Hello, Everybody!

This chapter. THIS CHAPTER. Are you all ready for it? Are you? Because you sure as hell better be! This is my favorite chapter out of all of them – alllll of them. Including the ones you haven't read yet. {Still two more to go!} I LOVE IT!

This one is by far the longest of the 0's yet – 14 pages, ftw? – and is also complete crap. (And yet I love it so!) It's second in length only to Part 4, actually; only four pages difference. I don't even know why I did this really; Part 0-2 just wanted a follow up and so out came 0-3 at freaking 1:00 in the morning. Guh. Beware: gratuitous amounts of the f-bomb.

Have fun, loves.

Disclaimer: I do not own Hanna is Not a Boy's Name, nor any of the characters/locations therein. I also do not own Repo! The Genetic Opera, nor any of the characters/locations therein. I do, however, own the story.

Escape from Crucifixus – Part 0-3

They called him "Zombie."

It had become almost like a substitute for his real name; not that he ever told anyone what it was. In all actuality, he probably couldn't even have remembered it if he had tried. So he just…didn't. First, he was "The Dealer," then "Grave Robber," and now, finally, in his latest incarnation apparently, he was 'Zombie."

He didn't really mind. After all, it worked perfectly for his profession. And besides, the massive shit-ton of irony made him chuckle whenever he stopped to think about it. A grave robber named "Zombie." Ha. Haha. Funny. Well, to him, at least. It suited him just fine. He even changed his makeup from his usual black streaks down the eyes to a grayish-green. The mark of a Zydrate dealer, with a touch of his own personal flair.

He was good at what he did, too. He made sure to listen to his instinct; if something didn't feel right, he was gone. He never stayed in the same spot for more than a couple of days, never stocked up in the same graveyard twice in a row. Never allowed the scalpel sluts to pay him with anything but money – no matter how hard they tried to catch his sexual attention – and never, never touched the Glow himself. He would be the supplier, the dealer, but not a user. Not an addict. He had known of a few grave robbers who used. It got them killed.

But he was smart. He saw his costumers for what they really were: greedy, dirty, sick little creatures that thought about nothing but their next fix. He didn't care about them. They disgusted him, really. If they overdosed in the back alleyways, then they deserved what they got. If they were caught by Repo, then they must have been stupid enough to get into debt. Vanity kills. It was none of his business.

That said, he didn't go out if his way to corrupt anyone either. If they came to him, he gave them a hit – providing they could pay, of course. Some other dealers sought out new victims. He knew for a fact that there would always be someone who needed his services. No need to make new ones when there were enough already.

He knew his regulars, too. He was good with faces, with people. So he could always tell whether or not he had Z'd somebody before – could tell who was new and who was not. And so it was, that, during one of his regular nights pumping old, familiar druggies full of Glow, he happened upon a most peculiar specimen.

He had just finished up on the last of the scalpel sluts and was preparing to pack up and wander over to another spot. There was a noise from behind him, a quiet little cough meant to catch attention. Well, it worked, and he turned over his shoulder to see…a boy. God, how old was this kid? Sixteen, seventeen? Whatever his age, he was dressed in raggedy black and white clothes topped off with a pair of too-big boots and a threadbare black coat. A street urchin. Orphan, no doubt. Nothing particularly new. What surprised him, however, was the way he held himself; like he was in pain and scared. That combined with the timid way he had made his presence known, having apparently waited until he was the last one left. Not the usual customer.

He raised an eyebrow at the kid and waved his arm in a 'well?' gesture. The urchin swallowed visibly, not meeting the dealer's eyes. He really should have just walked away, leave the thing to find a fix elsewhere, but he was genuinely intrigued by the…oh, what was the word?…innocence (was that it?) that the boy seemed to exude. So he pivoted on the ball of his foot to face him. "Need something, do we?"

The boy jerked as though startled. Then he unwrapped one of his arms from around himself and opened his fist to reveal a small pile of currency. "I…Could you…?" He looked up at last. (Glasses, huh? Didn't see those much, what with people up and buying new eyes. Must be real ones, then.) "I can p-pay."

