A/n's: So I'm not dead! Wee – points for that right? 'Course, we'll have to deduct points that this isn't the next chapter of Devil's Due, but I promise, I am working on it – it's just… I had this idea for this thing hear and, well,… it's hard. D: Anywho, please accept this sad little offering while you wait.


How it Ends

You won't stop me.

You're twisting and screaming until the end.

No one can hear you here.

~.~

The hit came out of nowhere; the weight hitting him solid and hard between the shoulder blades.

He tumbled, tucked… and they rolled together, a tangle of limbs, down the concrete flight of steps and spilled into the courtyard in a panting, thrashing heap.

A pair of animals – wild things set loose - tearing at each other.

~.~

She threw it all away – everything she had left - to the initial advantage of surprise. Sometimes it, and a bit of luck, was all you needed.

She should have known better.

This was Raccoon. Luck had nothing to do with it.

Survival of the fittest.

Height and weight were on his side and before long – too soon – he was putting them to use.

She slammed into the dirt, pain exploding in her shoulder with a wet snap that echoed in her ears. She struggled, bucked – and his hands closed on her throat.

The strange blue lenses of his mask, hovering over her face, began to blur, pooling into a neon puddle as her blood heated, heart pounding as panic and instinct ran together in her veins.

She pulled at his iron grip with one hand, groped blindly with the other.

Something hard slipped across her palm.

A rock? A bit of brick?

Didn't matter.

She swung.

~.~

A spark of light, a boom like thunder in his ears,… then sudden dark.

Biting heat. Hissing static.

She'd damaged his system - the cloak was malfunctioning

He twisted, jerking with a zap of electricity. A boot found his gut and he toppled, falling away even as she slithered out of his grasp.

He ripped at his mask, fingers tearing at the closures. The leather pulled free – flung it away into the dark - and cold night air rushed over his face.

The smoke of dozens of fires… blood, old – and new. Fetid rot, shit and mildew….

The stench of Raccoon.

The aftertaste of it clung to the back of his throat

He gagged – spat, a glob of salvia and bitter vomit, but it remained. Inescapable.

"Get up."

She was bent (broken), nursing her shoulder as she leaned against a brick planter for support. The grip on that Ranger's knife in her fist white-knuckled, the eyes inside that face-mask of blood and dirt shining.

"Get up!"

Defiant.

"Get up, you miserable bastard, so I can hit you again."

He could respect that. Hell, he could even appreciate it.

It would be better – this last tango with her – than anything else Raccoon had waiting for him.

~.~

His unmasked face turned up, hood flipping back in a startling display of flesh.

(Human after all.)

Damp with sweat; lean… and almost handsome. A matted head of dark curly hair and eyes as blue as the lenses she'd smashed. His lips were thin, taught, but curled at the corners.

Amused.

Her fingers twitched – itched – but even if she hadn't unloaded the last of her clip into the screaming, jumping thing in the alley, she wouldn't have gone for her sidearm.

Not now. Not anymore.

They were past that.

That wasn't how it ended. Not for them.

It wasn't about country anymore, or government,… or even the greater good. She was going to die here – she'd come to terms with, accepted that she'd lost a game she hadn't even known she was playing.

This was for the others – her team, torn apart, eaten… dead – and for her.

She'd be damned if she'd go out alone.

~.~

He watched her, watched the wicked, gleaming edge of her blade, as he reached for his own.

She tensed, and shifted into her fighter's stance.

~.~

It'd be better this way.

~.~

I will show no mercy for you.

You had no mercy for me.

The only thing that I ask-

Love me mercilessly.