|Worth More than That
Author: speechless93 PM
If there's one thing Jo doesn't like, it's seeing Meg cry. So, when there's a problem, she takes care of it in the typical way. MegxJoRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Chapters: 13 - Words: 73,753 - Reviews: 135 - Favs: 79 - Follows: 80 - Updated: 04-13-10 - Published: 01-05-09 - id: 4772873
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
It's really ridiculous, the amount of time it took to do this. However, the chapter is on the longer side to make up for it, and let's just say...well. It's worth your while friends. To all of who are still here and give me your encouragement, I thank you greatly :) Please enjoy, without further ado, Chapter 13 of Worth More than That
Disclaimer: I own nothing save for plot bunnies and the nemesis of all, my writer's block...Newman :(
When Sei had finished speaking, the rest of the group sat around, dumbfounded. Never had they imagined such a backdrop for their pensive leader, and they sat around, reflecting.
"It wasn't…like we were perfect." Sei said, as the girls looked back at her. "We fought a lot. Satsuma would get mad and leave for weeks on end, and show back up whenever she felt like it. The relationship that we had was never easy- we both got into it very quickly after a short amount of time and it left a strain."
"But, she's always came back Sei." Amy said quietly. "And you know she did everything for you."
They lapsed into silence again as Meg watched Jo for some sort of reaction. What the girl did surprised everyone. Getting up slowly, using the table and the crutch to help her stand, the crimson-eyed fighter slowly walked over to Sei and rested a hand on her shoulder.
"If she came back before, and you said you saw her out there, then she'll come back again." Her voice was low as she stared impassively at Sei, her face and voice emotionless. Meg started to stand, jolted from the unusual behavior.
Jo looked across at Meg, and fixed her eyes on the younger girl. "Jo, I-" Meg started, then faltered. She looked down, composing herself before sighing determinedly as she walked over to Jo. "I'll help you get ready for tonight." She smoothed a hand over Jo's hair, all the while keeping the eye contact Jo had started, and they slowly walked down the hallway while Amy and Sei, the latter now as dumbfounded as everyone was before, watched in an awed sense.
"What the hell was that?!" Amy said immediately after the door to Meg and Jo's room slammed.
"I have no idea." Sei said, musing. "Perhaps the subject of losing and leaving things is touchy for them. After all, Jo has no recollection of her past prior to meeting Meg, and I am sure that dealing with Jo must have been a strain for Meg at least once in all the years they've been together."
"You've calmed down." Amy stated.
"I suppose I have. I think telling this story has helped me, in a way. It seems like such a long time ago. I guess for us, five years was a very long time."
"Well, four really. Considering Satsuma's been missing for a year."
Sei got up, wrapping the blanket around herself. "She's not missing any longer though." She turned to Amy. "We may not have ever been able to track her down before, but we're going to get her this time Amy."
"Of course." Amy smiled at Sei, who nodded in seriousness before relenting into a small smile as she turned and trudged down the hall. After a few steps, she halted for a second.
"Amy. I'm sorry I never told you this sooner." She turned back, and Amy was shocked to see a small tear in the eye of her courageous surrogate sister. "I was afraid you would hate me for not coming back right away- for leaving you alone and not being there to protect you."
"I could never hate you Sei." Amy said truthfully. "Go get showered and cleaned up. We have a big night tonight."
In their room, Jo groaned slightly as she sat down on the bed, her muscles protesting to all the movement.
"Do you want some painkillers or something?" Meg asked quietly as the she went through the clothes on the floor, rustling through them until she found Jo's jacket.
"No. It's fine." Jo spoke quietly. She watched Meg inspect her jacket.
"This thing is really beat up." She said, her voice low and her face dark.
"Yeah…" Jo murmured, before she recognized the fact that Meg was crying. Instantly, she got off the bed and hobbled over to the other girl. "What's wrong?"
"Jo!" Meg cried, throwing her arms around the older girl, sobbing. "Don't leave me Jo." Jo went through her mind, as she remembered what would prompt such a response from the younger fighter. Obviously Satsuma and her actions with Sei was something that struck a nerve in her heart.
"I'm not going to." She spoke evenly, in an attempt to calm the other girl down.
"I'm so worried for you Jo, you're in a terrible shape, and now you're supposed to go out there and fight! Why do you do these things?"
"I do it for you." Jo said truthfully. Meg pulled slowly out of the embrace as she stared tearily at the other girl.
"Promise me you'll be safe tonight, Jo. Don't do anything to get yourself hurt."
"I promise." Jo said quietly. Meg sucked in a breath, composing herself, then nodded at Jo, who stared back at her seriously.
"Meg! Jo!" Sei's voice carried down the hall. "Kyohei's here! Come get some food!" Jo got up wearily and looked at Meg, who shook her head no.
"You're not coming?"
"I'm not really hungry right now." She said. "You go eat, you need your strength. I'll be out in a couple minutes." When she noticed Jo's hesitation, she chuckled. "I'm okay, Jo, alright? I have you, I know you'll be great tonight, and I trust you." She took a deep breath. "I love you, Jo." She said with the true seriousness she possessed, and both her and Jo knew she meant in a different way then ever said before.
Jo just stared at Meg, eyes blinking as she nodded after a short time, then shut the door and left. Meg sighed, shaking her head as she turned towards the jacket in her hands. What had come over to make her say those words like that, she didn't know. Jo, and everything she had heard, the pity she felt for Sei for losing her most important person…it was too much to bear, and too much to not say, especially not knowing what would happen tonight. Life had gotten far too out of Meg's hands to want to deal with the uncertainty of life and all that went with it.
