Chase the Morning
Warnings: drug use, language
Pairings: Hints of Su/Fin, OC/OC
If you'd like to read this elsewhere, it can be found on my tumblr (Lefseandtrolls) or on Ao3 (Scribe_of_Ruse).
Chapter II – A Song of Little Glass Vials and Payment
Kristoffer shivered visibly as the wind picked up; hating how fucking cold the city got at night, no matter what the season. He debated silently about giving himself a shot of zydrate, just to make himself numb enough to ignore the cold, but… no. He needed every little bit of his wits about him. No point risking robbery and hypothermia for a little fix.
Just as some distant church bell rang out that it was 11:30, his addicts came crawling out of their buildings. Fifteen of them tonight, if the little light provided by the incredibly filthy streetlight was showing all of them.
They all ran up to him excitedly and started pawing at his coat for the drugs – it had been a couple of days since he'd hit this neighborhood, so they were probably itching for a fix. Luckily he'd had the foresight to pull out his zydrate gun, which he now held over his head to avoid it getting crushed.
"So, whaddaya got for us today, your majesty?" a redheaded girl with bright green skin asked him, grinning at him hungrily.
"The same thing I always got, Delia. Ya really thought it was gonna change?"
"Well, there's a new dealer, a couple blocks down on Adams Street and 85th? Who's started dealing some of the old drugs…" the girl pouted, backing off slightly.
That wasn't good news. New dealers meant more competition, which meant less cash. And if he was selling the old standbys – heroin, crack, Special K… that could put him out of business.
"Sweetie, I woulda letcha know if I started dealing those. What's he calling himself? I might have to have a little chat with him. It ain't real safe to be dealing those in this parta town."
"Her. She calls herself Icey. She's been dealing for a couple'a weeks now," another girl piped up.
"Well, I still might haveta have a chat with her. Now, who's up first?" he asked brightly, hiding his inner shock at the news of a female dealer, grinning as the girls started pleading and offering their cash towards him. He took it from them gratefully; sticking the gun against whatever body part they had visible for him.
The last girl came up to him, looking up at him sadly through her lashes. "I don't have all the cash for it tonight – can we –"
He shook his head sadly. "Sorry, doll. Cash only t'night and tomorra. I gotta make rent, y'know?"
"Please, Konge? I've got most of it…"
"Not t'night. Try again next in the next couple'a days, all right?" he said, shrugging slightly in apology.
The girl slunk off, looking clearly disappointed. That was probably another one lost to a different dealer, but it wasn't his fault that Lars had to go and spend half their rent money on booze and weed.
He sighed quietly as he put his zydrate gun away, shoving a hand through his too-long hair to keep his fringe from falling into his face. A tiny flash of something silver caught his eye as he checked his zydrate stash (4 full vials left, with another one 3/4 full). He looked up, peering into the darkness, noticing another girl lurking near some of the bins just a few feet away.
"Yo, sweetheart, I can't shoot'cha up if ya just keeping hidin' over there," he called over as loudly as he dared to, pulling his gun back out."
The girl jumped in shock, upsetting two of the bins. "W-who says I want to be shot up?" she demanded with a trembling voice as she stepped out of the shadows, clutching a smallish box to her (not inconsiderably sized) chest.
She was very clearly not from this part of town – her heavy wool coat, as well as her faintly accented and extremely proper English suggested that she was from the upper class, the silver cross around her neck said she was from old money – possibly before the rise of GeneCo, old. She was tiny – no more than 5'3" at the most – brunette, and incredibly pale, which meant she either worked for GeneCo in a high up position or had someone who paid the bills for her, so she never had to go outside.
She also had none of the addict's signs, which meant one thing and one thing only – she was a junkie's pet. And she was here to pick up more zydrate for her master.
He swore under his breath, sliding his gun back into his coat. "If you ain't here to get shot up, then what're you doing in this part'a town, Princess? You're clearly not from around here."
She looked around nervously, as if the searchers were going to show up at any given second, before answering carefully. "Berwald Oxenstierna sent me this way. He said you'd be the fairest dealer, so… I figured it be worth it to try to find you."
He growled at that. Oxenstierna seemed to send all of his junkie pals – or their pets – to him. Not that the increased cash wasn't great – or the sex, when they couldn't pay immediately – but it was getting pretty goddamned difficult to constantly get more zydrate.
At any rate, the Fuzz were starting to suspect that he was up to something. And if they caught wind of what he was doing… well. That meant no more zydrate for a lot of people.
"Eh, I guess he's right. How much you lookin' to get?"
"Two vials," she said, fiddling with the box in her gloved hands.
He let out a sharp bark of laughter, shaking his head. "No fuckin' way. How long ago did they let you outta the tower, Princess? If you think you're getting any more than a vial, you're more naïve than I thought."
"This should make it worth your while," she stated, offering the box to him. He took it, looking at her suspiciously as he opened it. Inside was a zydrate gun. The Z1400. It wasn't the latest model to come out of GeneCo's lineup, but it was still in the packaging.
