Hi everyone! First off, sorry for keeping you all waiting so long. Here's the final chapter, I really hope you think it's worth the wait. I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has been reading this, adding it (or me) to an alert list and especially if you took the time to leave a review.I'm really pleased so many people have been following this story, I'm very proud of it and its been a joy to write. I'm going to really miss you guys...
Before I get too emotional, just wanted to say a special thanks to:
Georgie: Thanks for such a lovely review. Thank you for every review. Going to miss you. Enjoy the last chapter :)
GraceandConnie: I know I wanted it to be sad, but I am feeling so guilty now! I upset everyone! Hope this chapter makes up for it! Enjoy!
Gilded Sin: Thanks so much! Enjoy the last chapter :)
Talkative Monkey: Thank you so much, and yes, there will be more. See the authors note at the end of the chapter :)
ThroughTheStatic: I do feel bad I made everyone cry! I hope you like this chapter :)
fishgirlclw: Thank you so much. I don't know what to say after that last review. Thank you for all of your support. Enjoy this chapter... :)
CellophaneHydrogen: Sorry hun, glad you "liked" the chapter though, despite all the pain! Soz Im so late with this! Enjoy the ending!
Animebiersack98: Hi hun, aww, this is actually really sad. Thanks for every review, they have all meant a lot to me. And the fact this story inspired you to write your own, that was such an amazing compliment! Enjoy this chapter, and one last time: THANK YOU!
Veronica: Happy ending? Let me know what you think... :)
StrawberryBubble: Thanks, Im glad you thought I wrote the last chapter well. It as the hardest thing I've ever written. Enjoy this (last) chapter!
Thanks so much to Amy and Carrie for checking this through for me. And thanks to everyone who has checked over any of the chapters. You were all amazing!
Okay, hold on tight. One last time, onwards!
Another night. Another house. Another day without them.
It had been three months since that day, and Ray Toro was now a broken man. The last of the Killjoys was emotionally, and physically, exhausted. He stared out of the window, into the darkness, a desperately needed glass of liquor in his hand. Ray took a sip, letting out a deep sigh as the sweet taste of rum ran down his throat, comforting him.
It was yet another dark, hot night. Every night was exactly the same, lonely, empty, cold, and it had been that way since he, Mike and Grace had been on the run. Since he'd lost the three most important people in his life. Being on the run from the Corporation meant not only being unable to stay in one place for longer than one night, it also meant Ray had never had a chance to grieve the loss. He knew how important it was for them to keep on moving, so he had kept quiet, kept his emotions in check, and had run beside the others. The loneliness they felt also increased due to the fact that they would put anyone who was good enough to protect them into serious danger if they chose to hang around for too long.
Get in, and get out. That was the way it had to be.
The exact same thing was happening at that very moment. They had arrived at a hidden base, completely by accident, and had been invited in, for rest and refreshments. They had had no choice but to accept the offer, against their better judgements. Mike had seen the opportunity at once, asking to use the rebels radio in an effort to contact Defying, and Billie.
So he had left Grace and Ray behind, already excited at the prospect of talking to Billie. Ray couldn't blame him.
What he would give to speak to Mikey, just one last time...
Ray shivered, turned away from the window, and eyed Grace, who was sitting at a table in the centre of the room. They were supposed to be eating the food that their host, a kindly old professor, had laid out for them, but Ray had not touched a single thing on his plate, and Grace had been merely playing with her dinner.
Their latest host, Professor Jonas Rivers, cleared his throat.
"You should eat," he told them. "You've travelled a long way."
Ray glanced up, and gave him a grateful smile. "Thank you so much for your hospitality," he whispered. "We won't be a burden on you for long."
Rivers shook his head. "It is no burden, my friends. You are welcome to stay here for as long as you need to." He gestured towards the doorway. "We're grateful for the company. This base has been secluded from the other rebels for a long time, recently even out of signal of the Doctor's broadcasts. We're just pleased to be able to help you, Ray."
Ray gave him a tiny smile, and then glanced down. He, Mike, Grace had been running since… since it had happened. They could neverstay anywhere for too long as BL/Industries had stepped up their hunt for the last of the Killjoys, even putting a price on Ray's head, which every bounty hunter in the Zones seemed willing to make a claim for. Ray was top of the Corporations extermination list. Never knowing who they could trust, they had crossed the Zones, their desperate journey leading them from one rebel base to another, meeting both friends and foes, until they had finally arrived at their current location, deep inside Zone 4. They had not known that the refuge had even existed. Around thirty people were living in the old house, looked after by the Professor. They had welcomed the three travellers into their base, and allowed them to get refreshed, even fed and watered, and had told them that they were welcome to stay for the night. Ray and Mike had accepted at once, knowing they couldn't, Grace especially, continue on without a break. So, they had agreed to stay there, just for the one night, and already Ray was regretting his decision. The last thing he wanted to do was risk any more innocent people's lives.
It had been three months since they had lost Frank and Gerard, and the pain never went away. It was always there, returning to haunt him whenever he closed his eyes.
He didn't even want to think about Mikey...
Ray looked up again, once more regarding the old man. "We're all grateful to you, Professor, but the longer we're here, the more danger for you and every man, woman and child in this place."
The Professor frowned. "Every day is dangerous for us. It would be inhuman for me to send you back out there, exhausted, on a cruel night like this one." He placed his hands together. "If we lose our humanity, Ray, just like them, then what else is there?"
Ray nodded, and then switched his gaze to Grace. "Come on, sweetheart;" He told her. "Finish up. It's late."
She didn't even react, just continued to poke the beans around her plate.
Ray felt a ripple of anger.
"Grace," he began, more firmly, but was interrupted when the door suddenly flew open, and Mike entered.
Ray instantly stood up, looking toward the newcomer expectantly.
"How's it going, Mike?" He enquired hurriedly. "Any luck getting a signal through to the Doc?"
Mike let out a deep sigh, and shook his head. He looked defeated.
"Nothing," he replied. "Absolutely fucking nothing."
The elderly Professor grimaced, placing down his fork. "We haven't received any broadcasts for weeks, as I told you;" He said, some irritation in his tone. "Better Living must be blocking the transmissions. It is like I told you, my friends. We are very much on our own out here. We're used to it."
Mike glanced at him, and gestured helplessly. "I hoped I'd find a way," he replied softly. "But it's the same everywhere we go. We can't get a message through to the Doc." His eyes met Ray's, and Ray saw the panic and defeat there. He wondered if his own mirrored the same agony? Probably. Mike paused for a second longer, before adding; "No one is coming to help us, are they?"
Ray stood, pushing his own disappointment and fears away. He had to keep going. They all did.
"I don't want to put these people in any more danger than we already have, Mike." Ray told his friend. He suddenly paled. "We have to keep on moving, you know he's right behind us. He's never going to stop..." He broke off, glancing away.
Mike frowned, then nodded, solemnly. "Agreed, Ray." He glanced at Grace. "We could all do with a rest though. This base is well defended, we'll be okay. We'll leave first thing in the morning."
"It's decided then," the Professor noted, with a small smile. "Now, I need to do my rounds. I'll be back."
