Story #4 : Issues.

By Some1Else.

Ocelot's right hand had healed as quickly as he thought it would after Snake had given him Mend. Just as he had predicted, it held his limb together and eradicated the enormous infection he'd gotten shortly after the neglectful operation. The healing didn't take place over night, though. Ocelot figured it would be wise to wait two more days before actually leaving the hospital, just in case something went wrong and he had to call Snake again. In that time he held the doctors at bay with his revolver, warning that if any of them did so much as lay a finger on him they wouldn't have any children to pass on their legacy of stupidity for the rest of their wilted existence.

After they witnessed what Mend did to Ocelot's hand, they started using it more often on patients with similar injuries after they decoded the password. It was found to be a good alternative to stitches and was even used to stick together the bones of a certain patient who had shattered his knee cap while trying to arouse himself. The original intention had been to use Mend, but due to an unforeseen blunder involving the misplacement of the password and the case itself, the director had ordered everyone to pretend like they had forgotten all about the medical breakthrough that was Mend until someone did something about it. Revolver learned all this by the doctor's who seemed to have developed a habit of talking right outside his door. The staff considered it a happening place and thus stuck a water cooler close by. A few of them attempted to strike up a conversation with him, but Ocelot warded them off with his revolver. Needless to say, their little spurt in productivity did little to alter his opinion of them. He would eventually wind up using an entire box of ammunition by the time his stay at the hospital was concluded.

A few patients stopped by to thank Ocelot for contributing to their stabilized conditions due to Mend, but he didn't take any credit for it. If it were under different circumstances, he probably would have. Snake was the one who deserved their gratitude. Even so, this was god awful business in the worst possible way. Ocelot figured that this occurrence had to be the most aggravating thing that had ever happened to him. It even eclipsed the reason dealing with why he had decided to grow a handlebar mustache. Having Liquid's hand added further to his disgruntlement even though it was only a temporary fix until he could get a new one.

The visitors he received during his two day waiting period did little to brighten his spirits. Vulcan Raven came by and tried telling him a couple of jokes that he claimed everyone at the university seemed to enjoy. When Ocelot failed to laugh, Raven defended his comedy as something Ocelot just had to be there for in order to appreciate. Ocelot responded by throwing a needle full of morphine at his neck. Raven fell forward, knocking his skull on the edge of Ocelot's bed before falling asleep on the cold tile floor. The doctors came in to fetch him but Ocelot fought them off with his revolver. The patient in the room next to him began to complain about the smell of cordite, so Ocelot carefully aimed at the wall outside of his own room and ricocheted a shot into the room beside him where his adversary was. He hadn't heard the man say anything since then. Even though he was using rubber bullets he managed to establish his territory rather effectively. By doing so Ocelot gradually became ambidextrous. It was a talent he'd been wishing to acquire for quite some time. This made him happy.

Mei Ling sent him a card, but didn't write anything on it aside from a note stating that she couldn't be too enthusiastic for his recovery or it might upset her boyfriend. Not only was the note impersonal, it was also homemade out of an old piece of scrap paper stained with coffee. Part of an old grocery list was on the back. A day before Ocelot's release, Otacon came waltzing by to soothe his guilty conscience for not coming earlier. He brought a moderately expensive figurine with him of a hooded wagon that Ocelot accepted gratefully. Otacon also threw in a dirty Japanese magazine that Ocelot handed back to him due to the things he found inside. They both eventually struck up a plan to distribute flyers around town that warned people about coming to the Boo-Boo Fixie Hospital. Ocelot was pleased to have Otacon's cooperation and bid him a somewhat warm farewell while he was leaving. At the exact moment Hal departed, Raven finally woke up and also left.

Knowing that he'd have his little revenge against the hospital made Ocelot feel greatly satisfied. His feelings of happiness did not last for very long. The day Ocelot left he said goodbye to his medicine cart. It was a very painful parting, but they just could not live together. He already took too many other drugs. Revolver skipped out on the bill, cursing all the way as he exited the hospital. When a group of doctors came and tried to restrain him because they felt he wasn't ready to leave, Ocelot had whipped around and shot down each and every one of them. He chose to spare their lives because he wasn't in the mood to have the Patriots pull some strings so the cops would keep off of his back. Ocelot then had went to his car while muttering something about 'damn stupid quacks'.

When he had gotten home his life returned to normal. This was unsettling for him because Ocelot knew that a normal state wouldn't continue forever. Something bad was going to happen sometime soon. In the meantime, he caught up on the lives of his acquaintances. Ocelot usually tried to avoid calling them friends. Roy was still very busy with his wife, Otacon was still trying to find Cynthia Martinez's phone number, Meryl was bunking with Snake until she could find a new place, Mei Ling was still dating her mystery man, the ninja had packed up and headed to Los Vegas to reunite with Big Boss, and he had heard a rumor that Vamp was coming to town. Ocelot had immediately went out and bought two pounds of garlic. He put most of it in his mailbox.

Those were now mere memories of the past. Currently he was wandering around the city mall because he wanted to waste some time. Nobody was doing anything tonight and Ocelot didn't really feel like starting anything himself. He still hadn't gotten the blood stains out of the carpet from his last party. The name of the mall he was currently visiting was called the Shopety-Shop-Shop Mall. It had a lavish interior with plenty of stores to choose from. There were places to eat, rest, play, and shop. Everybody loved coming here. It outdid Wal-Martin every conceivable way except for allowing people to dick around. Security here was pretty tight and they had no problems whatsoever with throwing troublemakers out. Revolver entered the mall in style sporting the clothes he had worn during the tanker incident, complete with spurs and red gloves. He also had a bottle of Liquid suppressor's just in case anything went awry.

The first store he hit was Craig's Rag Bag. A couple of college students were playing what the community called Rag Tag. The object was to run from the entrance of the shop clear to the back of the store, tag the wall, and get back outside before the clerk asked them if they needed any help. Nobody had ever won. Ocelot sighed, noticing that they had one guy on lookout ready to alert the others if the guards suddenly appeared. This wasn't going to end well. A security guard wearing a stealth camouflage clip suddenly decloaked and sprung up from the floor right behind the poor bastard and got him into a headlock. The unexpected swiftness of the attack even made Ocelot jump. Five other guards dressed in equipment that would make a SWAT unit jealous descended from openings in the ceiling using nylon ropes.

Each guard carried a plethora of nonlethal equipment including a military baton, a taser, some mace, and a shotgun loaded with rubber bullets. Two of the five currently closing in on the clothing store had riot shields with UR SCREWED printed along the top and OBEY CONFORM on the bottom. When they landed, the college students inside realized what was going on and began screaming.

But it was already too late.

Within less than a minute three dude's were hauled out of the store with their arms twisted behind their backs. The guards quickly and silently escorted them to the front door. Ocelot was slightly impressed, especially when they tazed one kid in his kidneys when he began struggling and rubbed some mace under his nose in response to being told that they weren't above the law by the energetic perpetrator. A little while ago Olga had given him an application for the position he'd just seen in action. At the time she was applying for the job, but didn't get it. Military training was a requirement, as was being able to master several fighting styles. The pay was about twenty five dollars an hour with incentives offered for the number of busts gained in a month.

