Your Own Worst Enemy


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Scene Title Your Own Worst Enemy
Synopsis The angels from the future try to help the girl skip town, but destiny intervenes when the devil has other ideas.
Date June 13, 2004

Thirty minutes out of Atlanta

It's a bright summer day, when they hitch a ride on the next bus leaving Atlanta. Leaving Georgia.

If the driver knew anything of runaway girls and the people they injured, or at least this is the case of one of them, she didn't bat much of an eye at the group of three who filed aboard with their tickets and frightened, nervous-energy demeanor. Maybe a memo didn't go out. Maybe there's interference running like static in the background of things, clogging the system, but it's impossible to know. Either way, Raven and her haphazard angels find no trouble getting onto the bus, sharing the space with five others scattered through the vehicle. Because that's not really where the trouble begins.

It begins about thirty minutes later.

When the truck hits the bus towards its blunt, metal nose, coming screaming out of the intersection light a nightmare, it's like the world stops turning. Frightening momentum slams into all three girls, bouncing Raven off the window and crushing Elaine into her in turn, all limbs, red hair, air expelled from lungs and bruises blossoming instantaneously on skin. Colette is spilled into the bus aisle with her head ramming into the plastic edge of the opposite row of seating, and all around them, the scattered several other passengers are knocking out of their seats.

The roar of stressed mechanism, the gunshot blam of metal denting inwards, and the shatter of glass all sing together into screeching chorus that's sharply over and silent within four seconds since impact. The front doors near the dazed driver are bent inwards awkward like broken bat wings.

It doesn't feel like they should be upright. But they are.

As the impact shakes the travelers, the redhead is thrown towards Raven. In turn, Elaine throws a hand up to cover her head and another towards Raven's as bus and truck collide, reaching to make sure neither of them are hurt. The second the bus stops, she blinks around quickly, looking to Raven, "You okay?" Her gaze quickly shifts over for the other. "Colette?"

Colette isn't answering. Laying on her side in the aisle, her backpack has skidded several rows ahead under other seats, the gun tucked away inside well out of reach. Blood stains the side of Colette's head darkly, matting her hair down to her temple where she lays in a twisted heap on the black rubber-treaded floor of the bus, her eyes closed and lips parted, one arm tucked beneath her chest.

She isn't going anywhere just yet.

The meeting of cranium to plexiglass leaves young Raven with a throbbing pain in her head and a faint ringing in her ears. It takes a moment for her vision to stop swimming, and even then there is a brief second during which borderline concussion leaves her confused as to just exactly where she is or how she got there. This lapse in memory doesn't last too long. This moment isn't precisely non-descript.

Raven looks woozily at Elaine and lifts a hand, teetering it back and forth in a 'eh-eh' gesture meant to convey that yeah, she's probably been better. This assessment is confirmed as certain brain signals fire and pain becomes actual suffering, a process facilitated by the sound of the door smashing; Raven clutches her ears and slides down off her seat and to the floor, huddling there. "No no no no no…" she murmurs, quickly. Do not want.

The collection of groans, muttered curses and words of confusion all play out around them as people attempt to right themselves, wide eyes peering out the nearest given window. An older gentleman with blinking blue eyes has tugged himself out from where he'd crumpled forward and down between seats, reaching out a hand towards where Colette has fallen in her bleeding heap, concern etched on his face. The wail of a horn from passing traffic, a screech of brakes, communicates that yes, the world outside is still running as it should.

A booted foot suddenly thuds steel toe against the broken door, knocking it inwards all the way. Louder even than the crash, a real gunshot flashes muzzle fire, and two bullets having the squirm bus driver jerking like a puppet on twitching strings, before she goes still forever.