He hurried from the room.
Ray watched him go, and then closed his eyes momentarily.
'He's coming for me. He always will. He won't rest until I'm dead...''
"Why do we have to go? I like it here."
Ray, his thoughts interrupted, opened his eyes again, to see Grace watching him. He frowned.
"You know why, honey;" He answered her. "It's not safe."
"But I'm tired of running, Jet."
Ray went to her then, putting his arm around her. "I know you are, baby. But we've got no choice. Not if we want to stay alive. Gotta keep running."
Grace looked up at him then, with big, sad eyes.
"I miss them, Ray."
Ray felt his own grief, the pain and loss he kept so deeply buried, building within him, and he suddenly felt the urge to retch. He swallowed it back down again before facing the devastated child once more.
"So do I, kiddo."
"Why can't we find the Doc?" Grace moaned. "Or Billie. He'd know what to do-"
Mike looked up sharply at that, and then quickly looked away again, swallowing hard. Ray gave him an apologetic look, and then tussled Grace's hair fondly. "We can't get a transmission, baby girl. You know that. We're trying..."
Grace grimaced, and wriggled, pushing Ray away from her. "Poison would know what to do..."
Ray stood up, and quickly walked across the room, away from her, his fists clenched. "Well, Poison isn't here, is he?"
"Why did it have to happen?" She sounded so young, so pitiful. It broke Ray's heart. But what could he say?
"I don't know, Grace."
"I don't understand, Ray." Her voice was softer now, though he could hear her sobs. "Why did he and Ghoul have to die?"
Ray couldn't handle it any more. "Because shit happens!"
Grace's bottom lip trembled. Ray turned slowly and looked at her, guilt flooding through him. She was staring at him with horror and betrayal. But before he could speak, to take it back, she got up and ran out of the room.
"Gracie!" Ray yelled, setting off after her, but being restrained by Mike. "I'm sorry, baby! Gracie!"
"Just give her a minute, buddy." Mike hissed, tightening his hold. "She'll be fine, she's just tired." He glanced down. "She hasn't slept for days... None of us have..."
Ray nodded, then let out a deep sigh. Mike released him, gave him a sad smile, and then looked away. Ray was devastated. He knew what Grace was going through, knew how difficult this was for her. Of course he knew. What he didn't know though was what the hell he supposed to do to help her? He missed them all too. Every moment without his brothers was like a fresh ray gun blast to his heart. But they were all gone, and they weren't coming back. It was just the three of them now, and they owed it to the memory of those they left behind to keep on fucking going.
A loud yell from outside brought Ray abruptly out of his musings. He leapt to his feet as the shouting continued, and then gasped in panic when it turned to screaming. Mike was beside Ray at once, staring at his friend, shock and fear on his face. Before they could fully digest what was happening, the Professor ran back in the room, pulling a crying Grace along with him. His terror was evident as he all but threw the child towards Mike, who grabbed hold of her at once.
"Professor," Ray began, stepping forward, his hand on his ray gun. "What the fuck-"
"Go!" The other man snapped, cutting across him, and pointing toward a small door in the wall, a second escape route that the rebels had built, just in case of emergency. Which was exactly what they were all facing.
"What's happening?" Mike threw in.
"They've found you!" The Professor exclaimed. "Someone must have betrayed you, betrayed us all. I'm sorry-"
Mike stepped forward. "What the fuck is this? Who-?"
"No time!" The Professor snapped. "You have to get away from here! Now. We are buying you some time, but we can't hold them for long." He looked back over his shoulder. "They look like the elite guard to me. They know you're here! You have to go now!"
Mike gestured angrily. "What about the children, the families? You need help, we can't just leave them-"
"They're dead," The Professor replied, bluntly. "They are killing everyone."
Mike back away. "No," he muttered, "I promised to protect them-"
The Professor gestured desperately. "You have to leave!"
Ray stepped forward quickly, blaster in his hand. "But we can't just go, we can help you-"
The Professor shoved him backwards. "Don't you understand, Ray Toro? He's here! It's you he wants, and he doesn't care who he cuts down to get to you. No one can help us now."
Ray just stared at him, speechless.
The Professor was beside himself.
Mike didn't say another word; he simply crossed the room and scooped up Grace, carrying her toward the window. He paused, glancing across at Ray.
Ray was staring at the Professor, breathing hard.
"You know you have to go." The Professor told him, softly. "I know who he is, and what he means to you, but there is nothing you can do. Keep running, Ray. Keep breathing."
The Professor held his gun up in salute, and then turned and rushed towards the door, his eyes widening at whatever horrific sight greeted him beyond the door. They could still hear the ray gun blasts and screaming from just beyond. With a deep breath to prepare him, the Professor threw open the door furiously, and then ran forward, with a cry of pure rage.
Ray stayed where he was, his eyes locked on the door, as if he expected the old man to come running back through any second. But he didn't come back.
"Ray," Mike said quickly, interrupting his thoughts. "We have to go." When Ray didn't reply at once, Mike grabbed him by the arm, and swung him round. "And that's a fucking order!"
Ray rounded on him furiously. "Who the fuck made you the leader of me?"
Mike opened his mouth to argue further when they both heard the sound of Draculoids getting closer. They looked towards the exit and sure enough, one Draculoid was half way through the door, his gun aimed and ready.
Mike and Ray didn't hesitate. With Grace safe in Mike's arms, they sped towards the secret passage, the Dracs literally right behind them.
And, just as Ray was about to follow Mike and Grace into the darkness, he gave one last look over his shoulder, and the sight made his blood run cold. The Exterminator he had heard so much about, the man who had haunted his dreams every night since that fateful day, was standing in the doorway, watching him through the copy Killjoy mask he always wore. His hazel eyes were empty, and cold. This was the man Ray had dreaded to meet, but would also have given anything to see again. Ray, struggling to hold his mixed emotions at bay, couldn't drag his eyes away from the other man. Just as the Exterminator took aim with his gun, Mike's desperate shout suddenly brought Ray back to the land of the living, and he forced himself to turn his back on the Exterminator and scramble through the tunnel, trying to keep up with the others.
"It's him," Ray muttered. "It's really him."
"I'm sorry, Ray;" Mike told him. "But we have to keep moving."
All but dragging Ray along with him, and still carrying Grace, Mike kept going. Finally, they arrived at the end of their escape route, tumbled through the gap, and found themselves in another small room, completely at a dead end. They stared in disbelief, looking around the room hopelessly; trying to find a way out, although they both knew there was none. They heard a noise behind them, and they knew they had very little time.
They had to move quickly.
Ray took Grace from Mike, carried her across the room to a cupboard in the far corner. He pulled open the small door, and saw there was just enough room for the small child. He quickly beckoned Grace closer. "Hide here!" He urged. "Just keep quiet!"
"Don't argue this time, Gracie! He's coming! Just move, for me!"
Grace could clearly hear the desperation in his tone, as she didn't argue again. She rushed forward, scrambling into the small passage, and pulling the door shut after her.
