Party Poison grabbed onto the railing in the stairwell between the second and third floor to steady himself when the building around him began to violently shake. Closing his eyes he muttered a string of curses and prayers under his breath, in hopes the building hadn't given out before he'd found Fire Frenzy. It would be a pretty pathetic way to die. After all that I've fought through to get this far, I have to at least get laid first.
While it had only been a few moments, so much had transpired since he'd entered the building with Rainbow Riot. He had almost gone back onto the second floor to help Death-iNation and Marilyn Deathrow take care of Instigator but before he'd gotten the chance the frame of the doorway had given out under the weight of whatever chaos was happening on the floor above and the frame collapsed, bringing down enough of the wall above it to block the path down to the floor below.
"Fuck it all!" How the hell am I supposed to get out of here after I find Fire Frenzy? Fuck this stupid building! I will deal with it when I get that far. Can't really escape until I find her. But somehow Party Poison knew where he'd find her. The floor above him was trembling and he stared upward as though the cause would reveal itself on the way up. Fire Frenzy had to have been involved in some way. When the shaking stopped for long enough, a loud creak interrupted the crackling sound of the fire in the room above. Poison's eyes widened in terror, the thought of the building coming down around him stunning him halfway up the stairs.
What the hell have you gotten yourself into this time, Party Poison? Okay, deep breaths and ascend the stairs. Just keep moving one foot in front of the other. God damnit, the things I'm doing for this woman. Why couldn't I fall for some nice, safe, girl? No, no of course not. Had to be the psychopath. Had to be the pyromaniac who keeps trying to kill me. It had become far harder to climb the stairs while they were trembling and swaying. A second horrible creaking sound came somewhere from above, but this time the sound was much closer than the last.
Somehow, Poison knew that he had to hurry up these stairs or he'd be crushed in the stairwell before he could make it to the third floor. Not wanting to die, Poison picked up his pace; taking the stairs two at a time he hurried as quickly as he could. Very suddenly a few floors above where Poison stood on the stairs, something collapsed and railing and chunks of concrete stairs came crashing down, plowing through the stairs Poison had just been standing on.
Running faster now and considerably panicked, Poison pulled out his gun though he was unsure how the hell it would help him against a collapsing building, and ran to the platform in front of the third floor before the stairs crumbled beneath him. Kicking open the door to the third floor, Poison rushed inside but nearly ran back into the stairwell at the sight that met him there. A wave of heat rushed over him and he coughed and gagged on the smoke that was filling the room. Covering his mouth was the only thing he could do in defense of his lungs.
Deciding that he was on the right track to finding Frenzy, as if the fact that everything was burning wasn't an obvious clue, he crouched low, pulled his scarf over his face in hopes of blocking out some of the smoke so he could better breathe and continued through the room the best he could.
"Frenzy!" While he wasn't sure anyone would be able to hear him over the creaks and groans the building was emitting or the sound of the fire ripping apart the remainder of the building's interior, he still couldn't help but try. The room looked eerie lit up by the fire as it crept over the walls, engulfing the wallpaper, paintings, signs, and every sign of life that had once filled the laboratories on the third floor. Everything the flames touched starting to wither into ashes.
For the first time, Poison understood why Fire Frenzy found so much beauty in the flames she was so obsessed with. Even the disgusting things that had surely gone on in this building could be erased and purified by the fire. Taking a moment to pause and take in the scene around him in wonder, he wished he'd had a camera to capture the beauty and the horror of this moment. Poison flipped on the book light again and looked around in hopes of finding what he was looking for. Though the fire illuminated the room, it was doing him no favors when it came to seeing through the smoke. She's in here somewhere, I can tell. How he could tell, he wasn't sure. He just knew she was somewhere on this floor.
The heat in the room was overwhelming and making him sweat. The smoke was making him gag and choke even under his scarf, but since he had to find a different way out of the building anyway he didn't think it mattered if he lingered in this part of the room. He didn't see any other choices since turning back into the less smoky hallway wasn't an option. Running through the room as fast as his lungs would allow and jumping over debris in his way, Poison stopped in his tracks between the cells on either side of the hallway. Gasping for breath, he reflected for a moment to wish he didn't smoke so many damn cigarettes. Observing his new surroundings Poison nearly dropped his gun. Letting his mouth just hang open, he stared at the bodies of the maimed and tortured children that had been put out of their misery.
Party Poison wasn't religious but he felt it was appropriate to make the Catholic sign of the cross over his chest. The Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. There was no God here when this happened. I've done more praying in the last hour than I have since I was a kid being dragged to church.