Meanwhile, Jo sat mutely at the kitchen table, much to the stares of the other occupants of the house. Kyohei nervously served the food and sat down as Amy and Sei stared carefully at the gunslinger as they slowly ate.
"Hey Jo?" Amy asked, dragging her name out. "Everything ok?" She continued, her voice slow.
Jo looked up, stared at her, nodded, and then returned her head to its lower position as she continued to stare down every delicious morsel on her plate. Amy looked at Sei, shrugged and went back to eating.
"How are you feeling?" Sei asked, trying to elicit a more comprehensive answer.
"Fine." Jo answered, not even bothering to look up. This time, it was Sei's turn to shrug to Amy's questioning gaze. Jo turned over her shoulder to look towards the door that led to where Meg still was.
"Is Meg coming out?" Kyohei asked, then winced as Amy kicked him under the table. Jo turned to him, face blank.
"I don't know." She said, as if still in thought. Then abruptly, she stood up from the table, hobbling over to the table where her guns lay. "Make sure you take some food to her, Kyohei." She said, strapping on her Desert Eagles.
"Wait! Jo?! Where do you think you're going?" Sei asked, following her.
"I need to get out of here for a little bit. I'll show up for the tournament, don't worry." Her voice was monotone.
"Jo! You cannot seriously go out like that! Do you know how many people want to hurt you?"
"I can handle it."
"Not with a broken leg and an arm!" Sei said angrily, making her way in front of the girl to block her off.
"I'm going Sei. I'll see all of you at the tournament."
"What's gotten into you? What the hell is going on that all of a sudden you are leaving?!"
"Nothing. Move." She made her way to step around the older girl.
"Dammit, Jo, no!" Sei said, maneuvering. "I am not letting you go out there unprotected!"
"I can take care of myself." Jo growled.
"Stop struggling! What happened? What's going on?"
"Nothing that concerns you."
"Jo, goddamn it, stop! Talk to me, I can help!" Sei pleaded, her voice angry.
"Stay out of my life." Jo said, eyes angry. She pushed Sei out of the way, watching her stagger to the other side of the room.
"What about Meg? What about her?"
"Meg is my responsibility, not yours. Leave her alone."
"Oh yeah, that's just great, just go ahead and leave and leave Meg here while you go off on your own doing god knows what 2 hours before you have to fight for your fucking life! You sure do care a lot, don't you?"
"Shut the hell up, Sei." Jo's eyes burned.
"No, damn it! You are not invincible, Jo! You have your weaknesses just like the rest of us normal humans, and shit, you're pretty fucked up right now, aren't you? Some hero you are, all beat up and scrapped like a dog that managed to run away with its tail between its legs after it got the crap kicked out of it. You think running is going to solve anything? "
"I'm not running."
"Really? Then what happened to put you out here with one foot out the door while Meg lies in the room doing something else, after everything that's happened today? What makes this acceptable, to put your selfish needs first! She needs you, damn it, and you are not just going to leave her! Don't you dare abandon her now, you can't just up and leave whenever you feel like it! There are more people in the world then you, grow up already and stop being so selfish! People care about you, when you just disappear, they worry whether you'll be home that night, or the next, or even at all, and you don't even realize it! It's selfish, to just go off and do your own thing and then expect to come back with warm smiles and hugs and kisses all around. Damn it, Satsuma!-" Sei put a hand over her mouth as she realized what she had said.
Amy had been watching the whole time, knowing where the argument was going. She shook her head sadly, as Sei started to shake, tears spilling out.
"Jo, Jo, Jo…" she started, choking over her words. "Jo, I'm so sorry…"
Jo stared back at her, face emotionless. Her eyes turned to Amy, narrowing in slight annoyance.
"Make sure Meg eats something. I'll see you all at the tournament." She opened the door, ready to leave before she stopped halfway through, walking over to where Sei had sunk on the ground, struggling to keep the tears in. she knelt down next to the older girl, putting a hand on the black hair, smoothing it in a gentle mimicking of what Meg had always done.
"I do what I do to protect Meg, and all of you. So did she." Jo spoke truthfully. "I am the Angel from Hell, Sei, and do not forget that. I will win, and get what I want at all costs." She pushed herself back up using Sei's shoulder. "I will see you at the tournament." She turned to Kyohei and Amy, bowing slightly as Meg's voice gently chided in her head "Manners, Jo." The redheads name repeated in Jo's head a thousand times over and she pressed a hand to her forehead as she maneuvered out the door, shutting it behind her with a click.
Amy stood, dumbfounded at what had just taken place. She walked over to Sei, pulling the older girl into a hug as she openly sobbed into her shoulder. "Just let it out, Sei." Amy whispered comfortingly, gently rocking the girl back and forth. She hadn't seen Sei ever this hard since the day Satsuma first disappeared, and she supposed that it had just been bottled up inside since then. Jo's leaving must have been similar to when Satsuma would take off for days or weeks, and Sei would be left in the trailer, oftentimes more crabbier and moody than normal, lashing out and becoming irritated at the drop of a hat, until she would snap at Amy and then apologize, sending both of them into an unspoken agreement to not bring it up.
