DAUGHTER OF A GUN

A Story About Pain And Love;

And How Just A Little Kindness Can Save Us All.

By Sakin-chan

Chapter 13 – Will You Open Up –


"Come on, we're nearly there…"

"Ugh…"

"I don't know why you have to get yourself into so much trouble all the time… there's no need to be suicidal."

You don't realize how heavy a 17-year old boy can be. Try carrying one. Then you'll see what I mean. Gabriel was getting weaker all the time – what little energy he had recovered during our ride in Farrukh's car was now almost all gone. His skin felt clammy and cold to the touch. I really wished I'd asked Farrukh to drop us off closer to my house, but the risk to him and his nephew and niece would've been too great.

Better to suffer than drag more innocents down with me.

"Thanks… Deka… you've bailed… me out again…"

I glanced at him, his arm around my shoulders and his head bowed in defeat. He looked so helpless and tired and cold… poor guy. What he must've gone through.

"Hey, you owe me," I said, attempting to put some cheer into our tired conversation. I lifted his face up and forced him to meet my gaze. His proud, gray eyes stared into my own, deceitful brown ones, and a peculiar feeling slid down my back and through to the bottom of my stomach. "Fill me in when we're home, and I've gotten some food into you. You must be half-dead already."

It was an odd feeling, being depended upon. It was a little scary, but I liked it. A lot. Gabriel gave me a small smile, then looked away, his head bowed down.

I don't think he liked being weak – maybe he'd have preferred me to see him unwounded and strong. I dunno. It really didn't make any difference to me – he was still the slightly annoying, slightly egotistical, very handsome Gabriel.

But he was no angel, in case the name misled you.

As for myself… I was surprised at my behavior. Make no mistake, I was never a tender-hearted girl who loved one and all – but now I acted like a mother to this idiot who'd gotten me into this trouble in the first place!

We'd finally reached the old park where I used to hang out at night, alone and cold. I collapsed on the closest bench I could find, and Gabriel curled up next to me, shivering.

"What's wrong?" I asked him, a little worried.

"I'm… a little c-cold…" he gasped, teeth chattering. "I'll be fine, though. I…" He coughs, and a deep shudder runs through his body.

"Well, well. Look who it isn't." a familiar voice sneers.

"It's White-Haired-Freak! Long time no see, baby."

I look up, and groan. The J-Jay twins.

I do so not need this right now. Especially with Gabe out of commission like this.

"What the hell do you losers want?" I ask, wondering if I can take them on with my metal arm. I smile to myself – I handled 5 armed guards; these guys will be a piece of cake!

Hehehe… revenge.

"What is she smiling at, do you think, Tom?" Simon said mockingly.

"Maybe she's hot for us, Simon, eh?" Tom said, echoing his tone.

"Well, Simon says…" he glanced at his twin, smirking at me. "Simon says… let's jump her!"

They both lunged at me at the exact same time. I was prepared for them, my metallic right hand curled up into a fist. Just as I swung my hand back, ready to knock at least one of the twins' teeth out, a shadow slipped between my attackers and me.

"Gabriel?!" I was shocked. A minute ago he had been shivering uncontrollably! And now he wanted to fight?!

He ignored me, and grabbed Simon's face. Something very, very strange happened then. Suddenly, the twin stopped, held back by Gabe's hand on his face. A shudder went through him, and his face slowly turned blue. The veins on his forehead began to stand out, each of them purple with frozen blood. Gabriel was smiling coldly at him. "What do you think Simon says now, Tommy?" he asked the other twin, his eyes glued to his victim; then let go of Simon, who collapsed in the dirt, spittle dripping from his lips.

I was speechless. Had Gabriel done… what I just saw him do?

Had he REALLY knocked Simon out with just a simple touch?

I found myself backing away from him, slowly, so he wouldn't notice.

Tom, however, crouched next to his fallen brother, shock silencing him.