The figure that steps onto the bus is a tiny thing. Cargo pants of an earthy tone are belted with black leather and silver, ending at the knees ti show off pale shins above boots, along with a calf-strapped gun holster; a white wifebeater hugging her torso with black leather in a jacket tugged over. The cutting edges of a shoulder rig of elastic and brown leather show in a flash of zippered hem, already empty of its gun, as the tool is gripped warm in her hand. Her features are girlish and boyish at the same time, with her inky dark hair pinned back, loose tendrils flying free to show some of its length.

Distinctively, yellow eyes blink out from her too-familiar features, of the same age that Elaine and Colette know her better. They swivel their gaze towards the man in the aisle, and efficiently, she puts a bullet in his shoulder, sending him tumbling back from the fallen Colette.

"Well this is a fuckin' disappointment," is a sneering retort.

Elaine's relieved that Raven's not hurt. Good. One step accomplished, but then there's Colette. Thankfully, since she's between Raven and the aisle, she doesn't have to let the younger girl see quite what's going on. The redhead shifts between seat and aisle, wide eyes looking towards Colette. No, she can't… "Colette… Colette, can you hear me?" Forget the pseudonyms. She's a little too worried to think about that. Then again, she's got other things to worry about now.

Her gaze flickers, wide-eyed to the front. Two shots, then again, one more which sends the further away. But it's… the familiarity that sets Elaine's fears in motion. She shifts, leaning in towards where Raven had sunk down. "Get under the seats, if you can," she whispers, low. "You hide and the second you can run, you run." Her brown eyes stare towards the door, then back at… well, what's in a name anyways.

Colette is horrifyingly unresponsive, laid out limp on the floor at Elaine's calling of her name and the gunshot that sent the man just trying to help her flying backwards. Blood is painted in tiny droplets all down her cheek from the man that was shot. The voice of a familiar ghost of her future elicits a fluttering of lashes, slurred speech murmuring, "Sable?"

As mis-matched eyes open, unfocused, it isn't they that see the girl marching down the aisle of the bus, but Colette's overall impressionist-painting view of the world when she isn't using her eyes entirely. Truth be told, right now, both methods of seeing are equal parts blurry.

Lifting her head up and still in a daze, Colette's murmuring of the name "S-Sable," one more time comes with a faint smile, the ringing in her ears and the smell of gunpowder in the air not quite yet having been put together. She's going to need a moment to get her bearings, and she may not have it.

Raven's had enough gunfire lately. To say nothing of gunfire by her own hand. It takes little encouragement to get her to crawl under the bus' seats, her diminution coming in handy like it never has before. If she remembers any of this, and God willing she won't, she will maybe complain less about the disadvantages of her height, particularly as to its being an obstacle with the ladies. Livin', after all, is the minimum prerequisite for lovin'.

At floor level, boots mark the place from which a voice emanates. Luckily, for the moment, Raven does not recognize it. Outside of one's own head, one's voice always sounds weird. She is spared the deepest level of the uncanny for now, Colette's loose murmur not making it through the only slowly fading thump thump thump of Raven's pulse in her head, each heartbeat bringing with it a little stab of pain.

Others are ducking beneath the seats too, soft cries of despair and fear, although some kinder soul is scuttling out into the aisle on hands and knees to tug the bleeding, older man towards the doors towards the back of the bus, a woman who loops her arms around his shoulders and nudges her shoulderblades up against the door, black hair twisted into severe braids that line her skull. Sable doesn't pay much attention to her as she casts a stare down at Colette, and absolutely no recognition reflects in her unusual eyes.

"Aw yeah," she says, at the confirmation delivered when her name is twice-over murmured, a knife's grin slashing across her face. "I guess I get t'pick on someone my own size after all. You got friends? Hey," she barks, swinging her gun towards where the woman at the door was trying to reach the emergency release. "Sit the fuck back down. We got stuff to talk about. Who else got sent here? Who else," and the muzzle swings back to Colette, "doesn't belong here?"

The black eye of the gun travels over the people still visible. "Surrender an' no one else gets fucked up."