"Can you now?" And "Zombie" found himself striding over to the hunched figure. He looked even smaller up close, more emaciated. Damn, how long had it been since he'd eaten anything? He took the kid's hand into his fingers and gently pried them further apart, mentally counting the amount in the boy's palm. More than enough for a hit. He took his fee and left the rest. Mustn't get greedy now, leave the kid with a little something for the next time. He closed the pale fist around the remainder and took a step back.

Those eyes, blue behind the glasses, blinked up at him in surprise and more than a little trepidation. "This…kills the pain, right?"

Another raised eyebrow. "If it doesn't, the next one's on me." Now what in Dante's nine hells had possessed him to say that? Ignoring it, he made a gesture near his own arm, indicating to the urchin to roll up his sleeve. He did so with shaking fingers. The grave robber knelt down to the kid's level - he really was short - and placed the tip of his Zydrate gun against the bared flesh of his arm. "Take a breath." And back went the trigger; in went the needle. Out came the Zydrate.

The familiar spark filled his ears. He removed his gun, feeling the boy start to go limp in his grasp. Deftly, he steered his newest customer over to the wall and guided his back against it so that he could sit without falling. Only then did he let go of the arm he had just shot up. He stepped away slightly to look upon his handiwork.

He felt a pang of guilt in behind his little black heart as he watched the street urchin loll his head back against the bricks, closing his eyes as if a huge weight had just been lifted from his chest. Well shit. Did he just corrupt the little beggar? He wasn't pleased with himself.

"Thank you."

He started almost violently. What? Surely he was hearing things. Noooo, no. He had really heard that. The kid – how had he not realized that his hair was red until just now? – had just, of all things, thanked him. For a hit. Nobody in this plastic city said 'thank you' anymore. Especially not to those who did what he did. He couldn't even think of the last time he had heard those words. Strange, foreign. He had no idea how to react.

Without thinking, he closed the small space between the two of them and patted that red hair. "Don't."

Blue eyes opened back up to look directly at him, disarming him further. A tiny smile crept up those pale features. Unspoken gratitude.

The drug dealer felt sick to his stomach at the sight of that smile. Yet again, he had trouble remembering the last time anybody had smiled in this god-forsaken city. He yanked his hand back to his side, stalking away. As he left the redheaded gutter-rat behind, he mentally vowed to deny the kid should he ever coming looking for a hit again.

Which of course, he did.

About a week or so later, that little monster sought him out, tracked him to one of his favorite backstreet hang-abouts. Again, he looked like he was in some kind of horrible pain, holding himself and keeping his eyes to the ground.

This time, the grave robber blatantly ignored him until everyone else was either gone or passed out. And then he continued to ignore him. He was just sweeping into an overhang when he heard a "wait!" and stopped in his tracks. He sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. But he turned anyway.

He was prepared to say something along the lines of, 'get lost' but felt his words dry up in his throat at the sight of those damnable blue eyes. Well fuck. With a feeling of I-shouldn't-be-doing-this, he beckoned the boy over.

And with a look of relief, the boy all but sprinted up to him. Already fumbling in his pockets and everything. Fuck, fuck, fuckity, ffffuuuck. Annnnd, of course he just would have to still have that timid expression set deep in his features.

"Zombie" had to fight to keep from gagging as he crouched down closer to the boy. He examined the proffered handful of money but made no move to take it. Instead, he locked his gaze with the kid's. "You really want this, huh?"

The redhead bit at his lip and clutched his arm tighter against his torso. He lowered his head, but nodded just the same. He looked so vulnerable, like a half-drowned kitten.

Ah hell. At least the little runt had come to him. Better "The Zombie" than some of the other dealers out there. He sighed again, raised his gun. "Alright then, up you get." He tugged the tattered sleeve up to bare the skin of the boy's arm.

Click, spark, bang.

And he walked away a second time with a kind of nasty taste in his mouth.

After that, he didn't see the kid again for a while. He was secretly both grateful and worried. He told himself he was just put off by the prospect of losing a potential regular, but it didn't really stick. In reality, he couldn't quite put his finger on just why he was so hesitant to shoot the kid up or just why he was finding himself bothered by his absence. It was a conundrum.

