Mark didn't answer. He huffed and took a step back. He was used to being treated badly, but he felt like Ferris was faking her gratitude.
"You should just go home." He told her.
"Huh?" Ferris was confused.
"You should. It's going to take forever for them to get the hospital back together. There's no reason for you to stay. You aren't sick. They haven't kept hospital records in years."
Ferris nodded. "You're right."
Mark wasn't expecting an answer like that. "Yeah," was all that he could think to say.
"You're going to need to come with me," Ferris realized that although she was deathly afraid of the man standing next to her, she was far more scared of walking home alone, in the snow, with her tiny newborn wrapped in her arms. "I mean, you're a Bl - A Red. I don't think I can get Alexis home without some help." Ferris was still exhausted from giving birth, and although she wasn't sure how long it had been, she knew it was at least 12 hours since that had even happened. Suddenly Ferris wished she had a car. Of course it was a ridiculous thought, they'd been banned long before she was born, but she had to get around on foot in whether like this. There was no way that the city buses were running, and if they were, they'd be jammed.
"I'm not sure I should leave while I'm on duty - Ah, screw it. I'll take you home... but are you sure you want to be seen with a Bloke?"
She nodded, it was a terrible thing to be, the girl with walking with a Bloke, but her and Alexis needed his help. Mark must have known all about babies, since he worked with them.
In all the chaos of putting out the fire, nobody even seemed to notice as they left from the masses of panicking people.
He was following Ferris down all the streets that would apparently lead to her house, very slowly. She still limped, but her ankle was more sprained than anything. It was the sudden shock that hadn't allowed her to stand on the staircase. Trying to make conversation, Mark said "They used to call the communists the Reds."
"Really? That's kinda weird..." Ferris was surprised, but her voice didn't let it show. "Are you a communist?"
"Nah, that's all too uneven for me." Mark smiled a bit as he answered. There was something in his smile that Ferris never saw in a Bird's smile - It was rougher, more stern, but somehow more welcoming. She smiled a little bit back.
Ferris was holding Alexis in her arms, she was silent and asleep. She noticed she was nearly at her house, and Mark had been of no hope yet, although she wasn't sure exactly what she'd expected him to do...
Without noticed, Alexis woke and started to cry. "She's cold." Ferris whispered, as she felt like voice faded with the wind, but Mark heard her. "Shhhh," Ferris hushed her baby, but the crying noise was so beautiful.
The people on the streets had been giving Ferris dirty looks as she walked beside Mark, for nearly their entire walk. One women, who was tall and slender, with the eyes of a cat, gave her a particularly menacing stare. She looked more saddened then angry, but bitter none the less.
"We're here," Ferris stopped in front of an old-fashioned, but well preserved house and turned towards it.
Mark raised an eyebrow, unsure of what to do. He started to turn around to leave, but Ferris stopped him with her words. "Wait a second, you have to come in. It's cold out. Besides, I've got some baby questions."
Turning around, Mark smiled again. Ferris loved watched the features of his face, they were almost frightening but she was oddly attracted to them. She rarely saw Blokes walking on the streets, but she'd never really looked at one in the flesh before. Never looked at one in person., or as a person.
Mark followed Ferris into her home. Inside, it was beautiful but dark. Even when Ferris flipped the lights on, the atmosphere was still blackened and the decorating was mostly dark blue, and her lamps and decorations were all silver in color, rather than gold.
"Nice place... very unique."
"Thanks," Ferris answered, not completely thrilled with her own decorating. "I'm sure your place is nice too."
Mark couldn't help but laugh. "You mean my dormer at hospital?"
"You live at the hospital? Jeez, that's rough..." Ferris couldn't believe she hadn't realized it. Of course Blokes can't live in neighbourhoods.
Ferris sat down in a chair at her kitchen table, but hung on tightly to Alexis, who almost looked like she was smiling. Staring at her beautiful baby, she started to wonder about Mark again. "Are you a crop?"
Mark nodded. "Most men are."
Ferris shrugged, moving her arms as much as she could without disturbing Alexis. "Most. Some people want to clone you guys too..."
A moment of silence followed, but Ferris was still curious. "Have you ever sinned?"