Initially all thirty members of the group only did work at the mall until they decided to diversify their expertise by offering themselves as guards for hire. It turned out to be a wise business decision. Depending on the money involved they would do bars, crowd control, or even birthday parties. They called themselves The League Of Five because thirty was a divisible of five. They also hired in groups of five in order to retain the limited meaning of their clan name. At least that's what they said on their pamphlet. Ocelot didn't find the prospect of working on a team very pleasing. It was quite an interesting read, though.

Ocelot walked into Craig's Rag Bag now that all the trouble had passed. The female clerk carefully poked her head above the counter, shaking nervously. Once she deducted that the intimidating security guards had left, she returned to her job. Ocelot ignored her and began looking for gloves that would go along with his other outfits. He was getting tired of people asking him why one of his hands was brown while the other was white. While the task of picking out gloves shouldn't have been too difficult, Ocelot found it rather complex. He singled out Razor just to be a bitch and piss Snake off. To Snake, Razor was how you bought clothing. If Ocelot wore something else and boasted about it, that might start an argument between them. Perfect.

The gloves he picked out belonged to a chain called Mystery. Nobody knew why the company had picked that name. That's why it was a mystery. This would really boil Snake's blood especially if Ocelot could debate the origins of the name with him. Ocelot paid for his items and requested a small bag. After receiving one he headed off toward GameCrop, where one was always sure to reap a bountiful harvest of fun. Gamecrop was a rather powerful provider of anime, movies, video games, and collectibles. They were currently in the process of trying to turn themselves into a regional chain. Once he entered he went straight for the anime section. Everyone else seemed to be checking it out so he figured he'd join the bandwagon and see what all the fuss was about.

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Lucky Star. Cowboy Bebop. Inuyasha. They all looked like garbage. Not only that, but they were expensive. A single DVD ran up to thirty dollars for only a handful of episodes. He figured that the reason prices were so high on anime DVD's was due to the fact that they had a very limited audience. And with a limited audience how else were the creators of Bleach, Bubblegum Crisis, and Excel Saga supposed to make money? He shrugged the thoughts off and picked up a copy of Ninja X and read the back. It sounded depressing so he placed it back where he had gotten it from. He picked up a volume of Trigun and didn't even finish the description. Gundam was the next title unfortunate enough to gain his attention. Even though he did enjoy admiring giant mech's that feeling didn't extend into this region. Gundam sounded like a cheesy waste of time to him.

Ocelot sighed and reluctantly picked up a title by the name of Paprika. It was a used version and substantially cheaper than a new one. Revolver also grabbed a copy of Real Bout High School and something called Great Teacher Onizuka. He spied Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex and replaced GTO with it. Revolver browsed the video game section but didn't see anything appealing so he proceeded to purchase his stuff. The clerk behind the counter was a pleasant one and commented that the anime's he'd chosen were of good quality. Ocelot didn't respond. He wanted to get out of the store quickly because they were beginning to play techno music over the speakers.

The total came to about eighty dollars. As Ocelot reached for his wallet fetch his debit card, his entire right arm went numb and wouldn't respond to his muscles. He grabbed it with his left hand to try and get it to work. Pain began to explode all over his body and he could feel himself sweating heavily. It felt like shattered glass was searing through each and every vein throughout his frame. Maybe it was just a really bad spasm. A spasm so bad that the agony traveled directly into his brain.

Good God, I could really go for some scones! Ocelot began thinking. Bloody hell, is that some damnable techno music I hear? Sod it. I say, where the hell am I, some blasted club with a bunch of fat monochrome whore's swinging about on the dance floor?

No. No, this wasn't possible. Ocelot collapsed to his knees, momentarily paralyzed by fear. He'd taken the medicine exactly as instructed at the same time each and every day. Ocelot even kept three spare bottles in his medicine cabinet just as an extra precaution. He was far too careful for Liquid to get the jump on him and yet that was exactly what was happening.

"No!" Ocelot spat between gritted teeth. "Damn it, not now! Not in public!"

What is this, some pathetic futile resistance? He could clearly distinguish Liquid invading his thoughts. Give in, you've always been my bitch.

"I'm not your damn bitch!" Ocelot shouted.

"Uhh. . .I never said anything like that. . ." the clerk said slowly, reaching for a button underneath the counter that would call security.

This was hideously embarrassing and getting worse by the second. Ocelot controlled his panic and came up with an idea. He'd overdose on the pills. The physician who gave him the medication strictly warned him against doing so. Stuffing them down his throat wouldn't look very appropriate right here out in the open. It would freak out everyone and probably give the guards enough reason to attack him. If that were to happen, the situation would get even more complicated. Ocelot resolved to run into the bathroom. Once there he'd swallow the entire bottle if that's what it took to be rid of Liquid. Having settled that matter, he looked up at the clerk, smiling. To this poor fellow he appeared to be a sweaty old man whose right hand was twiddling its fingers and balling into a fist seemingly of its own choice.

"Just hold my stuff, I'll be right back. I've got to use the restroom. When you get old, this sort of thing happens to your body." Ocelot said as kindly as he could, which sickened him. "Your penis also shrivels up like a dead radish!" Liquid shouted through him.

This was bad. If Liquid was in Ocelot's thoughts and voice it wouldn't be long until he gained total control. Ocelot ran as fast as he could to the restrooms, panting heavily and not caring that he looked positively desperate right now. Along the way his right leg seized up, causing him to trip. It then wouldn't straighten out properly when he tried standing. Thus, Ocelot momentarily had the posture of a walrus that was dragging its dick across the floor for pleasure. People starred at him like Jesus had just uttered a curse. Clearly this was Liquid's way of slowing him down.

He slammed his right fist as hard as he could into a nearby wall, splitting three of his knuckles wide open. By doing so he spiritually punched his adversary, as causing any harm to the borrowed limb somehow had a small effect on the mind that inexplicably lived inside it. By the same token it also made Ocelot tear up as they shared the pain equally. Ocelot wasted no time in taking advantage of the situation. Now able to stand up straight, he continued his blaze toward the restrooms. Unfortunately for him and members of the general public suffering from small bladders, there was only one known pair of restrooms in the mall and they were on the bottom floor.

Both the male and female restrooms were big enough to compensate for the fact that there was only one set of both. While running Ocelot tried to maintain himself, which brought about even more uncomfortable physical exertion. The effort was futile. Liquid's will was stronger than his own and try as he might, his mind was being invaded by foreign memories. He saw Liquid as a neglected child, then as a soldier. Ocelot witnessed Liquid playing Ultima VI on the SNES and then having his save file erased for unknown reasons. A new perspective suddenly formed and embedded itself into his mind. His name was Liquid Snake, not Revolver Ocelot. Ocelot was nobody. Liquid was now in charge of this body.

Ocelot screamed as he felt the last bit of himself slip away.

"No!" Ocelot wailed.

He threw his right arm up in the air and backed away until he hit a wall. Needless to say this made for quite an odd scene. All the people around him stopped and starred at him as if he were crazy. Mother's took their children away, teens poked fun at him, and three guards from the League of Five appeared out of nowhere, silently warning him to knock it off just by letting themselves become visible. Liquid soothed his hair, keeping his cool. He then faced his audience.

