What's this? Yet another story about Meatloaf's childhood popping up? Yup. Just thought I'd throw my tuppence in here. Have some of Khashoggi's childhood, too. Haven't written for the WWRY fandom for a while, I miss it. Also thought I'd attempt a chaptered fic, instead of the usual oneshots. Let's see how often I update, eh?
I own Jiggy, Dusty and Hendrix, that is it. No prizes for guessing who Mac is, it's apparently painfully obvious. Unbeta'd, just warning you.
Mamma, just killed a man…
Put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger, now he's dead…
Mamma, life had just begun…
But now I've gone and thrown it all away…
The small girl holding the paper cocked her head to the side, like a confused puppy who had heard it's name. "Cute words. Who's mamma, though? Who did she kill? And why has it all been thrown away?" she asked aloud, cocking her head the opposite way this time.
"Meatloaf, where have you got to now?" A voice from outside the room called, and the small girl, Meatloaf, hurriedly shoved the paper back into the pile, diving under the table as a teenage boy burst into the room. The first place he looked was under the table, and Meatloaf inwardly cursed. "You know you aren't allowed in here, Meat, your own mum's orders!"
"So? When have I ever listened to her? She's a bossy so and so! And I'm still not talkin' to you, Mac! You ratted me out the other day for playin' in the tunnels!" Meatloaf crawled out from underneath the table, pouting as she dusted off her knees and turned her back on the boy. "An' you've gone blonde."
"Meat, you're blonde too." the boy, Fleetwood Mac (or just Mac for short), shook his head. "And you know it is part of my new job."
"S'different." she sniffed, crossing her arms tightly across her chest. There was a few moments silence, before Mac spoke again.
"I need to blend in with the GAGA's. Unfortunately, this requires me dying my hair again. It is beyond my control." He bit his lip, shifting his weight between his feet a few times and staring at the younger girl in front of him. "Meat... you need to promise me something, okay?"
Meatloaf sniffed again, and Mac took this as his cue to continue.
"Promise me you won't go back out into the tunnels. The GAGA's, they're..." he took a deep breath, steadying himself. "They're taking kids now, Meat. They're using them as testers for things. They don't want them growing up to be Bohemian."
Meatloaf visibly shuddered, and she turned to face Mac, her face stony.
"I know. They tried to take Hendrix yesterday. Your dad killed 'em."
There was another pause, longer this time.
"You saw, didn't you?"
"Heard. I hid in the cupboard with Hendrix. She was screamin' bloody murder, but it didn't block out the GAGA's."
Mac ducked his head, and Meat scuffed the toe of her boot across the cold concrete floor. Wiping at her nose, she turned away from Mac and hurried towards the desk again, looking for the piece of paper she had shoved out of sight a few moments prior.
"Meatloaf..." he warned, his eyes narrowing.
"What?" she demanded. "I'm nearly ten, I wan' to read the Texts! I cannae wait till my tenth birthday, I want to help you guys look for the Dreamer!"
"And what is a nine year old girl who can't tie her own shoelaces going to do to help us?" Mac raised his eyebrows. Meatloaf scowled.
"I don' need to tie them, I can just shove m' shoes on! And I can learn stuff, so when I'm older I'll know more than I would if I started readin' them later! And I can help find their meanings! And then we'll be one step closer to finding the Dreamer! Isn't that what you want?" Meat babbled, waiting for Mac to reply.
"Meat, go to bed, it's late." He told her, stuffing his hands in his pockets and turning to leave.
"What happened to you?" Meat blurted, and Mac turned back to face the younger girl. He raised an eyebrow – a silent indication for her to continue. "Ever since you got that job as a spy for us, you've changed! An' don't say it's for your job, 'cause if it was just for your job, you'd act like your normal self back here! Your hair has changed, your voice has changed-"
"Yeah! You sound English, you're more artic-late-"
"Articulate, I think you mean-" He cut in, but Meat continued as if she hadn't heard him.
"An' you sound all... proper! Like the GAGA's!"
Her eyebrows furrowed, her lip quivered, and she bit down on it, her eyes focused on the dusty floor. Mac waited a few moments after her outburst before replying.
"You're a clever kid, Meatloaf. Do yourself a favour, put the Texts down, and go to bed before your mum finds you." he told her, coolly. Once again he turned to leave, and he half expected Meat to make another comment, but she stayed silent, glaring at his retreating back, and pulling a face as the door swung shut noiselessly behind him. With a quick glance around, she darted towards the desk, and unceremoniously grabbed the paper she had been reading, stuffing it into her pocket as she followed Mac's lead and left the room.
"Meatloaf, where have you been?"
"Talkin' to Mac, mum. He just got in." Meat told her, glancing at the woman perched on the mattress across the room.