This was not what Elaine expected. Colette was the one who knew how to fire a gun and had an ability that would be useful. On the other hand, the redhead could talk. "You want to talk then, 'Sable', was it?" She stands up a bit more, hands in the air. No funny moves—she's not trying to get shot. "We can talk all you want. No need to hurt anyone else, alright?"

"Whh— whhat the ff…" Colette lifts up one hand to her head, eyes closing as pain lances through her perception from the injury at her temple. Hissing sharply, the teen lurches to the side, swallowing tightly and opening her eyes again, pupils dilating out and in more like a camera lens on manual focus than the reflexive actions of a normal person's eyes.

It's only now that Colette sees the gun, only now when everything is coming together properly. Jolting up into a seated position, Colette sucks in a sharp breath and stares wide-eyed at the young woman standing before her.

"You— h— how— " horror crosses Colette's expression as she looks at the militant young woman, a tarnished echo of the girl she'd come here to protect.

They failed.

Pain in her head aside, terror notwithstanding, as Raven has articulated a number of times, she's not stupid. This newcomer is clearly involved in whatever twisted hijinks have been set in motion by forces unknown, a fact that will do nothing to aid the girl's latent schizotypal tendencies. And if Elaine and Colette are the angels, well..

It looks like the devil's here to take her due.

Raven is under strict orders to run if she can, and while she most definitely can't, she can at least crawl. And so she does, dragging herself hand over hand under the bus seats, elbows scuffing against the accumulated grime of many travelers' boots, fingers finding purchase on the metal fastenings that keep the seats in place. Inch by inch she moves past the boots, past the aggressor. Past… hey wait a second. Did Elaine just call this one Sable? Names appear to be loose in whatever bizarro world Raven's life has become submerged in. Adelaides are Colettes. Ravens are Sables. Adies are who knows what. And that means…

What the hell does that mean? And why is that voice creeping her out so much? Besides, you know, the obvious bit about the threats.

The guns swings automatically to square its aim on Elaine's chest, those golden eyes so cold where they stare in avid study from Sable's familiar mug. There is nothing, though, familiar about the crawl of study the redhead gets, Sable creaking a step closer. "You talk first," is a sharp demand, and it's a different edge to wild anger and spazzy energy, something honed and sharpened, an unusual focus. "I know the name Hiro Nakamura, so don't start there. I want your name, I want her name— "

Her white teeth show in a snarl. "And I want some motherfuckers to stop fuckin' moving, I can hear you!" Blam blam blam, go three bullets, piercing through emptied seats. Miraculously, Raven's squirming self does not get hit, although a bullet collides somewhere close enough to briefly deafen an ear for a whining few seconds.

Her concentration now squared on Elaine, ignoring where Colette crouches useless on the floor of the bus, Sable lifts her eyebrows in expectation of answers.

Elaine never expected to see those yellow eyes along the barrel of a gun. She hadn't expected it the first time, nor did she expect it now, and each time they left her with a sinking feeling in her gut. The redhead's hands stay in the air, she's not trying anything funny. "Elaine. My name's Elaine. Look, I know you're after answers but you're gonna have a tough time getting them with all these people around, not to mention fire crews and ambulances are on the way." The hands don't move. She's keeping things clear, wetting her lips slowly, then nods towards Colette. "She needs a doctor. And you know I've got answers. So… take me with you, and leave the rest of the bus be. I'll tell you anything you want if you let them get some help." Her gaze flickers back down to Colette, then over at the familiar yellow eyes and, pointedly, no where else.

Oh God, Elaine, no.

The thought races through Colette's head, even as she stares up wide-eyed at Sable's impossible self, lips parted in unspeaking disbelief. A moment later, the shuffling of wee-Sable under the bus seats has Colette realizing more about the situation they're presented with than she'd expected, and horror of horrors— what she has to do.