He only managed to gather himself only when he felt something burning on his leg. Realizing his pants had caught fire somewhere along the line, Poison smacked at the singed part of his pants and cursed at the minimal pain the fire had caused. Hurrying once again past the cells with the children in them, he stopped when he reached what had once been a room filled with computers and now looked more like a blood bath; half destroyed, half on fire. Something had clearly exploded in this room. Judging by the holes in the ceiling, the windows and the floor it had clearly been a substantial explosion. This must be where Riot and I saw that earlier explosion. It was the third floor windows that had been blown out. While Poison had expected to see the room destroyed, this was far worse than he'd anticipated. Where had all the blood come from?
Staring in awe, Poison realized the gravity of the scene that stood before him. She did it. Holy shit, she actually did it. The computers were destroyed, which mean if Better Living Industries didn't have a backup they were momentarily vulnerable. The Killjoys, for the first time since Poison could remember, had the upper hand against Better Living Industries as a whole. There had been scenarios where Party Poison and his men had taken small victories, but this was far more significant than some battle out in the zones, or some successful raid on a caravan moving through the desert.
Now was not the time for Poison to dwell on what could be done now that the computers had been shut down. Not having the time to make plans of attack for his men in the middle of collapsing and burning building, Poison started to look for Fire Frenzy. He'd put his duties as a leader aside so he could save her. At least that's what I think I'm doing.
It only took a moment to find her through the smoke. A man was standing over her form on the ground and though he had no proof or no way of actually knowing, somehow he knew it was the man that Instigator had been looking for out in the desert. This was the Destroyer she'd been so consumed with finding and he definitely looked out of his mind. He wasn't sure why on earth anyone would look for this guy. There was a knife sticking out of his chest, and following the direction of the hilt, Poison's gaze fell on Fire Frenzy who was lying on the ground beneath the man, covered in blood.
Heart skipping a beat, Poison immediately aimed his gun and fired, repeatedly, at the man he was hoping was the source of the blood covering Frenzy. Having not expected his blows to actually do any damage since he'd been unable to hit Instigator upon his first try out in the desert when he'd first encountered her, he was surprised when they did hit their target each time and hard at that. Destroyer stumbled backwards from the impact of the laser blasts in his chest and turned his gaze toward Poison. The man's eyes were alight with rage and hunger, a look that clearly told Poison just how aggravated the man was.
"Oh, shit." Party Poison hadn't thought further than shooting at his target and looked around for somewhere to take cover. There was nowhere suitable that he could find. Every bit of furniture that looked like it might have once provided a substantial hiding place had been broken into pieces, smashed by Destroyer, Poison could only assume. Instead of running away from Destroyer like a coward, Poison did the only thing he could think to do. He aimed his gun and fired again. Destroyer ducked in surprise, looked at the woman lying on the floor at his feet as if to contemplate if she was worth the trouble of her trigger happy counterpart.
"…I'm not finished with you." Destroyer hissed under his breath to Fire Frenzy. He turned away from them both and ran through the debris and out of the room in the opposite direction that Party Poison had come from. Unsure if there was another exit in that direction, Party Poison didn't care. With any luck, Destroyer would get himself stuck in a corner in an attempt to get to the staircase Poison knew was destroyed and get himself killed with the building finally fell.
Running over to Fire Frenzy, Poison crouched down low and kept his gun aimed toward the man who was retreating out of sight. I could follow after him; I could finish him off once and for all. Glancing down at Fire Frenzy he saw the blood dripping down her lips and though he could tell most of what was on her face was smeared from somewhere else and not from a wound there, he could see the blood from her lips was genuinely coming from her mouth. Her shirt was saturated in blood and her arm badly swollen to a point where even looking at it made Poison wince.
I could follow him and kill him before he hurts anyone else the way he's hurt Fire Frenzy. But, if I leave her here the building could fall while I'm chasing him. She doesn't look like she'd make it out of here on her own. So what do you do, Poison? Do you run after the bad guy and blow his head off and save potential future victims or do you save the girl you came all this way to save? The girl who has asked you repeatedly to stop saving her since the moment you met her. The girl who has threatened your life at least three times that you can think of offhand?
The answer seemed incredibly simple when he put it like that. Putting his gun back in its holster, Poison urged his arms around the small woman, one arm under her knees, the other around her shoulder. He would have to carry her out of the building, he didn't trust she could run. She instantly tried to push him away from her, one hand clutching onto the lighter like it was the only thing that could save her. He wasn't sure if she genuinely wanted him to let go of her, or if instinct was signaling for her to fight anyone who grabbed her.