Mike and Ray then stood, side-by-side, staring at the only exit, and waiting for their hunter to catch up with his prey.
They didn't have to wait long.
The Exterminator was climbing down from the tunnel entrance, his eyes fixed on the two men before him. The Killjoy mask was a cruel echo of what, and who, he had once been. But that was the idea behind why he wore it. Just another torture for Ray to endure. Probably the Co-ordinator's idea of a "joke." Ray could only shake his head dumbly. The masked agent merely glared back at him, though he didn't speak. Then, very carefully, he began to raise his ray gun.
"Keep back!" Mike snapped at Ray, shoving him roughly out of the way. Before Ray could recover, Mike had surged forward to meet the newcomer, shouting obscenities, and careering into him, sending him backwards, before he had the chance to aim his weapon.
Ray, stunned, stood and watched as Mike landed blow after blow on M-, on the Exterminator's 's superiority didn't last for long though, as the Exterminator quickly recovered, and gripped the other man's wrists, holding him steady. Mike struggled, but he didn't have a chance. The Exterminator easily gained the upper hand over the far weaker Mike, subduing him before placing his hand's around his opponent's throat, and then slowly began to throttle him. Ray, coming to his senses and yelling his outrage, threw himself at their aggressor, forcing him away from Mike. The former Green Day bassist crumpled to the ground, having been starved of oxygen. Ray called his name desperately, but it was useless. His fellow rebel was out cold.
The Exterminator peered down at Mike for a moment, apparently contemplating whether to finish the helpless man off. Ray edged backwards, away from the masked man, closer to where Grace was still, thankfully, hidden from view.
Ray could only pray the girl had the sense to stay where she was. Whatever was about to happen.
Finally, the Exterminator averted his eyes from Mike's prone form, looked up, and his gaze fell on Ray.
Ray saw him, clearly and closely, for the first time. He let out an audible gasp and brought a shaky hand up to his mouth. All he could do was stare, his mouth stuck in an "oh" shape. The Exterminator approached him, his gun ready, until he had backed Ray right up against the wall. The BL/Industries puppet was looking Ray up and down, seemingly intrigued by the other man.
Finally, he raised his gun and pointed it straight between Ray's widened eyes.
"You are Jet Star and you are a member of the terrorist rebel group: The Killjoys." He barked. "You have been targeted for..."
Ray was shaking his head in disbelief. That voice. To hear that voice... he had believed that he would never hear it again. Unable to stay quiet, he cut across the other man. "Don't you know me?"
The masked man hesitated for a second, before replying, emotionless; "You are the Fabulous Killjoy known as Jet Star and you are..."
"No! Save me the scripted speech. Listen to me. God, please listen to me. Its me, its Ray..."
The Exterminator shrugged. "You are nothing."
Ray flinched at the words. He had forced himself to ignore the rumours, and even what his own head was telling him who the brutal new Exterminator was that had all the rebels running scared, he had refused to believe it. This new murderer BL/Industries had unleashed upon the Zones, sent to hunt all rebels down and kill them one by one, had quickly become legendary, as had his evil and cruel deeds. He didn't just kill men, women and children, he also took great pleasure in his acts of terror. And, despite the whispers, and everyone he met telling him that he had to accept what was ithe undoubtable truth, Ray simply would not believe it. Because it couldn't be him doing these unspeakable things. It couldn't be. Not his Mikey.
Mikey wasn't capable of it. He wasn't. He'd have died first.
It was not him.
That was what Ray had told himself repeatedly, until he had actually started to believe his own lies and excuses.
But now, Ray couldn't hide any more. He had no choice but to finally face the truth.
"Kobra Kid." He whispered, his voice cracking with emotion. "Please."
The man who had once been his lover was tilting his head, apparently confused by Ray's intriguing response to him. "My name is Michael;" He replied coldly. "And I don't know you, rebel scum."
Ray took one uncertain step forward. The other man moved quickly, placing his hand on Ray's chest, pinning him against the wall. For Ray, The Exterminator's s touch seemed to burn, and he let out a low moan.
"Remember me." He whispered. "You have to think, Kobra. Remember Frank..."
The masked man tilted his head slightly. "You have been sentenced to death for your crimes against-"
The Exterminator blinked. He stopped his monotone speech, his eyes boring into Ray's. However, he didn't lower his gun.
Ray tried again. "Think about your brother. Think about Gerard. Remember what he meant to you..."
There was a moment's hesitation before the other man replied. "I have no brother."
"Not any more, no. Because they murdered him. But you have to remember him, Kobra. I know you're still in there-"
"That is not my name."
"My name is Michael!" With an angry snarl, he pistol-whipped Ray, taking him by surprise and the force of the blow knocking him to the ground. The Exterminator then pointed his gun directly at the other's man's face.
"You are a Killjoy," he barked. "I have been ordered to destroy you-"
"Then what are you waiting for?" Ray whispered, the despair evident in his strained and pitiful voice. "If you really are dead, then I've got nothing left to fight for. Just do it."
Michael stared at him.
Ray closed his eyes. And waited.
He heard the other man recharge his gun, and he forced himself to stay calm. He would die bravely, just like Frank and Gerard. He would be with them soon. He just wished it didn't have to end like this...
He suddenly realised that he had one more thing he needed to say.
"I love you, Mikey."
And then, he braced for the sound, the only warning he would receive that he life was about to end.
Michael, the proud and determined BL/Industries Exterminator, stared down at the surrendered rebel, his gun hand trembling. His finger was covering the trigger and every instinct was screaming at him to fire, to end it, and complete the mission she had set for him. She wanted this man dead, and Michael did not care one iota about his life. He deserved to die.
But still Michael didn't pull the trigger.
He gritted his teeth. He had never hesitated during an execution before. What was wrong with him?
Michael grimaced, and squeezed his eyes shut. When he opened them again seconds later, he saw Ray was now staring up at him, his eyes wide with sadness, and something akin to hope.
That made Michael bristle. Did the fool actually dare to hope that he would be spared?
Just who was this man? Why was he familiar?
Why was Michael so drawn to him?
And why the hell was he actually reaching out a shaky hand toward the rebel?
To Michael's amazement, the insane rebel actually had the nerve to outstretch his own hand in return. He then heard him utter one desperate and devastated word:
Michael gasped. Suddenly, he was no longer in that dark, dusty, miserable building. He was in a wide open space, and there was a huge crowd before him, bigger than any cheering crowd he had ever seen in the City. It seemed to go on forever. He stared out at them, and they looked happy, exhilirated. So much delight. But it was different, not the controlled happiness brought on by the Company's drugs, this was real celebration, real passion, and real love. And they were staring at him, calling to him, screaming with pleasure and a passion that he didn't even know existed.
He was holding something. He assumed it was a gun. He glanced down. No, it wasn't a gun, he was in fact suddenly aware that it wasn't a weapon of any kind. It was – something else. Something special. He loved it. He looked to his right. There was a man, seemingly crazed, staring straight up to the ceiling, lost in the moment. Michael then glanced to his left.
There was a man, with long dark hair. He knew this man, and he was beaming at him with pure love in his smile.
