Shicksal (Fate)

It's dark in this room and it smells like blood and death and metal -- pure gun metal -- and I think I'm going to throw up.

Yes, I'm curled into a little ball, and there are the sounds of someone screaming, louder and louder and faster and in a hoarse voice, and I'm beginning to think it's me, that I'm the one screaming, even though its not my own blood on my hands, because that's the blood of the only other person in this room, the one I've killed.

Maybe I've been stupid. Maybe the pounding and stamping and shrieking in my head will get better if I wait it out, if I bite my lip, if I press my hands over my eyes, if I swallow back my fear. Maybe I have thrown up already. And maybe I am the one that's bleeding.

I'm not so sure, anymore.

Everything's loud and red and there are little flashes of light and I can't see anything, can't keep my burning eyes open, and I'm slipping into darkness, darker than the room, colder than the tiles and the still blood beneath me and --


Move to shift towards light, eyes squinting, eyes wondering, met with blinding sunshine.


Why is everything so white?

Squint again, something blurring into shape -- suit, cream colored, tall, topped off by darkness and -- oh. A brief flicker of recognition.

Then pain.

"Well," the shape says, cold cold cold colder than anything, "your first mission." Dry and flat and unfeeling and later learned to be sarcastic, "You've done tremendously well."

Then he leaves and he's not back for weeks and they've found another telepath, Christ, you're going back to Germany, going back to where they'll kick you and beat you and rape you and all those agonizing months of School will be for nothing, for absolutely nothing, because you're going back -- and then the replacement dies, he can't take the voices, his mind exploding into nothingness and he's useless, more so than you, but you survived and they have interest in you once more.

And all you can think is 'thank fucking God you're not going back to Germany.'

My first mission was a disaster. I look back on it now, a blur in my mind, a flicker of a memory, and think with a slight laugh how 'easy' it is now.

For a moment, when I killed that man, put the harsh metal of the gun to the back of his head and pulled the trigger, I almost went with him. Everything screamed and burned and I fell to the floor where Crawford found me, half an hour later, lost to this world and still screaming for help, which never really came, I suppose, or, well, not in the way I had wanted it, anyway.

They almost sent me back, defective as I was, until they realized I had done well. At least, well enough for what I knew how to handle at the time.

He stands in the room again, in front of me, and I light up a cigarette.

"I am going to teach you how to ignore death," he says, calm and crisp as always, leaning against the wall, looking out the window. His face is like ice and I wonder if it would be that cold if I reached out my hand to cup his cheek, tan against his paleness. For a moment I feel as if I could reach across the great distance between us, between the bed on which I sit and the window on the opposite end of the white room, and stroke his skin.

I don't. I simply wonder and take a longer drag from the cigarette between my hungry lips.

"And you _will_ ignore death. You have your uses." Cool and calm and crisp. Calm and crisp and cool. Crisp and cool and calm. I stroke his cheek inside my head, and there, it feels nice and soft and clean. He pushes his glasses up further on his nose. "You will not make such mistakes as to let the gun drop, or to scream out loud. I am going to teach you how to ignore death."

Fucking great.

And I will ignore death. The way he says it, he knows. He knows everything, cool and crisp and calm, and he's going to make sure I understand. I will ignore death, I will ignore death, be so calm and cool and crisp...

I'm going insane today. I'm going insane today. I'm going insane today. I'm going God damn fucking insane today. I'm going insane today.

Locked up in a white room, my white room, my very own white room. Needle in hand. Yes, I'm going insane today. God damn.

My whole fucking arm hurts.

I pull the sleeve back. If only those fucking bastards saw this, tracts and tracts and tracts... Mr. Crawford, Mr. Bradley Crawford, Bradley Crawford, Crawford, Brad. His eyes would pop from his fucking head if he saw my left arm without a sleeve to cover up its pale, broken flesh.

I grunt slightly, and jam the needle in.


I am in Hell.

Cold dark wet gray Hell. There aren't any flames, Farfarello, just silence, echoing haunting silence, I'm going insane, I'm going to scream, but I've already learned how to kill without screaming, I've already learned how to ignore death. He taught me. He taught me. He showed and he taught and he talked and I listened and I learned and I thought of my hand on his cheek, my hand on his cheek, my hand on his cheek all the while. And now?

Now I'm in Hell.

Somebody get me out. I want help but I don't want to ask for it. I want warmth but the idea of anyone else's body giving off fire against mine scares me. Somebody get me out. I want to scream but I know better. I want to stop bleeding but I can't move. Somebody get me out. I want to run but I can't even walk. I want to walk but I can't even crawl.

Somebody get me out.

Someone's arms around a thin cold body, and pain, and a groan. You've fucked things up, you weak little human brain, weak little human hands, weak little human body, all broken and shivering and clinging to the sudden warmth, silken and smooth against you. He knows, he knows, he sees the arm and the needle and he's going to kill you, now, or send you back...

Well you're not going back, tell you that much. You're not going back you're never going back you're NEVER GOING BACK --

Pain and cold and hunger.


