A/N: What? An update? Yeah... sorry, the plot bunnies ran away for a while, but I caught one of them finally.
Death has always stalked him, a creeping shadow visible in the terror of the night. He has intimately known the cold, grasping embrace of silent nothingness, suffocating him until he could finally force himself away. Always, afterwards, he feels vulnerable and violated and enraged to the point where he doesn't know if he's a victim of circumstance or if he was always destined to be this way. No! He had decided long ago never to be a victim. Or else, he is certain, he would have ended up like June...
The Master ran his blood-stained hands over his face, leaving a faint trail of red on his skin as he breathed in deeply. Feeling an eery sensation of being watched, he turned around to find both Gene and Ray staring at him, so he walked over to join them.
"I want this mess tidied up tonight," said the Guv, determination and anger in his voice. "And I want this cleared away." He indicated the crimson puddle of blood at their feet. "I don't want any of her left lying on the street. Get rid of all these people."
"All right, move away!" Ray ordered, steering away the crowd that had inevitably formed around the crime scene. "Move away. There's nothing to see."
"I'll wait until," the Master began, but quickly realized he didn't know exactly what he wanted to say. "Um... Forensics." It's not that he felt responsible; after all, it wasn't as though he pulled the trigger. He had never felt so off-balance before. He always new exactly what he wanted and nothing else mattered, especially the lives of lessers. But, here, he had to play a role, and in this paradoxical world of bravery and corruption, of brotherhood and jealousy, of honor and depravity, he no longer knew where he stood.
Gene held out his hand, revealing a diamond ring. "Here," he said. "Slipped right off her finger."
The Master took the ring and looked at it. "She came to the jeweller's to get it," he explained, remembering a conversation he had overheard earlier.
Gene nodded, then immediately grabbed the Master by the jacket. "Clean it up!" He then threw the Master down onto his hands and knees so that his face was very near the blood. "I want you to clean it up! She works at the station. She's one of us. And I want to be able to look her dad in the eye and say you cleaned up every drop of her precious blood."
"Get off me!" the Master yelled, pushing Gene away and leaping back to his feet. "This entire place is cracked! You can't blame me, you lunatic bastard! You were wrong! I didn't do this! They did it!"
Even when he wasn't the villain, he could never escape the persona, type-cast like an actor who dreamed to be grander, but was confined into the parameters into which everyone else would place him.
"The diamonds they took were only in the safe for one day," Gene told him, in a resentful and enraged tone. "They had to hit it today, we had Trent today, and you, you let him go to prove a point!"
"We had no evidence!" the Master answered back with equal fury. By now, he had become so manic at the unnecessary humiliation and hatred, his thoughts so off-kilter, that he pulled off his own jacket and bent down to scrub the drying puddle of blood. He then stood back up and threw the ruined garment to the ground.
"I'm better than any of this!" he said. He never belonged here, among these primitive people, who had no idea of the magnificence of the universe, who were content to think of themeslves of kings of their country, never considering the threats that awaited them beyond the border. He was sick of it, sick of it all, and he didn't deserve to be trapped in this god-forsaken, preposterous version of Hell.
"Says you," said Gene.