"Sss— s— Sable. You— p-please— " jaw trembling, Colette is nowhere near as composed as Elaine is. "Y-you— you— don't you remember me?" Both of Colette's dark brows go up slowly, eyes welling up with tears for someone who isn't what she remembers, the cruelest of tricks played on the young girl's conscience.

Even as she's stammering, speaking in halting cadence, the subtle contraction of Colette's pupils is a tell-tale sign to only an intimate few who have seen her up close using her ability. That the backpack just two seats ahead of Raven under the seats suddenly takes on a reddish hue is her doing. That the reddish hue turns into an illusory arrow pointing to the top zipper is another.

Colette is banking on two things being true:

1) Raven will know what to do when she finds the gun inside.

2) Her ability isn't really supreme musical genius

Making relevant items glow is a video game device, one widely adopted for a very good reason: it works. The ruddy glow catches Raven's eyes and, after a momentarily halt and the appearance of the arrow, she starts to make for it. This is none of it any more insane than the rest, and Raven already finds herself slipping into a groove. Okay, that's what she has to do? She'll do it. Another thing about video games: clear objectives. And thirteen year olds love video games.

Despite the three shot warning given to motherfuckers (herself included, she's figuring), she crawls her steady way, trying to hold back grunts of exertion as she takes quarter foot drags towards the bag. When she finally pulls up next to it, she paws at it with one hand, to check the size and shape of its contents. Feels… squishy. Harmless. Her other hand feels for the indicated zipper, catching hold and tugging. What, these are just her clothes and… oooh.

A gun.

Raven wasn't super eager to see one of those again. She freezes up, making no move to take it. Maybe Colette was… just reminding her to bundle up before she escapes?

"Oh, you wanna get outta here? Jus' you and me?" is raspy mockery from the older Sable's throat, cynical, but Elaine can probably see that she's thinking about it, twitching a glance over the wrecked contents of the bus, before looking back at the redhead. Down at the mismatched eyes welling with tears. Her unpainted mouth twists in sneer at the apparent lack of conflict she's found here, before one breath in, another breath out, realigns her priorities.

Two swift steps forward, and Sable's hand goes out to grip the black mop of Colette's hair, from her scalp, the press of her gun nosing against her temple and grip keeping her pinned against cargo-clad thigh. "If I remembered you, bitch, I wouldn't be askin' for your name," Sable points out. "I just know you work for someone we want. Someone who's tryna fuck up everything.

"I got a getaway car just waiting for me," she tells Elaine, gun unmoving from Colette's head. She ignores, now, where she had shot through the seats. There's a snarl in her voice, that makes it ugly. "So we're gonna talk here. What were you trying to fuckin' do? You were fucking with me, weren't you."

Fuck. Then… they'd gotten Sable to help them. This… alternate version of things? Elaine wasn't much for all this time travel, not with so many things that could change. But this wasn't Sable. Not their Sable. Her gaze wrangles sharply on Sable. "What, you think you're that important, now, do you? Bit arrogant." She's trying to direct Sable's attention away from Colette. "I mean, sure, you can get attention, toting a gun around like that and threatening people, but that's not the kind of person I'd go dashing about for. If I was here for someone, I'd make it someone I cared about. Someone important. Just between you and me? I don't think we've got quite that going on, do you?"

Colette's absolutely frozen in panic, her breathing shuddering and pupils adjusting in slow dilating fashion. Swallowing noisily again, Colette looks askance to Elaine, shaking her head slowly and shallowly, trying to mouth the words no out of simple fear of what lunatics with guns do.

They remind her of Emile Danko.

Only half of Colette's focus is on Elaine, however, the lion's share of hr focus is going to where Raven is. A crude finger-painted line traces inside the backpack, and that Colette can see where Raven is despite not having direct line of sight is a testament to something Colette isn't even aware she can do yet. Adrenaline is helping that pending evolution along.

The snaking line of bloody red fingerpaint traces in the air, draws around the gun, and then snakes under the seat, pointing an arrow out the side where Raven could poke out behind her duplicitous alternate self.

