The death of Madison Nelson was not the first loss of a teammate that Charlotte Walker had endured.
It was, however, the first loss of a teammate that Lennon ever had, and her morose attitude over the past two days since it had occurred seemed to have been leading up to this.
Lennon had arrived at Charlotte's door with a bottle of Jack Daniels in hand, still in the black suit she'd worn to Madison's wake, her eyes red-rimmed and her face streaked with still drying tears.
"I want to get drunk," she'd said. "Three sheets to the wind, don't know my name anymore, couldn't care less what happens to the rest of the world smashed."
Despite her feeling that she should put her foot down and convince Lennon to do something more constructive with her feelings of grief--for the split second it took to make the decision, Charlotte found herself wanting the exact same thing.
So, here they both sat, in their stocking feet, leaning up against Charlotte's messily made bed, with their hands wrapped around paper cups full of liquor. They'd blasted through the bottle of JD in short order, followed by a half bottle of Vodka that Charlotte had stashed away, and were now working their way--slowly but surely--through a bottle of blackberry brandy.
Somewhere in the back of her mind, swimming through seas of alcohol, Charlotte's voice of reason was gurgling and drowning as it tried to keep afloat, reminding her whenever it could manage to surface that no, one more glass was not a good idea…
She ignored it.
"I miss her," Lennon said with only a slight slur, for what must have been the thirtieth time since Madison's death. "I miss her, Charlie."
Charlotte tipped the rest of her cup's contents back, swallowing rapidly. "I do too, Len."
The geek hiccupped, covering a noisy sob. "It's my fault, Charlie…if I hadn't gotten captured and she hadn't had to save me…hadn't had…hadn't had…is that grammatically incorrect?"
Both the redhead's shoulders moved up and down in a clumsy shrug. "Doesn't matter right now, does it?"
"I dunno…" Lennon frowned and rubbed her feet together, her pantyhose making that funny, barely audible scratchy noise that nylons make. "I miss her."
"You already said that a minute ago."
"Well, it's just as true now as it was then," Lennon replied, lifting her cup to drink some more and finding it empty. She tossed the paper container aside and picked up the bottle that sat between her thigh and that of her commanding officer, taking a swig directly from the elegantly made glass. "What're we gonna do, Charlie?"
"Keep goin', I'd imagine," Charlotte answered dutifully, wondering idly why the room was waving in the manner it was and whether or not that slur in her voice was actually there or just a product of her imagination.
"I don't wanna," Lennon said like a petulant child. "I don't wanna. I can't go back out there without Madge…can't. Won't. I don't wanna."
"I don't either," Charlotte said, surprising her teammate. "I'm sick of losing friends…sick of getting to know good people and getting to like them only to lose them."
"I'm gonna kick that immortal son of a bitch's ass…"
"Lenny, he's already dead."
"I'm gonna hire a medium and kick that undead son of a bitch's astral ass." Lennon tipped over, hitting the carpeted floor with a thump. "You hear me? 'M gonna…mm…gonna…hmmm…this floor is really comfy."
Charlotte smiled the smile of a drunkard whose nerves were too dead to force any other response. "We'll be okay, Lenny…after a while."
"D'ya promise?" Lennon asked, muffled by a combination of her drunkenness and the carpet.
"I--" Charlotte hiccupped again and lost her balance, suddenly finding herself flat on her back, staring up at the wiggling, spinning ceiling. "I promise."
"D'ya think we'll ever--" a sleepy hiccup, "see her again? Y'know…reunited and it feels…er…how's the rest of that song go?"
"In another lifetime or the afterlife or what have you…who knows?"
"Sure hope we do," Lennon muttered, sliding into slumber. "She'd better not be tellin' any of my secrets, wherever she wound up…I'll kick her aZzZzZzzzZ…"
Charlotte's eyes started drifting shut, pondering on a great many things, from the meaning of life to the meaning of death and what follows…
It gave her some measure of comfort to think that Madison might be watching over the two of them…
"As long as we got her watchin'…" she murmured, "We'll be fine…"
And then she followed Lennon into the land of nod.
Madison was watching, indeed, but not in the way Charlotte was thinking. Through a pair of cloned eyes which were set into a cloned head, down in the archives through a closed circuit system, she watched as Lennon and Charlotte drank themselves into oblivion.
Kyle--her cohort in criminal activity--had been so distraught when he got the news she'd been killed in the line of duty that he immediately set about getting everything ready to clone Madison with the DNA and memories she'd left behind.
It had taken two full days, but now, here she stood, reborn exactly the same as she had been the first time around--well, not exactly…Kyle had found a way around the whole pesky 'growing up' thing--touching the screen tenderly with her new set of fingers.
"I'll be watching," Madison said quietly, still not used to the strangeness of having lived to tell the tale of dying. "I'll always be watching…and I'll come back to you both."
And someday, come hell, high water, hurricane or caffeine shortage, she's gonna.
A/N: And so it ends. I haven't the energy to devote time to developing new OCs for this--and since it was only meant to be about the three original Bunny Busters, I don't think it's necessary to go beyond this point--so here's a lovely place to stop. I hope you enjoyed the ride…and now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go rustle up some bunnies so I can finish the Angora Strain. -wave-