It wasn't until he stumbled into an abandoned basement one night in the middle of a rainstorm, (and what with all the smog and chemicals in the air above the city, that rained burned!) that he had his third and most important to-date encounter with the bespectacled urchin.

He had just finished falling rather ungracefully through a broken-out window and was picking himself back up, letting out a few choice words, (such as 'sonuvabitch!') when he heard a shuffling from a darkened corner. He whirled immediately, three vials of Zydrate tucked in between his fingers and held aloft to shed their glowing blue light into the gloom. Had there been any form of law enforcement present, that may have proven to be a bad, bad move. Thankfully, the room was free of GeneCops. On the other hand, his heart still stopped beating when he caught sight of just who was in the room with him.

Fucking Murphy's Law. It was the red-haired runt.

The kid sat scrunched up against the wall over in the farthest corner of the basement. His legs were curled up to his chest, his arms wrapped around behind them across his torso – like always – and he had his face buried in his knees. He didn't even seem aware that he was not alone. Didn't look up. (And really, who wouldn't haveheard the drug dealer as he made his spectacular entrance fail? The cursing alone was loud enough to wake the dead. Ha.) Pitiful. But, with nothing else to do and unable to go anywhere until that acidic rain let up, "Zombie" decided that maybe some company wouldn't be too awful after all. Hey, the boy was harmless, wasn't he?

Before he even knew what he was doing, he'd already sidled up to the little ball of urchin and was clearing his throat. "Hey. This seat taken?" Ooooh. Cliché for the lose.

Of course, the sound of another voice shot that red head up faster than a Z-gun's needle. Without waiting for an answer, the grave robber plunked down beside his companion for the evening. He leaned his head back against the dirty stone of the wall. For a time, there was complete silence; "Zombie" watching blue eyes watch him through his peripheral vision. The kid looked nervous and…somewhat dead.

After a good half-hour or so, and after getting tired of his temple having a hole burned into it by that incessant stare, he finally turned his gaze to the figure beside him. "I'm not gonna hurt you, you know. If I'd wanted to I woulda done it already."

Once again, the boy started at his words. He felt a little bad for a moment, but slapped it away. He shifted his shoulders so that he was facing him better. "So what's your story then?" Not that he was curious or anything, mind you, he just wanted something to pass the time with. Talking seemed like a good idea. And it was most certainly not because he wanted to get to the bottom of whatever it was that made him…feel sorry? Really? Feel…sorry…for the pathetic-looking lump of a child. Nope. Not at all.

Screw it. Yeah it was.

The boy blinked at him, obviously not sure how to respond. Not surprising, really, he had probably never been asked that – or anything like it – before. People in Crucifixus weren't meant for their compassion or concern for others. He just stared some more, eyes wider than they should have been.

So he just shrugged and turned back to the front. "Okay. Don't tell me then. Your prerogative."

It took a minute or two, but eventually he heard the kid whisper, "I'm dying."

He didn't know why this piece of information bothered him so much; after all, they all were dying in some way or another. But for some reason, the notion of life slowly draining out of that fiery-headed teen made him…kinda sad. Instead of showing it, however, he simply tugged a little glass vial of Zydrate free of its holster on the belt across his chest. "So you decided to forget all the bad things in life and waste what's left of it hopped up on Glow." He lolled his head to give the boy a sideways look.

But he shook his head. "No." His glasses (Glasses, honestly! What a concept!) slipped down his nose from the action and he shifted to push them back up with one skinny finger. "I can feel myself dying, like a motor winding down. It hurts. It hurts so freaking bad sometimes that I feel like I'm gonna die right then and there." He fixed his eyes on the blue drug in "Zombie's" hand. "That makes it stop for a while."

"So why not go to GeneCo?"

And here a pair of delicate, pale hands fisted into the flame of his hair. "Because I can't pay for anything else! I'm already barely able to make the payments on my other surgeries and if I get any more I'll be Repo-ed in a second!"

Surger-ies? As in, plural? Before he could activate his brain-to-mouth filter and stop himself, the dealer blurted out, "Jesus, kid, how many things've you had done?!" Smooth, real smooth. He kicked himself mentally at the sight of the boy's face. He'd taken it to mean 'prosthetic,' which wasn't what the grave robber had meant at all.