Hiro, where are you?

It's not that Colette's not perfectly clear about what she's asking of Raven. It's that Raven's become quite astoundingly gun shy as of just a day ago. Probably not going to join up with the army, then. For the best. That wasn't the course she's supposed to take.

Though, considering what's standing out there in her skin, pretty much anything would be an improvement.

But Raven doesn't have the luxury of time, a problem that has faced all of them since this began. And she doesn't have to see what's going on to know what's going on. Someone is going to get hurt. Someone is probably going to be killed. Unless she does something, and soon.

Let this be a lesson to guardian angels: it pays to be punctual.

Biting her lip, Raven takes up the gun and, quickly as she can with shaking fingers, checks the chamber, cocks the gun and flips off the safety. Turns out her brief guns/ordinance/army obsession has paid off practically. Of course, it's only because of that obsession that any of this is happening so…

Raven tugs herself the few remaining feet she needs to safely be out of her doppleganger's line of sight. The young woman leans out from under the seat, leaning heavily and painfully one one shoulder as both hands extend, gripping the gun. She lines up a shot, finger on the trigger and…

She freezes again. Picking up the gun was one thing. Firing it at a living person, however vicious and small and uncanny, is another. A big stride after such a simple step. And she may be scared to speak, she's not sure. There's only one way to find out.

"P- put the gun down!" Raven tells herself.

There's an angle to Sable's jaw as Elaine speaks, anger simmering beneath the surface in sudden warmth. Despite the hand bunching in Colette's hair and the gun pointing down towards her skull, she seems to almost ignore the other girl as she stares at Elaine. There is a second, there, tension going up her arm and just visible beneath leather sleeve, where she could just pull gun up and blast the rest of her ammunition into Elaine's harmless frame.

But then a familiar voice is shouting out. With a startle that yanks the strands of Colette's hair in a twitch, Sable wheels around and dragging Colette with her, but the gun is thankfully aimed only at the floor, and eventually, that grip loosens too, letting the photokinetic free. Blank shock, removed, writes Sable's face, before a grin crystalises, showing teeth and absolutely no mirth.

It's experimental, then, the fastest draw in the West, when she doesn't obey, and lofts her gun in a narrow aim with absolute conviction behind shooting her younger self in the face.

Nononono. Elaine wasn't trying to get Sable's attention only for Raven to draw it away. Her eyes widen as the two face off, pointing right at each other. "Sable! Don't shoot. Don't shoot her." She chews on her lip, desperate to find a solution, desperate to find a way to dissolve the situation. "What is it you want to know, Sable? I thought we were talking." She swallows hard, inching closer. They had to get rid of that gun.

Colette never was much for brains. But action, sure, she could act.

While Elaine has Sable's impossible doppelganger occupied, Colette finds herself at the mercy of the gun-toting maniac. But with gun trained on Raven, there truly can't be hope for anything else. Diplomacy has failed, and whoever this is, she's doing what a handful of others have done before in Colette's presence; threaten her pack. Maybe Sable's wolfish analogy wasn't too far from the truth.

"No!" Colette's scream pierces the air in the seconds before she and Sable both disappear in a rippling whorl of colors into invisible monsters all their own. Buckles jingle, boots scuff, breathing is fast and harried and—

Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam!

Gunshots with no muzzle flash ring out, bullet holes punch in the ceiling of the bus, one blows out the front window. There'a a his and a grunt, growling and screaming like two alleycats tangling in the dark. A sound crash hits the bus floor, one or both of them fell. A smack carries out, someone was punched, a cry of pain, a clang of metal on metal and a scuff on the legs of one of the seats appears.

Blam, blam, blam!

Blood sprays across Elaine's shirt, a whine of pain and a choking noise rattle in the dark. There's a snap, a scream, and Colette becomes visible, straddling Sable's militant persona, one hand clutching the hand that had held the gun, middle finger bent back far enough to be dislocated if not broken. The gun Colette has wrested from the attacker is hurled away, closer to Elaine than anyone else now.

