So, hi.

In this chapter, I did a little bit of character exploration and tried to get to the heart of the characters…somewhere I hit a road block so I don't know how far I got. But, I hope you enjoy it.

This chapter felt kind of rushed but, ya know…

I ran down the hallway, the papers clenched tightly in my hands. The blood felt slick as I curled my fingers into a fist. Tears streamed endlessly from my eyes, surprising me and nearly stopping me. I didn't know why I was crying, why I was so out of breath and sobbing like a baby. I couldn't remember entering Blue's office, I couldn't remember getting the papers, and I definitely didn't remember how I got Blue's blood on my hands, only that I had. Somehow.

I heard him screaming as I ran, heard him yelling after me, profanities decorating his vocabulary. Heard him knocking things over as he tried to get up, heard him yelling for his Henchmen. It only pushed me on harder, made me run faster than I thought possible. And, oddly enough, I found out something that should've been obvious to me.

I didn't like this world.

The world where I was scared, the world where I was powerless. Where I was weak and couldn't fight worth a damn. I swallowed back against the tears in my eyes as my bare feet slapped painfully against the filthy tiles. I heard footsteps following me and, as I turned back to look, I tripped on the too-long pant legs, sending me careening into the floor, a hard smack of the side of my head on the ground sent black dots across my vision and made my limbs numb. The papers flew from the folder, falling like feathers around me. "No…" I whimpered, watching my last shred of hope flutter down around me. "Oh no, no, no, no." That was it. The end. Nothing could save me now. I laid my head down, giving up. There was no point. Nothing I could do now would help me. I clenched my fingers by my side. Blue would come for me. He'd make me pay for what I did, whatever it was. Whether he'd beat me or do something worse, I couldn't tell. I guess it wouldn't matter anyway. I'd be a vegetable in a couple hours. Then nothing he could do to me would do anything. For once, I'd be free of the rest of the world. I could be with Rocket and everyone else again. We could be together for the rest of eternity.

I could've smiled.

The thought of being able to be with her…forever was amazing.

My feelings for Rocket had become…confusing to say the very least. I loved her, I'd always loved her. But the WAY I loved her had started to become fuzzy. When she'd come back to me, I was overjoyed. It was like I'd come back to life myself. Like I had died along with Rocket. I'd mourned her like I mourned my mother and sister. And when we were flying, her arms around me, looking the way she did, like the world was a great place, a feeling had swelled in me that I'd never felt before. It was like liquid heat flowed in my veins, like I hadn't even existed until I met her. But I didn't know how I could…how I should…IF I should tell her.

I guess I'd have forever to ponder it.

Or I did at least, until two, black pumps stopped in front of my face. I just kept crying. Two gentle but firm hands grasped my biceps carefully. "Babydoll?" a heavily accented voice asked, helping me up off the ground. Ms. Gorski pushed the hair from my face as she sat me up. I sniffled like a catatonic moron. The therapist had begun using the names we'd given ourselves as a form of helping us 'deal with our emotional issues'. She wiped away the tears from my eyes and lifted the blood drenched hand at my elbow. "Babydoll, what has happened?" She gasped, looking at my other arm, lifting it to the light. Shock jolted me slightly. Around my forearm were long bruises in the shape of fingers. I winced as she touched them gingerly. I looked up at her, as she looked at the papers and the back to me. I swallowed hard

"Please, Ms. Gorski…" I breathed "please, don't let them take me…" She furrowed her brows in confusion.

"Who? Who is coming—"

"You little bitch!" Blue snarled, awkwardly shuffling down the hall towards us, clutching a rag to the junction between his shoulder and neck. "How dare you stab me you—"

"Silence!" Ms. Gorski snapped, pulling me to my feet, hiding me behind her. "How dare you speak to one of these girls in that manner!" he looked at her flabbergasted.

"She broke into my office and stole the documents that are now scattered around the damn hallway! And the best part is, when I tried to stop her, she STABBED ME WITH A LETTER OPENER!"

"He signed the Lobotomy papers!" they all turned and looked at me, a flooded look of fury spread over Blue's face.

"What?"

"He forged you signature on the papers, he's trying to get them to turn me into a vegetable so I can't fight back anymore!" And, like a gift from above, the signed sheet was at my feet. I reached down and showed it to Gorski. I held it out to the Russian woman, showing her the signature scrawled at the bottom of the page. And, from the look on her face, Gorski had realised immediately what it was. She looked at Blue like a grizzly bear would look at a coyote trying to hurt her cubs. Like she was about to tear him limb from limb and leave him to die. She glared at him and he started to back up down the hall. She opened her mouth, snarling Russian words at him at the speed of a freight train, advancing and pulling me along. She backed him into a closet and slammed the door, locking it with her key and then barring it by cramming a broom handle underneath. She looked at me and wiped away more tears, calming down a bit.

"Do not worry, Babydoll," she said quietly. "You will come home with me." She looked around the hall, an expression of total revolution covering her face. "I will not leave you in this place another second." I blinked at her and she patter my cheek, "come, come. I will give you a room and you can stay for few days."