"…oh Jesus, Party Poison what the fuck happened to your hair?" Fire Frenzy seemed to struggle to recognize him and even though she now realized who this man who was holding onto her was, she didn't stop trying to get him off of her. Party Poison had actually forgotten for a brief moment that he had dyed his hair black until she'd mentioned it. Pouting for only a second, Poison regained his confidence. I will dye it back later, damnit.
"Well, you were always telling me what a big red target I was, right? So I'm not anymore." Party Poison chuckled quietly. Of all of the things that were going on around them, all the chaos, the hurt, the trouble they were in, all she had to say to him was that his hair had made her panic. "Oh, thank you so much for coming to my rescue Party Poison. I'm so relieved to see you!" Poison mocked her with the response he'd hoped to get with the best impression of her he could muster. "That would kill you to say to me, wouldn't it?"
"You're not funny. And that sounded nothing like me." Fire Frenzy coughed, still trying to squirm away from Poison's grasp. Her body was going numb from the pain and injuries she'd suffered, so at least there was that.
"This place is coming down any minute now. Come on, we've got to get out of here before it does."
"It's too late for that, Poison." Frenzy stopped struggling, realizing there was no chance in hell of her getting him off of her. It had been the first time that she hadn't been able to get Poison off of her and for once, it had nothing to do with his libido.
"No, it's not too late we just need to find another way out of here. We could try to make it to the roof and hop buildings…" Poison mused as he tried to pick her up but she fought him on it tooth and nail. While she had resigned to the fact that he wasn't going to let her go, she wasn't going to make it easy on him either. Regardless of that fact, Poison wasn't going to give up that easily. "I doubt we'd make it there before the building fell. Maybe there's another stairwell? Having the one seems like a fire hazard. Ironic, no?"
"There's another in the back, it's a direct route to the ground." Frenzy groaned in misery from the pain she was causing herself as she struggled to keep Poison from being able to pick her up.
"Will you stop trying to get away from me already? I'm not going to let you go."
"Will you put me the fuck down?" Frenzy countered, eyes angry and frustrated but also glazed over and faded which worried Poison. He had to leave her be. He wasn't part of her plan. He'd never been part of the plan and he'd changed everything from the very beginning of it. She wasn't supposed to see him again after that night in the bar when she'd stolen the drugs from him. He wasn't supposed to steal her lighter. He definitely wasn't supposed to show up during her weakest moments. What was he doing there anyway? Was he out of his mind, coming into a burning building looking for her? What kind of game was he playing at?
"No! Why the fuck would I do that? That sounds counterproductive. You certainly can't walk out of here on your own bleeding like this."
"Because I planted explosives all over the fucking building and if you let me go I can grab my detonators from the bag I dropped. I'll give you enough time to get out through that stairwell and then blow this place to hell. Go, before this place collapses without my help." Party Poison widened his eyes and shook his head adamantly in a negative response.
"This building is going down on its own you don't have to blow it! That would be overkill, Frenzy!"
"Yes I do, Poison. If there's even the tiniest bit of those computers left there's a chance that Better Living Industries will be able to recover some of their information that I destroyed. I can't risk that happening. This place needs to be decimated. This room needs to be completely destroyed, Poison."
"This room is completely destroyed, Frenzy! Take a look around you! I'm not going to let you kill yourself just to take out Better Living Industries!" Party Poison knew that he'd likely have to force her out of the room against her will, since she didn't seem willing to sway her opinion and he didn't have time to convince her otherwise. "I won't let you die because of some sick sense of responsibility you have! This isn't your job, this isn't what you were meant for and we have to go before this place kills us both!"
"One life sacrificed for the good of tens of thousands, Poison. One life!" Frenzy sat up despite her pain and pushed him away with the little force she had left. Curling up, she cradled her wrist close to her bloodied chest and coughed painfully. Watching her made Poison wince and while it was something he'd never admit, his eyes watered. It's just the smoke.
"Even one innocent life lost isn't worth it, Frenzy! You wouldn't let anyone else take the fall, so why should I let you?"
"I'm willing, Poison! I'm willing to die! And I'm far from innocent." Frenzy didn't bother looking up at Party Poison and merely cradled her wrist close to her. She wasn't going to let those hazel eyes get the best of her again, not this time. She'd been planning this moment since she was a little girl and there was no way she was going to throw it away because of some stupid hazel eyes.
"You don't deserve to die just because you're not innocent, damnit! I'm not going to leave you here! If not being innocent is what makes you worthy of death then I should've died a long fucking time ago!"
