Yo. Someone pointed out Abe and how weird he's been acting. Which is true, he has been acting weird… for the movie Abe. The comic Abe, on the other hand was much more kung fu, straight up, fighty… I didn't hate him in the movie, I just found him to be a complete wuss. He doesn't take shit in the comics. That's why he's a little weird in here. He's a warrior, and although the movie doesn't portray him as one, the comics did. He got as down and dirty as Red did, but, well, with a little more class. I'll try to keep an eye on what I make Abe do, but I will remain writing him as a warrior. Ol' Blue deserves no less.
Ps: Got a new Beta, say hello and thank you so much to Rainne! You have her to thank for me making this chapter semi-readable. hehehe
My 'escorts' finally left once I was back in my old room with a guard just outside the door. Those bastards didn't leave me alone the entire time we were at the apartment, not even when I had to get some more 'personal items' from the bathroom. I saw them smirk when I grabbed my tampons, the jerks. Yah, I'll make you bleed for five days and see how you like it motherfuckers. Instead of saying it I just glared at them and stuffed the box in my backpack.
Out of spite, I almost left Rielle's things there, unpacked… but something inside told me I was being an unreasonable bitch, so I packed her a couple of bags. And just to piss off the escorts, I forced them to help me carry the bags back downstairs and into The Big Bastard's small trunk. As retaliation, one of them sat in the passenger seat on the way back and bitched about my driving habits, while the other pretty much tailgated me the entire time. What, they thought I'd go all renegade and speed away, going all 'movie car chase' on em? I could barely drive straight, let alone do all that crazy shit. Again, jerks. At least he didn't scratch the paint; Rielle would have their balls as earrings if she saw so much as a fleck of paint missing from her baby.
I slammed my bag down on the bottom bunk of the bed and climbed up to the top, trying not to think of the girl who SHOULD have been there arguing with me over whose right it was to have the better bed. I still didn't know if I wanted to slap her around a little or give her the biggest hug I could.
One side of me said: She pissed me off so much! She lied to me!
The other side of me retaliated: She did it to protect me, and she finally came clean. And from what Abe told me last night as he tucked me in, she regretted the whole thing.
Now that dude was confusing. The past couple of days, while things have been complete shit for me, he'd been there to take care of me. He explained things, stopped me from getting all violent, told me straight up instead of covering things. He was gentle with me, but from what I could see he was all muscled like a fighter who could even take down Uncle Maurice. He could read minds but his own was full of doubt and nervousness. I could tell whenever he was around me, he was nervous. He'd turn a darker shade of blue, which I found funny and sort of cute. I don't think he even noticed when I took his hand earlier. How a guy with a brain like that could be so dense was beyond me.
I smiled as I stared at the roof. I still can't believe he tucked me in… I laughed aloud, remembering Abe literally pulling the blanket tight over me and tucking it under the mattress until I could barely move.
You like him, admit it.
Oh shut it.
To get my mind off strange fish men, I rolled off my bunk and landed on the floor. May as well unpack a little, I'll be here a while… stupid Ellie. I felt like a kid, thinking that way, but I couldn't help it! It was her fault I was stuck here instead of my nice warm bed with fresh air coming through my window.
I rooted through one of the bags and found an old photo album, finding a picture of Rielle and me sitting around with a group of grass-dancers and grinning from ear to ear. I really wanted to tear the photo in half.
Grow up and deal with it, Vinny, I told myself. Hell, things could be a lot worse. I could have been thrown into a solitary confinement like Ellie was right now, according to what my door-guard told me. I could be in a jail cell with a bunch of overweight horny women who had a thing for skinny redheaded Indians. The image made me giggle.
"That would be frightening, to say the least."
Abe's voice right behind me made me jump and bonk my head on the metallic frame of the bunk above me. "Sonofafuckinbitch!" I yelped.
Abe looked a little shocked but he inspected my head anyways. "Sorry about that. I just wanted to check on you."
"Well, I have a headache now, other than that I'm all good." I liked the feeling of his hands in my hair. Oh shit he probably heard that.
Satisfied that my brains weren't falling out the back of my head, Abe looked me in the eye. I knew he was running around there in my mind but right now I didn't give a shit.