It was the kind of thing that would gain a person a small fortune if they sold it on the black market. And she was just going to give the damn thing away.
"Do you have any idea of how much something like this is worth?" he asked lowly, attempting to stare her down.
"Yes; upwards of $3000 on the black market. More than enough to cover two vials," she said, quirking an eyebrow delicately and staring right back, her eyes glinting violet in the dim glow of the street light.
"Holy shit, Princess! They really did just let you outta the tower, didn't they?" he asked rhetorically, shaking his head at her. "Look. I can't take it. It's worth way more 'n two bottles of street zydrate, and there ain't no way in hell I'm gonna be in debt to some upper-class Princess who's got no idea what she's doing."
"So don't consider it debt. I know my sister has a considerable amount of money owed to you. Consider it payment for that."
He shook his head. "No. Don't know who your sister is, an' I don't trust you enough to do that. And you shouldn't trust me enough to do that. It's cash, sex, 'r no drugs at all. End'a story."
"Fine. Will you take collateral?" she demanded, looking up at him frantically, blushing visibly. Embarrassment and panic came off of her in waves.
He pulled a face at the suggestion, but shrugged very slightly. "It ain't ideal, but I suppose there's no other option. It better not be that gun, though."
"Right, of course," she sighed, still blushing, as she reached behind her and unfastened the choker from around her neck. "Will this suffice?" she asked, offering it to him.
He took it from her, turning it over carefully. It looked kind of familiar – being that it was very old and very delicately wrought, but still a simple enough thing that it stuck in your memory. It looked like it should be in a museum, not around some girl's neck.
"How much 's'it worth?"
"I don't really know. It was my mother's. And her mother's before that."
"Family heirloom, then. Should work jus' fine. You'll come back for this. It'll do," he said grudgingly, pulling two of the vials out of his pocket and handing them to her. "If you ain't back by tomorrow with the cash, I'm pawnin' it off. Understood?"
"Of course, your majesty," she replied, making it sound more of an insult than a title. "I wouldn't dare dream of returning without proper payment. What's the worth of a lowly Princess to a King, after all?" she asked mockingly, glaring up at him.
"I can take away those vials, y'know," he said threateningly, not appreciating her mockery.
"And I can get my necklace back, and you won't make nearly as much as you need to in order to make rent. And you called me the stupidly naïve one," she said bitingly, walking away with the vials tucked safely away in her front coat pocket and holding the zydrate gun box in both hands.
He growled once more at that, shoving the necklace into his pocket and began the long trek back to his flat on 102nd.
Astrid let herself into the house as quietly as possible, wincing as the door squeaked loudly. She snuck up the stairs, shoving the Z1400 box in front of her door before entering her sister's room.
"Astrid?" Emilia asked sleepily, sitting up slightly. "What – what're you doing? It's like… one in the morning. Why're you still dressed?"
"I went out to get you these," Astrid said as she pulled the vials out, offering them over to her sister as carefully as she could.
Emilia stared at them as if she'd never seen them before. "Astrid, what – no, how did you get those? Daddy said I couldn't have any more. And what happened to Mama's necklace?" Emilia demanded, the machines around her beeping frantically as she became more panicked.
"I – I got them myself, from a dealer out on Prince Street –"
"You went to a dealer?" Emilia shrieked, forcing Astrid to place a hand over her mouth.
"It's nothing you haven't done before, Emilia. Don't try to lie to me. I've seen the IOU's in your drawer," Astrid said menacingly, glaring fiercely at her little sister.
"I – I know, but you didn't – who'd you even go to? And why'd you give up Mama's cross? Daddy will notice that it's gone for sure."
"Which is why I'm avoiding him tomorrow. I put it up as collateral, because the idiot wouldn't take my zydrate gun as payment for those."
"You willingly took off Mama's necklace. And you gave it to some crazy douchebag who robs graves for a living for collateral?"
"I do believe I just said that, Emilia," Astrid said coldly. "Yes, I took it off. He wouldn't take the gun. I'm bringing him cash tomorrow. It's not a big deal, Em. Can't you just be happy I got you more zydrate?"
"No! That cross is one of the few things we have left of her, and you just gave it up as if it was nothing to you!"
"Yeah, so what? Compared to you staying alive, it is nothing! This drug is the only thing keeping you functional right now, and you're far more precious to me than a necklace is. So, yes, I took it off. And I would do it again. I'll drain my bank account if I have to, but I am not going to let you die, Em! You're – you're all I've got left, and I just – I can't lose you, okay?" Astrid said desperately, her voice shaking violently as she tried to keep herself from crying.
"Tri – oh, god, Tri, please don't cry. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, I didn't – I mean I guess I knew, I'm just – god, I'm so sorry," Emilia apologized frantically, hugging her sister tightly. "I'm glad you got it for me, really. I just – I wish you hadn't gone to a street dealer. They're not really… safe."