"I'm already dying, Poison, you're just wasting your time! You're going to get yourself killed fighting a pointless battle." Frenzy let her left arm lay limp on the ground now, it being too much energy to keep it close to her chest. It looked mangled and broken but Poison couldn't tell if it actually was because of the blood that had dripped over her arm. Pulling her shirt down with her right hand, she showed him the gaping stab wound in her chest and coughed, painfully. Turning his head away from the sight of the wound Poison gagged and tried not to dry heave, covering his mouth and taking a second to regroup.
"You're not going to die. I've lived through worse than that. Come here!" Party Poison grabbed her by her shoulders, despite the wound she had and pulled her close again. She struggled to pull away again but he wasn't going to let her go this time and slipped an arm around her middle. They didn't have a lot of time left in this room before the ceiling above them gave out, or worse the floor beneath them gave out. Both of them seemed to know just how little time was left.
"God damnit, you're a stubborn pain in my ass Poison! Just let me do this! I'm tired of you interfering with my life!"
"No." Party Poison wasn't going to argue with her anymore on the subject. He'd carry her out of the building against her will if he had to. Grabbing the front of her shirt he held his breath and braced himself for his gag reflex to kick in at the sight of it. The wound on her chest looked like it stood no chance of scabbing over and judging by the amount of blood she'd already lost, if she lost much more she'd die before they finished arguing. "I have to stop the bleeding or you'll die."
"We already established a long time ago that you suck at this wound wrapping thing." Fire Frenzy didn't have any more energy left to fight him so she sat there in his arms and wished she had her gun. Of course, she could grab for his but part of her wanted to be saved. After how far you've come to get to this point, you're going to let him save you? The chances of you living are slim to nothing anyway. You've got to talk him out of it! I know I have to talk him out of it but he's stubborn. Well, so are you Frenzy. Talk him out of it. This is where you die. This is your last stand. All those years you hunted the Dracs and tried to save those little lives, the lives of those kids that were just like you and you finally did it. You finally made the difference you've been trying to make since you were a little girl and you're going to let him ruin it? I can't let him take this from me.
Frenzy's head was swimming; she didn't know who to listen to. She found that she'd let her forehead rest down against Poison's shoulder without realizing it. It wasn't out of some kind of search for comfort, just that she couldn't seem to keep it upright any longer without becoming incredibly dizzy. It didn't matter much now. She was too sick and too weak to work the detonators. She'd have to let the building fall on its own, without the added help of the C4. With any luck she would be able to get Poison to leave her in the wreckage so she could wait for the building to come down around her and end her misery.
"I don't care, Frenzy. I have to try."
"We don't have anything to stop the bleeding with. I need stitches at the very least. Give it up already, Poison. Let me lay in the bed I've been making for years. You have to lead the Killjoys and finish what I started here. This doesn't stop Better Living, it just slows them down." Frenzy coughed against his shoulder. Poison pushed her head up so he could look at the wound better. Her hair was obstructing his view. She was right, he didn't have anything to wrap the wound with and nothing to stitch it up with either. His jacket wouldn't rip easily enough and wouldn't absorb her blood to help her clot.
He could take off his shirt and do it though and just as he figured that would be the course of action to take he remembered something. In his pocket was the nightgown he'd found in Death-iNation's apartment. Pulling it out of his pocket, he tore it in half and tied the shoulder straps together.
"It's only temporary, but if I can get you out of here then I can find something to stitch you up with. You've got a pretty nasty cut on the back of your head here too…" Poison had noticed it when she'd rested her head down against his shoulder. Destroyer had put her through the ringer, and while he wasn't sure what had transpired for him to go after her so viciously, he didn't need to know. Not now at least. I just need to get her out of here alive. For once, the aftermath really is secondary.
"Please, Poison?" Frenzy lifted her gaze in hopes she could convince him. "Let me die."
Party Poison held up the remainder of the reddish orange nightgown and for a moment contemplated letting her go. She looked lost, confused, and half dead already. Maybe letting her go with the building would be the humane thing to do. What about me? What will happen to me if I let her go? Then I'll be alone again. Not that there's anything official between us but what if there could be? I came all this way to find her; I'm not going to let her go without a fight.
"Where did you get that?" Frenzy recognized the nightgown as the one she'd worn in Death-iNation's apartment when Marilyn had been washing her clothes. She was only a little surprised to see it.
"It doesn't matter."
"Party Poison, Marilyn and Nation are downstairs. You need to go help them. Not me. They need you. This is where I belong. In the fire. This is how it always should've been from the very beginning." Frenzy was desperate, unsure how much longer she could fight the darkness creeping in on the edge of her vision. If she passed out, he'd carry her out of the building anyway.
"I know they're here, Frenzy. They sent me up here because Marilyn knew, somehow, that I was here to find you." Party Poison shook his head. "No one wants you to die in this place."