Kyohei hovered above them nervously, having worked the courage up to get near the two. This tournament was obviously bringing up a lot of stress and problems for his employers, and he felt his heartstrings pull in pity as he watched the disintegration of his team. "I'll go take Meg some food…" he said, leaving after Amy nodded in a silent agreement.
"Don't worry too much about Sei, I'll take care of her. The tournament starts in two hours, we'll meet out here ready to go at ten till, ok?"
"Gotcha." He left quickly and quietly.
When Sei's sobs had subsided to a manageable level, Amy led her to the kitchen, handing her a tissue as she got a glass of water. "Here." She pushed it towards the girl. "Drink up." Sei took it wordlessly and drank slowly.
"What's happening to me, Amy? Why now, of all times, do I feel like everything's breaking down?" Sei asked quietly.
"I don't know Sei. I feel like this was almost coming somehow. You and Satsuma used to fight about her leaving all the time, though I think you just didn't like being left behind when she went off adventuring."
"I just didn't want her to get hurt." Sei said.
"Satsuma, or Jo?" Amy asked carefully. "Sei, you have to distinguish the differences between the two. I know that they're both great at fighting and stuff, but Satsuma lived a completely different life than Jo, and I think you freaked Jo out a little."
"No." Sei said, shaking her head. "No, it was as if Jo knew I was talking about Satsuma the whole time, like somehow she could tell that it was bothering me, that all those things….they were things I wanted to tell Satsuma, but didn't get the chance to. It was like she knew I needed to get them off my chest, like, everything was on purpose."
"She knew?" Amy pondered. "Meg sure has helped her open her eyes to the world."
"I think it was something she learned herself. It's the kind of thing you learn from loving another person, Amy." She turned to the girl with a watery smile. "Maybe tonight we'll have reason to show them those pictures we took." Amy looked at Sei, her face breaking into a smile as she started chuckling with the other girl.
Kyohei mumbled something about a short end of a stick under his breath as he gathered a tray full of food in his hands, carefully heating it back up as he marched down the hallway towards Meg's (and presumably Jo's) room. He knocked once, twice, and then entered quietly.
"Jo?" He heard a voice call out, and he felt his heart break a little at the tone. He looked in the darkened room to find Meg on the floor, Jo's jacket in her hands. "Oh…" she mumbled as her eyes looked up into Kyohei's. "Kyohei. I thought you were-"
"Jo, I know." He said. "I brought you some food..."He held out the platter with a sort of hopeful smile. "I figured you were hungry and all."
"Thanks…" Meg smiled, and patted the ground next to her, inviting the young boy to sit. He plopped himself down unceremoniously as he pushed the tray in front of Meg.
"Eat up! It's delicious, if I do say so myself. See, we were studying French cuisine today, so I made some puff pastries with pork inside them, kind of like a new version of dumplings- see the sauce is used to…" He trailed off after he heard Meg chuckling. "Ah, I've lost you, haven't I?"
"No, no." Meg's chuckles subsided as she grinned at the boy, who noticed a trace of sadness in her face. "It's just…everyone is so crazy and everything is such a mess right now, but you still manage to stay the same old Kyohei, no matter what."
"I'm sorry?" Kyohei asked.
"No, no it's fine. A sense of normalcy is just what we need right now." She sighed, setting down the food. "I wish everything was back to normal."
"I don't really see what's changed…"
Meg laughed bitterly. "It's all my fault. I told her I loved her, Kyohei. And now, she's gone, out the door to god knows where."
"Meg, we all know you love Jo. You say it constantly."
"I didn't mean in the sense of love like I have for you all. I meant it as in the…the way it's supposed to be, true love. I love her with everything Kyohei, I want to be with her and no one else."
Kyohei stretched nervously as he cracked his neck, looking at Meg. "Well," He drew the word out. "Hasn't it always been like that between the two of you? I mean, I get it, you told her you love her and she left. Yeah, ok…that's a big deal." He shook his head. "I'm getting off track. But, isn't that how Jo always handles things she's not used to? She keeps to herself a lot- I mean honestly, she only talks to you about anything, really. I've never even had a real conversation with her!" He laughed, trying to brighten the mood. "But with you two it is...different. She doesn't do things like a normal person, I know you know that, so…why does this bug you so much more than any other time she's dealt with something she's not quite sure how to handle?"
"I don't want to lose her, Kyohei. I…I can't lose her. I feel like if she left I wouldn't have a reason to do anything anymore. I've lived so long with her, and been with her for so long that I feel as if I'm breaking when she's gone."
"She's not gone Meg. You don't know that yet. She'll always come back to you, I thought you'd know that by now."
"What if I've pushed her away though, what if I made her never want to see me or be with me again? What if everything I've done means nothing now?"
"You can't live your life with what-ifs Meg. After all, what if I had never come back to the trailer after that first night, right?" Kyohei chuckled, remembering his early days. "What if I decided to never answer that ridiculous looking ad back then? I wouldn't be here, and I wouldn't have gotten to know all of you. I mean, I never would have gotten kidnapped, but hey, that only happened once right? And while it was terrible and I never want to have to go through it again, it certainly was an experience. A terrifying one, but an experience nonetheless."
"I just don't want her to leave me…" Meg said, her face stricken.
"Knowing Jo, I don't think she ever would." Kyohei patted Meg's shoulder. "I mean, she came with you here when you moved from the States, right? And she worked with Sei and Amy because you wanted to…I have a feeling Meg, that Jo loves you just as much as you love her. I don't think she'd ever leave you; she'd go to hell and back before letting you go. Have a little faith in her. Everyone needs a moment to clear their heads and reflect. After all, when you finally came to terms with how you felt, it was a little shocking, wasn't it?"