Michael gazed back at this man. Who was he? What was his name?
He looked past him then, at another figure, standing just the other side of the man that he didn't know, had never met, but somehow knew better than anyone else in the world. The far left man stopped playing, turned his head to meet his gaze, and then winked at him.
Michael saw a flash of his face.
And then he was back. Back in the cold, empty room. Back in the real world. And the same face was staring at him as had just been in his daydream…
"Who are you?" Michael whispered.
"I'm your family," Ray moaned.
There was a noise coming from just down the corridor. Michael looked over his shoulder sharply, his eyes narrowed. He then adjusted the controls on his gun once more, and aimed it at Ray one more time.
He gritted his teeth.
He couldn't kill this man. God help him. He couldn't do it.
He set the controls to stun, and fired.
Ray slumped to the floor, his head facing away from Michael. The Exterminator stood over him for a few moments, breathing harshly.
Three Draculoids ran into the room at that moment, all looking toward Michael at once for instructions.
"The house is secure, Sir," one reported. "All rebels are ghosted."
"Get out," Michael snapped, glaring at them. "We are done here."
They backed off at once, almost following over themselves in their haste to obey him.
When he was alone again, he turned quickly, stalking forward a few feet down the passageway, and then reached down into the shadows. He dragged a struggling, sobbing little girl into his arms, and held her close him, grimacing as he heard her little heart thumping against her chest.
He gazed down at her, knowing instantly who she was. She was the Killjoy child known as Missile Kid, and his ordersr had included her too. She was a Killjoy, which meant the Co-ordinator needed her dead just as badly as she had Jet Star. But Michael quickly realised as he stared down at the quivering girl that whatever had prevented him from killing Jet Star was also how affecting him where the girl was concerned. He could no more kill this child than he could any in the City. She was an innocent. He would disregard his orders and take her back to the City with him, where she could start again, become a part of their perfect society.
He tightened his grip on the child. She fought like a wild animal, screaming and sobbing, arms and legs everywhere as she tried to fight him. He gritted his teeth and then finally, realising he had no choice; he struck her across the head with his gun. At last, she fell still.
He spoke into his communicator then, stating one simple order: "All Drac forces, return to the city. The mission is complete."
He didn't need to hear from any of his Draculoid slaves. They would obey him. It's all they ever did.
Still holding the child in his arms, the Exterminator gave the prone Killjoy one last look, before activating the transporting device. He closed his eyes as he transported out.
The job was done.
There was no sound or movement in the room he left behind. Neither Mike nor Ray stirred. It was as quiet as the grave.
Michael opened his eyes. He had never liked the odd sensations the transporter caused. Sudden nausea and the unawareness that occurred for a few seconds after the transportation always knocked him for six. It took him a few moments to remember what had happened, and why he had the small girl in his arms.
Then he remembered Jet Star, and fear struck him.
He had allowed the Killjoy to live. He had been prepared to kill him, as she had ordered, but something had stopped him. Something deep inside had prevented him from ridding the world of a rebel scum that had caused the Corporation endless problems. He had decided, in the last moment, to stun him instead, and had left him there. He hadn't even captured him.
He was an exterminator. He didn't show mercy, he didn't have feelings. All that mattered was the company, and the mission.
All that mattered was her.
He gave himself a small shake. He could worry about the Killjoy later. For now, he had other problems. It wasn't only Jet Star that he had shown mercy to. There was the child to think about too.
She was lying still, quietly sobbing, her head turned away from him. He frowned, and then placed her on the ground, signalling for her to stand. She fell forward, clinging to his leg. He shook her off angrily.
"Be quiet," he hissed at her. "Enough tears."
She didn't respond, and neither did she stop crying. She simply kept sobbing, her hold on him growing ever tighter. He gave her a withering look, and then turned away, beckoning to the nearest city worker.
"You," he snapped. "Come here."
The man dropped what he was doing at once, just as Michael knew he would, and came rushing over.
Michael pushed the trembling girl towards the man. "Take this child to the education centre."
There was no please, or thank you. There were only commands. And he knew he would be obeyed. He was always obeyed.
Sure enough, the man nodded obediently, and then grabbed Grace roughly by the arm and began to drag her away.
Grace's reaction stunned to his very core.
She immediately started to scream, pleading with the man to let her go, and begging Michael, or this other man, called Mikey, for help. He watched her struggling helplessly to get back to him, and he was completely astounded. What did she expect him to do? She was a rebel; she was fortunate to still be breathing.
Why was she still breathing?
The man holding her was seizing her, pulling her away. She was whimpering in pain now, as he manhandled her away. Michael turned, glaring, and called after the Citizen.
"Don't hurt her," he snapped. "She is a child."
The man stared at him, looking utterly confused. "She is a criminal, Sir."
Michael blinked. Suddenly, that sentence sounded ridiculous to him. She was a child! What kind of threat was she? He didn't want her hurt.
He bought a weary hand up to his forehead. "Just be kind to her," he retorted. "Do as I say."
The rebel was still calling for him as she was, more gently, forced away. He watched her go, shaking his head in confusion. Why did he even care about her? Why did she want to stay with him so desperately? He'd never met her.
He turned and walked away hurriedly. He needed to clear his head.
What was the matter with him?
He gave himself a furious shake. What was this all about? Who was the girl? And why did she have such an affect on him? Michael didn't care about the rebels, he had never cared. They were nothing but fodder to him, criminals and trash. So, why had he spared this particular girl, when he had already killed so many before her?
As he rushed through the shiny, white corridors of the citadel building, trying to sort out his jumbled thoughts, he didn't even notice that someone was following him. Someone who seemed top be very interested in where he was going.
Michael knew he had to get to her. He had a report to deliver, and plus she would make everything clear and simple. She would make it easy. She always did.
But still one nagging doubt would not go away. Even more important than the mercy he showed to that girl. Something he knew he would never understand.
Why hadn't he killed that Killjoy? What the hell stopped him?
"Good Evening, Michael."
The young man paused, and turned slightly in the direction of the voice. A man was standing at the end of the corridor. He was walking slowly toward Michael, dressed all in black, and draped in a long cloak and hood. He was also wearing a black mask that covered his face except his cold blue eyes, and lips, that were currently curled into a sneer.
"Exterminator Saint," Michael replied, as politely as he could stomach.
"How are you, my friend?" Saint continued. "Had a busy day?"
Michael instantly felt his heart sink, and his hackles rising. He had known his fellow Exterminator for some time, had even been sent out on missions with him, but there was something about Saint that irked him. No, it was more than that. He made Michael feel uncomfortable, though the young Exterminator had absolutely no idea why. And now the man wanted to have a "chit chat." All Michael wanted was to get away from him.
Keeping his face neutral, Michael replied. "It was productive."
"Indeed it was. I hear congratulations are in order," Exterminator Saint man beamed. "The last of the Killjoys is finally no longer with us."
"That is correct," Michael stated. "The rebels are finished. And I need to-"
"But what was it like?" The man interrupted Michael raising his eyebrows. "Killing the great Jet Star. That must have felt amazing for you."