Colette slouches vackwards, her black tanktop soaked with blood around the midsection and on her back, that same dark red staining Sable where she lays on the floor, a bruise on her cheek. Deprived of one of her guns, Sable finds her photokinetic attacker slouching back, holding her stomach as blood trickles from between her lips.

Then she falls the rest of the way, laying on her back and staring up at the bullet holes in the roof of the bus.

Tamara said I it back.

The thought races through her mind as she lands beside Elaine, tears welling in her eyes and rolling down the sides of her cheek.

She never said alive.

For a moment, Raven locks eyes with the attack and, strangest of terrors, she sees herself. If Raven had the time, she might consider the possible explanations. A long lost sister? A fellow member of an alien race, come to hunt her down in her amnesiac exile? Her alternate reality double from an evil timeline? Ridiculous notions, and ones Raven has no time to entertain because, right now, death leers out at her from the dark muzzle of a gun.

And then Colette springs into action. Preventing paradox, because there was simply no way Raven would have pulled that trigger in time. For the duration of the scuffle, she stares at nothing, but a nothing full of sound and fury, as such a pairing signifies. And when it ends, when Raven's dark other lies on the bus floor, her head lined up just before Raven's own, as of yet unfired weapon…

In a future not yet come to pass, Colette Nichols says 'I've never killed someone' and takes a drink. The woman she is with, the woman she just met, glances at her own beer, but does not raise it to her lips.

Sable never killed anyone. Maybe there is some little hope to be gained from the fact that, in this moment of truth, she doesn't fire. That future is not yet foreclosed.

Some small solace as the pistol falls from Raven's shaking hands.

Decisions make ripples in history. Some turn into tidal waves to crash on the shores of the present. The analogy is only sometimes workable. You're not meant to be able to stop the tidal waves, for instance. But you can sure see them coming. And whether it's the bullets that lance through Colette's torso, or the trembling, callused-reach of her older mirror's image as she goes to slide her gun from her calf holster, or the thud the weapon makes as it falls from a young girl's hands, echoing through history.

Or all three in tandem.

On June the 12th, Chamblee Charter High School suffered an attack from an escaped convict Ashley Davids, 22, authorities confirmed, who had been charged with aggravated assault and sentenced to 72 months imprisonment.

Hiro is suddenly there, stepping into the timeline like a choppy edit from a ninja movie, wrapping his arms around the thirteen-year-old girl in a desperate grab as if to save her life. Maybe he is, because they both suddenly disappear, vanishing into some other time and place, hopefully somewhere better, somewhere safer.

On the 13th, Davids held up a bus on the way out of Atlanta when one of the bus passengers recognised her from local news.

Wild yellow eyes stand out in Sable's face, teeth baring, injured hand nestled against her stomach while the other clasps a clammy grip on her other gun. It aims wildly when Hiro reappears, a hand out to grab Colette's arm, and with a rush of air, both he and the injured girl are gone in the blink of an eye. A bullet punctures the wall of the bus behind them, a split second too late.

She killed the bus driver Doreen Glenbeverly, 42, and injured one of the passengers.

Animal sounds, is what Sable's breathing is reduced to, breath rising and falling as she finally switches that stare to Elaine— liar— and with a nihilistically determined lurch, she aims that gun towards Elaine, but it's shaking, her focus dashed to pieces. Hiro will come for one of them, as the pattern goes.

The bus was involved in an intersection collision.

She should be shooting. She doesn't, just levels the gun at Elaine.

When police arrived on the scene, Davids had been attacked and killed by unknown passengers…

Waiting to see what happens next. Because their escape care came for them, and not for her.

…who then fled.