"What's wrong with you people?" Liquid asked. "There's nothing to stare at!"

They continued looking at him in complete confusion. Even the guards exchanged glances with each other. Liquid's voice didn't match his new body, but that was irrelevant. What mattered was that Liquid had control of Ocelot's body. Now he could finally take his revenge on Solid Snake. It was a poor trick of fate that only he was the only real casualty of the Shadow Moses incident. Everyone else had cleverly devised a means of escape except for him. FOXDIE was to blame for that. There was no beating around the bush when that stuff was in the bloodstream. Even worse, all his colleagues had gone soft. The jobs they'd taken were absolutely ridiculous. Psycho Mantis was a respected psychologist, Vulcan Raven had become a janitor for the local college and taught Oral Communication every now and then at the same university, Sniper Wolf took up police work, and Decoy Octopus ran a novelty arcade.

Liquid knew all this without having to ask. The moment he was joined with Ocelot's body he began delving for information. Revolver didn't suspect a thing. However, his damnable medication slowed Liquid down until he had found a way around it. The main issue now was paying Snake a special visit, but that would come later after he'd finished devising a plan for it. Unfortunately his progress would be somewhat delayed as Ocelot already appeared to be fighting back for control. Liquid's left hand began jerking randomly. Why exactly the two souls took dominance over either side of the body has to do with about four pages worth of detailed information that covers metaphysical, biological, chemical, and psychiatric properties all of which the author knows nothing about suffice to say that it's out there. Try to deal with it.

"No, you don't!" Liquid threatened.

"Yes, I do!" Ocelot shouted.

"Hey! It's a street performer who's imitating multiple personality disorder! Let's all watch!" someone from the crowd said.

Before Liquid knew it a crowd of idiots had surrounded him and began to laugh and cheer as he swayed from side to side.

You've got to be kidding me. Liquid thought in disbelief.

Fighting over control of the shell that was Ocelot's body happened to be very visible work. The conflicting mental battle was beginning to upset certain nerves inside Ocelot's brain that caused his body to react involuntarily. Right now he was moving around as if something were about to burst right out of him. This changed without warning. Liquid now found himself holding both his arms up as if he were surrendering while wiggling his chest like he had breasts to shake. There was nothing either he or Ocelot could do about it until one had gained complete authority. Until then these spasms would occur. Accidentally expelling gas was also a notable side-effect.

Even so, people were watching him with intense interest. It was so different and new, completely unlike any other form of entertainment they'd seen before. Ocelot's body began to convulse. Before it had just been jerking, but now forced heaving was involved. Liquid was surprised that the sickness he felt had nothing to do with Revolver. The body itself seemed to reject the presence of its new host. Unbeknownst to Liquid's dominance, his left hand balled up into a fist and slammed hard into his face. This caused his spectators to roar in approval. Liquid stumbled backward and fell flat on his ass, dizzy enough to pass out. Ocelot had one hell of a left hook. The spectators laughed and began throwing money at him. A few whistled in approval. They all eagerly awaited his next move.

"This is impossible! I took that damn medicine as regularly as a hussy on birth control!" Ocelot shouted. "How did you get past it?"

"Over time everything develops an immunity to the thing that harms it the most. It's called natural selection. Only the strong can survive and in order for a weak species to live, they must evolve into stronger, more capable beings over successive generations. That's what I did, but my personal evolution occurred over a two month period." Liquid explained.

"That's bogus!" Ocelot barked.

"That's science!" Liquid claimed.

"Point in case!"

"Case in point, you pirate hooker! Get it right!" Liquid roared.

The crowd then began taking sides on who they wanted to take over the body. Liquid was able to judge that more people were on Ocelot's side because the chant for the Russian dude to win was louder than the one for the British guy. For some reason the little audience had also spontaneously come up with names for the two personalties. People referred to Ocelot as Jimmy and they gave Liquid the name of Bruce.

"Wow, this guy's really good!" some barely legal teen said.

"He's even better then those other guys at the other side of the mall." a security guard remarked.

"Shut up, we're supposed to be sworn to silence!" the other guard with him chided.

"You both shut up, we're breaking the oath!" the third one hissed.

"Damn it!" all three guards said together.

Ocelot tried throwing another punch. Liquid jerked his head out of the way. Another swing came. Again, he dodged. His left leg kicked the other in the shins. That did nothing. Ocelot then punched Liquid in the balls, which also were his balls. Share and share alike. This stunned both of them. As Liquid tried ignoring that odd feeling that only occurs when a man is hit in the balls, he heard more opinions from the crowd.

"This has got a bit of a plot to it, I think." an Asian male mused.

"If hotdog buns come in packages of eight, how come hotdogs come in packages of twelve?" some mother thought aloud.

"Did someone just fart? It smells like a dead alligator in here." another male remarked.

"Dude, if he punches himself in the balls again, I'm gonna laugh!" a college guy with a cap remarked.

"You'd laugh at anything, you 'tard." his menacing looking friend said.

"LOL! I know!" the college guy admitted.

Liquid's left arm wrapped around his throat and began choking him. The crowd gasped but quickly began cheering again after the initial shock had passed over. This action drove the spectators into a rabid frenzy. Liquid grabbed the arm and easily pried it off. His right hand had more muscles in it than his left one. That was one of the prices Ocelot paid when he grafted Liquid's arm unto his own stump. Ocelot's limb attacked again by extending two fingers and poking Liquid in the eyes. He screamed and rubbed furiously at his eyelids, tearing up considerably.

"Alright! Classic comedy!" the barely legal chick said, nodding approvingly.

His neck jerked sharply enough to give him a whiplash. Liquid was looking right.

"Why are you here?" Ocelot demanded.

Ocelot's neck jerked again, this time popping audibly. Now he was facing left.

"Because I still have a job to do!" Liquid yelled.

This pattern of neck jerking continued in correspondence with who was talking. Incidentally, most of the old body caught in the crossfire was going into overload. Muscles were tearing, vessels were bursting, the heart was working at twice its normal rate, and a small group of brain cells simultaneously committed seppuku. Ocelot was oblivious to the specifics of the matter since most of his attention was focused on Liquid.

"What kind of job? Killing Snake? Liquid, that is so last year it's not even funny! Go with the flow! Most of us get along with him now." Ocelot said.

"Like I care. You couldn't possibly understand how I feel about this matter. I have to fight him again. I have to kill him!" Liquid replied.

Some of Ocelot's memories began flooding into Liquid's brain. For some odd reason this attack was fairly potent, but could only be done when enough leverage was gained inside of Liquid's consciousness. Put simply, if Liquid thought he was Ocelot, he would become Ocelot until he was able to figure differently. This was how Ocelot's medication slowed him down. It gave the old man a better sense of himself. Slowly Liquid's control ebbed away as he was dragged down back inside his soul while Ocelot regained his spirit.

"Ugh. . ." Liquid grunted. "You haven't won this!"

Ocelot was now back in charge of himself. He collapsed to his knees in exhaustion, covered in a thick sheen of sweat. Every part of his body ached. For a moment the group watching him fell silent. Revolver looked up at them and saw worried expressions on their faces. Quickly he figured out that they were all waiting to see who won the fight. Slowly he stood up, breathing heavily, and faced the crowd with an intense look on his face.