Michael shrugged. "I did my duty."
Saint nodded. "Yes, you did. You'll be regarded a hero by everyone." He took a step forward. "It's so nice, Michael; to see how well you've fitted in, with us."
Michael blinked. "Why shouldn't I?" He questioned. "This is the only home I've ever known. I belong here."
"Of course you do." The man's tone was mocking.
Michael had heard enough.
"I must keep going," Michael told him simply, after clearing his throat. "The Coordinator is waiting for my report."
Saint held up a hand. He was peering at Michael through the mask that hid almost the entirety of his face, though Michael could still see that those blue eyes were sparkling.
"I see," the man replied. "Better be on your Way then, hadn't you?"
Michael regarded him closely. It wasn't good to feel emotions, the company had taught him. But he was now truly feeling dislike for this arrogant man. So, he said nothing. Instead, he turned on his heel, and disappeared along the corridor.
"I'll see you soon, Michael," Saint called after him. Michael glanced over his shoulder at him. The man was smirking. "In fact," he added; "So long and goodnight..."
With a quiet chuckle, and a slight wave, the other man hurried away.
Michael frowned as he stared after the other Exterminator, and then pushed his doubts regarding the man to the back of his mind, as he continued on to his appointment with his Co-ordinator.
It didn't do to keep the lady waiting.
He'd learnt that the hard way.
Mike let out a strained gasp. God, everything hurt. He moved carefully, checking that all arms and legs were present and correct. What the hell had hit him? And where the fuck was he? He moved his head slightly and instantly cursed. His head felt like it was ready to explode.
He stayed where he was, tired and in too much pain to try to move again. He didn't know how long he'd lain there before he heard a noise from very close to him. He tensed, assuming the Draculoids had come to finish the job. If he pretended he was dead, maybe he would stand a chance?
He was prone, not daring to even breath.
Until he heard a familiar voice.
"Oh shit. No. Fucking hell…!"
It couldn't be. No. He was imagining things. His mind was playing tricks on him, allowing him to hear what he wanted to hear more than anything else.
He couldn't really be there...
Suddenly, something threw itself down almost on top of Mike, and he cried out in surprise.
"Fucking Bastard! Sorry! I'm sorry, Mike. I don't fucking believe it! You're okay. You're gonna be just fine..."
Despite the pain the movement caused him, Mike rolled away, onto his side, and looked up at the person that had appeared beside him.
His eyes confirmed it.
Billie. Right in front of him. And grinning like a crazed Cheshire cat.
His best friend was instantly crouched beside him, holding his hand, telling him over and over that "Everything was gonna be okay." Mike already knew that he was right. Because they were both alive, and together again.
After that, anything was possible.
"What the fuck have you been doing?" Billie stumbled over his words, suddenly angry.
"Good to see you too, Billie." Mike replied, a ghost of a smirk on his lips.
And then, they were embracing, holding each other so tightly, as if they never wanted to let go.
Finally though, they pulled apart. Mike looked past Billie, and saw a man standing behind them, keeping his distance. His face was also covered by a mask. Mike couldn't help but be curious.
He began but Billie shook his head quickly. "We've been looking for you for ages, do you know that? You just had to keep on running, didn't you?"
Mike blinked. "How did you find us?"
Billie grinned. "We've been tracking you for weeks."
Mike was trying to get to his feet, despite Billie's instructions for him to stay exactly where he fucking was because he could have fucking concussion.
"Grace was here?" The man, who had remained motionless up to this point, spoke up from just behind Billie.
"Yeah, and Ray..."
The masked man's head snapped round at Mike's words. The stranger didn't speak, but he turned to look in the direction where Mike was staring.
He whispered a very soft "No," when he saw the only remaining Killjoy's crumpled form, lying in the heap that the Exterminator had left him in, facing the wall. Before Billie or Mike could even register what was happening, the man had run to Ray, knocking tables and chairs out of the way so his path was clear, and fell to Ray's side frantically. He then checked the Killjoy's pulse desperately, and, after a few seconds, he twisted his head back round to the others, his eyes wide and burning. "He's alive," he gasped.
"Just slow down-" Billie began, but was interrupted by a quiet groaning sound.
They all looked back toward Ray, each one of showing their relief.
The Killjoy moaned weakly as he slowly regained consciousness He cringed, recalling the feel of the ray gun blast knocking him flying, and closed his eyes tightly as the memories of what happened came flooding back. Mikey. Mikey had shot him.
Mikey had spared him...
He moved gingerly, everything hurting. He tried to lift his head but had to pause when he saw that the room was spinning. He was aware that there were others there, but he couldn't focus on them. All he could think about was Mikey. He had to get after him. He had to find him, get him back, one way of another. He had to-
He grimaced, his head pounding.
He heard footsteps close to him and he tensed.
"Slowly, buddy;" A gentle voice urged. "You need to keep still."
Ray looked up sharply, rubbing at his forehead, and saw the masked man standing over him. He let out a low gasp and, panicked, instantly beginning to back away.
The unknown man held both his hands up at once. "Ray, you're okay. Take it easy."
Ray's eyed widened as he gaped at the stranger in front of him. He knew that voice. Knew exactly whom that voice belonged to. But it was impossible. He was dreaming. That was the only explanation.
This wasn't real. Couldn't be real.
"Who are you?" He managed. "Who the fuck are you?"
The masked man didn't reply at first. He tilted his head, catching Billie's eye, and then he looked back at Ray. Hesitating for another moment, he slowly pulled off his mask, and then matched Ray's gaze, a nervous smile on his lips.
Ray didn't move. He just stared.
Mike let out a low whistle. "Fuck me..."
Frank Iero chuckled. "Not right now, Mike," he whispered, but then threw Mike a quick appreciative look. He quickly returned his gaze to his best friend, who had turned very pale, and was staring at him in complete shock.
"Who are you?" Ray repeated, barely audible.
Frank blinked. "It's me, Ray. It's Frank."
Ray glared furiously. "No, it's not. Frank Iero's dead! What the fuck are you? What kind of fucking trick are you bastards pulling?"
"It's not a trick, Ray! It's me, buddy. It's really me."
"Bullshit!" Ray threw at him, his eyed wide, and crazed. "People don't come back from the dead, Frank-"
"Except for Korse," Frank interjected. "And I was never dead, Ray. Well, not properly dead. Not for long-"
"Not helping, Frankie," Billie told him quickly.
"Sorry," Frank noted. He gazed at Ray again, chewing on his lower lip. "It's so fucking good to see you, Ray..."
Ray was still staring at him. Muttering under his breath, he held a weary hand up, trying to fend Frank off. He was utterly terrified by what he was seeing, and clearly, and completely understandably, didn't believe a word he was hearing. In fact, he was quite sure that he had finally lost his mind.
"So, I'm crazy," he announced. His head snapped back round then, and he glared up at the vision of Frank that was not disappearing, no matter how much he expected him to. "Or, is this fucking it? Am I fucking dead then?" Ray snapped, his voice growing in volume. "Is that why you're here?"
Frank gave him a small smile. He reached out for Ray, but the other man recoiled in horror.