With the blink of an eye, Elaine finds herself facing the gun leveled at her. With Raven safe, hopefully, and Colette gone to receive medical attention thanks to Hiro, she's left with this Sable, this one who clearly shouldn't be. She didn't even realize, until a moment ago, that she had picked up the gun. Some things, to her, were worth protecting, even if it meant sacrificing something. Her own arm raises, and she stares, for a split second, back over at yellow eyes. The odds were even. Fifty-fifty.

Elaine fires.

The slump is immediate, Sable sagging onto the floor with the gun spilling in her loose hand. Her jacket is twisted on her body from the scuffle, a black, smudgey amateur tattoo barely visible on her collar bone, but the pattern is too obscured to really see. Just another detail, another mark. Expression slack and yellow eyes sightless, and Elaine is left alone on the bus — alone with a dead body, and five frightened, silent bystanders who may never remember any of this again, for all that right now, the sight burns permanence into their retinas.

Hiro returns after two seconds tick by. The longest two seconds in the world.

His dark eyes flick towards the dead woman crumpled on the floor of the bus, and then towards Elaine. Infinite apology that can't even touch the events of this place brim beneath his carefully impassive expression. Colette's blood dirties his sleeves, but his hand is clean when he offers it out to Elaine. "Let me take you home," he invites, gently. "Everyone is safe now."

Safe? Certainly. Raven Diego is back in her room, where she would have gone straight away after her remedial summer courses, had a dark seed not been planted in her mind. She is safe, and the various recruiting posters, plundered from the guidance office, and the cut-out pages from gun enthusiasts magazines taped up to the walls of her little room create a veritable platoon of armed images. Though, right now, she can't stand to look at them.

Still dressed in borrowed clothes, curled into a tight ball, eyes staring a bare patch of wall inches from the edge of her cot, Raven shivers and wonders if she's gone entirely crazy. One instant, facing herself, kill or be killed. The next… here. What little home she has. Safe? Certainly. But what she's seen, she'll never forget.

She will forget.

Elaine's eyes stay on those same yellow eyes, almost haunted, watching them in their silent stare that no longer has the capacity to meet her own. Her eyes tear away to meet Hiro's, and she notices the hand. Her own reaches forward. "Yes," she agrees after a pause, "everyone is safe now." She takes his hand, and the two disappear.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Boston, Massachusetts

October 31, 2006

The soft beep of a heart-rate monitor echoes in the confines of a darkened hospital room. Outside, a ligh train is falling, visible when rain lances through the illumination provided by a streetlight. Stickbare trees outside show as shadowy fingers of branches on the inside of the hospital's walls, long and gangly shadows clawing at white paint.

The files set into the footboard of the hospital bed indicate the patient is Doe, Jane, a slew of notations and reports from surgery indicate her arrival in the Emergency room of the hospital, suffering from gunshot wounds. She was not capable of moving herself, the hospital staff has no idea how she wound up where she is.

That was weeks ago.

Halloween has come and nearly gone, for all that the clock approaching midnight says in clear detail. The tick is what stirs her, what rouses Colette Nichols from sleep and has mismatched eyes focusing up on the tiled ceiling. Wearily looking askance to the heartrate monitor, Colette's eyes track down to the cord attached to it, connected to a clip on the tip of one finger.

Sliding her tongue over her lips, the teen slowly pushes herself up to sit, eyes wrenching shut as she lays a hand over her bandaged midsection. Heavily lidded eyes regard the Autumn scene outside, then sweep aside to consider the hospital door. Bare legs swing around the side of the bed, feet touch down on the cold tile floor. IV tubes tug at Colette's wrist painfully, the drip stand skittering over as if some sheepish pet.

She reaches out for it, shakily, bracing her weight on the wheeled stand once pale fingers are wrapped around it. Her eyes move to the heart rate monitor again, then look away as she flicks the power button off and unclips the sensor from her finger.

She has somewhere to be right now, before she goes home. She has someone to see one last time.

She made Hiro promise, and a samurai is nothing if not their word.

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