"By the way, I didn't mean you, I meant the bed." Don't think about ripping all that neoprene off of him and licking him from head to toe.
Oh shit! Shut up brain! What the hell was wrong with me? My brain seemed to know damned well it could make a fool out of me and was trying it's hardest to do just that. I promised myself a few days of action movies to suppress its outbursts.
"Thank you for clarifying." He took a seat next to me after moving one of the large backpacks out of the way. If he heard my thoughts he was polite enough not to show any reaction. Thank goodness. Leaning over he saw the photo album I held and asked to see it.
I handed it over and watched him flip through some of the pages, asking questions now and then, but mostly just running his fingers over the pictures. Once in a while he'd grin, or frown, or just laugh out loud, giving me what I interpreted as a damn you're insane look, especially with the picture of me and Ellie on top of the Moose Jaw Moose… a tourist-drawing 40 foot fake moose. It was hard to make out his expressions when his eyes were covered with those goggles.
He stopped at the old photo of my Kokum. "Who's this?"
I told him, and he very carefully took the picture out of its protective covering and handled it like it would fall apart. It was a bit yellowed, but it was pretty old, taken when she was around 30. I looked a little like her now, except the red hair. We even had the same impish grin.
"You look like her."
"Yeah, we even act alike. She taught me how to swear when I was four. I was the most foul-mouthed kid in school."
Does he have nipples? Out of nowhere came that question in my head. My jaw dropped and my eyes widened at the stray thought, just thinking about it… and it didn't help when Abe busted out laughing. Stupid, stupid, stupid!
If possible I turned even redder and hid my face in a pile of clothes. Just shoot me.
Abe got himself under control enough to dig me out of the pile of clothes behind me. He put an arm around my shoulder and his voice reassured me as I tried not to cry. "Don't worry yourself; you should hear some of the strange questions about me I pick up just walking down the hall here."
Curious, I asked what kinds of questions. I shouldn't have. He told me about this new girl whose first thought was, "If he had babies, would they be guppies?" I had the visual of all these baby fish with human heads and turned bright red.
We giggled like a couple of kids over that one. After a few more goofy questions, I was calm enough not to rebury my head in the bed like the ostrich in those Bugs Bunny cartoons. Dude would make a good therapist. Together we went through a few more pictures, and I told him a few fun stories behind them, trying as best I could to avoid thinking about my best friend currently sitting somewhere alone in a cell.
Abe must have caught that thought as he stopped flipping through the pages. I'll have to get Ellie to teach me that Jedi mind shit she learned from CSIS.
"Lavinia," he took my hands into his and faced me cross-legged on the bed, even though he had to duck a little, "Are you still angry with her?"
YES! My mind screamed. But at the same time I couldn't help but think of those old photos, and the stupid shit we used to do together, before and after her adventures as a secret agent. Sure, she was a little different when she came back, but hell, we still had a lot of fun, and she still helped me through some rough times. I owed her my forgiveness even if I didn't feel it fully.
"What rough times?" Abe's head tilted a little bit.
"What, you don't know already?" I didn't mean to sound so sarcastic, but hey, mind reader.
"Some things I'd rather hear verbally."
I groaned. Now was not the time. "I'll tell you later, when things settle down a bit."
Abe hugged me then. It was strange, and I narrowly avoided a nasty bump on the head from his respirator thing, but it felt good all the same. He was warmer than I thought. He ran a hand through my hair again and I resisted the sudden urge to yell 'Wanna paddle my canoe?" Thank goodness I didn't think it too loud. Do thoughts have volume levels?
SHIT! Wait; what question was that an answer to?
Without answering, he left, saying he had a plan for getting Rielle out of trouble, and asked for my help. I agreed after a minute of thinking The petty part of me wanted her to sit in there for a while but the good honest part of me told me to quit being such a baby and help my best friend.
Abe gave me one last smile before shutting the door behind him. Confusing, strange, and dense as hell…
I laughed myself to sleep that night over the thought that I had a crush on a fish man. Kokum would shit herself.
I love MSN, I thought with a smile. Instant advice from my best friends across the world, and no long distance phone charges to bother Pop with.