"We don't have time to argue this anymore, you're going to end up dying with me because you're stubborn and pig-headed!"
"Fine!" Party Poison wrapped the nightgown around the wound, tucking it underneath her shirt and tightening it, watching as she coughed and gagged in pain from the pressure he'd put on the wound. With any luck it'd at least slow the bleeding down and give Poison a chance to get Frenzy the real help she needed. The only problem with that, was that all the doctors he knew were not conveniently located. "Fine, Fire Frenzy. If you die then I'm going down with you. Is that what you want? You're not sacrificing yourself for something that you don't need to. I can save you from this hell. Let me save you. Let me help you. You don't have to do everything alone!"
"That's not fair, Poison."
"Neither is what you're doing to me."
"You're an idiot, you know that?"
"So you keep telling me." Party Poison forced a smile for a fleeting moment and placed his hand underneath her chin, forcing her to look up at him. Her blue eyes were a faded gray. "You told me before you left the camp that the only hope for you was for me to be alone." Though he didn't expect her to reciprocate, he pressed his lips to her bloodied ones in a kiss. If this was going to be the last kiss he ever got, he was going to make it worth it. He was going to make it change her mind. Still supporting her chin to keep her looking up at him, he continued after he pulled away. "I don't think that's right at all. I think that the only hope for me… is you. That's it. I think I could be the only hope for you too, if you'd just stop being so hell bent on dying for long enough to let me!"
Frenzy still hated his hazel eyes, but she was actually considering his offer. Her heart was aching, but she wasn't sure if it was from blood loss or Poison's offer. She also hated that he was a good kisser and that she was falling prey to someone that she had promised herself she wouldn't fall prey too. There were so many women before her and it was stupid to keep living just for one person. Or is it? Frenzy didn't know. But she was running out of time to figure it out. She honestly didn't think she'd survive their attempt to escape the building, even if she agreed to go with him.
"My bag of detonators is near that gaping hole in the floor where the computers were before I blew them up. If you grab that on our way out, we can blow the building when we've gotten out of it." Fire Frenzy didn't need to answer his question directly. Admitting that she was giving in wouldn't be easy for her and it wasn't the time or place to discuss it. She hoped that Party Poison wasn't so arrogant that he'd make her say it before they left the building, because she was sure they'd both die waiting for that to happen.
"Thank God." Party Poison sighed in relief, after realizing he'd been holding his breath while waiting to see what she'd say. "I was about two seconds from just forcing you out of the damn building and convincing you later."
"If you had done that then I would've grabbed your gun and ended it myself." Frenzy countered. Poison chuckled and shook his head.
"See, you're not dying. You're going to be just fine." Poison cradled her as he had done earlier and lifted her up. The room was filling with smoke, he could barely make out the remainder of the room. "Where's the bag?" Frenzy pointed weakly toward the hole in the ground.
"Careful, the floor's unstable." Poison made his way through the debris and the smoke with Frenzy in his arms. Leaning down he made to grab the bag that was lying, half on fire, on the ground. Before he could, harsh pale and pained looking hands, partially sewn together grabbed it and pulled it out his reach. Standing up straight again, defensively, Party Poison took a step backwards.
"You and I have some unfinished business, Party Poison." Korse spoke, a mocking tone to his cold dead voice. He'd been watching the scene play out between the two Killjoys from the doorway and had been waiting for the perfect moment to make his move.
"God damnit, I don't have time for you right now, Korse!" Party Poison whispered a string of curses beneath his breath. Fire Frenzy had closed her eyes and buried her face against Party Poison's chest after seeing Korse. Now that she'd given into the fact that she was going to let him save her, for once, she was comforted by him being there, despite the new dangerous situation they were in.
"Oh you will make time for me. What other choice do you really have? And it's the Scarecrow to you Poison. Didn't you give me that name anyway? You and those nasty Killjoys?" Korse wasn't smiling the way he usually was when he saw Party Poison. "Put down the girl and fight me like a man." Korse stared him down, waiting for him to take action. "Go on. If you win, you get the detonators that she says are in this bag and if you don't then I get your head."
"No." Poison shook his head. Glancing down at Frenzy, he saw how pale she was next to his brightly colored jacket and knew he didn't have the time to put her down. If he fought Korse she would bleed out and die before he could finish the fight.
"What do you mean no? This is your chance, Party Poison. You can kill me, right now. Just put the girl down and shoot me, right between the eyes. Come on." Korse egged Poison on, hoping to get a rise out of him.
"I said no!"