"Yeah. You know, I'm really surprised at how much of this you seem to get." Meg chuckled. "You really are just like a girl, Kyohei."
The boy squeaked in annoyance, but continued on in his message. "You deal with new things by doing god knows what. Eating, or whatever."
"Shopping, something else, fine." Kyohei laughed. "Jo goes out and shoots a few things while she mulls it over in her mind. That, or she watches those crazy B-grade horror movies of hers. It's not that she doesn't know about love, because anyone whose spent that much time with you has to know about love, but she doesn't know her own feelings. So she needed time to sort it out. It just happened that all of this took place at a really bad time, that's all."
"You really think so?"
"Well, as the fifth wheel to the trailer, you see a lot of things, but keep your mouth shut about it a lot. I wasn't going to do anything to bring the wrath of Jo upon me, and, I actually like working for you guys."
"Aw, gee, Kyohei, you're so sweet." Meg's voice had a slightly sarcastic tone to it, but Kyohei was happy to see that her spirits had been somewhat lifted.
"I'm sure she'll be there at the fight tonight, so bring her jacket and a smile and wait for her to say she loves you back!" He grinned, flashing a victory sign. Meg burst out laughing at his ridiculous expression and felt her sense of hope and control set back in. Kyohei was right. There was no use worrying about what-ifs. Jo needed her now, and nothing was going to stop her from supporting her.
Jo found herself out in the streets, wandering aimlessly as her thoughts floated way above her. A nagging voice in the back of her mind told that she really should pay more attention to what was going on, but there was no stopping the girl once her mind had picked a track to focus on a, and so she continued on her way in the usual manner, ignoring everything around.
Meg had said she had loved her before, she had spoke of love and all that came with it in such a multitude of ways that Jo had known everything there was to know about the subject long before she ever came to Japan. Or so she thought. The idea of loving another person had never come into play, and still now she tested the thought in her mind as if saying a new word for the first time, running it over as she carefully maneuvered around it. Was it safe to say she loved another person? She actually cared for Meg, because that would be the only person of course, in a way that made her more special above all else? Well, that was a given, it was because Meg was different, and she had always been different…but how? Was that word, was love, the thing that made her different. Definitely, in every sense of living that Jo had encountered, Meg was different. There was no feeling that compared to when she returned home and saw Meg waiting for her, there was no smile brighter than the one on Meg's face, and everything about the girl made her feel a sense that she could never recreate through her violent ways. When anything got going too far, when Jo felt her anger and her need to kill and hurt take over, all Meg would have to do would be to lay a hand on her arm, a touch which she could feel over the pulsating beat of her glowing tattoos, and she would rest. If Meg whispered her name, she could hear it instantly.
She was different. She was everything she needed, Jo realized. For once, she realized she needed something- someone, and that person was Meg.
The question was, how did Meg feel? That thought ravaged her mind as it seemingly flew to ever corner, filling up her brain. If Meg didn't need her, got tired of her and left one day, Jo wasn't quite sure what she would do.
"Hey!" A voice rang through as Jo felt a hand latch onto her arm. She turned, nearly snarling, as she ripped away from the person's hold.
"Who the hell are you?" She asked harshly.
"Hold up a second and relax." The voice was easygoing, calm, and Jo finally set her eyes upon the person in front of her.
A girl stood there, her height just taller than Jo's. She wore jeans and a t shirt with a zip-up hoodie over it. An average teeny-bopper, Jo thought, annoyed. Her eyes alighted on the girl's face, and more importantly, the blue-green eyes that shown through the shadows of the coming night. Her short brown hair fell messily over her head, and she ran a hand through it, sighing.
"What do you want?" Jo asked, eyeing her with a cautious attitude, her good hand slightly shifting towards her guns, though she realized with a somewhat concerned air that she had left her jacket with Meg back at the trailer, and with that thought, all her previous ones flooded back in. She supposed her face must have changed, because the girl who had stopped her suddenly seemed more concerned than before.
"Everything alright? You nearly just stepped out into the middle of traffic two seconds ago, and now you look like you've seen a ghost." Jo's head whipped towards the busy street in front of her.
"I didn't notice…"
"That's for sure." The girl sighed. "That's the only reason why I grabbed you, no worries." She eyed the guns strapped to Jo's waist. "No need to reach for the guns, I'm not gonna hurt you."
"Can't be too careful." Jo muttered, turning away.
"You sure you're all right there? I mean, it's not exactly a good idea to walk around with a broken arm and leg, don't you think?"
"I get better quickly, it's not a problem." Jo set off to hobble down the street.
"Wait up a second!" The girl called after her, running to catch up. "What are you doing out here that's got your head up in the clouds."
"None of your damn business, now get the hell away from me before I shoot you." Jo replied, stalking away. She cursed as she heard the footsteps follow her, and looked up at the sky as raindrops started to fall, cursing yet again.
"Look, it's raining and you probably shouldn't be out in that condition." The girl said kindly, offering a smile to which Jo did not return. Meg had told her that it looked like rain, and Jo was regretting more and more than she didn't stay to take her jacket before she got up and left.
"Why do you care?" Jo asked, her face turned towards the girl as rain streaked down it.