I told Liz what'd been happening around here lately. Not everything, just the gist, the important stuff. Like one of the new girls being a secret agent and Abe's new drinking habit. She laughed her ass off quite a bit after I told her about Rielle busting Tanner's nose. She always hated him.
At the same time, it was strange. We used to talk all the time about everything. Now, well…. I don't know. I felt like keeping things back from her. I didn't want to open my heart to her as much as I once did. I loved Liz to death, she was my best friend. We even kissed once. And it was really, really REALLY good.
But then she took off to the other side of the world just to get the hell away from me. Any guy would take that as a horrendous ego blow and I sure as hell did. Her explanation? "I just need to get away for a while to clear my head."
Yah, sure. You can clear your head with meditation, not a year-long 'hiatus' in Australia, or Singapore, or wherever she happened to be that that time.
I hated to admit it, but it hurt. That one minute she would kiss me and run like hell to get away from me the next. I knew what I looked like. I knew what I did for a living, and although it was a little strange being around me, people dealt with it. Pop dealt with it. The guards, the doctors, they all dealt with it. Hell, even Rielle dealt with it and I'd known her for what - five days? Why couldn't Liz?
Great idea, Red. After all the shit this week, go and get yourself even MORE depressed by thinking about stuff that ain't ever gonna happen.
I looked around my room, what Lavinia called the 'jail cell with cats'... and felt closed in. Liz could travel the world whenever she pleased. I was stuck in here until some big nasty came along, and even then I was confined to a crate, and carefully watched when out of it.
So, one short little jaunt outside your room is nothing, really…
Next thing I knew I was yelling at a guard outside of the prison section of the base, trying to get inside. This place had all sorts of creatures imprisoned here… demons, lizard chicks, miniature dragons… I think the leprechaun died last year, I wasn't sure. And Rielle. I could only imagine the things she'd been hearing since she was thrown in there this morning.
Once I finally got past the guards with the threat of immediate bodily harm, I walked down the hall, looking at the numbers and names on each door. On the right, second cell in, something was screaming in a language even I couldn't identify offhand. In a way I wish Abe were with me so I could tell if he was pissed off or just crazy.
I found cell number 17 and stopped. I couldn't hear anything coming from inside, so Rielle was either asleep or just very, very quiet. I had the sudden vision of opening the door and being attacked by a raving madwoman. I hesitated before punching the code into the terminal next to the lock and opened the door a crack.
The first thing that hit me was the smell. Christ, what is that? No human could make that much smelly stuff in the one day Rielle had been in there. I wondered if they ever cleaned these cells out. Even my room doesn't smell this bad and I have cats!
The second thing I noticed was how dark and moist it was. The moisture just made it smell worse.
I could only imagine what was going through her head… especially after the story she told us earlier. I wondered if this cell was better or worse than the one in Iran.
Finally I saw Ellie.
"Fresh fry bread, prairie winds, good lookin' Cree boys, the Whorehouse Blues, campfires, Koko Taylor, muscles, strong coffee, Doritos, thunderstorms, NOS, motor oil, bad porn, buffalo meat, sweet-grass, wood-smoke, satin…"
I peered through the dark to see Rielle pacing back and forth against the far wall of the cell, rambling.
She looked like hell. (No pun intended). Her face was bloodied worse than when I last saw her, making me think that some of the guards, or Tanner himself, took a few minutes alone with her to 'welcome' her to the cell block. Her injured hand was resting against her chest, and her eyes were unfocussed, staring at whatever she was imagining in her head. If I didn't know any better, I'd think she was crazy… the image of her screaming and attacking me zoomed through my head again, just like the crazy cat lady in the Simpsons.
I said the only thing I could think of. "Heya kid."
She jumped about a foot in the air again, hearing my voice. I was surprised she didn't hear the door open. Maybe she was ignoring it. It only took a moment for her to come back to reality, but then I saw in her eyes that she recognized me even through the dark, and they lit right up.
She squealed "RED!" and ran across the room, leaping into the air and wrapping her skinny arms around my neck. The move took me by surprise, and it knocked me back a foot. I wasn't about to argue though, and wrapped my right arm around her to keep her where she was.