"And why the hell not? What, is the notoriously famous Party Poison scared? The man feared by Dracs and admired by his peers? I should have known that deep down you are a coward."
"I'd rather die at your hands trying to save her life than watch her die just to get a chance to kill you." Party Poison stood his ground, prepared for the shot that would surely come following his statement. Korse stared at Party Poison, conflicted for the first time in a battle since he'd been rebuilt. When the shot didn't come, Poison felt sincerely confused.
Korse put away his weapon, picked up the bag and walked past Party Poison and Fire Frenzy.
"What are you doing?" Poison saw the door to the stairwell behind where Korse had been standing, now within his reach, but he didn't want to take his eyes off of Korse. What the hell is going on? He's been trying to kill me since I marked his face up and now he has the chance to end it and he chickens out? What the hell is happening?
Korse knelt down next to where the wreckage of the computers was in the corner of the room. He pushed the debris aside and lifted a secret panel in the flooring that remained. He pulled out what looked like a massive computer hard drive, still functioning properly. Poison stared in awe. Korse held a button on the back of the machine, a reset that would go through and reformat the drive and erase the contents of it.
"Everyone thinks that Better Living Industries doesn't keep a backup of these files but that's a lie. A lie planted by Better Living to keep you Killjoys from trying to look for this."
"What are you doing?" Poison was almost afraid to ask, but morbid curiosity forced him to. What if Korse was copying the files and everything Fire Frenzy had done had been in vain? She'd worked so hard to get to this point he wouldn't be able to break it to her that it had all been for naught.
"I'm erasing it." Korse answered quietly, sounding almost shy to admit what he was doing.
"Why?" Party Poison had never been more confused in his life. Here he was, standing in the clutches of his mortal enemy and the man was helping him.
"I used to be a noble general. I used to have dignity. I should've died that day overlooking the City. Ever since I woke back up in the Scarecrow Unit, made to mock what the Killjoys had done, I've been searching for the humanity I lost. I have memories of it… thin… traces of what I once was." Poison remained silent, slowly backing up toward the doorway, taking turns between looking at his feet to make sure he watched his footing and glancing back at Korse to make sure the man didn't pull his gun and kill him after having a sudden change of heart.
"So, no matter how many of you little brats I've killed… No matter how many women I've raped, maimed, how many children's lives I've destroyed I've felt nothing. Do you know what it's like to feel nothing no matter what you do? No love, no hate, no anger, no frustration, no anything…"
"No, I'm pretty fucking full of emotion so I can't say I do." Party Poison's voice quavered.
"He is." Fire Frenzy added in her two cents and Poison would've smiled if he didn't feel absolutely terrified.
"It's like my own personal hell. All I ever feel is… empty." Korse finished up with the computer, placing it back in its hidden compartment on the floor. He placed the bag that he'd taken from the floor in front of him. Opening it he pulled out the detonators that Frenzy had intended to use to blow the building with.
"What do you plan to do now?" Party Poison didn't understand. If he was fighting to find his humanity why would he suddenly give up on the fight and start helping the Killjoys? Him of all people? Not that Party Poison wanted Korse to pull his gun and go after him while he was trying to save Fire Frenzy from herself, but it was what made sense.
"I haven't felt a single thing since I woke up that day in the Scarecrow Unit." Korse repeated, investigating the workings of the detonators and turned to look back at Party Poison once more. "Not until now. I don't know what it is about you, you little fucker but… You made me feel something. I don't know what it was, but it was something." Korse looked back at the detonators, looking curious.
"Poison he's going to blow the place." Fire Frenzy whispered, having opened her eyes to figure out what was going on for herself a few moments prior. Why Poison wasn't grasping this concept on his own, she wasn't sure. She was laying half dead in his arms, vision blurred but she could still tell where this was going.
"Go. Before I change my mind." Korse turned his back on Poison and Frenzy and started to walk away. "I'll give you ten minutes to get out of the way."
"But what about you?"
"Go!" Korse hissed in the familiar voice filled with hate and rage that Poison had become so used to. It had never occurred that all the anger that Poison had witnessed coming from Korse had been a masked attempt at feeling something. Without a second thought, Poison turned back toward the door that Korse had come in from and ran, watching his footing to make sure that he didn't fall through a weak part of the floor, trying to avoid catching on fire in the process. Hurrying through the door, Poison carried Frenzy down the stairs, quickly running out of breath but he knew he didn't have time to stop and properly breathe.
Down three flights of stairs he ran and though he stumbled at the bottom from the momentum he'd built on the stairs, he ran to the fire exit that looked like it had been broken open earlier in the day. Using his foot to open the door with a swift kick, Poison ran through it and out into the alleyway. Turning the corner out of the alleyway behind the building, he continued to run as far from the building as he could until he reached the street. He coughed as he stopped momentarily and cursed, once again, at the fact that he'd smoked so many cigarettes over the past few years.