"I didn't get them so I could be 'pretty,'" he snarled – which was actually kind of weird, seeing that expression on a face that had been so blank and hopeless and depressed just moments before. "My parents wanted me to live, so when my insides started falling apart, they had anything and everything replaced that even looked like it was rotting out of me." The snarl faded, leaving that strange, empty look in its wake. "I guess the doctors missed something…" And those blue eyes turned away in despair.

Well Christ, now he felt like a total prick. Ironic, considering he probably was one. He made a 'calm down' gesture, trying to sooth the urchin's ruffled feathers. It wasn't exactly apologetic – he didn't do apologies - but it must have worked anyway. After a beat of silence he spoke again, testing the waters a little with a hesitant tone. "So…your parents, huh?"

"They're dead now."

"Ah." He figured he probably somehow knew that already. But still. That sucked. He waited another beat before tying again. "So what are you gonna do, then, hmm? Drown your sorrows and hope you don't croak? Cuz it seems to me that 's all that's happening here."

But the runt just continued to stare straight ahead. He moved one of his arms from around his chest and draped it over his knees. It must have been a good three minutes before he responded. Frankly, the drug peddler actually thought that meant an end to the conversation, but he was proven wrong once again.

"I thought that…maybe…if I could just keep the pain away long enough, if I could just make it until I've got something paid off…then maybe I could go in and get fixed. Maybe if I could hold on long enough…I'd be alright." He pushed his glasses up and rubbed at his eyes, emphasizing the deep purple where they had sunken in. (Didn't he sleep either?) He really did look sick, poor kid. He sighed. His gaze lifted to the ceiling. "But I don't think Mom would be too happy about me being a pickpocket." He gave a cynical half-smile. Something akin to a snort or chuckle escaped as he did so.

And that's when the last piece locked itself into place in "Zombie's" mind. This was what made this tiny mutt so different from all the other Zydrate addicts he had serviced: he wasn't doing it because he wanted to perfect his image, or because he was so far gone that the only thing keeping him functioning was the Glow gun. He did what he did to survive. True, that was what most everybody in the city was doing, but it was clear that he still had a sense of right and wrong, a conscience. He wasn't a junkie, just some poor child that had lost his family and had to get by without them. From what the dealer could tell, the kid even appeared to be in mourning for his parents. Now that was not something that he had ever seen. No one grieved for the dead. Not in Crucifixus.

He had barely noticed it until just then, but he realized that he had been missing humanity. He didn't believe in anything anymore. The people he did business with everyday? They had no souls. They were just hollow shells. Inhuman. They meant nothing to anyone and no one meant anything to them. Sometimes he wondered why they needed him at all.

No, he had no hope for humanity; none at all. But, now that he had met this boy, this little stick of a ginger-headed kid, he caught a glimpse of something genuine, something real. And it made his heart ache for more of it. He could feel again, if only just barely. That smile of gratitude he had been given after he had bestowed that first hit…

Rare and precious, just like its owner.

Maybe he had something to believe in after all, he thought as he out and out gaped at the boy sitting to his left. Oh…right. Had an appearance to keep up. Just like the rest of the city. Even if the urchin was free of falsehood, he certainly was not. He nudged the blue vial, still in his hand, over into said urchin's field of vision. "Wanna hit? This one's free." He plastered on a fake smirk, though his heart was not even remotely in it.

"Uh…" Blue eyes widened in surprise.

He shrugged absently. "Call it an exchange for the company. So how about it?"

Red hair jostled ever-so-slightly as the kid shook his head. "No. It doesn't hurt that bad right now."

The dealer gave another shrug and tucked his product back into its holster. "The next time then." Because there would be a next time, he would make sure of it. He would make sure that no one else touched the kid.

The rest of the night was spent in comfortable silence. Eventually the rain stopped and the grave robber slipped back out into the night, leaving the boy's sleeping form covered with an old rug he had happened to find in the corner of the room.