Vera, as she insisted I call her, brought me to a very well furnished house; filled with finely made leather couches, carved wooden tables and diamond chandeliers and fine wooden flooring. She insisted that I take my time taking a shower and try to relax. She thought that maybe afterwards she could make me some soup and then she'd show me to a room that I could sleep in. I walked into the bathroom and couldn't help the swell of familiarity at the Victorian claw foot tub, even with the shower attached. The clean tiled floor and vanity mirror. The soft glow of the light bulbs reminded me of the bathroom in my mother's mansion. I remembered how she used to help me do my hair, how she used to teach me how to put on makeup…

I bit my lip as I reached up to drop my clothes, one hand sticky, the other aching. When I stepped into the warm water of the shower, I felt my tense muscles begin to relax. I sighed, pulling my hair out of the pigtails and tilting my head back into the pour. I grabbed the soap and raised my arm to wash off the grime and blood and winced, my bruised arm only lifting to my waist. I closed my eyes against the pain and, when I opened them, I stood in the shower of my house, the same tiled flooring, same flawless porcelain tub. I looked around, surprised by the washing safety that came over me. I moved my arm again and winced. Apparently, my imagination wasn't enough to take away the injuries I'd gotten in both this world and reality. "Shit." I muttered before jumping as the shower curtain slid open, revealing Rocket, wearing a cropped top and underwear, her brilliant wings folded up against her back. "oh!" I gasped, trying to cover up. "What are you doing?" She rolled her eyes and placed my arms by my side, the water already dripping from her hair.

"Now, now, Babydoll." She said, examining my arms and neck as if running through a check list. "This isn't the time to be modest. As your Guardian, I have to take care of you. So, your inability to clean the grime from your skin requires me to help you." She gently spun me around so my back was to her. "Relax, Babydoll. There's nothing here I haven't seen before. We all changed in the same room at the brothel, remember?" I sighed and nodded

"Right." Her fingers started to massage the shampoo into my hair.

"So, why do you still have your wings?" I asked after a long silence. She sighed dramatically.

"I can't figure out how to put them away. I don't think I CAN put them away."

"Is it annoying?"

"Yeah, as you can see I can't exactly wear normal clothing and I'm not about to put on a white robe and carry a harp." I laughed and could practically see the smile on her face.

"Rocket?" I asked as we stepped out of the shower, the strawberry-blonde wrapping a towel around me. She looked at me with the bright hazel eyes, shining like jade in the sunlight coming through the window.

"Yeah?" She asked, towelling off her head and body. I looked at the ground, the damn butterflies returning to the pit of my stomach. It took me a second to fight through them and look her in the eyes again.

"Could we talk now?" She looked away, through the window and then back to me.

"Soon, Babydoll, I promise. We've still got a long journey to my parents' house." I blinked.

Her parents' house?

"Your parents' house?" I asked, letting her sit me down on the small, wooden stool next to the bathtub. She carefully lifted my arm to remove it from the shelter of the towel and expose the long, handprint of a bruise that wrapped itself around my arm. I winced and she murmured a quiet apology.

"What? Did you think I was just going to break you out of the asylum and walk away with a 'well, it was nice knowing you!'?"

"No…but I didn't think that we'd go to your parents house." She rolled her eyes and carefully examined my arm. "Will Sweet Pea be there?" I inquired and a shadowed expression covered her face. Something that looked like sadness mixed with joy. One of the most interesting expressions I'd ever seen. I put my hand over hers, gently squeezing, trying to comfort her. She gave me a weak smile.

"Yeah, yeah she will. She made it there alright. Told Mom what I wanted her to…" her eyes unfocused briefly again before they connected with mine again. "It's great…really."I held her hand this time, prying it away from my arm and clasping my other hand on top.

"What's wrong, Rocket?" She stood up, pacing back and forth in the decently sized room, her feet slapping against the tiles.

"Nothing's WRONG, per-say…" I sat patiently, wrapped in a towel, sitting on a stool and watching my not-so-dead-dead friend pace back and forth while seemingly pissed off. But patient none the less. "I just…I didn't leave home on the best of terms with my parents, ya know? It's going to be weird to see them and know that they could say whatever the hell they wanted about me because they can't see me."

"Rocket, I don't think they'd speak badly about their dead daughter."

"You'd think, wouldn't you?"

"Rocket…"

"Whatever." She shook her head, leaning back against the counter top. "It doesn't matter. I'm fine. You're free and soon enough you'll be safe." I stood up and walked to her, clutching the towel closer around my body.

"Come here." I said, spreading my free arm out to her. She hesitated, the feathery extensions on her back fluttering with tension and nervousness. She was upset, that much was obvious. From the slight glimmering in her eyes to the way her arms were crossed over her chest. "Come on." I coaxed her until she took one tentative step towards me. Her arms wrapped around my shoulders and I held her around the waist, feeing the soft, damp feathers tickle my skin once again.

"We're going to be fine." Rocket said, gently stroking the back of my head. I nodded and sighed, the heat from her body warming mine.

"I know."

I hoped.

Remember, every time you review a Zombie Unicorn Zebra gets its wings.