"Jimmy wins." Ocelot said victoriously, performing his handgesture while doing so.

The crowd cheered for Jimmy so loudly that the waves carried by their voices popped Ocelot's ears. Money began appearing everywhere. Even the security guards began pitching in but they threw him gift certificates because they didn't usually carry money while on the job. Those that were for Bruce quickly left the scene, slightly disappointed.

I wonder if I could make a job of this. Ocelot thought. Nah.

The seven-teen year old girl who liked passing herself off as jail bait stepped in and began collecting the money for Ocelot as he was readily exhausted. She smoothed the bills out neatly and handed them to him. Content with how he looked at her, the girl gave him a wink. Ocelot passed her thirty dollars for being hot. This seemingly insignificant act would later convince her to become a stripper. Ocelot quickly thumbed through the cash, counting a total of one hundred and thirty bucks. This was chump change to him but it was just as well seeing as how he hadn't expected to earn that much.

"Thank you ladies and gentlemen." Ocelot announced. "For further fun go pick up any anime from Gamecrop. I guarantee you'll get the same type of entertainment no matter which one you choose. Good night!"

"Hey everyone, let's go to GameCrop and pick up anime!" someone roared.

"And when the clerk tells us our total, we'll do that handgesture thing and say no thanks pal, the money's already in the bank!" the Asian guy proclaimed.

The crowd cheered again and everyone rushed toward the store like a group of rabid animals seeking fresh meat. Some individuals that were not in the original group that Revolver had entertained were literally run over by the sea of people. A few of Revolver's fans stayed behind to talk to him about his act and ask for an autograph. He entertained them for a little bit with a whole bunch of lies. Of course he had done something like this before! Sure, acting school was easy! The only challenge was sharing an apartment with a roommate specializing in improvisation. When they all had left, Ocelot stuffed the money in his pocket and finally made it to the restroom. Just as he expected, it was full of people.

Ocelot stood in front of the nearest sink and sought his pants pocket for the medicine and found it. Popping pills would make for quite the stereotypical display, but this wasn't the time for grace or being self conscious. Liquid was back and Snake might be in danger and if Liquid thought he could haul Ocelot's old ass around like nobody's business he was in for a big surprise. Keeping in shape still didn't prevent getting old and some of the side-effects that came with it. Revolver knew his way around the quirks. Liquid didn't. Knowing that, there still was no reason to let his guard down.

His bottle was less than half full. The stupid cap gave him some problems like it always had, but he soon beat the infernal device. As plot progression would have it, Ocelot fumbled the bottle, spilling the pills down the sink hole.

"Damn!" Ocelot whispered viciously to himself.

He quickly rescued two pills from falling down the fashionable sink. Every other one was lost. This was karma's way of laughing at him; payback for the jerk he'd been a couple years ago. Ignoring his serious predicament, Ocelot put the pills on his tongue. He then turned the faucet on and bent over, swallowing the water along with his meds. Once done he smoothed out his wet hair. Naturally, his actions had gained him a new audience. This time they weren't laughing. One man was holding a roll of toilet paper as if he intended to use it should Ocelot attack him. Shaking his head in disgust, Ocelot stormed out of the room.

He made his way back to GameCrop. There was a crowd back in the anime section. When they noticed that their hero was in the same store, they gave him one final round of applause. Ocelot decided to go along with it and he humbly bowed low. He was glad that this mall allowed street performers in. If it had not, Ocelot was sure that the guards would try and interfere and that would have been very messy. Revolver paid the money he owed, took his two sacks of stuff, and walked out of the store, heading for his car.

Ocelot usually drove a beat up silver Oldsmobile from the early seventies. The radio didn't work and Ocelot only had one eight track full of disco for the provided player. He never listened to it. In defense of this hulking piece of melded metal was its uncharacteristic ability to accelerate at twice the rate it normally should. It also took corners sharper than the knife Pyramid Head carried. He could weave in and out of tight spots like a Japanese porn star. Snake had once expressed extreme interest in Ocelot's vehicle, but it wasn't for sale. Revolver told Snake flat-out that his effeminate Contour could just go find itself a personality. First he'd have to beat it, though. Then came the wait for it to get old. Snake wouldn't have any of Ocelot's advice and was saddened at his critically failed persuasion check.

The other quirk his car had was its heater, which turned an Alaskan morning in the middle of winter to summer time in hell with the furnace on. As for its top speed, the speedometer went up to about ninety, but that was just a suggestion. Ocelot had stumped the needle on a couple of occasions. Finally, there was one last thing that he considered the trump card for this beast. It had a stick shift. There was nothing quite like driving a manual transmission. The gear was so old that the helpful directions written on the handle had eroded. Ocelot switched his thoughts toward brooding over the current issue at hand. Liquid wanted Snake dead. Snake did have a right to know about this. After he finished contacting Snake he'd need to call his doctor and ask if there was anything stronger than his current medication. There probably wasn't, but he'd at least know he tried. Ocelot's back door opened with a load squeak. He tossed his stuff in the back seat.

He then seated himself behind the steering wheel. Ocelot opened up the glove box. The only thing in there was a cell phone because Revolver had no need to store insurance papers there as he wasn't insured. He didn't have to be. His damn Oldsmobile would plow right through a house and a marble statue of Jesus before it began to vaguely wonder if it had just hit something. Snake was the first person on his contact list. There was no real reason why, that's simply how it happened. The phone rang four times. Snake rarely let the delay pass two rings. He probably wasn't at home and Snake might have told Meryl not to answer the phone. The answering machine kicked in.

"Hi, you've reached the residence of Solid. . .I mean Iroquois Plisken. Wait, you may know me as David. Damn! Okay, if you think you know who I am, leave a message because I'm out doing my thing and I'll call you back when I get home. I really gotta change this thing." Snake said hopelessly.

"Snake, this is Ocelot." Ocelot said in a worried tone. "We've got a major problem. Liquid is. . ."

Liquid threw a strong mental blow that pushed Ocelot out of control. He'd been saving that punch for a while. If he were given time, Liquid would be able to launch more attacks like that. If Ocelot became weak enough, Liquid might even get so strong that he'd completely suppress Ocelot's soul. When that happened, there would be no stopping him.

"Brother, long time no talkie!" Liquid announced in a proud tone. He then blinked at what he had just said. "Wait a minute, that didn't come out right. Hold on." Liquid cleared his throat. "Snake, you and I have unfinished business and this time that damnable virus won't get in the way. I'll be seeing you very soon."

Liquid chuckled as he turned off the cell phone and tossed it into the back seat. All he needed to do now was drive to Snake's house. Liquid took Ocelot's keys out of his pocket and then put them in the ignition. The car started with a couple of weak sputters that ended in a burst of power that shook the entire vehicle. This bitch was ready for action. Liquid grinned as he found himself enjoying this death horse some people dared to call a car. He gripped the steering wheel, ready to start. Yep, all he had to do was drive to Snake's house. That was all. Just drive. That's when he remembered that he wasn't exactly competent when it came to operating a car. His grin of victory fell to a defeated grimace in less then a second. He had never really took the initiative to learn how to drive. Even when he had a chance to learn through Ocelot he didn't really pay attention. Liquid was always either the passenger or the gunner. Never the driver.

