Disclaimer: Unbreakable is not my property.
"I didn't used to be afraid of guns," she said, prodding at a stain on the table. It was a cloud shape, like the game kids play of trying to find rabbits and trains in the sky. The stain was dark, old. Like blood.
David didn't say anything. He saw her thin fingers on the table, nails cracked and dirty from the fight. They didn't shake anymore.
She met his eyes for a second, then flashed them down again. "You don't have a gun."
Was that a question? "No, I don't," David said. He spoke gently. The dark room felt wrong for loud voices.
"But you killed him with his."
Outside, cars passed. The kitchen window lit up in brief flashes of headlights, bright then dark, over and over like a strobe light. The refrigerator hummed behind him and he thought about the man with the gun who had wanted to kill.
He didn't want to kill.
"It doesn't feel right, somehow." David shifted in his seat, talking down to the table. Madeline switched her gaze upwards, taking the turn for watching.
He cleared his throat. "Carrying a weapon. I don't know. I just...don't like it."
She gave a little nod, tremblingly, looked out the dark window and gave a sob.
This was worse than the attacker. David hated this worse.
"You some kind of cop, or something?" Madeline asked. She got a hold of herself and clenched her fists to keep from crying.
"I'm not a cop."
It was an odd thing to see so big a man look so fragile.
"Jeremy, he... God, I can't believe this happened. I should have, just—"
David shook his head. "Don't do that. It's not your fault. Don't blame yourself."
Her lip trembled, but she didn't cry again.
"There's something...different about you," she said. The stain on the table was forgotten, her clenched hands now resting calmly on the surface.
"Really. How so?"
She shook her head, brows furrowed, a half-smile on her face. "Just something."
They were silent in the kitchen. David thought about the gunpowder on his hands, wondered if it really stuck in the skin for weeks like they said it did. There would be rain before the week was over. That would wash away the .44 in the drainpipe, until it wound up somewhere far away where no one could connect it with Jeremy, or Madeline. Maybe it would find its way to the ocean, buried in the bottom of the sea.
Madeline got up from her chair, paced around a few steps like she didn't know what to do with herself, crossed and uncrossed her arms before pushing the chair in. She looked better, like she could smile again.
"I'll make you some coffee," she said.
"No. Thank you."
"You hungry or anything? Least I can do, after a guy saves my life..." This time she smiled for real.
David remained seated, shaking his head at the table. "Don't worry about it. I've got to get home anyway."
"Yeah," she said. Disappointed.
David stood and pushed in his chair. There were no footprints, so marks to show he'd been there. When he left, it would be like he'd never come in.
Madeline guided him to the door and undid the safety latch. It wouldn't do much to protect her, but she wouldn't need it with Jeremy gone.
She stopped him with a hand on his shoulder as he walked by. "You got a family? Someone to take care of you?" she asked.
David nodded, one foot out the door. "A son. My wife. I'm lucky."
"Thank you, David," she whispered. He was surprised when she pulled him into a hug, thin arms around his meaty shoulders, holding on with surprising strength. He hugged back, her body tiny under his arms, and he closed his eyes when he thought of Jeremy and the vision of what he had wanted to do. There were no visions now.
She pulled away, and David stepped outside. He turned back one last time.
"Don't tell them what happened. The police. Or your friends. Jeremy left. He's not coming back. That's all that really matters."
She nodded, one hand on the doorframe, perplexed. It was better this way. No recognition for the savior. No rewards. He did it because he had to.
And sometimes, because he wanted to.
David went home.
A/N: If you want a great writing tool, try the website Write or Die (Google it, this site doesn't like me linking for some reason). I couldn't have done this without it.