Based on a discussion with the fabulous Xen/plissken-chan.


The tree bark was tough against Plissken's calloused hands, and the chill that lingered in the air helped him keep a clear mind. He hoisted himself onto a thick branch, and waited there silently. While he was far from tired, his heart raced quickly and threatened to strangle him. It was a rush that would be replaced by adrenaline sooner or later, and Plissken only looked forward to its sweet taste. The sigh that passed through his lips was strained and forcibly quiet – a group of blackbellies had trailed him for a while, and now was the perfect time to stop them.

Their voices, which were a distant hum, were now clearer, along with footsteps against the grass. Plissken's blue eye focused on a beam of light that swept over the dark tree trunks. His lips were parted, but his breaths were silent. He discovered that it was a small troupe, maybe three or four of them. While it meant less trouble to deal with, Plissken could not help but feel insulted.

"Dammit," the voice was a harsh whisper, and heaved tiredly. "We lost the son of a bitch."

A blackbelly rested against the tree to catch his breath. What luck.

"I told you we would," this voice was quieter. "We shouldn't've gone off. Hauk'll have us skinned, for sure."

"Shut-up, Gagnon. Let's keep a lookout."

Plissken peered down to see that the rest of the group was farther away. So, they were fresh, young, and stupid hot-shots that had something to prove. That made things easier. He began to tighten his strong legs around the tree branch, and once he was confident, he hung down. All of his weight was pressed against the hard bark as it poked into his skin. The side of his hand swept across the back of the blackbelly's neck. He huffed quietly, and slumped over just as Plissken hauled himself back onto the branch.

"Oh, shit!" Another beam of light hurriedly shone in every direction, before it settled on his unconscious form. "Michaud's down!"

The light came closer, a beacon that brought the slow-moving blackbelly with it. Plissken licked his lips before he charged down. He grabbed the other man and swung his elbow into their face, the hit landed above the bridge of the nose.

"You son of a-" Whoever it was, they grabbed Plissken's arm and tried to grapple with him. His one eye was able to make out the figure in the dark. Swiftly, Plissken crashed his head against theirs. The blackbelly's grip loosened. One more headbutt was able to make him crumple over, unconscious. He backed against the tree for a moment to listen to his surroundings carefully. Only crickets hummed, with no human noises to speak of. After a few moments of stillness, Plissken stepped away from the tree. Another show of hesitance before he took a few more steps. He froze when he heard a deafening click. Nothing to worry about. This guy was probably alone, and it would take a long time for a larger group to arrive. He escaped many situations just like this one. It would not be the last, either.

"That's right, asshole," they said. "Freeze."

Something was wrong. His one eye widened, just as a flashlight turned on behind him. Two human-shaped shadows were laid on the grass.

The voice was painfully familiar.

Plissken began to turn around, his arms slowly rose in the air. He jerked back at the strength of the light. Even his covered eye ached for a second.

"I said freeze."

Their facial features were not obscured by the brightness, although Plissken soon wished that they were. The man's hair was brown and long, but tied back. The color repeated again above his upper lip and within his hard eyes. His face was somewhat round, with full cheeks. An icy cold permeated Plissken's stomach. His heart beat fast, while something within began to strangle his throat. The other man's lips parted as if he recognized the criminal before him.

"Taylor?" Plissken asked quietly. His voice felt broken. "Bill?"

For a moment, it looked like he would lower his gun. Sadness glinted in his brown eyes and wallowed with confusion. Taylor's resolve returned as he cocked the gun again.

"How'd you know my name?" The burning in his eyes ignited. Something within Taylor recognized Plissken intimately, but he could not quite tie the threads together.

But the memories flooded through Plissken's mind, all jumbled together. Thoughts of fondness in the Black Light Squadron became a summer day when they were little, crouched around the television watching some old cartoon. The time when he awoke with one damaged eye in a bare hospital room in Taylor's embrace mingled with re-learning depth perception. All paths lead to him slumped on the floor, his blood pouring into the lining and cracks. But there he was, alive and well with a gun in his hand.

"I asked you a damn question!"

Plissken breathed and shook as if he were sobbing. He thought that his tears were long spent, but his vision clouded and the water stung. Taylor already had tears streaming down his cheeks, his face contorted as he tried to keep a cool head. Something within him struggled to connect his feelings to something important. He did not pursue his questions any further. Instead, Taylor reached into his belt and pulled out his radio. He was reluctant to turn it on, but static blared one he flipped the switch. Plissken's eye pleaded with him, but not out of want to escape.

"Remember...?" It was barely audible, and his voice trailed off.

Taylor's gaze was fixed on him. The man hesitated once more before whispering into the radio.

"I..I've got him," he said, louder. "I found Snake Plissken."