"So he got back alrigh' then, did he? None of the GAGA's tried to follow him tonight?"
"Don' think so. He didn't mention any." she shrugged, noticing for the first time the oddly shaped lump under the thin blanket on the mattress. "Hendrix fell asleep then, did she?"
"Poor chick is petrified of being on her own now. Think she's fallen asleep, I don' want to disturb her. You don' mind me movin' her mattress though here, do ya? Jiggy and Dusty's room is quite cramped, and none of the adults rooms are really the place for her, I mean... you know what we can be like after a few."
"S'fine, mum. I could do with some company anyway, since Mac is never here." She smiled weakly at the figure huddled under the blankets. "You can go back through to the bar if you like. I'm sure Mac has some stuff he found out today."
Meat's mum smiled weakly, planting a quick kiss on her daughter's forehead before exiting the room. Meat waited until she heard her heavy footsteps round the corner of the underground hideout they called a home, before jumping up and taking the paper out of her pocket. She sat on the spot that her mum had vacated a moment before, careful to avoid sitting on Hendrix's sleeping form as she ran the rough paper through her fingers.
"So this is pah-per too, eh?" she muttered, enjoying the feel of the crumpled material in her hands, lost in the feel of it as she stroked it a few times, the ink leaving stains on the tips of her fingers. She was snapped from her day-dream by an almighty scream, and something kicking her leg ferociously.
"Lemme go, lemme go, lemme go!" Hendrix wailed, kicking the blanket away as she continued to lash out, her limbs becoming entangled in the battle with the invisible attacker. As she looked up, her protests grew silent as she saw Meatloaf sitting on the edge of the mattress, and fell sobbing into her arms.
"Hey, hey, baby, s'okay..." she whispered, pulling the young Bohemian into a tight hug as she attempted to mimic the way her mother treated her when Meatloaf herself had a nightmare.
"Bu-but the GAGA's, they were e-everywhere, and, and-" she gasped, clutching Meatloaf like a lifeline as the girl rocked her gently back and forth.
"Shh, they aren't here. There's just me. Promise." Meat smiled, picking up the tatty blanket and wrapping it around the smaller girl.
"But Mac was there! An', an' he shot someone, an'-"
"It was just a dream, Hendrix, don't worry your pretty little head abou' it." she told her. "Mac has about as much brains as a packet of GAGA crisps. I don' think he'd shoot someone, do you?"
Despite herself, Hendrix smiled. "But he looks like one of those GAGA police now. He looks scary. An' his voice is funny."
"Oh good, I'm not the only one who noticed." Meat rolled her eyes. She placed Hendrix back down on the mattress, ruffling her hair before tucking the blanket tighter around the girl.
"I want my mum." Hendrix sniffled quietly, wiping her nose on the edge of the blanket and looking tearfully up at Meat. Meatloaf bit her lip.
"Hen, remember what we said? You can't see your mum or dad now, they're..." Meat trailed off, staring intently at her ink-stained fingers and trying vainly to rub some of the ink off.
"With the Rock Gods now..." Hendrix mumbled, burying her face under the cover. "Like your dad, eh?" came the second muffled reply. Meat nodded numbly.
"Yeah... like my dad..." she repeated, absent-mindedly. She fidgeted with a loose strand of hair for a few moments, shaking her head as you would do to get rid of an annoying bug. No use dwelling on the past, Mac had told her, it only brought you down. And only the good died young, that's what her mother insisted, and the phrase was always followed by a quick swipe at her eyes. Her father had been a good man, and one of the many Scottish Bohemians shot down whilst defending their old home, The House of the Rising Sun. It had been no more than an empty warehouse just outside Aberdeen, but it had been home, for a while. However, after the attack, they bolted to the nearest Teleport Pads, and had found the next best thing – the abandoned Subway System in Glasgow. It was there that the Crowded House had begun, and it was there that they currently hid.
Meatloaf shook her head again, and rubbed at her nose. No, no more dwelling on the past, not tonight. At least not her own past, anyway.
After a while Hendrix's sniffles and sobs turned to soft snores, and Meat gently got off the mattress, walking quietly over to her own and kneeling down at the edge of it. She dug her nails into a gap in the bare wall and pulled out a loose brick, revealing the small cubby-hole hidden behind it. With a grin she picked up the piece of Text she had dropped whilst comforting Hendrix, and added it to the small pile that was hidden there. She scrabbled for the brick and popped it back into place, wiping her hands on her ratty jeans before flopping backwards onto her own mattress, not bothering to take her messy pigtails out. As the noise from the makeshift bar grew louder, Meat slowly drifted off to sleep, one of the ribbons from her pigtails tickling her nose as she dreamt of scary blonde men with guns, and larger-than-life computer chips that chased her down the dark tunnels of the Subway.