the result isn’t what she expected.

Similarly, no attempt is made to hide the grin that spreads across her face as she watches his demeanor shift. When he decides to play the game her way, she draws her lower lip between her teeth briefly, a light coming to her eyes that didn’t exist moments ago. “Oh, can do,” she tells him.

First Odessa knocks the cherry glow off the end of her cigarette on the edge of the half wall. She sets the thing down along with her coffee, uncaring if the wind kicks it up and blows it away.

Because it won’t.

Then, she draws down the zipper of her windbreaker. The fabric hisses quietly as she shrugs it off her shoulders and lets it drop to the ground to form a charcoal pool at her feet. The cool air makes goose flesh of her arms. The black tanktop she wears does nothing to protect her from the chill, and it’s how she wants it for now.

Finally, Odessa forces herself not to lean away from the edge, but stand tall, like she’s about to perform a royal address. With her right arm, she reaches out toward the crowd below, fingers gently and subtly feeling for something in the air that no one else can see.

From Ace’s perspective, everything simply freezes, and Odessa’s movements seem to have skipped a frame, as her left hand is now held out in his direction and her right hand has formed a fist.

Odessa’s perspective is different. One by one, she wraps strings around her fingers and curls them in toward her palm. Movement below ceases. Movement at her side does as well. “This is the tricky part,” she remarks to no one but herself as she lifts her left hand to join her right, index finger tracing the portion of her palm exposed to the heel of her hand, then following an invisible thread that leads to her side and to where Ace is crouched like a statue. Taking that string between her thumb and third finger, she rubs the pads together and the tension eases. He comes back to himself and to the moment.

“They’re all yours.”

Ace blinks as down the scope, everything has ceased moving. The smoke in the distance has stopped curling into the air. The world is blissfully still and silent in a way he could come to love, if he's being honest with himself. It was exceedingly conducive to turning the men and women of the world more clearly into the puppets they were.

All this he keeps to himself, merely adjusting his posture and lining up his shot, taking an extra long moment to consider the still life painting and all its players before he makes his decision.

The crack of the rifle as it fires should be enough to scatter birds and people equally, but they remain still. Just the same, no bodies fall on the distant horizon.

Incredulously, Ace lets out a laugh. Without breaking his posture, he quickly swivels to the next target and fires, his wicked grin growing by grades. He fires again, and again, and again examining the horizon at length before deciding he's done enough. Pushing himself to his feet, he takes in a breath through his nose like someone who's taking his first scent of fresh air in ages. He lets out a vague chuckle, picking up the rifle by its strap now that it's sufficiently done its duty.

He leans ever so slightly toward Odessa, the green-gray of his eyes glinting with delight. "Are you ready for the show?" he asks gravely. It's up to her to let the curtain rise now.

There’s only the barest of flinches on Odessa’s face, unseen to Ace as he’s staring down the barrel, with each crack of the rifle that echoes in the unnatural stillness that surrounds them. Her concentration never falters, however. She watches the bullets soar — feels them cut through the hold she has on time. From the sniper’s vantage, there’s just the faintest hint of red mist in the air around his targets after each hit.

He leans toward her and Odessa stretches out her hand the rest of the way to find his arm. It looks like excitement. “Oh, yes,” she tells him. Anticipation.

“Roll snare drum.”

Her gaze hasn’t left the rebel soldiers, but now her eyes widen a fraction. “Here.” Her fingers curl around the fabric of his sleeve without clutching at him specifically. “We.” The fist of her right hand clutches tighter for just a second. “Go.”

That fist springs open as though she might have been about to throw a handful of flash powder as an illusionist might. Blood erupts from wounds, people stagger and drop to the pavement.

Except on the horizon, it's not the rebels who fall.

Odessa releases a breath that she’d been holding as an ecstatic sigh.


"All eyes now to center stage," Ace whispers as he breathes in deeply, taking in the atmosphere. It's like he wants to engrave this moment on his mind forever.

His fellows in their army fatigues are the ones whose blood splatters from their unprotected necks, the ones who fall to the ground. And as the sound of a clamor rises up from below, a whispery laugh flows from him. Odessa's fingers around his sleeve suddenly meet her own skin, though she's not moved at all. His very essence becomes impossible to touch, though.

"Oh, how lovely." Ace remarks to himself, looking down again over the havoc that's just begun to unfold on the ground below. On seeing it, his laugh grows in volume. "I do love to watch them scurry, you're right. And this? I think this makes it more sporting for everyone." The sound of the rebels responding to the confusion on the Administration side of things comes in the form of a thrown grenade exploding and spuming dirt into the air far short of where the soldiers had actually advanced to. Ace's head tilts back as his cackling grows, his body and weapon intangible for how he physically appears to still be there.