When he had chased Snake down that long tunnel back in Shadow Moses he had left the car mostly on cruise control. All the swerves he performed while Snake shot at him with his FAMAS were not intentional. Crashing into the side of Snake's jeep was also missing from his original plan. Come to think of it, there had been no plan. Liquid just used blind rage until seconds before the crash when he tried to gain enough distance ahead of his two targets so he'd have a clear shot at Meryl's skull. Of course Liquid had been so nervous that he cut in front of his enemies to soon. Everyone knew the rest of the story.

"Bloody bloody bloody damn damn damn. . .damn bloody damn it!" Liquid cursed hopelessly.

He let his head fall forward on the steering wheel, causing the car horn to beep, which made him jump about five feet. After he had settled down, Liquid sat back in the seat and began thinking of a solution.

"Okay. . .first. . .you release the parking break." Liquid told himself.

Yes, you go ahead and do that to a car made in the seventies. Ocelot mocked from within.

Liquid ignored him. The only thing Ocelot could do without first starting a mental attack was jeer at him from the side-line.

This is positively delightful. Here we have a man who can operate a giant mech and a complex helicopter, but a simple car baffles him.

"Nobody's perfect, you senile coot!" Liquid shot back.

Ocelot found enough ground to use his own voice again thanks in no small part to the rage he was experiencing. The head jerking they encountered earlier back in the mall was back with a vengeance. Neither of them seemed to mind. Their anger smothered the pain.

"Senile?" Ocelot roared. "Who do you think you're calling senile?"

"I don't know, who's the only other person in this body?" Liquid sneered.

"Yeah, you go ahead and give me some of that classy British sarcasm. Let's see how much your ass knows about brawling!" Ocelot retorted.

Liquid's left arm opened the driver's side door. The entire left side of his body swung itself out of the car and unto the hard pavement. He landed hard and briefly wondered if any of his ribs had just broken. His left hand reached up and jabbed a finger underneath his chin before he could retaliate, hitting a pressure point and causing Liquid's entire body to go numb.

"I'm going to kill you!" Ocelot declared venomously.

"You dolt! If you kill me, you kill us!" Liquid shouted.

The left arm jerked in response to that remark and then fell limply to the ground.

"Well now, that really sucks hard core." Revolver said silently.

Liquid remained motionless on the ground for a moment, breathing heavily. With seemingly no effort Ocelot slid back into control. His medication had probably just kicked in. It was about time. Now he had a chance to fix this mess before it escalated into a catastrophe. Ocelot stood up painfully, rubbing his neck. The jerking had ripped quite a few nerves. He was beginning to get a terrible headache. Ocelot slid back into his car and began driving back home. Along the way he phoned his doctor, Edward Burton. Burton worked at St. Andrews Hospital For People Not Feeling So Well. Ocelot originally had planned to visit him about the repair of his sudden misplaced limb, but one of his idiot friends just had to call an ambulance leaving him no choice in the matter.

Ocelot made sure to make use of his Bluetooth headset. While a certifiable jerk, he wasn't quite stupid enough to actually hold his cell phone while driving.

"Burton here." Burton chimed in after answering the phone.

"Doctor, this is Adam."

"I see. How are you feeling, Adam?" Burton asked in a cheery tone.

"Cut your bedside manner bullshit right now, doctor. You know that I wouldn't be calling you unless I had a problem."

"Then would you prefer I subjugate myself to bureaucratized behavior as my colleagues seem to enjoy doing?"

"I don't care what you do, Burton. I care about the treatment I pay you for, which incidentally isn't working."

"I can't make you take your protein tablets, Adam." Burton said.

"No, not that one! I'm talking about the experimental pills you gave me that keep my personality from splitting."

"Okay, thank you for being specific." Burton said truthfully.

No matter how abusive Ocelot became, Edward wasn't the kind who let words impair his ability to function as a professional and a gentlemen because that's just the kind of guy he was.

"So have you had an attack yet?" Burton asked.

"Yes!" Ocelot yelled, exasperated. "No more questions. Tell me what I need to do and charge five hundred dollars to my credit card for ten minutes of advice since I no longer have insurance!"

"Now you know that's not how I do things." Burton chided. "Adam, I get the feeling that there's something you're not telling me. I understand that you recently had a new limb attached to your body, but the sheer notion of it is something I can't comprehend. You shouldn't be having attacks just because of this surgery."

"What about memory being stored in DNA, Burton? Did your fancy little PhD cover that topic?"

"I operate on proven science and proven science suggest that you have some serious underlining stress in your life right now."

"So you want me to check myself into the Happy Farm: Home Of Almonds before I hurt myself, don't you?"

"I didn't say that." Burton said stoically. "I do know of a doctor who might be able to help you with this condition. I can refer you to him and possibly get you a CAT scan to see if there's anything wrong with your brain."

"I'm not going to see a shrink! All psychologists do is tell you to think positively. You pay them to listen to your problems while they sit in a chair and pretend to care, but most of them don't. I don't need them to tell me to be optimistic because then I'd just be lying to myself. What I need is a stronger drug!"

"You're too old for a dosage like that!" Burton said, finally allowing himself to raise his voice. "I'm not going to give you something that could kill you."

"Fine, then. Who's twinkle toe's?"

"The psychologist?"

"No, your wife."

Burton sighed heavily.

"His name is Psycho Mantis." Burton began.

Ocelot hung up on him. The mere mention of Mantis was enough to leave a bad taste in his mouth for the duration of the day. Aside from that, the issue of sanity had been raised and Ocelot knew all to well that his mental state had nothing to do with the problem. Then again the condition he was going through wasn't exactly in the books. Medical books, at any rate. He couldn't really blame Burton for withholding further medication from him because under common knowledge, he was going crazy. Ocelot quit thinking about it before he pulled himself into some doomed complex where he actually began to feel insane. Revolver took off the glove he was wearing on Liquid's hand and starred at it distastefully. If he hadn't have required Liquid's hand to trick the Patriots it'd be buried along with the rest of his corpse somewhere in Missouri. This was perfect. His past was coming back to haunt him again for the fourth time this year.

Ocelot headed home and rushed inside without bothering to take his items along with him. He went straight for his medicine cabinet where he hoarded his anti-Liquid drugs amongst a small collection of band-aids with themes and some expensive cologne. Both his hands reached forward at once. Revolver grabbed the medicine bottles while Liquid snatched the cologne, quickly twisting off the cap with his thumb and forefinger.

"Bollocks." Ocelot muttered, realizing what was coming next.

That's my line, you wanker. Liquid cursed.

Liquid's hand began trying to splash cologne in Ocelot's eyes. The scent of the aroma almost made his nose bleed. No wonder women hated the strong stuff. Ocelot kept backing up as Liquid's limb covered him with the thick oily substance. He wasn't able to see what he was backing into and subsequently stumbled once he hit the rim of his bathtub. Ocelot lost his balance and fell into the tub, smacking his head hard on the temperature knobs while at the same time turning on the hot water valve. Red-hot steamy water rained down on his face. Ocelot felt very faint and quite sick. He had knocked his head rather hard. Revolver couldn't help but pass out. Liquid used this to his advantage. Now that Revolver was honestly out of commission, he'd have plenty of time to reign in his place.