"Why shouldn't I?" she asked in return. "Follow me." She brushed past Jo and walked down the street. Jo thought over her options for a minute- wait out in the rain and walk around, or go with the strange girl who had, by some small miracle, ended up placing Jo in her debt. Meg had taught her that she should never leave her debts unpaid, and with that, she followed the girl down the street.
She had pulled her a small café, and the girl shook her tousled brown hair as she walked in, flinging moisture everywhere. Jo regarded her with a calm façade and followed her to the table.
"So," the girl said, peering inquisitively. "Just what exactly is going on? I mean, I know we're strangers, but hey, you look like you need someone to talk to."
"I have everything I need." Jo said slowly.
"Really? That's impressive. You've got a family?" Jo shook her head no. "A nice house?" Again Jo shook her head no. "A boyfriend?" Jo's eyes widened slightly before she shook her head more vehemently.
"No. I don't have any of that."
"Well then, I envy you, because a hell of a lot of people wouldn't consider having everything if they didn't have those three things."
"Well. I'm not like most people."
The girl nodded in affirmation. "I understand."
"I don't get how you would."
"Look, I've never had any of that stuff either. But I'm perfectly happy. And you're happy, right?"
"I suppose." Jo looked down at the menu. She wasn't hungry, though she had barely picked at the dinner Kyohei had prepared.
"Well, supposing is no way to live life. You never know what'll happen if you take a chance."
"Really." Jo's voice took on that sarcastic tone she rarely used.
"It's true. I've seen a lot of things in my life, but you certainly seem to have one of the most interesting characters I've encountered."
"I'm not that interesting."
"Of course you are. Look at you. You don't exactly blend in to the crowd."
"I could if I tried."
"Yeah and then you'd be run over in the middle of the road."
"Just because you decided to notice me doesn't mean everybody else will." Jo's annoyed tones quietly rang out.
"Oh shut up already." The girl complained.
Jo watched her with a look that clearly asked what she voiced. "Who the hell are you?"
"Just a random stranger who decided to help you out. Come on now, order something, you look famished. I'll pay, don't worry."
"I'm not hungry." Jo said tersely.
The brunette looked at the waitress when she returned and ordered two teas, as Jo stared incredulously. "What?" the girl asked, noticing the look.
"I just told you I wasn't hungry."
"Well, I got you something anyways, deal with it. Anyway, it's a drink, not a food. Look at you, you're all wet from the rain anyway."
"I've got someplace to be." Jo said, going to stand up as she reached for her crutch.
"I don't really think you're fit to be going out anywhere right now."
"I have to go somewhere." Jo said, her voice a stern, final tone.
"Where is it? What do you have to do?"
"I've got a fight." Jo said quietly, not wanting to draw attention. The girl looked up at her, eyebrows raised.
"A figurative one?"
"No." Jo's mind wandered as she wondered why this girl would think it would be a fake fight, not a real one.
"Well. It looks like you may need some practice there, considering you're all beat up." Jo nearly drew a gun at the insult, but chose to instead walk away.
"Shut up," she growled. "And leave me the hell alone already."
"At least let me tag along with you; that way if you get your butt kicked I'll be able to help you out."
"I'm not going to lose. And I don't need you. You helped me, I thanked you, end of story. That's how these things work."
"And who told you that?"
The pause in Jo's step, as she faltered for one second while a smiling face of Meg popped into her mind was enough for the cocky brunette to catch on.
"Oh." She smiled, as Jo frowned and kept hobbling away. "You've got yourself a boyfriend."
"No." She said, trying to evade the girl, not noticing the several funny stares she was getting from the bystanders as she hobbled through the crowd with the curious eyed girl following her.
"Really. Then who told you about your so-called way to live life."
"Meg." She said it, short and sweet, hoping the other girl wouldn't dwell on it.
She was wrong. "Oh…." She said, her voice teasing. "So you've got yourself a girlfriend then."
"It's cute, really."
"Seriously, I mean, she takes of you and makes sure you're living your life the good way, it's sweet. Saccharine."
Jo whirled around and grabbed the girl's sweatshirt in a fist as she drew her close towards her body, her face set in a menacing glare. "I told you to shut up." Her voice growled, as the other girls eyes widened. "You leave her the hell alone, you understand me?"
"Sure, sure, I've never met the girl, relax." She spoke quietly, placing a hand on Jo's arm as she placed it back at Jo's side. Jo's eyes narrowed as she felt the strength the girl possessed.
"Girls gotta get by somehow." She shrugged. "I've been fighting since before you were born." She chuckled good-naturedly.
"So what? You do underground stuff?" Jo had heard about the famed underground tournaments that went on in Tokyo. There was a fair amount of cash to be made from them, and while she had given the idea a thought or two, Meg had always shut her down with a worried look and then ran off to tell Sei, who made sure at thought of restricting Jango and weapons that Jo would not participate.
"No. I used to work for some people, but I eventually switched sides."
"Police?" Jo asked, her senses heightened as she moved slowly towards her gun.
"No. I don't like the police, especially not around here. Can't trust those RAPT bastards." Jo nodded in affirmation. "I used to work for some really bad guys, but then I got involved in another group."
"Really." Jo said, uninterested as she continued towards her destination. Her fight was going to start soon and she couldn't afford to be late.
"Yeah. Truth is, I did it for this girl." Jo turned her head slightly, eyeing the other girl.
"Really." She stated again, only this time, mildly interested.
"Yeah…"the girl sighed in what seemed like a wistful manner to Jo. "The things we do for love, huh?" She elbowed Jo, who grunted in annoyance and continued on. "You'd do the same for your girl right?"