"Just stay the fuck away from me!" He gasped, scrambling backwards. "Don't you fucking touch me..."
The 'thing with Frank's face' hesitated for a second, and then stepped closer. "Ray, you need to listen-"
"No! It's a fucking lie! BL/I are fucking with my mind. Or you're a clone or something-"
"No Ray," Billie cut in. "It's really him..."
He made to walk over to the two Killjoys, but Mike grabbed his arm. He glanced down at his friend who gave him a knowing look. "Leave them," Mike muttered.
Billie frowned, but did as he was told.
He turned again, to see Frank once more desperately trying to convince the other man that he really was real. "And I'm not a ghost," Frank was saying. "Feel me..."
To prove his point, Frank pinched Ray. Hard.
Ray responded by crying out, and then promptly smacking Frank in the mouth.
Billie felt a desperate urge to laugh. He fought it back down.
Frank was dabbing at his lip with his finger. When he moved his finger away, there was a tiny amount of blood on the end.
"See?" He told Ray.
Ray stared at him. "You fucking bleed?" He whimpered. "How can you be a ghost if you bleed?"
"Like I said;" Frank replied, somewhat shakily, "I'm not a fucking ghost." Taking a moment to compose him, Frank then gave Ray a coy smile. "And yeah, I guess I deserved that blow. You only get one free shot though, okay?"
"What the fuck?" Ray was shaking his head in disbelief. Moving away, he tripped and found himself falling, a shaky hand covering his mouth, his eyes bulging. He slumped down, banging his head against the wall behind him. He laughed out loud, hysterical, staring at Frank as if he truly believed he had finally gone stark raving mad.
"You can't be here," he moaned. "You can't be."
"It's okay, Ray;" Frank whispered. "It's gonna be okay, buddy,"
Ray buried his head into his hands. Frank, tears now sliding down his own cheeks, moved carefully to Ray, not wanting to shock or panic the man any further, and then gathering Ray into his arms and held him close. Ray resisted for a few seconds, hitting out at Frank repeatedly, and whimpering until, finally, he grew still, though he couldn't stop his body from trembling.
"I thought you were dead," he managed, his words hardly audible. "I thought I'd fucking lost you man-"
And then, he was openly sobbing, clinging onto Frank, as if his life depended on it. Frank began to sob himself, holding Ray, his head lying gently against the other man's.
Mike and Billie stood back, allowing the two best friends to have their private moment, both of them knowing just how important this was. Mike actually put an arm around Billie, and pulled him close. Because they felt the emotion too. They had both believed they would never see the other again.
In a time when so many were lost, sweet moments like what they were witnessing, and actually even feeling for each other, were few and far between.
Loved ones were all that mattered.
The only sound in the room was the two men's sobbing as they both poured out all of their relief, grief, pain and fears to each other.
They weren't alone any more. No matter what happened from then on, no one could take away that moment.
They had each other again.
Michael paused outside the door leading to the Coordinator's office. He felt nervous, unsure. He had reason to. He still couldn't understand his actions that day and he knew that he would have to keep them from her, to avoid any difficult situations. He would certainly be expected to explain his actions and how could he do that when he had no idea himself? It would be better to lie to her. Far better. But he had never lied to his leader, to his partner. Could he really start now?
He had little choice.
Taking a deep breath, he knocked. He waited several moments before hearing her clipped tones. "Come in."
The dread within him building, he pulled open the door, and entered.
Her office was a startling white, like the majority of the citadel. She sat behind a glass desk in the centre of the room, everything as neat and tidy, as you would expect. She had a flat computer screen in front of her, which she turned off when she looked up, and saw Michael.
Instantly, she smiled. "My dear," she greeted him. "Please, sit down, Michael."
He did as he was told. He crossed the room quickly, and sat down opposite her, his hands in his lap.
"So," she begun; "How did it go?"
He nodded in response. "The mission is complete, ma'am."
The Coordinator smirked. "So I heard. I wanted confirmation from you though. The last of the Killjoys has been ghosted, yes?"
A flicker. His lips twitched. He fought to remain calm.
"Yes," he replied.
She didn't react.
"How did it feel when you killed him?"
Michael blinked. Again, this interest in him and his feelings. Why?
Out loud, he answered, very coldly; "I'm afraid I do not understand."
Her lips curled. "It's a simple enough question, my dear. As you killed the last of the Killjoys, how did you feel?"
Michael shrugged. "I felt nothing. I am merely pleased that the mission was completed successfully."
She smiled happily. "A good response." She paused then, leaning back in her chair. "But, I must ask you, this girl you brought back with you. She used to run with the Killjoys. She was one of them. Why did you spare her, Michael?"
He flinched slightly. He didn't know why.
"It seemed unnecessary to kill her." He said flatly. "She's so young, merely a child. It's not to late for her to belong with the rest of us."
The Coordinator pondered this for a few moments. "As you wish," she told him. "We will give the girl another chance."
Michael didn't respond. He merely watched her, waiting for further questions.
The Coordinator chuckled and then gestured to him.
"Come to me," she instructed. "Let me look at you, sweetness."
He stood at once, and walked around her desk until he was standing directly before her, his arms clasped behind his back. He looked down at her, waiting for further instructions.
She let out a low sigh as she gazed back at him.
"Smile, Michael." She scolded. "We've won. You and I are going to be legendary."
He did as he was told, but the smile didn't reach his eyes.
She searched his face, rose to her own feet, and then pulled him forward. Their lips met, and they kissed. The embrace grew more passionate, as Michael wrapped his arms around her small body.
Suddenly, she pulled back, giving him a seductive smile.
"You may go, Michael."
And, with that, she turned her back on him and walked away. As she did so though, she brought two fingers up to her lips, and touched them lightly, remembering the feel of his kiss.
He knew the conversation was at an end. He turned and walked out quickly, closing the door behind him. He stood outside the door for a moment, breathing harshly. Finally, he looked up, and saw his reflection in the glass. He gazed at himself, reaching up and touching his mask. She had always told him to wear it during missions so that he would remain an enigma. Nothing scares more than a mystery. But now, he felt more that there was something about his face that needed to be kept hidden. Very slowly, he pulled the mask away, and glared at himself.
One question echoed around his mind.
'Who are you?'
He heard a noise. Quickly replacing the mask, he hurried away, trying to put his fears and questions to the back of his mind. He had work to do.
Unbeknown to Michael, his uncertain moment had been being closely watched. The Co-ordinator had seen the whole thing on her computer monitor. She stared thoughtfully, watching as he walked away.
Then, very slowly, she got to her feet, and followed him out of her office.
There was silence in the old house. It was only the four of them still alive; the Draculoids had wiped out every other living soul. Mike and Billie were standing by the door, eyeing each other uncomfortably, and every so often glancing questionably at their companions. Ray and Frank were both sat on the floor, sitting toward each other, but their gazes were both fixed firmly on the ground. Neither of them knew how to begin.
Finally, Ray cleared his throat.
"How?" The Killjoy could only manage. Frank flinched, and then let out a weary sigh, his hands covering his face. Quickly, he exchanged a nervous glance with Billie, and then finally faced Ray, who was now watching him impatiently.