"I feel inspired," he declares on the end of his breath, as much to Odessa as to the universe itself.

When her fingers curl in to her palm, Odessa hazards a look in Ace’s direction. There’s no confusion in her eyes when it’s their allies that fall. Kind recognizes kind. She smiles, delighted at the absolute chaos below. “See how they run,” she muses.

Then, she tastes blood on her lips. Odessa brings a hand up and wipes at her face, smearing the blood that had begun to trail from her nose. “Shit,” she hisses under her breath and the sounds of gunfire and explosions beneath them. Again, she scrubs at her face until she thinks the blood now adorns her fingers and not her cupid’s bow.

“I didn’t think you’d actually do it.” Which means she was very aware of the possibility, but she’s still astonished. He’s inspired, he says. She too sees possibility where only bleak predestination once lay. “Oh, the discord we could sow.”

"And they don't even know," Ace whispers in delight, though soon they would put enough together. The lack of a sniper crack through the air would speak for itself, shortly.

When Odessa doesn't shirk from him in turn, he starts to turn to consider her, pausing as she paws away the sign of her exertion. That's fine— he can watch the fight until she's presentable, looking outward with rapt attention like it was a show he's paid good money to see. In a sense, he has. Betrayal was costly. Mutiny was death. But he would rise from this; rise from the filth and muck of this war and its boring odds and be reborn to something greater.

His form flickers as he briefly considers heading off to pursue that very thing right then. But then he solidifies, feet touching ground. His wholeness returns, and he lifts a hand to thumb away a smudge of blood still near the curve of her nose, eyes on hers while he considers just how taken she is by the turn of events.

She just does as she pleases, doesn't she? Ace's eyes narrow a hair.

"You're wasted here," he purrs. "We're wasted here."

His hand falls from his cheek and he looks away for just a moment to consider the gunfire being exchanged with more disdain than before. There's no concern at all that his comrades are under pressure. "They were ready to discharge me, threatened it more than once— then the world changed and they decided they'd need my gun after all. But for what?" Ace laments.

"It's time for a new game of survival of the fittest. A new spin on it. On to find a worthier paycheck, with a patron who properly appreciates what I can do… Everything I can do."

He looks back to Odessa. He still doesn't so much as know her name, but he's glimpsed beneath her mask just now, and that must count for something. "Shall we make a go of it together?"

Her eyes follow his movements. Even when he solidifies, Odessa stands her ground, unafraid.

Then again, why would she be? He’s now seen exactly what this tiny blonde slip of a woman is capable of. What does she have to be scared of in this world?

And he’s reminded her of this. “It hurts,” she says softly, reaching up with an unnatural swiftness to capture his wrist before his hand can fall away from her face entirely. “But I like it.” The corners of her mouth twitch briefly, a couple false starts before a real smile. He can see in her eyes the way her heart is racing. This little display on both of their parts was a revelation. A rebirth.

Yes,” Odessa breathes out, eyes closing for a moment to savor the gravity of this decision she’s just made. “We’re just tools to them. Only good as long as we’re willing to serve, and do so obediently. They don’t understand what we’re truly capable of.” Those eyes light up as she tells him, “This is not our stage.”

Tilting her head back just enough for her to regard him better, what with nearly a foot difference between them in height — advantage, him — she half pleads - half offers, “Take me.”

That Odessa gets it is ever a surprise, albeit not an unwelcome one. Ace watches her go through her metamorphosis of thought with fascination, though his arm becomes a phantom thing under her grasp again during her little speech to help reclaim it as his own. His fingers flex and contract into a loose ball as his arm falls back to his side.

His expression flickers in his regard of her as she makes her plea in full melodrama. Take her? Ace considers the request, and unsmiling tells her: "Meet me on the street below in a few moments' time. If you're going to make this leap—" and his small, knowing smirk returns again. "do it independently. Meet me there, and then I'll lead you on."

To be a good sport, he should ask her if she agrees to the terms, but he does not. He simply arches both brows at her and takes a step back from her, waiting to see if she vanishes from her spot. Will she disappear and beat him to the ground? Will she not, and instead make another demand of him? He continues to backstep, watching her for her next move.

The look in his eyes says he won't drag her.

Where there would normally be a note of frustration, Odessa is surprised to find that it’s absent when his wrist slips through her fingers. He’s a challenge, and she’s enjoying that. She takes a step back, then another. Her arms spread out to her sides as she bends forward slightly, a bow. “I’ll get my coat,” she tells him.