The same could not be said for sleeping. When one slept, the other did as well. An involuntary loss of consciousness wasn't quite like sleep. Ocelot hadn't taken the blow quite as well as Liquid, which was his own fault. Liquid closed the water valve and jumped out of the tub, slightly dizzy. He coughed out some water into the sink and then found a towel to dry his face off. Finished with that he noticed himself in the mirror. Ocelot's mug was covered in bruises and scrapes. His hair was a complete mess. His stupid handlebar mustache was a little droopy. The back of his head felt sticky, so Liquid swiped at it a bit and discovered he was bleeding from that little fall they'd both taken.

This hardly mattered. Liquid opened up the medicine cabinet and proceeded to flush all of Ocelot's pills down the toilet to assure a no-contest victory every time he felt like taking over. He then went into Ocelot's bedroom. This was where Revolver chose to keep his guns. The cabinet had a nice illumination option that was a man's man alternative to a nightlight, which happened to be the primary reason it was located here instead of the living room. Every single gun behind the glass was a revolver except for one very old looking pistol. Liquid smashed the glass and snatched the gun, examining it. The weapon was far to old and dirty to use properly. It also looked as though it would jam easily.

He'd have to use a revolver. Upon further examination he found that there was little choice in the matter. Every single weapon was a Colt Single Action Army. Only the models were different. They were all in good shape as opposed to the handgun. Liquid presumed he picked out the one Ocelot usually carried and loaded it up with six bullets. He neglected to bring along a back up speed loader because if he hadn't managed to kill Snake with any of the six shots he wasn't going to. Instead he'd resort to beating Snake down with a garden hose or whatever else he could get his hands on if it came down to it.

Having finished part of this slightly unpleasant business, Liquid entered Ocelot's living room and searched for a phone book. He was planning on calling up at least one of his former cohorts to discover why exactly they chose not to continue their military careers and perhaps persuade them to come to his aid. There was a tiny black book on the top shelf where Ocelot kept all his DVD's. Liquid took it and began to read what was written inside. All the names were scribbled in blue ink and placed in alphabetical order according by the first name, not the last. Ten small check boxes were below every name, address, and phone number. These little boxes consisted of funny little tid-bits that were an option to fill in that Ocelot had taken. There was also a place to scribble some notes.

Liquid ran across Hal's number and examined the information.

Hal Emmerich. Oddball. A little too obsessed with pleasuring himself to fake women, I'm afraid. Has an unusual affinity toward certain voice actresses.

He paged back a bit and looked at Snake's info.

Solid Snake. Real name David. . .something. David Snake? David Stuart? He never says. Snake has suddenly become good company. He reminds me of someone I use to know. I think. A pleasing individual to pal around with even if he can become annoying at times with all those damn questions. Can be irritated by inciting logical arguments.

This was distracting. Liquid kept reading.

Naomi Hunter. Stay the hell away from this crazy bitch. You never know when she's going to stick you with something. I'm not sure what buttons to push with her because I've never personally hung out with her.

Roy Campbell. No comment.

Meryl Silverburg. See Roy Campbell. Multiply by two.

Raiden. I'd rather endure Snake's questions than his whining. He can have his moments, though. Overall he's just one of those people that likes to hang out with the cool guys because he thinks that will make him cool by comparison. Has an equally detestable girlfriend. Very sensitive to the smell of gunpowder. Doesn't like people criticizing his obviously drab lifestyle. Did I also mention he's whiny? It's notable enough to put down twice. Maybe even three times. He's whiny.

Olga Gur-not even going to try and spell-vich. A somewhat naive girl, I suppose. Good with her head. A bit defensive about her body and eating habits. Easily angered.

Liquid ceased this idle activity and dove straight for Mantis' phone number. He seemed like the right person to speak with.

Psycho Mantis. I don't much enjoy the company of psychologists. It always feels like they're waiting to find something wrong with you. Doesn't enjoy having his photo taken especially if it's at a Christmas party like last year. Incredibly allergic to vanilla.

Liquid dialed the provided number. It took a while for the former terrorist to answer. When he did, he sounded exhausted yet still retained a strict undertone.

"Stop calling me, Otacon. I specifically told you to lay off those anime videos of yours until you can settle back into reality. Go outside, talk to new people, do anything social! If that's not an option, busy yourself with the other things you like to do. Isn't that what helps you concentrate? I know you're secretly very depressed and your infatuation with those anime girls is partially to blame. Do I need to keep repeating myself? Go over that E-Mail I sent you. I'll see you next Tuesday."

Mantis forcefully hung up. Liquid gawked at the conversation and was momentarily stunned. He brushed the incident aside and pressed the re-dial button. This time Mantis picked up immediately.

"Otacon! Damn it, I'm going to send you to some other psychologist if you keep this up! Patricia Ja Lee would never go for a man that wets himself in public! And don't write her any more fan mail. She didn't have time to read all of your ten page love letter last time and she surely doesn't have any time to read it now so just lay off of her unless you want three restraining orders instead of two!" he then became very stern. "Grab yourself by the balls, get a life, and destroy that shrine you made of her entirely out of fruit. I know it took a lot of work, but it has to go. It's for the better."

Liquid found himself spacing in disbelief. Otacon had more problems than he thought. He began listening again and caught Mantis in the middle of a statement.

"It's just not healthy for anybody. I know it was traumatic to see two of the women you loved die right before your eyes and I do think that's where this problem originates if it doesn't have anything to do with sleeping with your mother like you say it doesn't, but Emma and Sniper Wolf are both alive and well right now for some odd reason. Embrace that! Don't question it. Okay, I'll tell you what we're going to do right now. Me and you are going to name all the positive things that you have going for you right now, okay?" after about a five second pause, Mantis broke in again. "Bad choice, let's try another game that exercises the ego."

"Mantis!" Liquid shouted. "I'm not Otacon! Don't you recognize my voice? I'm not one of your patients, I'm Liquid Snake!"

"Liquid?" Mantis said in disbelief. He then instantly regained his composure. "Interesting. I guess Ocelot is 'wearing' you again, correct?"

"You can thank that Fox clown for that."

"Yes, I know. Otacon clued me in on the details." Mantis said, disappointed.

"I called you because I have a question. Why has everyone else stopped mercenary work? Do you realize how infinitely more productive it is than say, psychology? Why have you all changed on me?"

Mantis took time to formulate his answer.

"First off, nobody really liked you all that much to begin with." Mantis admitted. "We were keeping it a secret from you because we were afraid of hurting your feelings. Every time you left the room someone would make a comment about you and we'd all laugh."

"Do you think I care? I'm the only person left in our so-called group that has his head on straight and at the moment I'm just a crummy hand, for Bog's sake! Explain to me why that is."

"What is this about? Let me guess. You're still caught up in that messy cloning debacle. In addition to that you're still planning on killing Snake."

"And why not? He killed you!"

"Uh, about that, I uh. . .never mind. Go on." Mantis grumbled.