"I got lucky," he said simply.
"Tell me," Ray whispered.
Frank began to tell his story. He explained how Gareth had put a transporter on his wrist just before Bert had killed him. Frank had had no idea about this; all he had wanted was to die and to take those fuckers with him. He told that when the Coordinator had hit the button on her wrist to transport out, he had been caught in the signal too, but had been transported straight to the base, the hospital section. That had been Gareth's plan from the start. The doctors, Billie, Doc and Luka had worked tirelessly to save his life. They had removed the chip just in time. It had been touch and go for a week, but he'd recovered and had been following Ray, Mike and Grace ever since.
Ray had listened intently through the story, shaking his head or wiping a stray tear at different intervals. Finally, he knew he had to ask the question he dreaded hearing the answer to.
"And," he hesitated. "Gerard?
Frank swallowed hard. He glanced away, trying to compose himself, before speaking again. "He died in my arms before the Coordinator came in. I ripped that fucking crap off of his head, just like he asked me to. It killed him."
Ray shuddered. He couldn't break down. He just couldn't. "I already knew Gerard was dead," he whispered. "I suppose I just thought, with you being okay, I prayed -" He broke off, unable to finish his sentence. Finally, he brought a shaky hand up to his mouth. "I guess three miracles in one night would have been asking a bit too much."
Frank blinked. "Three?"
Ray's lips trembled. "Mikey."
The despair on Frank's face was evident. "Mikey's gone, Ray. Whatever that freak was in here tonight, whoever murdered all those men, women and children, that wasn't Mikey."
Ray shook his head in frustration. "He's not Mikey right now, no. But I know that there's still a chance. He's in there somewhere…"
Frank exchanged worried glances with Billie. "Mikey is dead, Ray;" He said, more firmly.
Ray gestured angrily. "He was ordered to kill me, but he couldn't do it."
"Ray-" Frank whispered, but the other man ignored him.
"You didn't see what he was like in here. He was going to finish me, but then, he stopped. He even asked me who I was. He was questioning. You know what that means for a Draculoid. He's fighting their conditioning. He's still in there."
"Ray, it could have been a mistake-" Billie offered, trying to be the voice of reason. But Ray was not ready to listen.
"Even before he became this Michael, our Mikey never used to make mistakes when it came to life and death." Ray glanced over at his fellow Killjoy who he now saw had his back to him. Ray, frowning, took a step toward Frank. "He couldn't kill me, Frankie."
Frank let out a loud sigh before facing Ray once more. "Do you know how I felt when I first woke up and I remembered? I knew Gerard was gone, that I'd never see him again. What do you think I did, Ray?"
Ray couldn't reply. He just shook his head, devastated.
Frank clenched his fists. "I pulled all the fucking wires off of me, and fought the doctors when they tried to stop me. I was fucking inconsolable, I wanted to die." He paused, wiping the tears from his eyes. "Do you know what they said to me? Do you know what made me stop and realise that I couldn't give up?"
"No." Ray whispered.
Frank was trembling. "You. They told me you were still alive, but that Mikey had been taken. I soon realised what they'd done to him and I knew, Ray. I knew you'd need me. So I fought against the desire to die, and I pulled myself back from the fucking brink and I got well again, because I knew I had to find you. It's just the fucking two of us now, Ray. I had to accept I'd never see Gerard again, that there was no getting him back." He leaned closer to his best friend. "What we can do for Mikey, buddy, is to fucking take out what they've turned him into. That's what he'd want, and you know it."
Ray couldn't listen to another word. He grabbed Frank's arm. "You don't understand, Frankie."
Frank glared. "What? Were you even listening-"
"NO!" Ray exclaimed. "You listen to me for a change, you stubborn bastard." Frank gave him a warning look, but Ray didn't take the hint. "He's still in there." He hissed to his friend, desperately. "I saw him."
Frank pulled his arm free, glaring furiously. "He's gone, Ray. Just like Gerard."
Billie took a step forward. "You told me yourself, Frank, about how strong Gerard was, how he fought back against the reprogramming Korse was putting him through-"
Frank shook his head slightly. "That was different. Gerard hadn't been reprogrammed, his mind was being wiped. Mikey has been conditioned to be an Exterminator;" He glanced at Ray, before adding; "There's nothing left of the man we knew."
There was silence for a moment, and then Ray cleared his throat.
"This is Mikey, Frank;" He whispered, the agony clear in his voice. "We have to try."
Frank trembled slightly, and then looked down thoughtfully. Just for a second, he closed his eyes. He saw big, hazel eyes staring into his own. And he heard a voice, so quiet, so weak. The same voice he heard in his dreams every single night:
"I'll meet your eyes."
His eyes snapped open. He fought back the tears threatening to spill and then met Ray's gaze. He knew what he had to do. There was only one choice. If there was any chance at all they could get Mikey back, then he would do whatever was necessary to make that happen. It's what Gerard would have done. He'd never have given up until Mikey was free. Frank would do the same.
He smiled at Ray. And then nodded. "We're gonna get Mikey out of there."
Ray bit his lip. He got carefully to his feet, and then pulled Frank up beside him. He then reached out, clasping Frank's shoulder, and then quickly letting him go. His eyes met Mike's, and he took a deep breath.
"We're going to have to plan this." Ray said quietly. "It's not going to be easy to get into the city-"
Mike scoffed. "The fucking hard part is getting out Ray, not in."
Ray ignored the sarcastic remark. He gestured to Frank.
"We have to contact the Doc. He'll know what to do."
"What are we fucking doing standing around here chatting for then?" Billie was by the door now, his fist clenched. And, as he winked at Frank, the Killjoy saw a flash of the old Billie Joe Armstrong back, just for a second, the "Fuck the world" attitude that he had once been so famous for. And for Mike, Frank and Ray, it felt unbelievably good to see it there once again.
Grace had found herself being carried into a small building, and dumped unceremoniously on the ground. The man had shouted at her to stay still, and she had been annoyed with herself for showing fear. A woman had come rushing over to them, a young lady who had actually been nice to her.
She had even informed the brutish man that "This happens to be a school, not a prison." She had then told him in her gentle English accent, to "Sling his hook."
He had done as he was told, muttering under his breath as he had made a hasty retreat.
The woman had helped Grace up then, dusted her down, and had told her to find the other children and introduce herself before "Learning Rota" began. The young lady had then smiled at her, a real genuine smile, and had told her she had nothing to be afraid of.
She had left Grace then.
And so Grace was stuck in this room, with a group of children all glaring at her due to her being an outsider. She looked at each of them in turn, and they all turned their backs on her. She badly wanted to cry but knew she couldn't show them so much weakness.
That is what Poison would have told her, had he still been there, with her.
'Be strong, Grace.'
Thinking of Poison was the last straw for Grace, as her thoughts turned to all her Killjoy friends, and everything she had lost. She bowed her head, as tears began to slide down her cheeks.
When the quiet voice spoke up, it took her completely by surprise.
"Please don't cry."
Grace looked up sharply.