And so it was. They would occasionally run into each other; sometimes the urchin sought him out, sometimes he went looking for the urchin. He never let on that he was trailing him, of course, never let it slip that he was keeping an eye on him. Pity was a new thing to him; though when he thought about it, it wasn't really pity he felt. Compassion, perhaps? No. There was no such thing. Ah hell with it. Didn't matter anyway so long as it was something.

There was even one day that he chanced upon a shiny new Zydrate gun, rendering his older one rather unnecessary. He found out where the kid was hiding and nonchalantly positioned himself atop a dumpster that he knew would be passed. All he had to do was wait. He could be patient when the need arose. It took maybe an hour, but, sure enough, out came the urchin from the depths of the underground. He stayed still where he was, feet propped up against the alley wall and back against the dumpster lid, until the kid finally spotted him.

"Well, look what else hides in the gutter."

- "Wha-what are you doing here?"

"My job. You?"

- "…"

"Heh. The same, I would imagine. Anywaaaaay…got a present for you, since you're right there." And he had rolled off the dumpster with considerably more finesse than the basement window, strolled up to the very confused ginger, and slapped his old Glow gun into the boy's palm. "Enjoy." Off he had gone, vanishing around a corner before the stunned youth could choke out a 'thank you.' (Which was good, because he wanted it like that and 'thank yous' only made him feel like a bastard anyway. Giving drugs to a kid; he was a monster, he really was.)

Things carried on in much the same way for…oh, probably a couple of months. Yeah, four or five. Normally, the beggar would show up every couple of weeks for a hit. Now that he had a gun, the grave robber was selling him vials instead of single shots – he could use it when he needed it. Thinking back on it later, that was probably not the best of ideas, but at the time he hadn't been terribly worried; the kid was smart. Cheaper to buy in bulk, after all. It was when the boy started coming to him once a week, then twice a week, that the dealer started to get concerned.

The next time "Urchin" made an appearance, "Zombie" took a good hard look at him. He was still hanging back until nearly everyone else was gone, still clutching his arms tight to his body, still wearing that bedraggled, miserable expression. But he was much, much paler. He was thinner, too, more emaciated, like he hadn't had a decent bite to eat for weeks. His blue eyes, already dull, were sunken in to the point where he had purple, bruise-like circles around them. He looked for all the world like a living corpse.

The dealer felt something bubble in his chest at the sight of his customer. Anger, maybe, or irritation. A feeling of what-the-hell-man? A scalpel slut wrapped her arms around him from behind and he turned over his shoulder to shove her away with a hand to her face. "Off," he commanded, sweeping away from her harshly. He stalked over to the boy, who already had a handful of cash ready and waiting. "Second time this week, flea bite, you're getting kinda needy."

He didn't look at him. He wouldn't raise his eyes and look up. He just stayed staring down at the holes in his battered boots. There was a look of shame, of guilt, etched into the lines of his face.

And it just pissed the "Zombie" off even more. In one rough-but-still-gentle motion, he grabbed the kid's wrist and wrenched open his fist to reveal his payment. His lip curled in disgust. He snatched up what he thought was fair and let go of the arm. He plucked one of the little glass vials from its holster and jammed it into the redhead's chest. "Here."

He moved to walk past the boy, but as he got about three feet away, he heard that soft, timid voice call, "Wait…you didn't take…"

"I took what you owe me," the robber cut him off, pivoting to look at him dead on. His eyes hard, he took those few steps back over and leaned down so that he was nearly nose-to-nose with the teen. "Mangy little fucker, go eat something." He bared his teeth as he spoke, gritting them together and biting out his words.

The runt finally met his gaze, blue orbs widening in comprehension behind his glasses. He swallowed thickly and nodded. With a tiny smile that could be called a cross between grateful and astonished he took a step backward and then hurried off into a side street, heading for the underground.

"Zombie" scowled as he watched the urchin run off. That kid was gonna get himself killed. He glanced down to the coins still in his hand with a weight in the pit of his stomach. He'd only taken about a third of the ginger's money – way less than what that vial of Glow was actually worth. He really was getting soft.

He felt something on his leg and shifted to see the same damn scalpel slut from before (seriously, where the hell had she even come from?) grinding her overly exposed cleavage into his thigh. He let out a growl as her hands started sliding up the front of his pants and jerked, kicking at her. "I said, off!"