Arms hold you tighter, strong, like you'd imagined, stronger than anything, they won't let you fall, you're safe. You're safe. Safe. Cling to that, cling, dammit, cling, never let it go, this feeling, even in the echoing despair of your mind and the broken angles of your abused body, this is safety, safety in his arms...

He tries to let you go, tries to put you into a car without him and you cry out, cry out his name, or a world "please" or a word "no" or a worldless word, a cry to stop, a cry to keep you safe. And if he puts you down you're not safe, if he lets you go you'll be back there and ""

So he changes his direction, holding you in his lap, somehow, half in his lap on silk and his warmth, and half on the cold, hard seat of a car, somehow you know this, the smells are familiar. Still he says nothing and you cling to him because this is protection, he will protect you as long as you hold on. Hold on, cling, hold on....

"Hold on," he says finally, because you're mumbling something and coughing up blood and gasping for air, you can't feel certain parts of you, like your fingertips, but they're still there, you hope. He wouldn't let you lose them, you need the tips of your fingers to pull the trigger on a gun.


"Don't fucking throw up on my upholstery," he hisses, but his arms are tight, so gloriously tight around you that you can forgive that if you just hold on, and you're going to hold on, you're going to hold on, because _you've found something you can cling to_.


/I know. Hold on./


/I know. Hold on. Hold on./

/Hurts, hurts. Silence, too, unless I try, what does that mean?/

/Just hold on. Stay awake or I'll kill you myself./


/I know./

Pause. And then he's not calm. He's urgent. He's ordering you, arms tight around your body, safe, safe, safe.

/Hold on./

I wake up and he's next to my bed, sitting there, eyes cold and hidden by the glint of his glasses. His arms are folded over his chest. I don't know where his jacket is; he just wears a vest and his tie is somewhat loosened.

Mein Gott. I want to touch him.

He turns to look at me. Of course, he knows I'm awake. He's glaring, eyes harsh now, icy. "What the fuck were you thinking?" he asks and I wince, try to sit up, but I can't, I still can't make my body do what I want it to.


"What I think every time," I say and damn, my throat hurts, my voice sounds harsh, and I feel like I'm going to throw up.

He's silent for a while, watching me. Then his arms slip around me, hold me up, and he's helping me to the bathroom, holding my hair back so I can retch, again and again until there's nothing left and I am weaker. Weaker. I collapse backwards, into him, and he holds me to his chest. He's stronger than he looks.

"You're going back" he says after a little while.

And I pass out.

He didn't send me back to Germany. He didn't send me back to the schools.

He's forcing me to eat, now, but I don't want to. He pushes the food towards me and I push it away and he pushes it back again. I know I'm sulking and I look at him, almost glaring into his dark eyes and he loses it. "You fucking ungrateful bastard" he yells, but even this is calm and collected and his yelling is brittle and harsh as ice, "I do everything to keep you alive and happy and I waste my time _and_ my money on you, and you don't even try. You don't even acknowledge my help. You don't even try!"

I remember when he first took me from the asylum, from Germany. He saved me then and he's saving me now.

"I'm sorry" I say.

Still I'm thinking how I'd love to run my fingers through his hair, it will be like velvet, and then I will touch his cheek, and it will be softer than the silk of his expensive suits.

He's combing my hair, now, because my hands won't stop shaking.

He's gentle.

I can even see the way I will draw my lips down over his neck...

I smile faintly, leaning back into the strokes of the comb, into him, into the touch against my hair. He stops for a moment, startled, almost drawing away from me; then he continues, saying nothing.

...Down to his collar bone, nibbling at his flesh, so hungry for it's taste....

And when he's done he puts the comb down and starts to leave, but I wrap my arms around him because _I don't want him to go_, I'm lonely, and he combed my hair so gently.

...Maybe I will make him gasp out, hands playing his naked flesh like an instrument, maybe he will moan and maybe his eyes will close or maybe they will stay open and watch me oh so carefully...

He tenses.

And I turn around to face him.

His eyes won't meet mine.

And my lips meet his.

Quick, fierce so he can't stop me, can't pull away.

So he'll just give me one chance, my lips burning against his, and he's not protesting as I force his mouth open with my tongue...

...There will be fire between us as our lips finally meet....

He's not pushing me off him, he's not trying to stap me and he's kissing me back --

...and we will fall to the bed together, tangled in the sheets....

--And we fall to the bed together, tangled in the sheets --

...and our cries will fill the nighttime air, our sweat will slick our bodies, he will pull me close to his body, he will be strong and I will let him take me, there will be no pain in the love we make, gasping, moaning and perfect and slow and then electric and fast, tangled limbs, hair falling into my eyes, everything loud and soft at the same time....

And we do not rise from the sheets again for a very long time.

Tonight he let me sit on his lap for three minutes while he was working before he told me to get off. I spread myself out on my bed and I know that in fifteen minutes or less, he'll be here.

I think, maybe, I'm growing on him.