Not the one she’s left on the rooftop, apparently, given that it’s still there after she’s suddenly not.

In the stillness, Odessa navigates the stairwell down through the building, her pace quickening as she goes. Her smile is broad and bright. She hasn’t felt this alive since — Well, she isn’t sure she can remember now. The rubber of her combat boots squeaks on the linoleum floor as she grabs a door frame and swings herself into a room she’d claimed as her own. Everything she owns (that isn’t hidden away in a lockbox and buried in a cornfield in Iowa) is packed into a duffel bag with someone else’s name stamped into its canvas.

It’s easy to pick up her entire life and sling it over her shoulder. She’s practically skipping when she weaves her way through frantic soldiers frozen in time, ducking rifle stocks and arms outstretched in direction and beckoning. She emerges through the door and out onto the street.

Just as he was suspecting she might, she’s waiting beneath the busted awning of a bus stop when he arrives, watching the skirmish from afar with interest.

When Odessa blinks out of time and space in front of him, Ace's smile returns and he turns away to finish walking toward the side of the building. One step he's there, Cleo slung over his shoulder, and the next his arm closes around 'her' and together they simply swipe left out of existence.

Only a handful of moments later does Ace's existence unfold on the pavement of the street below, midstep. He continues walking away from the fight, not so much as glancing over his shoulder behind him. The little blonde sitting on the bus stop catches his eye though, and he nods once in her direction— seemingly approving.

"There you are," Ace calls to her casually, somehow at once sounding as if he'd found something he'd misplaced, yet it was exactly where he'd expected. "Come on, then." He walks with confidence and purpose, so even as men from another unit run down the side of the street to respond to calls for assistance, they don't think to shout him down to head that way with them.

At that point he turns back to Odessa and smiles sunnily at her while he continues to walk. "So what do you call yourself?" Ace asks, and then glancing down the road, his smile fades for something more pensive. He decides to take a turn at the first corner they come across.

She doesn’t cheat and simply materialize at his side like he might expect, but scurries from the bus stop to join him, gravel crunching under her boots. “Here I am,” serves as confirmation and a greeting. Unlike him, she does glance back, just the once, to see who might be winning. Fearful of what that might mean for her, depending on how it turns out. Call her selfish like that.

As they turn down the side street, get further from the commotion, it becomes apparent that there’s still a radio in Odessa’s bag, and it’s live. She ignores the indistinct chatter for now. It isn’t as though she can be traced by it. She’ll ditch it when it’s safe for them to stop.

“Well, you’re Callahan, right?” She can read names on uniforms. “I’m—”


The woman stops in her tracks.

«“Odessa, where are you?!”»

She stands frozen just as surely as if someone had used her own ability on her through the radio waves. Blue eyes close heavily and shoulders drop in tandem with a heavy exhale.

Ace's response to Odessa's stopping is to keep walking. "Shut that off," he directs with mild irritation. It could do them good further down the road to have the insight into nearby forces that the radio could provide them, but clearly it would be a distraction right now.

He's not metaphorically blind to what that call just now did to her.

"Odessa, is it," Ace continues conversationally, looking up the block ahead. They'd need to steal a car, preferably one with the keys already in it. A little carjacking would be a character-building experience for whoever they ran into, surely. "You can call me Ace."

"Where do you want to go from here, Odessa?" he asks lightly, his steps slowed so she has time to catch up, but he doesn't stop. His head turns just slightly to see how far behind she is, in the hopes that the lure he's laid out convinces her to move forward again. He'll gladly make a detour in the direction of her choosing so long as she stays with him.

When he says her name, her eyes open again. The giddy and confident woman is gone. In her place is someone frightened and filled with turmoil. Hesitantly, she moves forward a step. Another. The radio crackles again and a tear runs down her cheek.

“I can’t leave him,” she says apologetically, turning to look over her shoulder the way they came. The life they’re both trying to leave behind.

Setting her jaw, Odessa reaches for the zipper of her bag so she can dig for the radio inside.

Now Ace does stop in his tracks, turning back entirely. "Odessa, no," he insists sharply. "You've already left them behind." He fights to keep his cool, but it's a difficult task, mask slipping to reveal his frustration. "Return, and they'll know you interfered. Go back, and they'll find out you're no longer their obedient little tool."

"Let him," whoever he is, "die with the rest."

Her head snaps up when she hears his footsteps approaching, but she doesn’t try to stop him. He knows she could, which means he’s getting through to her. Odessa’s fingers close around the radio and pull it from the bag even as she watches Ace.