It was barely three weeks later that he caught wind of GeneCo's next repossession from a random junkie who claimed to have been interrogated for information. His blood ran cold. No…

The Zydrate peddler immediately went to find out where the mutt had hidden himself. It took a bit of time, (which he didn't have, goddamnit!) but he landed himself in a row of derelict old buildings. Exactly the same as the rest of the underground. He spotted an alcove set into the bricks and slunk inside to wait in the darkness. Not long afterwards, a familiar shock of fiery hair drifted past. The drug dealer reached out like a phantom and seized the boy around the waist, one bandage-covered hand clapping over his mouth to stifle any sound. He dragged the mass of kicking, flailing limbs back into the cover of the alcove. God, the kid barely weighed anything at all! Even struggling!

He winced slightly as the boy tried to sink his teeth into the flesh of his palm. In response, he just pulled him flush against his chest. "Now listen here, flea bite," he whispered into the runt's ear. The struggles ceased. He recognized his voice; good, good, that was good. "You were stupid enough to go and get mixed up with this stuff in the first place." He let go of the boy's waist and slipped a hand behind him to yank out a vial of Zydrate from his belt. He held it up to the kid's face for emphasis.

The boy made a grab for it, but he just snatched it back out of his reach. "Pay attention!" he snarled. This was even more serious than he had first thought. "You were stupid, yeah, but now you've gone and done something even stupider! What happened to 'paying it off', eh? Your little addiction's gone way too far." He pulled his hand away from the kid's mouth and spun him around by the shoulders to hold him up against the wall. He forced the redhead to look him in the eye. "You got the Repo on your ass, now, little mongrel!" he hissed. "Ninety days delinquent gets you Repo treatment, and you sure as hell haven't been spending that hard-stolen cash on food, now have you? Spent too much on your pain."

A pained, terrified whimper escaped from the boy's lips. "I-I m-m-missed a c-couple of payments."

Obviously. "No shit." It was here that he paused to give the small frame before him a once over. A walking cadaver, that's what the urchin was. "Christ, do you even feed yourself?"

He shook his head weakly. "I can't anymore, it just comes right back up."

The grave robber bit the sides of his tongue and scrunched his eyes shut to keep himself relatively calm. Too late though, he was already worked up from before. He took a deep breath, let it out, and opened his eyes again. Light brown locked onto vibrant blue. "You run. You run like all hell is chasing you, cuz it is." He gave the bony shoulders beneath his hands an unconscious squeeze. "I don't wanna see your ginger corpse on my next supply run, you understand?" The urchin nodded vigorously.

Without looking, he took the vial of Z, still held between his fingers, and tucked it into a pocket on the kid's ratty black coat. He gave the spot a pat. "You take that," he pointed to where the drug was shining through the moth-eaten fabric, "just in case you get away."

Those blue eyes, once dulled, now shone a bright electric with fear and…what was that? "Thank you," he whispered and threw his arms around "Zombie's" waist. "For helping me, for everything."

"What the hell?" A hug. He was hugging him. Who did that anymore? And why…did he suddenly feel so…sad? His mind told him to push the creeper away from him, but instead, he awkwardly wrapped his own arm around the smaller figure and gave his back a few unsure pats. Hug, huh? He liked it. (Not that he would ever tell anyone.)

The gutter-rat pulled away and looked up at him with a kind of grin on his face. "Heh, you smiled!"

Had he? Oh…yeah, yeah he had. He was. It wasn't a smirk, either. It was small, soft, kind of lopsided, but it was a real, honest-to-god smile. Something genuine. Just like that kid. He felt it stretch a little wider and allowed it to stay on his face for a moment more. Then he quickly settled his expression back into one of seriousness. "Okay, okay, so I smiled, big deal. You do it all the time." He steered the urchin closer to the entrance of the alcove, giving his hair a light ruffle. Then, he shoved him out into the alley. "Now go." The boy hesitated, looked back at him. He pushed again. "Go!"

And with that, the redhead gave a nod and was running at top speed out into the underground.