Looking back at the building, Poison realized he wasn't nearly far enough away from it to avoid damage when it came crashing down and knew he was running out of time. Continuing at a run down the street, he hoped he could take refuge behind another building and avoid running into any police in the process. He hadn't thought about how hard it would be to escape after all had been said and done. Frenzy started coughing against his chest and he could feel the blood spraying onto his neck and through his shirt.
"Shit, shit! Frenzy? Frenzy, are you okay?" When she didn't respond, Poison stopped running and knelt down on the ground resting the woman down so she was propped up against the wall of the building a few doors down from the one he was so sure would collapse any minute now thanks to Korse and the explosives that Fire Frenzy had planted during her time inside of Central Command.
I'm still trying to figure out how to wrap my mind around what happened in there. Why did Korse help us? Is he really going to do as he promised and sacrifice himself? Why am I okay with Korse sacrificing himself when I wasn't okay with Frenzy doing the same thing? Maybe because he was barely human to begin with? Or maybe it's because he already had the chance to live. Fire Frenzy's been living for everyone but herself as far as I can tell. Maybe that's it.
There were about three thousand questions that Poison wanted to know the answers too but there wasn't enough time to figure any of them out at this particular moment. Part of him understood there would never be any answers to most of his questions, just the constant nag of the unknown to plague him for the rest of what would surely be a short life out in the dangerous zones.
Frenzy's skin had faded to gray. She had her eyes closed and wasn't responding to his shakes and prods. Poison smacked her cheek lightly to try and get a rise out of her but she didn't budge when he'd half expected her to smack him in return. Her skin didn't feel cold or clammy, but that wasn't really how death worked was it?
"Frenzy? Frenzy, wake up! You're not going to die on me. Not now! Not after all I went through to get you out of there!" Party Poison was too stubborn to let her go that easily and he was hoping that Fire Frenzy wasn't going to give up, though he couldn't be sure of her opinion on the subject after the argument they'd had on the third floor. Party Poison was desperate to get a rise out of her and shook her shoulders much harder than he had on previous attempts to wake her.
Coughing and gasping for breath she opened her eyes, but they only stayed open for a moment before she closed them again and continued to cough and leaned heavily once again against the wall behind her.
"Damnit, stay awake Frenzy! You can't sleep yet!" Poison shook her again to try and get her to open her eyes again.
"Just leave me." Frenzy whispered feebly, sounding almost annoyed that he kept trying to get her to wake up.
"I told you, I can't do that!"
"Not because of that bullshit, Poison." Frenzy managed to open her eyes halfway. It was all she could seem to manage at this point. Her limbs felt numbed and heavy, her breath was short and pained and even her heart felt like it couldn't keep up. "You have to get away before the building comes down. I'm holding you back. You're out of breath and practically wheezing from trying to carry me."
"No, no, we're not done here yet, you and I. You know we're not done here. I can't let you go..."
"Can't or won't?" Party Poison didn't answer and instead picked her up again off of the ground, then after a moment of walking, still out of breath, he responded.
"I won't. I'm a selfish prick, so sue me." Hurrying his walk to a jog, he tried to get as far from the building as he could, walking down the nearly abandoned block. The power had been shut down in the City, some of the nearby buildings were on fire and the air was filled with a mixture of fog and smoke. The rain had subsided while they were in the building but heavy dark clouds hung overhead, blocking out any light the moon would have provided them with.
"What about the others still inside the building, Poison? What about Death-iNation and Marilyn Deathrow?" Frenzy's words were slurred and barely audible, but Poison listened desperately for them, taking them as signs she was still alive.
"They don't matter right now, Frenzy. Hopefully they got out on their own. All that matters is I get you the help you need."
"Don't argue with me about this, I'm saving you, damnit. This is happening whether or not you want it to."
"No… it's not that." Frenzy leaned her head heavily against Poison's shoulder once again, closing her eyes. The fact that she hadn't fought him worried Poison greatly. "I remembered something. Something I thought I forgot a very long time ago. You made me want to remember, but I couldn't… not until I was inside that building."
"What is it, Frenzy?"
"…you kept asking me what my name was."
"Don't tell me, Frenzy. You've still got to fight with me over it!" Party Poison didn't want to know, it was too close to her saying goodbye to him. "Open your eyes, come on. No sleeping, remember?" Frenzy grimaced in response and opened her eyes at his request, though it pained her to do so and only succeeded in making her nauseated.