"I hate it put that way..."
Mark nodded. "A few times. Everybody used to do it."
Ferris shook her head, a little bit disgusted. He was way off base. "They used to have to... to keep the race alive. But people grow. If we still did all the stupid things that people used to do... can you image where people would be today?"
"People used to love. Maybe they still would."
Ferris felt offended, leaping to defend herself, as if she'd been personally attacked. "How dare you! I can certainly love! I love my Mother, I love all my friends..." Smiling and suddenly forgetting about her anger, Ferris finished, "And I love Alexis. Look at how beautiful she is."
Backing off a little bit, Mark justified himself. "People used to have romantic love. Nobody's got that anymore."
"It's your own fucking fault, you and all the other goddamn Blokes! How can we be expecting to love you when all you do is abuse, rape and torture us?"
Mark choked on the air he was breathing in. "I never did any of those things."
Ferris' anger calmed, but she was still feeling aggressive.
"What about lesbians? Do you guys hate them too?"
Ferris cocked her head backwards, and looked up at the ceiling, somehow hoping she'd find the words written across it. "No... That's a whole different thing."
"I thought this brave new world was about fighting the physical temptation to sin now that it isn't necessary. I'm living in it too, that's what they say." Mark pointed out.
"Yeah, but it's ok for them... ' Cause their physical temptations aren't connected to something darker than themselves. And their feelings are mutual... That doesn't happen for us."
"Then why don't you do it?"
"'Cause it's not in me. Doesn't even tempt me..." Ferris answered, matter-of-factly.
"No? So, you're attracted to men, but you're not supposed to let that temptation win, right?" Mark asked, sitting down at the table across from Ferris.
"I guess, I kinda of am..."
Playing with her a little bit, Mark proceeded to ask, "Are you attracted to me?"
Ferris, who had no idea how to answer that question, was rescued by the sound of the doorbell. She jumped from her seat and hit the back of Mark's shirt with her foot, kicked him roughly enough to get him to go into the next room, in the direction away from the front door. Alexis was still in her other arm. "Hide," She told him, "Nothing personal, it could be a friend, I can't have a Bloke here."
Offended, but used to it, Mark climbed into a closet that he barely see or hear out of.
He could hear Ferris race to the door, her feet moving in a pattern that was brisk but still protective of the baby in her care. The baby cried a little, her same beautiful cry from before. All of the sudden, Mark heard desperate screams that were clearly from the mouth of Ferris. The baby's cried went from beautiful to fearful and terror-stricken. Then they completely stopped. Ferris' screams became louder. Struggling with the door, Mark tried to bust the door open. It was jammed from being old, but finally after what seemed like ages of pounding, the door failed and pushed open.
Mark ran as quickly as his feet would take him to the front door, but when he got there all he saw was Ferris, on the ground, with the same foot that was sprained shot at right about where the pain should have been. There was blood everywhere and the front door was wide open. Ferris was still screaming inaudibly, and Mark stooped next to hear to try to calm her down. "Shhh, Calm down... What happened?"
Ferris couldn't calm down but she stopped screaming and tried to talk, "I-I-I couldn't stop her... She-she point-pointed it at me and and... and I wouldn't g-give her Alexis s-so she called me a breeder and I couldn't stop her..."
Mark could feel Ferris shaking without even touching her. Although he wasn't completely sure that's what he felt, because he had started shaking too. "Where's Alexis?" He screamed his words angrily, but it wasn't intending for Ferris, but she felt bombarded by him.
"I-I-I don't k-know." Ferris was gasping for air even though it was all around her, and she could hardly even feel the pain in her foot. "She c-called me a breeder and then th-en she called A-Alexis a crop and to-took her from me, after s-she shoot me, me..." Ferris' eyes were shedding unstoppable tears, and her face was covered in them. "And th-then she ran away... L-left with my b-baby..."
Still shaking and having no words to comfort her with, Mark asked bluntly the only thing he could think of that he needed to know. "Who was she?"
Ferris answered his question as he yanked off his jacket and started to tie it around Ferris' leg. "I-It was the woman on the street, th-the one who g-gave me, or u-us, that dirt-dirty look."