"Zombie" stood there watching him disappear. Fuck. He leaned on his forearm against the side of the doorway, clenching and unclenching his fist as he rocked back and forth on his heels. Fuck. The kid would never make it. Not with GeneCo on his tail. He felt like yelling; tense, ready to hit something. Fuck! He tried to tell himself it was just because he was losing one of his best customers, that he was upset because he had just given away a free thing of Z. He told himself this, and he didn't believe it for a second.

FUCK! He slammed his fist into the crumbling stone of the wall. Then his foot. Then both at the same time and one right after the other. FUCK, FUCK, FUCK!

One month later…

He had known of other grave robbers who had let themselves get distracted; dealers who had started doing their own product, peddlers who had allowed the scalpel sluts to walk all over them. He knew the dangers of being distracted. Distractions got you killed.

He tried to keep his mind on his work, on his own survival, but it was difficult. All he could think about at times was whether or not the little runt had somehow made it to safety. His head would tell him that there was no safety in Crucifixus. Then his hope (small and withered thing that it was) would scream, but what if? And on it went. Once, he had seen a bit of what looked like red hair in the back of a body truck and nearly bit through his tongue. Thankfully it had been someone else, someone with the tips of their blond locks dyed. Never had he been so happy not to see the urchin's face.

But distraction meant sloppiness and sloppiness meant death, and he knew that it was only a matter of time before he had to either banish the kid from his mind entirely or his luck ran out. Try as he might, there just didn't seem to be any tangible reason to focus anymore. The only real person left in the whole city – maybe even the world – was most likely lying dead in a mass grave somewhere; those blue eyes glazed over and staring.

Yeah…he needed to stop thinking altogether.

Maybe that was his problem: he wasn't thinking, because it only took a month for the GeneCops to catch his sorry ass. He'd let himself get distracted.

They caught him off-guard one night while he was standing over a woman's corpse with a half-full vial of Zydrate in his hands. He had just smacked the syringe into her skull, (like a needle through a bug, he thought) when the beam of a searchlight hit him. For a moment he panicked, frozen to the ground. Then he had bolted…right into a second wave of uniformed men. Surrounded. Well shit.

He didn't know how he had managed to get past them – he vaguely remembered his shoulder connecting with one of them as he charged into the ever-inclosing circle of GeneCops. Several grabbed for him, but he evaded their gloved hands and shrugged off his sleeveless coat so they would have no purchase. He leapt over gravestones with practiced ease, making his way to a hidden exit that (he hoped) only others in his profession would know of. As he rounded the last tomb he nearly tripped on a broken-off hunk of stone. He awkwardly jumped over the thing but it slowed him down for a fraction of a second – just enough time for a shot to be fired and hit him square in the side of the calf.

His body slammed into the ground with a force to make his teeth rattle. He rolled as best he could to soften the blow and to keep himself moving, but the pain seeping through the adrenaline in his system made it difficult. More difficult than it should have been. He forced himself to keep moving, to stay upright. Finally, he felt his heavy boots hit metal and ducked down to jerk the grating away from its resting place. Without another look back he swung his feet into the hole and dropped into the darkness within.

When he landed, he landed hard. His injured leg refused to support him and he crashed down in a heap in the shallow water of the drainage tunnel. That fall really, really sucked. Whose idea was it to put it that far down, honestly? Asshole. He picked himself up and began to stagger along the passageway, using the wall to support himself. He knew he wouldn't have much time if someone came down after him.

The going was more than rough but he managed to get himself to the end of the underground corridor in a decent amount of time. Coming to the metal door that would allow him access to the outside world, he pressed all of his weight down on the crank that held the lock in place. The rusted iron gave a shriek and then a groan and swung open just wide enough for him to get his hands in and pull. As long as no one was out there he was safe, he could get away. He pressed his face to the opening and peered out. Nothing; the street beyond was deserted. He pulled the door open a bit wider and was halfway out when—

Oh that's riiiiiight, the GeneCops had communication with the RepoMan, didn't they?