"He wasn't too bad," Astrid sniffed, hugging Emilia back. "Completely condescending, but other than that, not too bad. I've already got a nickname from him."
"You went to Konge, then, didn't you?"
"Yeah. How'd you know?"
"He's got a habit of nicknaming his girls. I was 'kiddo'."
"That's awful. He kept calling me Princess, though. Said I was stupid and naïve."
"Yeah, that sounds like him. And, no offense, but you kind of are."
"Shut up. I know I am, but he didn't need to keep pointing it out every five seconds."
"He obviously thought he did. Anyway, thank you for getting it for me. Can you put it away with the rest of the stuff?" Emilia requested, finally breaking away from Astrid.
"You sure that's a good idea? What if dad checks?"
"He won't. He never does."
"He will, if he thinks you're still using when you're supposed to be quitting cold turkey."
"He won't notice. He's too wrapped up in GeneCo and Linnea to pay attention to us."
"If you say so…" Astrid said skeptically. She took the vials off the bed, tucking them into a specially made compartment in the bottom drawer of her sister's dresser.
"I do say so. Now go to bed. You've got to be exhausted by now," Emilia said, looking over at Astrid tiredly.
"Not really. I'm still kind of running on adrenaline. But good night, Emmy."
Kristoffer let himself into his flat almost silently, shutting the door behind him and clicking all four locks (plus the deadbolt) shut.
"So, how's tricks?" Lars asked, not looking up from his book.
"Fine," Kris said, shucking his coat and boots off and collapsing onto his filthy mattress.
"Ah. Long night, then," Lars stated bluntly, opening up their tiny fridge and throwing Kris a beer.
"Ain't they all?" Kris pondered, cracking the beer open and taking a long drink from it. "God. T'night was worse than usual, though. Oxenstierna sent another junkie's pet to me. Fucking asshole."
"Hey, hey, we like the junkie's pets. They have no idea what they're doing, so they pay more. How much you get offa her?"
"Nothin', yet. She tried t' pass off a zydrate gun – the Z1400. No idea who she stole the damn thing from, but it was still in the packaging."
"Dude. Why the hell didn't you take it? You need a new one."
"Mine works fine. Besides, it's worth way more than two bottles of Z."
"Your honor code surrounding this sort of thing is shitty. If she offers it again, take it. At least we know she'll be back for more, that way."
"I ain't gonna take it!" Kris protested loudly. "Anyway, have you heard about this new dealer selling down on 87th?"
"There's a new dealer? Fuck. Where's he getting his stash from?"
"Nobody knows where she's getting her stash from – all we know is that she's dealing the old drugs, along with Zydrate. I talked to at least 8 different people, and nobody has any clue where she's getting it."
Lars stared at him in horror. "A female dealer. With heroin and crack and shit?"
"Yeah. 'S real bad news. We might need to find a new part'a town."
"No way. Prince and 83rd has been good to us. Plus, Charlie's support group is what, two blocks away? We're stickin' with it. So, anyway, back to this girl of yours. You just let her go without getting anything from her?"
Kris scowled at his roommate, rolling his eyes. "I ain't stupid, Lars. I got this off'a her," he said, pulling the necklace out of his shirt pocket.
Lars furrowed his brow at it. "Isn't that… what's her name. The really tiny, super pale one with purple eyes and silver hair. Emily's?"
Kris took a second look at it. "Nah. Kiddo's had something pretty similar I think, but this… god. Y'should've seen this girl, Lars. She looks like she just escaped outta some fairytale. Acts like it too. Now that I think of it, she did look kinda like a… more coloured version 'a Kiddo, I guess. Dunno. But she's bringin' the cash tomorrow."
"She better. Rent's due in two days."
"I know. It's your fault we don't have the cash for it right now, dipshit."
"Fuck off. You didn't complain when you were high."
"That's 'cause I was high. But I ain't anymore, and now we've got two days to make $600."
"How much did you make off the rest of the girls?"
"$250 – there were only 10 of 'em, an' I had to turn one away. Even if all of them come back tomorrow, we're still a hundred bucks short."
"Well, let's hope your little princess comes back with enough for a legal vial or two, then."
Kris finished the last of his beer, flopping against the mattress and pulling his thin blanket over himself. "Yeah, kinda hopin' so too. But she ain't my Princess. Don't need no junkie's pet followin' me around. Got enough birds that I don't want surroundin' me anyway."
"Right. 'Cause you've got Maria. Never mind the fact that you haven't seen her in months."
"Shut up, Lars. She's just – busy."
"Yeah, busy whoring herself out for GeneCo."
"Whatever, Kris. I'm just saying."
"And I'm just saying that you should fuck. Off."
"Okay, okay! God, you're pissy tonight. G'night, asshole," Lars said irritably, clicking off the one little light in between their beds and sending their small flat into complete darkness.
A/N: I have no idea how actual drug deals work, and wasn't about to go find out.
Pretty sure this is evident.
I think I'll keep Tuesdays as an update day? We'll see.