"So what, then? You're just taking a holiday, aren't you?"

"A holiday? Oh, right. A vacation. Ever since you died I've gotten out of practice with British slang."

"Are you mocking me?"

"Liquid, let it go. Is this all you care about? Killing Snake? That's a stage you need to grow out of before you get yourself hurt. You'll put somebody's eye out with an attitude like that! There are a lot more things to do then just go around hurting people and trying to take over the world."

"Like what?" Liquid asked.

"I don't know. A CD burner? Maybe you could try writing. I hear it helps relieve stress and let's you play out your fantasies, whatever they may be. Just listen to me here for a second. Don't go out and try to kill Snake. Come to my office right now and talk to me. I won't charge you anything. We'll get to the root of your problem and pull that nasty thing right out, okay?"

Liquid hung up on Mantis and tossed the phone to the ground. That hadn't solved anything. He was wasting time. Liquid tucked his stolen revolver inside his belt and got back into Ocelot's vehicle. After crashing into Ocelot's garage he figured out how to reverse the car. He took out a fire hydrant before finding first gear.

"Where the hell are the directions for this thing?" Liquid shouted.

Snake's crib. . .or his home, whichever you prefer.

"I have nothing to say." Meryl said after she heard the message Ocelot left on Snake's answering machine once both of them had gotten back from blowing up the snowmen they made with the Stinger missile launcher.

"Well, we can't kill him." Snake said. "That much is for certain."

"It is only my immense respect for you that's keeping me from having absolutely no involvement with this situation." Meryl said, clearly pissed off. "Should we call someone and ask for help?"

"No. It'd probably be better if we dealt with this ourselves. An intervention would only provoke Liquid further."

"That's true. Should we set up traps, or something?"

"We'll have to talk him out of his hate. It's the only way to make sure Ocelot doesn't get hurt in the process."

Meryl sighed. She was obviously not comfortable with his plan.

"Do you have a machete?" Meryl asked with sarcastic curiosity.

"Somewhere." Snake replied with a shrug. "I think it might be out in the garage."

"I'll go get the rosary. How do you intend to talk your brother out of killing you?"

"Just play along with me."

"Oh, that's beautifully specific."

Meryl went to go fetch a rosary so she'd fair better against Snake's haunted garage. Snake made sure all of his dogs were in the shed and there wasn't any way they could get out. If he didn't have to worry about hurting Ocelot, this would be a lot easier. Snake armed himself with his Beretta just in case something went wrong. He assumed that's why Meryl was going to get a machete. If his plan didn't work and they got into a fight he would cap Ocelot while Meryl chopped off Liquid's hand. He hoped it wouldn't come to that.

Twenty accidents later.

Liquid almost hated the stick shift as much as he despised Snake. On the way to Snake's house he'd hit two Caribous, three parked cars, a marble display of the ten commandments in front of a church, and one very unlucky newlywed couple driving a Beetle. Ocelot's car incurred a couple of dents. Liquid's horrible driving skills seemed to aggravate the car. It somehow became even more difficult to drive, almost as though it was purposefully annoying him. Eventually Liquid finally managed to reach Snake's house, which was incredibly difficult. There was no map to it. All Liquid had to rely on was a scrap piece of paper that reminded Ocelot of several things he was supposed to watch out for that would let him know he was on the right track to Snake's house. Nobody was outside his home. Liquid was about to park in Snake's driveway when his brother suddenly emerged from the garage carrying a flamethrower. Instantly Liquid tried putting the car in reverse but got stuck in neutral. When he finally did get it to reverse, Snake gave him a friendly nod.

Snake sent out a wave of flame all over his driveway. Liquid gawked in complete disbelief at the display. Snake pretended not to notice. This was all part of his elaborate psychological plan to thwart Liquid's thinking down to a breakable level. All the ice melted away quickly. Snake paid special attention to the tiny snow mountains that enjoyed catching the underside of vehicles. When everything had turned to water a scorched cement driveway was revealed. Snake motioned for Liquid to pull in and disappeared inside his house.

After making absolutely certain he was in park, Liquid got out of the car. He didn't even notice when it backed out of Snake's driveway and smashed into a nearby tree because Liquid had mistakenly left it in reverse. Liquid quickly rushed inside Snake's house with his gun drawn. Adrenaline was pumping through his veins. Now was finally the moment where he'd extract his revenge. Inside, Snake and Meryl were sitting on a very comfortable looking couch facing the TV. They clearly saw him enter. Neither of them did anything about it.

"What's up, Liquid?" Snake asked casually.

"How are you doing, assho. . ." Meryl caught herself and coughed. "There's snacks in the freezer. Help yourself."

Liquid was thrown off balance by that remark and his hands eased up on the revolver. He observed the room quickly to be sure nobody was hiding anywhere. Snake was dressed in normal sweats and a stupid Japanese T-Shirt with Hanes socks covering his feet, which he wore inside out. That had always bothered everyone but him. Meryl was beside Snake and wore a fairly attractive outfit along with an old beaded rosary. They almost looked like they were married and they were watching some fruity Japanese anime on DVD. A rather attractive chick with light blue hair and orange eyes was looking over a cliff with a dude in a school uniform beside her. A mobile robot that reminded him of a very tiny Metal Gear was pursuing both of them.

"What're we gonna do?" the dude asked the woman in fear. "Maybe we should call for help like help!"

Liquid gawked at that, letting his guard down completely. Snake used this to his advantage and reached for his Beretta. He skillfully shot Liquid's revolver out of his hands. It flew into another room, clattering to the ground loudly. Liquid gasped and looked toward his lost weapon and then at Snake, not knowing what to do. He then noticed Meryl was holding an old machete stained with the blood of many plants and one unlucky guard. Her glare was fierce enough to make him really want some of those snacks in the fridge so she would calm down. Liquid caught on to the threat immediately. He couldn't help but feel that something wasn't right about the atmosphere in the house. It should have been a lot more tense. Meryl's defensiveness didn't count. Why was everything so out of place? Liquid wasn't ready for this. He was expecting Snake to be heavily armed with backup on standby.

He realized that if Snake did indeed have backup then he probably shouldn't have busted in like he had done. Liquid should have taken that into consideration. It would have been wiser if he had snuck into the house. Furthermore, calling Snake before he had made his attack suddenly seemed very idiotic. It ruined the element of surprise and had given Snake time to prepare. Liquid suddenly felt weak as his foolishness weighed down on his confidence. This was the worst attempted assassination ever.

"Now here's what we can do." Snake said. "You can go and try to get that gun or you can sit down and stay awhile." he sniffed at the air. "By the way, you smell nice."

"Shut up!" Liquid snapped. "We're going to fight, you and I! Get off your ass and square off with me. Now!"

Meryl and Snake ignored Liquid in favor of the anime. For a moment, nobody moved or said anything. Liquid boiled in his own frustration.

"What the hell are you watching?" Liquid demanded.

"This is Tenchi Universe. That guy right there is Tenchi." Snake pointed at the youth. "He lives in the country of Japan with his dad and grandfather. One day two girls called Ryoko and Mihoshi crashed near his home. Four more women follow and they all bunk with him. A couple of the chicks fight over who gets to be with him."