He was viciously yanked from the tunnel by a hand grabbing his shirtfront and then smashed into the wall. His vision blurred for a moment and he had to blink rapidly to clear it. He almost wished he hadn't. A pair of sinister eyes bathed in a sterile blue light burned down at him from behind the window in a thick black mask. The dealer felt his heart stop cold in his chest.

The Repo reached his free hand back and gave a solid, underhanded punch to his gut. He felt something pop and suddenly there was a metallic taste in his mouth. Then, wonder of wonders, he heard a dark, gravelly voice snarl out a damning sentence – muffled only slightly by the mask.

"You are the grave robber known as 'Zombie.'"

Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit they knew who he was!

"You have been seen engaging in illegal drug trafficking with this man." And here the monster produced a sheet of plastic from seemingly nowhere. On the sheet was a picture, a mug shot of a man with dirty blond hair, pale skin, dark eyes, and a greasy sneer. The name 'Worth, Luce' hung in black text directly above the snapshot.

The peddler recognized the photo, yes; word was he had been one of the surgeons that Rotti Largo had driven into hiding. Decent guy, all things considered. Tried to help people. He'd sold the good doctor a few vials of Glow one or twice for his patients. Hadn't heard about him in a while, though.

"Where is he?"

Ah, so he was missing. That explained it. Maybe it was the head trauma, or the loss of blood from his leg, but he felt like being belligerent in the face of the boogieman. It seemed like a good idea at the time. "What's the matter?" he chuckled, "He give you the slip?"

Fist to the face. "He and his accomplice are wanted by GeneCo for theft." Repo pulled out another sheet with another picture of another man. 'Toucey, Lamont.' (That one, he didn't know.) "Where is he?"

The dealer just snorted and spat out a mouthful of scarlet. "Somebody got away from you, broke your perfect record, and you don't like it." He leaned forward slightly. "Do you?" And, quick as he could, he brought a boot up to the RepoMan's chest, kicking him soundly in the ribcage. Yeah, he was limber like that.

GeneCo's attack dog stumbled backwards in shock, momentarily releasing "Zombie's" shirt. The dealer seized the opportunity and made a mad dash off to the right. He got maybe twenty feet away before he felt the surgical instruments imbed themselves into his back; thrown like kunai knives with a surgeon's precision. He arched from the force of the blow, body collapsing onto the grimy concrete ground. He head his kneecaps crack.

Pain welled through him, zipping along his nerve endings and making his head swim. He felt heavy. It hurt to breathe. And yet…and yet it was all just so ridiculously funny. Here he was, a grave robber named "Zombie," who had been distracted by a stupid little redheaded runt, had let himself get caught by the GeneCops, and now had just tried to mock the RepoMan. All because of an urchin, and he didn't even know what that urchin was called.

He laughed then. Loud and hysterical and cynical. It was just too funny. His name was "Zombie" and he was going to die. Deal in death, end in kind. Fucking pushed himself up onto his forearms, just as a gloved hand slapped down right between his shoulder blades. He was jerked upwards by his shirt and flipped over none-too-gently onto his back, which only served to drive the knives in deeper. He kept laughing the entire time.

Repo stared down at him, scalpel raised. He was waiting; waiting for the dealer to beg, perhaps, for him to plead for his life like so many others had done. Or maybe he was just taken aback by the sudden lack of fear.

"Zombie" gave him a bloody smile. "First hit's free." And he just kept smiling, even while rubber-gloved fingers twisted in his dark hair – pulled his head back to expose his neck.

Even when the scalpel came down and slashed a thick red line across his throat, he just smiled.

See you soon, flea bite…

See? No one ever escaped from Crucifixus.


I am aware that this whole concept messes with the time stream since {…} is supposed to have been dead for ten years or so and with this he's only dead for about six. But hey, it's an AU crossover, who cares? Graverobber!Zombie is like, the most badass thing ever! (And Addict!Hanna is so cuuuute.)

I must now go and kidnap my partner in HiNaBN-fandom crime and COSPLAY THIS THING! Be on the look out for possible cosplay pictures on my DeviantArt page from at some point in the future. {If I can swing it. I'll need to find a Zydrate gun…}

Musical Muses:

NickleBack – Just to Get High

Repo! The Genetic Opera Soundtrack – Zydrate Anatomy