"We are…we're not together." Jo said truthfully, unsure of how to state her and Meg's relationship. They were very, very close friends, Jo knew that, but there had always been more to friends than either of them ever said.
"You're not? Why the hell aren't you?"
"You seem offended."
"I am!" The girl said indignantly, blue-green eyes flashing. "You never know when the ends gonna come, and what are you going to do if it comes before you ever get the chance to say something?"
"Did that happen to you?"
"No." the girl huffed indignantly. "I left."
"Because I had to protect her, and the longer I stayed, the more danger I put in her in."
"Aren't you just offsetting what you said?"
"It's not like I wanted to. I never wanted to. Hell, I'm back in the same town where we lived together for years. I can't get her out of my head."
"Go back, then." Jo said. "If you care so much go back then."
"Easier said than done." The girl sighed, ruffling a hand through her hair. "You though. You. Don't make the mistakes I did. Don't go and leave someone who loves you behind, alright now? You go tell that girl of yours how you feel and you make sure you stay with her."
"Don't tell me what to do." Jo said, stopping to turn and look at the girl. "Your life is your own, as mine is mine." She glared angrily. "Leave me alone. I've thanked you."
The girl watched solemnly, and then nodded. "I apologize for any intrusion." She half-smiled. "I wish you the best, stranger."
Jo eyed her warily, before sticking a hand out. "Jo." She said quietly. "It's Jo."
"Well then, Jo. With your friend Meg. Do what feels right. Cause if you don't take a chance you'll never know, right?"
"I wouldn't know." Jo said, as she headed down the alleyway to the tournament site.
"It's Satsuma!" the girl called out down as she stood in the entranceway to the side streets. "My name!" Jo thought nothing of it before she realized who it was.
"Wait!" She called out, turning around as she clumsily stepped in a puddle. She looked down, cursing, and by the time she looked back up, the girl was gone. "Dammit." She said louder this time, as she made her way into the arena. Sei really wasn't gonna be happy with her for that one.
The crowd swelled around her as she limped through, her mind starting to focus on what was the task at hand. Still, her mind thought back to the words of the girl who all too likely the one person Sei and Amy had lived with for years. Shit, she was the girl Sei loved. Sei, the cold and calculating leader had been in love, had been with someone, and it was a fact Jo had a hard time wrapping her head around, even after hearing the story earlier. Sei never seemed the type to be emotional or carried away by things, and yet already tonight she had seemed to snap. Jo respected the girl for her cool head in situations and her level mind when it came to negotiations, but she was unprepared, Jo thought, for dealing with things that couldn't be solved rationally.
The girl, Satsuma, she still loved her. She had practically admitted it. They had been separated from each for longer than Jo could remember being separated from Meg, and they still loved each other. Jo knew Sei still cared for the girl; it was obvious through her actions. Still though, it had seemed that the separation from the blue-green eyed fighter (Jo had realized the girl possessed an incredible amount of strength) had turned Sei into a completely different person. A person who became cold, and unfeeling, ruled by logic. Jo had hardly ever seen the girl smile, or laugh. No, it was all business with the girl most of the time. Everything for Bai-Lan and for her Grandfather.
It made her shudder to think about Meg in a way that wasn't the normal, happy self she possessed. Meg being serious was a rare form to find, though when it did happen, it was sincere and proud. She could never allow Meg to become like Sei.
A bell rang out and Jo cursed as she realized the time. Hobbling until she got to the main stage, she stared Kaneshi in the face, not wanting to deal with the irritating man.
"What the hell happened to you?" He asked, his eyes widening as the end of his cigar butt fell into the puddle at his feet with a sizzle. He mopped the rain off his forehead with a wet handkerchief. "Ya don't look too good there girlie." He said before clapping a hand over his mouth. "Sorry. Forgot ya don't like being called that."
Jo chose to ignore him. "I'm fine. Let's get it done with." She felt acutely aware of the rain pounding down on her skin and didn't want to wait out in it any longer- ever since….that girl, the one who was with Meg (the name escaped her but she remembered a kind face), had saved her, the feeling of being surrounded by water was not something she enjoyed.
She stood on the stage as she peered through the increasing downpour. She tried searching for Meg, and skimmed the audience for the familiar red hair, but couldn't find her, nor Amy and Sei. The rain didn't help her vision at all.
In front of her stood a fairly skinny man, lanky and tall, yet he seemed to have much more of a fighting style than the last man, who was completely bat-shit crazy, if you asked Jo. No, this man was going to be someone worth her time, she thought, as she reached for the gun on her hip, fingers flexing and arching subconsciously as she prepared to fight.
"Dude. She's in a cast. Is this gonna be okay?" He called out, stepping forward as he flicked a knife in the air.
"Don't underestimate me." Jo growled lowly. The boy turned to her, flicking the knife towards her face. Jo easily dodged it and watched it sail into the crowd behind her as she heard the noise grow louder. Everything felt obnoxious, and, rather than feeling at ease and comforted by the prospect of fighting, the majority of her wished to be back in the trailer with Meg curled up next to her watching a movie. "Shit." She said to herself.
"Hey! Calm ya-self down!" Kaneshi yelled, to no effect. "If youse all are ready, then do it already but for chrissakes leave me the hell outta it!" He backed out of the fighting area, which seemed significantly larger once the man's presence had gone.