"Oh man I'm so glad it's you!" Her head flopped onto my shoulder. She sounded so relieved that I didn't have the heart to ask her who else had been by to visit. For a few seconds while I held her in my arms I forgot she'd killed more humans in two years than I had in the sixty plus years I'd been around. Strange as it was, every time I saw her in pain, or even within arms' reach, I didn't see her as a killer.
After a minute she detached herself, looking more than a little embarrassed. I messed with her already-straggly hair and we took a seat on the floor against the far wall again. The smell was getting to me but I tried to ignore it. If she can take it, so can I, and I've smelled some nasty things over the years.
"Not to sound unappreciative or anything, but why are you here?" She asked once we made ourselves comfortable.
I just shrugged. "Don't know. Got lonely."
She smiled at me again, that soft smile when she knows damn well I'm lying but has a big enough heart not to call me on it.
It went like that for about ten minutes, just us sitting there in the cold dark, sitting arm against arm, chatting like we were on the roof a couple of days ago. No complications, no tenseness, just a couple of old friends chatting.
The only thing missing was beer. I had a cigar though and lit it up much to the gratitude of Ellie, who I almost had to play tug-o-war against to get it back. It sure improved the smell of the room.
"Got any food in here?" I asked, rubbing my belly. She grinned at me and shook her head.
"Nah, the only time I've seen anyone was when the guards walked by, or you. I haven't eaten since this morning."
"What?" I was pissed. Starving a prisoner was against the law for a reason. That, and it was just cruel, especially for one who ate as much as Ellie.
"Hey, no worries, I ate a decent breakfast." She replied, obviously trying to calm me down. Wasn't working.
"Well, they're damned well gonna feed us now…"
I got up off the floor, ripped the cell door open, and bellowed down the hall for the guards. Ellie meekly stood off to my right, leaning up against the wall. "Red, don't…"
"What? I'm hungry." I interrupted her as a single young looking and quite frightened guard ran up and stood shakily in front of us. I don't think he knew who to be more afraid of. His eyes kept flitting from me to Ellie, who immediately got into the role of the pathetic and starved prisoner. It was fun.
"You see this girl here?" I pointed to Ellie, whose eyes instantly went big as headlights.
The guard nodded.
"She hasn't had anything to eat or drink since this morning… and it's really cold in there. So here's what I want you to do." I leaned down real close and got right in the guard's sweaty face. I swear his eyes couldn't get any rounder. "You are going to get that skinny ass out of here and get her some food, water, and some coffee, and a nice, thick, dry blanket. You got that, Bub?" I tapped him very lightly on the top of his head with the end of my tail, just to get the point across.
The guard quivered in his boots. "Yes… Yes sir, Mister Hellboy… Right away."
Heh, Mister. Oh shit! "And get something for me too, I'm hungry!" I yelled down the hall to the fleeing guard. I barely heard him say "Yes,sir"again as he zoomed out of the cellblock.
Ellie barely kept her laughter in until I shut the cell door again, but once it was she burst out laughing so hard I thought she'd pee herself. "Man, I should have had you around back in high school! 'Give her an A in algebra or I'll bust your fuckin' fingers!'" She finished in a fair imitation of my voice.
She was back on the floor so I plopped down next to her and punched her good arm lightly. "Good thing about being this ugly, I can still scare the shit out of the little guys."
Rielle smacked me back. "You're not ugly, Red. Say that again and I'll pop you one."
"Ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly…. OW!" That's gonna leave a bruise.
"Bitch… Ow!" Same damned spot! No wonder she was good at sniping.
We messed around for a few more minutes, jabbing back and forth and telling each other 'your big nose' jokes. Finally the guard reappeared with some back up and two platters stacked with food and drinks. He was shaking so bad the glasses were banging against each other, so I took the platter away from him before they ended up smashed on the floor. He backed off quickly and ran away out of the cell. His 'backup' just chuckled at him.
"Red, will you quit intimidating the new guys?"
I put on a pouty face that got a giggle out of Rielle. "Aww, but it's fun!"
The guard grinned at me and left, shutting the cell door firmly behind them. The smell of the food was visibly getting to the both of us, so in the time it took to blink an eye, me and Rielle raided the platters and found burgers, chicken, two kinds of salad, and some nice hot bread. The other was loaded with water bottles, orange juice and hot coffee. It took me a moment to realize they forgot a blanket, so I yelled out the door til Scaredy-Cat (I nicknamed the frightened guard) came with a decently warm hospital blanket for Ellie, which she gratefully wrapped around herself.