She presses the call button with her thumb. “«Price copies.»”

There’s something defiant in her eyes, even though she’s not defying the right power. But something also that begs. Make the choice for her. Take it away from her.

“I could bring them your head.” Her gaze is hard, lips pressed into a tight and thin line. But her hands are shaking.

Disappointment is eminent in Ace's eyes more than his frustration at this opportunity that's so suddenly slipped away from him. Odessa makes her choice and his head curls slightly to the side, brow slanting. "You could try," he snarls.

He makes no movement for his gun, despite that. There's the same silent something in his gaze as there was when they were back on the rooftop.

He won't drag her.

If she wants that sort of freedom, she'll need to ask for it directly.

His nostrils flare as he lets out a steadying breath. "Kill the radio, and I forget your moment of weakness," Ace tells her.

«“We have a situation out here if you haven’t noticed.”»

“So could you,” she retorts with the faintest smirk. Little by little, he’s stirring the embers of that previously roaring flame. Something about fighting him would be thrilling.

Because he might actually win.

“Thing is, Ace…” Slowly, Odessa tips leftward, shoulder sloping so the strap of her bag slides down, down, then drops off her arm, landing with a muted thud! on the pavement. Still, she grasps the radio. “I love him.”

There’s a knife buried deep in her gut that twists when she says those words. If she spoke them to the man they’re spoken about, he’d probably kill her. Surely they both know the truth, but to speak it out loud is dangerous. It breaks the illusion of detachment.

The radio is lifted again, the button pressed. She holds up her free hand to ask for quiet, trusts that he’ll allow it. For now. “«I can see that. I was on the roof, taking my dose. Looks like something to the East.»” Away from them. “«I’m going to investigate.»” The quiet squawk announces her clearing the line again.

“So, here’s how this can go. I can take the knife out of my boot, and I can rush you. You can do… Whatever it is that you’re able to do, and you’ll probably even stop me. You’ll kill me, and that’ll be it.” Odessa has the grace to look apologetic about this whole situation. “But I don’t think you want that.”

He could do that, but

"It'd be a waste," Ace declares succinctly, all the while re-evaluating her in this new light. What a fucking shame this has turned into. And over what? Love. It brings a scowl to him. Such an alien thing, made even more alien to him given who her love is given to.

The entire time, he doesn't so much as blink. Blink and she might vanish, to reappear who knew where.

"But yes, go and crawl back to being a powerless tool for an unfit outfit," he bids her drolly. He tsks at her change of heart. "Forget your calling so easily. Just like…"

He snaps his fingers for effect, and another grenade booms in the distance. Ace lets out a disgusted huff and lets his arm fall to his side.

The way Odessa winces has nothing to do with the sound of the blast and everything to do with the gaps he’s found in her armor. He’s been hitting her soft points since the moment he joined her on the rooftop. It’s just that before, he wasn’t aiming to make it hurt.

The radio crackles again. Static hangs in the air for a long moment, denoting the skepticism at her response even before the voice finally break in to reply, «“Report your findings.”»

“It’s like you said. If I go back there, they’ll know. Not without someone else to pin this on.” And she feels she’s made it fairly clear at this point that she doesn’t intend to drag him any more than he intends to her. “So, what I think should happen…” Odessa gives the radio in her hand a shake from side to side. “I’m going to press this button again, and I’m going to start to say something.”

Her lips twitch, as though uncertain which expression they’d like to twist themselves into now. “You’re going to stop me before I can finish my sentence. You leave me in a heap on the pavement, and I get to say you got the drop on me.” Finally, those lips decide on a grin, however tenuous its appearance is. “What do you think? Sporting, right? Gives me a fighting chance against them.”

She draws in a breath and starts to bring the radio back toward her mouth.

"You don't get—" Ace laughs, head tilting back with a bewildered grin, "to shoot yourself in the foot and then ask for help." His features twist, a flash of anger across them. "Just how naive are you?"

His head slowly shakes and he chances a look off to the side. She can go ahead and speak for all he cares. He already looks less tangible than before, light not hitting him quite right.

"Love," he spits as an invective form of farewell, the word incredulous and judgmental in its invocation. They'd been so close if not for that infuriating character flaw.

With the slightest shake of his head, Ace's corporeal form is brushed to the side. He slides ever-so-visibly to the left before he's swept from physicality entirely, not even a shadow left behind.

He's got a car to steal. People to kill. A new life to start. A fortune to make.

“«Ano, má lásko, samozřejmě.»”

Odessa has a war against her own kind to get back to.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License