Instantly, there was pressure on Jo as she raised an arm to her face, blocking it as the boy came down on her. She took half a step back, surprised by the belying sense of strength. Gritting her teeth, she pushed forward, throwing him off of her. She scowled, firing off a string of bullets that rained around the boy, though he seemed to dodge a few of them, one hit the mark in his arm and it fell to his side, useless.
"Fuck…" He hissed, grabbing a gun from out of his pockets, firing off a few rounds at Jo. He aimed towards her feet and, angrily, she chucked the crutch out from under her as she trusted her body to have healed fast enough to support the weight. She hobbled slightly faster than before and moved in towards the boy as she shot back.
Knives came flying at her as she realized the boy was firing the gun from his mouth somehow, placing it in there so as to free his hand to throw knives. She threw her weight against him, knocking his head to the side with a punch that came from the cast-covered arm. He shook his head, woozy, as Jo struggled against his knife with her gun, both almost seemingly matched in strength. They fought back and forth, Jo struggling to gain the upper hand as the boy seemed to gain more strength.
"What the hell…" she said quietly as she struggled to raise her casted arm.
"Don't even think about it!" He hissed as he pushed her backward, nearly knocking her over as her leg tripped her. Feeling herself go off balance, she broke away and rolled, hoping to throw off her opponent as she rolled to the ground, firing up at the young man. He scowled as he felt himself falling and turned towards her angrily, throwing several small knives that nicked the edges of her arm and leg as she moved about the ground.
The crowd grew louder at the bloodshed and they clamored towards the platform as Jo fired several shots off in frustration and they ricocheted off the ground and into the audience. The boy smirked as he fired in return and Jo cursed as she came to the realization that with the casts she was outmatched in speed by the youngster, and she barely got an arm up in time as he charged her again, knocking her to the ground. She skidded along the cement and felt her skin rip. Cuts covered her body as the boy drove his knives into her.
"Not so tough now, huh, you little bitch?" He asked menacingly as he realized his advantage. "Guess I better thank who ever the hell beat you up before I got to lay my hands on you." He leered dangerously close to Jo's face as he drew a long scar across her cheek. She bit her tongue as she felt the cut of the knife and the sticky wet liquid of her blood meld with the rain as it poured around them.
"Fuck…" she muttered, straining against him. She could feel every nerve in her body forcing against the young man. She felt her face flush as the blood poured faster. Just a little further, she thought, a little bit more and she would kick into her overdrive. She willed her tattoos to form, to spring to appearance in the form of saving wings and she continued struggling as she felt her heart rate climb. It was adrenaline, it was the rain, it was the girl she had met earlier and she felt it building until Meg's face came into mind and suddenly, she felt free as strength rushed through her, pulsating along her arms and back. She could see the surprise in the young man's eyes as her arms glowed with the purple strength, and she rose, throwing him off her.
Even she was surprised though, when she felt the cast on her arm splinter and shatter into thousands of tiny pieces. She flexed her arm, grinning to herself as she felt her muscles twitch underneath her. Alarmingly quickly (she knew to make good use of the time she had), she drew her other gun, pointing both at the boy as he now stood, wary, in the further corner of the field.
"Not so tough now, are you?" she threatened lowly. "Playtime's over." She shot at him angrily, gritting her teeth as she still found his strength overbearing. He seemingly flicked away the bullets with his knives and charged her again. Jo still stumbled on her casted foot, and spun, lifting it angrily to kick the boy in the kidneys as he came around her. She felt immense pain for a second before seeing the man on the ground, as her foot had met her mark, and ignored it as she knelt down next to him, picking up the weapon he had dropped. She sliced him quickly down his cheek and couldn't help but grin slightly as he cried in pain.
Jo felt, finally, like she had some control over life for once. Here, this man's life was in her hands- she decided everything, whether he lived and whether he died. It felt different than before, it felt better, it felt normal, she thought, having control. Hadn't she always had control though, over her life? She lived by her owns standards, and did things for herself. She had control.
Red flashed before her and she stared up, startled, into the blue eyes of the one girl, she realized with a single look, had always been the one in control and controlled her. Meg stared at her, proud, defiant, and yet Jo could see the disgust in her eyes as she watched the blood pool around her on the arena and then looked back at Jo. It was getting increasingly more difficult to see in the pouring rain. Meg shifted one of her arms to grab her other one, and Jo realized she had could see her tattoos still glowing from that far away and knew that they would soon begin to fade as she felt her foot start to throb as the adrenaline faded.
Meg, did not want this man to die. She was sick and tired of the death and destruction brought to the world and Jo's hands and with a saddened thought, Jo realized that Meg could not love her, no matter what she had said, because this was what Jo did, and nothing could change that.
She pushed herself up, disgusted, and spat on the ground next to the man. The crowd swelled with anger, and Jo watched them out of the corner of her eye as she kept them focused on Meg, standing in the downpour staring straight at her, like her face and her body would be something she could forget, or would somehow never see again.
"What the hell?" Someone yelled. "Kill the bastard!" Murmurs of agreement ran throughout the audience, but Jo continued to stand stock still. Meg motioned towards her, and Jo saw Sei reach out and grab her arm gently, keeping her in place.
"What's wrong?" she mouthed. Jo just continued to stare, as if in a daze. The man rolled over groaning, and Jo finally spoke, her voice seemingly dead.
"Get up." When he made no motion to move, she gritted her teeth and spoke louder. "I said get up!" The man struggled to his feet, gasping. Whatever energy he had was gone now, and he kept in distance as she saw the faint purple hue still envelop the girl.