"I wish I was in that position." Liquid commented admirably. "Six women falling over me? That would surely. . ." he stopped, catching himself. "What am I doing? What just happened to the position that we were in?"

"So, you want to shoot me?" Snake asked, getting back to the topic at hand.

"Yes!"

"You need a gun in order to do that." Snake said casually.

"I had a bloody gun! You shot it out of my hand!"

"Technically, you had a revolver. That's like calling a truck a car, Liquid. Really, you should know better." Meryl corrected.

Liquid screamed at the top of his lungs in exasperation. Snake got up and fetched the revolver from the other room. He then carefully handed it to Liquid, who yanked it away from him. Liquid could feel the sweat start to soak into his clothes. Maybe killing Snake wasn't a good thing to do right at this moment. Perhaps he really should go see Mantis. These couldn't be his true thoughts. They certainly didn't belong to Ocelot either. Liquid realized what was going on. He was being attacked psychologically. Somehow it was working out even though it clearly shouldn't. Liquid gathered up his hate and pulled back the hammer, aiming point-blank at Snake's head. Meryl didn't even flinch, but Liquid could hear her grip tighten on the machete she was holding.

Everything was working perfectly. Snake was just seconds away from either being killed or breaking Liquid. Abruptly he dropped to his knees and began feeling around the carpet as if he had dropped something. Liquid kicked him hard in the side. It hurt, but not as much as Snake expected.

"Get up, you bloody dolt!" Liquid ordered.

Snake did as he was told. Liquid was no longer aiming his gun at Snake. He was breathing heavily and appeared to be rather nervous.

"Aren't you going to try and fight me?" Liquid asked.

"Do you want me to fight you?" Snake asked.

"You are messing with my head!" Liquid accused.

"No, I'm not. There are no tricks involved here. If you want to shoot me then by all means go right ahead and do it."

"But. . .but. . .you're supposed to do something!" Liquid shouted. "It's not a fight unless two people are exchanging brutality."

Snake performed a quick jig. When Liquid failed to respond he did another one, this time choosing a number that was a little more complex.

"There you go. I did something." Snake said. "A brutal jig."

"I meant run around and toss some chaff grenades or something, you bloody idiot! While I'm at it, that second jig was horrible!" Liquid bellowed. "Watch and learn!"

Liquid performed a jig. By comparison Liquid did it a lot better. He probably had plenty of practice.

"Uncultured twit. Wait a second!" Liquid raised his revolver. "That's it, I've had it! No more head games! Ever!"

By his body language it was evident that this time he was serious. He'd finally been driven to the point where he could kill Snake. However, this didn't deviate from Snake's intentions. This time a gun wasn't going to save him. Words would. Thank goodness for Freud.

"What're you going to do after you dispose of me?" Snake asked quickly.

Liquid's eyes bulged. The revolver began shaking.

"Well. . ." Liquid said, biting his bottom lip. He then tried to be tough, but it was obviously an act. "I'm going to take over the world!"

"Uh-huh." Snake said simply, completely breaking Liquid's spirit by the way he said it.

"I hate you!" Liquid spat out, his face turning red.

"And that will never change." Snake said. "Now, why don't you give me that revolver?"

There was no giving involved. Liquid tossed it on the floor and sat down in Snake's recliner, brooding feverishly. Snake took the revolver and stripped it just in case Liquid decided to change his mind, which wouldn't do him much good what with the weapons cache's Snake had all over his house. He would still be in danger if something went wrong. Just by looking at Liquid he knew that wasn't going to happen. He seemed to be trying to formulate a witty comeback. Inside, Snake smiled. He'd won. Meryl filed her nails with the machete, not taking her eyes off of Liquid until she was sure he had been beaten.

Liquid let out an exhausted sigh. Snake sat down beside Meryl. Nobody said anything, but they could feel Liquid's intense concentration. Truth be told, it wasn't that much of a threat to have a Metal Gear anymore. If Liquid wanted to continue with his vision, he'd have to rethink everything. Killing Snake suddenly became the least of his worries. Liquid would need a weapon of overwhelming power to threaten the world again. He'd also need his own body. Furthermore, he'd have to go through the trouble of recruiting an entire terrorist unit that held his same ideals.

When he'd been in a position of power he'd forgotten how hard it was to get there. In fact, it was nearly impossible. If he wanted to threaten the world again he'd need to know the right people. He no longer did. The more he thought about it the worse his outlook became. He literally began to feel that Shadow Moses was a one-shot chance for greatness that he'd failed at. Ocelot stirred from within him and came awake violently, gathering information. Liquid didn't even try to suppress him. He already had his course of action figured out. It would take a long time to accomplish. Probably too long. For now, Snake would live and he'd make his life a living hell every chance he got because resurrecting Outer Heaven was years away unless he made it into a bar, which sounded like a jolly good idea.

He was tired. The weight of everything he'd gone through came crashing down on him. Liquid kept Ocelot under control for just a little longer.

"I'm not going to give up." Liquid assured Snake. "I'll get you some day, one way or the other."

"For now, could you get me a beer?"

"I'm being serious!"

"I am too."

"Oh, bug off! I'm leaving."

Ocelot surged forward while Liquid willingly retreated.

"Snake, he almost had you that time!" Ocelot spat out.

"Almost, but not quite." Snake said.

Ocelot put a hand on Snake's shoulder and looked him in the eyes.

"Why didn't you just shoot me with the M-9?" Ocelot asked.

Snake's face twisted into an expression of disbelief. Meryl dropped the machete in shock. Snake looked over at his gun case and quickly located his M-9.

How much of that crap could I have avoided if only I had. . .

"Shut up." Snake muttered.

"But Snake, it only would have taken. . ." Ocelot began.

"Shut up." Snake said slowly.

"Snake!" Ocelot insisted.

"Shut up!" Snake shouted.

"Fine, be that way." Ocelot concluded.

Snake sighed and sunk deep into the couch, feeling stupid. If he had just shot Liquid with the M-9, everything else could have been avoided. As the evening passed on they both felt that Snake's way of handling the situation was better. He had broken Liquid, after all. If he'd have tranquilized Liquid that probably would have only made things worse. When the anime ended they all held a general conversation after Ocelot cleaned himself up. Generally they spoke lightly until the evening when Revolver finally decided to leave. They had a good session in spite of what had brought it about. When Ocelot arrived home he collapsed in his shower, relieved that his day was almost over. Ocelot was going to try his best to sleep everything off. Hopefully it'd work. Inside, he could feel Liquid wanting to say something. Ocelot reluctantly allowed it. So long as Liquid didn't try anything funny, Ocelot figured fighting wasn't worth it. If he were a bit younger that notion would have been different.

"Well, if we're going to be sharing the same body I think you should get use to one of my hobbies." Liquid said.

"What might that be?" Ocelot asked.

"Masturbating to imaginary bestiality." Liquid said with a smirk.

"What? No!" Ocelot wailed as he was forced to his knees to proceed with a particular act.

"Milk that cow!" Liquid shouted.

Ocelot waited on shaky knees for his body to be defiled, but nothing happened.

"Just kidding." Liquid joked. "We're going to be excellent roommates."