"Stephanie." Fire Frenzy coughed and told him her name anyway. Party Poison didn't respond. When she would ask him later if he remembered what she had admitted, he'd deny it up and down, but in reality he would never forget.
"Don't say anything right now, okay? I'm going to get you the help you need, Frenzy." Rounding the corner of the block, he stopped short as there was a terribly loud noise behind them. Poison ducked behind a nearby building and faced the wall. He leaned Frenzy against it and held her in his arms protectively so any of the debris that might have met them would hit him instead of her. He pulled the scarf back up around his face and untied it a bit so he could hold the end carefully against Frenzy's as well in hopes of avoiding the dust and debris that would come down with the building they had narrowly escaped from.
When the wall of dust hit them, it was like an ocean wave engulfing them both for a very short period of time. Holding Frenzy, he could hear her making a noise of upset. It was a comfort to him to hear her making any sort of sound at this point. He couldn't imagine what it felt like for her to have her final plans come to fruition, only to have him change them for her at the end. When her right hand touched his cheek in search of comfort, he placed his left hand over it and kissed her scarred palm.
Finally, when the dust had begun to settle and the shaking had stopped completely, they were met with nothing but the silence of the night. There were no voices on the wind, no screams of pain and agony, and no sounds of explosions or chaos anywhere around them. It was haunting after having adjusted to so much going on. After Poison was sure that nothing would collapse on top of him and Frenzy, he got up from the place he'd hidden them both, wiped some of the concrete dust off of Frenzy's cheeks, then started back around the corner to survey the damage that had been done to the rest of the street.
All that was left of Central Command was a heap of rubble. The building to its left had been half destroyed, and the one on its right had collapsed entirely from the impact of the Command center falling. Water was bursting from pipes that been destroyed and flooded the streets. The sound of it rushing comforted Poison. The silence had become frustrating.
Stopping short once he was closer to the building that he'd only moments ago been inside of and trying to escape from, he stared in awe at the Killjoys who had come to help them. He hadn't anticipated to find anyone so close by who would be able to help Fire Frenzy with her wounds. Distracted by the things happening around him, he stopped trying to keep Fire Frenzy awake. Poison hurried over to the Killjoys gathered outside of the building, trying to make sense of how it had all ended. He wanted to know how Phoenix had known to come to Central Command; he wanted to know who had gotten out of the building alive.
Once again, there were three hundred questions to ask and he was only likely to get answers to about half of them.
"Poison!" Rainbow Riot's voice came calling out from somewhere in the lingering dust. She sounded shocked and excited to see the man coming down the sidewalk. Poison couldn't see Riot, but he recognized her voice. Upon having shouted his name, the Killjoys started to buzz with excitement and rushed over to him.
Fun Ghoul was heading the pack coming toward him and when he went to hug his friend he stopped short seeing his hands were currently full. Hurrying over to where he heard the woman's voice, ignoring the questions being fired at him about his well being, he stopped mid-stride. There were bodies lined up on the ground.
Poison walked past Rainbow Riot and as he approached the figures on the ground, he recognized them all immediately.
"Fuck." Poison muttered. Vengeful Venom, Marilyn Deathrow, and Death-iNation lay on the ground in a row, Bad Medicine working on covering up their remains. Fire Frenzy glanced down at the bodies lying in front of her and though she was upset to see the only people she'd ever considered her friends dead in front of her, she didn't have the energy to express it. While she had promised herself before going into the building that she wouldn't feel any guilt if anything had befallen them it was nearly impossible to keep such a promise when she saw the result of her actions in front of her.
It should've been me. The sounds around her were fading, all that was left was her guilt.
The creeping doubt in her mind didn't leave her be, even when she could barely think. The darkness around her vision was closing in as she stared at the bodies on the ground. Fleetingly, she wondered if Grace and Aaron had made it out alive. She could hear Party Poison talking to someone nearby, but she couldn't even recognize who it was. Maybe it was Phoenix Fury? She couldn't be sure. There was a ringing in her ears that was blocking out all the other sounds which she was sure there were many of.
"I need a medic, where's your medic Phoenix?" Poison had almost been at a loss for words when he'd seen the remains of the Killjoys on the ground. He'd have time to mourn later, and to bury his friends, but for now, he just wanted to make sure there wasn't a fourth body to bury.
Before Phoenix could respond there was the sound of something metal hitting the concrete. Party Poison and Phoenix Fury glanced downward to see what had made the noise.
Frenzy's lighter was lying on the sidewalk next to Marilyn Deathrow. Both men then looked at the woman Poison was carrying in his arms.
Her eyes were closed.