"What…what are you?" He asked fearfully.
"An angel from hell," she told him. "Now leave. Get out of here and don't you ever think about coming back." He watched her, then nodded.
Kaneshi hurried over to see what had happened, Takeru behind him with a medical bag.
"This is amazing!" He said, shocked to see Jo's arm perfectly fine. "You're a medical miracle; it's like you never got hurt." He waited with a half-grin on his face that disappeared as he realized the girl was not going to talk. Turning his attention to the other man, he helped him off the stage and through the crowd, who, grumbling and complaining, had made their way slowly out the alleyways as they collected bets and fistfights broke out.
"You ok?" Kaneshi asked. "You got one more fight and then we get to the championship, awright? Hang in there a little bit longer, you could win this thing if you want." He grunted, shifting uncomfortably as he saw the rest of the trailer make their way over. "Tomorrow we're doing something new. Mecha time, so you betta bring one or getch yaself one, or you're gonna be in some serious trouble." He tossed a packet at her, which fell at her feet, and sighing, turned to leave. "Be at that address tomorrow at sundown. Don't be late."
He gave a curt nod to Sei as he walked past her and she regarded him carefully, before turning back to Jo. "Amy!" she yelled to the girl as she darted out from under her, "Stay under the umbrella!" It didn't do any good though, as the younger girl scampered in Jo's direction.
"Jo that was so cool!" She squealed, excited. "I was worried for a second, cause you seemed a little out of our comfort zone there, but man, all of a sudden you kicked it into overdrive! I got the whole thing on film, I'm gonna go put it up online right when we get home." She looked at Sei, smiling. "No one's gonna mess with us after they see how awesome Jo is." She grinned impishly at Jo, though her smile fell as she realized the girl was looking down at the ground, lost in thought somewhere.
"Jo?" Sei asked quietly, putting a hand on the girls arm, though she didn't elicit a response. With a small gesture of remembrance, she put the umbrella over the girl's head and Jo perked slightly as she felt the rain stop falling on her. She turned to Sei, quietly. "I know you don't like standing in the rain, Jo, you never really go out when it's pouring like this."
"It's because of when I first found you." A voice rang through and Jo looked past Sei back into the blue eyes of Meg, startled by the color in which they pierced the graying world around them. "Right? Because of the river that we dragged you out of. That's why you don't like swimming- though you did jump in the pool to save me that one time. And into the ocean the other time." She gave Jo a small smile. "Maybe I'm wrong."
"No," Jo spoke lowly. "You're right." Meg stepped closer to her, and Jo looked towards the ground only to look back up at Meg. "But I did all that stuff for you." She spoke simply, and Meg smiled graciously.
"I know you did."
"I'm a monster." Jo said quietly, her heart fluttering from the look on Meg's face, the gentleness she could never achieve. "You didn't want me to kill him."
"I don't want you to kill anybody. And you didn't kill him."
"I didn't." Jo said, her eyes avoiding Meg's.
"You could be the worst person on the face of the Earth, Jo, and I still wouldn't care." Meg spoke quietly, determined to get through to the other girl. "You and I, and everything…we are what we are. You live for this- for this fighting, this glory and honor and battling and that's ok. It's ok, to me. It's alright Jo. I won't…wouldn't, ever ask you to change yourself. I said it before and maybe I'm pushing you away but god…I love you Jo. I love you and that's all there is to it. And I know…I have to know, I have to believe….that you love me too."
Jo stared into Meg's eyes, shocked, and then, without knowing what came next, pressed her lips against Meg's in a sudden sweet kiss, as silver and grey became infused with color and the rain simply continued to fall. She felt Meg's warmth, felt her softness, felt everything and yet she felt as if anything she had ever lived through or done before counted as nothing at all. Meg slowly wrapped her arms around the other girl's neck as she pressed herself to Jo, and the girl simply held her close. Jo had never wanted to let Meg go. And she never would.
"She's going to get more sick…" Amy said to Sei, as they watched from the corner of the ring. "Standing out here in the rain like that."
"Don't think you can avoid the truth Amy." Sei said, smiling gently as she watched the two girls she had come to love as sisters finally accept the love they had for each other. "You'll still be paying up when we get back to the trailer." Amy pouted, but giggled, and went with Sei at a small push, understanding that the two of them weren't really necessary anymore.
The kiss had stopped and Meg had gone from Jo's lips to her neck as she buried her face in the warm crook between her shoulder and ear, and she pressed herself into Jo so much that she felt as if they got any closer they would become one person.
"I don't know…what this is. I don't know much about any of it. But I know that this is right." Jo whispered in her ear. "I don't ever want to lose you, or have you go far away from me. I want you to stay with me." Jo finished, not letting go of Meg.
"I promise you I'll never go." Meg spoke into Jo's neck, and they stood in the rain.
Satsuma looked on from the window and couldn't help but smile slightly.
"Good job on getting us the Intel." The low voice spoke behind her, and she turned angrily.
"You're going to destroy this?" She asked bitterly.
"Of course not." She could hear laughter in the voice. "You are."
It ends with a cliffy, I know, but be happy fans. We're on the downhill slope, and next chapter brings some confrontations. Will Sei finally see the love of her life again? Will Jo and Meg establish a relationship? Will Amy become number one on the internet? Haha, find out next time friends
Thanks again for all of your support and encouragement. You guys are the best. --speechless out