We talked and gorged on food for the next hour. She seemed to perk up a lot more, even taking the time to run her fingers (although covered in chicken grease) through her hair and wash her face off with one of the bottles of water. She looked a lot better afterwards, more awake and aware, and less insane. After a few cups of coffee I almost had to peel her off the ceiling. It was great. I forgot we were even in a jail cell after a while.
She asked a little about what I did here, so I explained what the BPRD was all about, what I did, what Abe did, things like that. She was totally fascinated. I wondered why nobody told her but realized there hadn't been much time, with her getting arrested and all. I'm sure Father would have done it sooner or later.
She told me a little about her time with CSIS, stuff like the training procedures and some of the funnier missions she went on. One of them included a guy dressed as a mime, pretending to shoot some important official… then actually pulling a gun. When Rielle took him out, nobody noticed, they all thought he was playing along.
Okay, it shouldn't have been funny, but it was. And I had enough coffee in my system to kill an elephant.
I don't know how much time had passed before there came a knock on the cell door. By then, Rielle and I were full of food and leaning against each other. I think I was keeping her warmer than the blanket was. I was trying very very hard not to play with her hair. It was brushing against my shoulder and was a little ticklish. Giggling like a girl wouldn't have done much for my ego, so I held it in.
"Red, Professor Broom is looking for you. Says it's important."
"Ain't it always?" I looked over to Rielle who finally got off my shoulder. I took the advantage and scratched it. "I guess I'm out of here. I'll come by again tomorrow, okay?"
Rielle walked me to the door looking pretty sad. I felt a bit guilty. It didn't help when she looked up at me with those big brown eyes of hers and softly said my name. I stopped halfway out the door. She reached out meekly and took my left hand in both of hers.
"Look, I'm sorry for everything." She looked down at the floor. "I didn't want to lie to you and I did. I put everyone here in danger, and I feel absolutely horrible about it."
I don't know what the hell came over me just then. It sure as hell wasn't the 'romantic environment' or that she looked good even beaten up… it was... something. I just went with it. Before she could protest or I could stop to think, I lifted her chin, leaned down and slowly kissed her cheek.
Up close, she didn't smell so bad… she smelled like Rielle, motor-oil and sandalwood and chicken, and her cheek was soft under my lips. The nasty jail-cell odour was muted next to her…
I stayed there for a moment, wondering how soon the clout to the jaw would be, and enjoyed being close to her. My right hand somehow ended up in her hair and pulling her closer so her face was on my shoulder. I'd always wanted to touch her hair, and even tangled, it was as soft as I thought it would be.
Standing there with her in my arms like that for who knows how long, I didn't know what to be more afraid of- her total lack of reaction, or the fact that she hadn't run screaming yet. "Say something so I don't feel like a total asshole."
I felt her body relax a little. "Something."
Okay, I should have expected that. "Smart ass."
She let go of my hand and wrapped her arms around my waist and squeezed. "Lummox."
I messed her hair up a little more and let her go. She kept looking up at me with those big brown eyes but this time she was grinning.
"You better go before they send out a search party."
"Nah, they'll just get Fish-Stick to scan the place. But yeah, I should go…"
"Tomorrow, and I'll bring booze."
She chuckled at the thought and I shut the door behind me.
Halfway down the hall I ran into the Scaredy-Cat and flashed my teeth at him. I heard him squeak and I laughed the rest of the way to Pop's office.
I'm sorry to all of you things have been taking so long. This month has been hell. Shit from all sides. Hopefully things simmer down while schools on. Hope hope. Heh.
Beastie: no hard feelin's? And here's a nice snoogie moment for you, hope you liked it.
Beth: I've Been watching kung fu movies lately, and the image of Broom swinging that thing out and whacking Tanner came from that. Pai Mei Broom, just needs a longer beard and to get rid of the tweed.
Shadowcat: I kinda pulled Tanner out of my ass, that's why he's such a shithead. A mix of Manning and an old boss.
Draco:D thank you! Hope you liked this one too.