A small, black haired, bubbly looking girl was smiling down at her. Grace drew back nervously. The girl cautiously reached out and tapped Grace on her arm.
"Are you okay?"
"Don't be scared. Miss Elle is lovely, you're safe here.
Grace couldn't help but give her a small smile. There was something likeable about this girl.
"What's your name?" She asked.
"Is that short for Beatrice?"
The other girl let out a small laugh. When she smiled, her eyes twinkled. "No!" She replied. "They told me my name was Bandit, and I kinda liked it..."
Grace smiled. "Bandit. That's a cool name."
Bandit beamed. "I know!" She looked toward the door quickly. "What's yours, by the way?"
"Grace," the Killjoy replied, at once.
"Hey Grace, come and meet the others!"
Grace gaped at this girl, now offering her a hand of friendship. There was something about this girl, something familiar. Grace didn't know why, but she liked and trusted her at once. She didn't hesitate a moment longer, as she slipped forward, grasped Bandit's hand, and allowed her to lead her from the room.
The Coordinator was striding through the Citadel Building, walking through a section that only very few people knew of. Not even her superiors knew this part of the facility existed. Her, two of the most trusted guards in her service, and a small team of Doctors and Scientists knew that the area she was making her way through was no longer out of bounds. To enter, she had to use a very special key card that she had programmed herself.
This had all been down to her perfect plan, her and Korse. Korse had died so they could gain the information they needed to bring the entire rebel "force" to its knees. She would be revered by not only those she answered to, but by all the people she protected. Protected from not only the rebels who wanted to destroy their peace and tranquillity but also to protect from the real horrors of the world they were now stuck with. Her company's drugs made people smile, she helped people. That was what the self-righteous rebels would never understand. Her intentions were good. The Corporation was a force for good. The rebels were the bad people. She was fighting on the right side. And that was how she would be remembered.
Especially when she brought all those who sought to ruin everything she had built up were all bought to justice. Thanks to one of their own.
She paused at two white doors, a pair of Scarecrow guards on either side. They nodded to her politely. She pulled out her security card and swiped through the mechanism. The doors unlocked and swung open, allowing her access. She walked through them into the darkness beyond and then quickly called out a clear instruction:
Instantly, bright light flooded the large room she had entered, and she walked forward, her high-heeled shoes tap-tapping on the smooth floor. The room was so quiet, that noise seemed deafening.
There was equipment everywhere, machines all operating with flashing lights. The room was an operating theatre. There was a bed in the centre, and somebody was lying on it. She approached the body, a small smile on her lips.
"Hello again," she whispered.
The figure didn't respond. It was a man and he was naked, not even covered by a sheet to spare his dignity. What did his shame matter anyway? It's not like he knew what was happening to him. He would never know anything again.
She walked up to the unconscious man. He was in such a deep coma, she was told, he may as well be brain dead. That thought pleased her. For such a lively person to be reduced to this: It was the ultimate punishment. When she was mere feet away, she reached out and touched his short, cropped hair. They had had to shave his head to save his life, and to attach the head gear he was now wearing, the machine that was searching his brain and gaining her the information she needed.
When she had realised what Iero would do, it had not occurred to her what was about to happen when she clasped her own wrist in a desperate effort to save her own life. She had transported herself out of their trap, taking all the Draculoids wearing the transporters with her. And they had not been all that had come along for the ride. It had seemed Korse had been clever enough to follow her instructions and had placed one of the wrist controllers to the rebel leader. The man had been transported directly into the city, where doctors, believing he was the one they needed alive, had instantly begun their expert work to save his life. And that was exactly what they had done. He was clinging on to life, barely breathing, but still they were obtaining all the information they craved from him. It had all worked perfectly. They had already discovered so much from him. And he had led them directly to Toro and the girl.
He was the reason why they were finally able to exterminate the rebel menace. He was the reason why she was getting the recognition she deserved.
And he would never wake up.
That was the best part.
"I thought you'd like to know." She told him, unable to keep the smugness out of her tone. Why should she? Everything had gone exactly to plan. Why shouldn't she lord it over the man who had wanted to ruin her? "You're friend, Ray Toro is dead, killed by your brother. Isn't that the most wonderful news? Are you not overjoyed?"
She watched him closely, as if she expected some reaction, some response. Of course, there was none.
His eyes were closed. His chest rose and fell gently. But, there was no other sign of life.
The Coordinator smiled knowingly.
"That's right, you rebel scum. You lost, I won. The Killjoys are finished." She began to stroke his cheek with her finger. "And, very soon, the final act will be upon us, when your own precious, devoted brother will happily blast you into oblivion. For me."
She leaned down over him, swapping her gentle strokes to his cheek to grabbing his hair viciously and jerking his head back. He didn't flinch. He never flinched. No matter what she did.
Her eyes flashed as she put her lips to his ear, and hissed:
"My doctors say you can't hear me, Gerard Way. They say you're as good as dead and only our machines are keeping you alive, plucking the information we need from the parts of your brain we still know so little about. They say you're nothing but an empty shell and there is no chance you will ever wake up."
She moved back slightly, pure contempt on her face. "I don't accept that. I know you can hear me. Killjoys never die, right?" She took hold of his forearms and squeezed, knowing she would leave bruises. "Only, the Killjoys are dead, Toro, McCracken, Iero. All dead, and your brother, at my request, will send you to join them soon. And then, Mikey will be mine completely."
She looked down at him, triumphantly. The only sound was the steady beeping of the life support equipment, keeping the prone man's heart beating. Until she decided she didn't need him any more.
The day would be soon. All she wanted was Doctor Death Defying. Once she had him, then she would finally allow the great Party Poison to die.
"You keep on running, Gerard Way;" She taunted him. "Run straight on into Hell. I'll be sure to take care of your little brother."
With that, she walked away, not bothering to look back. Coldly, she snapped: "Lights off."
If she'd looked back, she may well have noticed something interesting.
But she didn't see.
She didn't notice that his eyelids flickered. Or that he, so very subtly, moved the index finger on his right hand.
She didn't hear him murmuring words under his breath.
She had no idea that he had heard every word she had spoken, although she had sounded so far away, and he couldn't focus on her words.
It wasn't time yet. He was still resting. He was still mending.
The three faces were getting closer, coming out of the fog. He still couldn't focus on them, but they were definitely getting closer. And he could hear one message in his head, and it was getting louder. He knew it was so important. It was nearly time. He had lots still to do.
And they kept giving him their message. And he knew that he knew them. And he'd see them again. Soon.
They were smiling.
And calling to him.
Gerard. Gerard. Gerard.
Louder. Clearer. Nearer. Over and over again. Forever, the line he sang in his head:
"We'll carry on. We'll carry on. We'll carry on..."
Authors Note 2. So, what did you think? I just wanted to let you all know that a. you're amazing and b. There is going to be a sequel :) I'll be starting it in a few months time. Its all planned, but I need a break from MCR fic for a bit. But I promise you there will be a sequel, and it'll (hopefully) be just as good as Burning Star!
Thanks again for all your support people! And bye for now! xx