"Take him to the hospital. And don't bother to tell the police – nobody will believe you," Gabriel stated dryly, his voice as normal as if he were commenting on the lousy weather. I didn't know who he was anymore – didn't recognize this monster that was trapped in Gabriel's body. Once more I found myself wondering where he had been, and what madness had befallen him.

When he abruptly turned round, I couldn't help but flinch at his gaze.

He had definitely changed. But for better – or worse?

"AAARGH! YOU LITTLE BASTARD!" Tom suddenly rushed at Gabriel from behind, furious at his brother, Simon's, fate.

"Gabe, WATCH OUT!" I cried, then saw I needn't have bothered.

Gabriel turned round at the last moment, getting a hold of Tom's sleeve and pulling him forward – using his own momentum against him to knock him down to the ground. Tom hit the playground earth with a dull thud, and Gabe knelt down on his neck. "How do you want it, Tommy-boy? A slow painful end, or an apology to the lady?" Gabriel said, a cold, humorless smile on his face.

I couldn't believe how he was acting.

"Gabriel, what is going on?! What do you think you're doing?"

He gave me a warm smile, which was unsettling as Tom was gasping for air under his knee. "I'm teaching these fools a lesson. Like you wanted to do yourself."

I felt angry. "You're… what the hell happened to you when you left?! What's gotten into you?"

"What do you mean? I didn't die, remember?" he said, which convinced me that something very, very bad was wrong here. "I'm just the same, Deka."

I snapped my arms out straight, frustrated by the way he didn't seem to listen to my words. "But that's just it! How did you survive? You haven't told me anything. I thought you were DEAD!" I turned away from him. "Do you know how that… made me feel?"

"I know I should have told you, but I wasn't able to contact you."

"Why not?!"

"I… it's a long story."

I shook my head. "I can't believe that I went after Jones for you. I'm going home." I glared at him. "Thanks to you I have a broken life I need to patch up. Drop by when you deem me worthy of hearing your 'long story'."

I left him kneeling there with a blank look on his face and Tom wriggling beneath him. As I turned the corner round the park, I heard a scream and stopped. Had he killed Tom? Oh, I didn't care anymore. I gritted my teeth and set off home. Gabriel had changed into something unrecognizable. Something had happened after he'd gotten shot. The old Gabriel I'd saved from his grandfather and those goons in the basement was the one who died, I think. That was the Gabe I mourned, the one I'd fought for.

THIS person, however…

I just went home. I was so tired…


When I arrived, I was shocked out of words - thoughts, too.

My house had turned into a dump!

How can I describe it?

The garden was overgrown (not much difference there), the door was boarded up, the floorboards of the porch were pitted with holes and rotted planks, the windows were broken, graffiti scrawled all over the walls… good grief.

'When I catch the little BASTARD who's done this to my house, I'll make 'em sorry they ever lived!' I thought, angry at the state of it all.

I went up the stairs, carefully avoiding the more fragile planks, and went up to the front entrance. I tried pulling the planks off, but it was like some inhuman force had hammered them in.

"Knock, knock."

CRASH!

I punched a hole in the door instead, and crawled through, my white body suit protecting me from the jagged shards of wood. Inside was so much worse. Dusty, musty and empty. The lighting was broken. The TV was stolen. Everything was gone. Well, everything except the pile of bills on the floor. I'd sort that out later.

I slowly climbed up the stairs, praying my room was the same, though I knew it couldn't possibly be. I mean, the rest of the house was trashed, why would my room be any better? I came to my door, and touched the handle.

Do I go in?

The door creaked open and I was relieved to find that everything was just dusty and in a complete mess, but still miraculously there. I went in, and sat on my bed. It creaked horribly, and clouds of dust rose up, making me cough. I got up and looked in the closet. All my clothes were gone! So much for my room still being the same.

Great.

My cupboard was still locked, however. I'd made a lock for it myself one day, after my father had made a dumb habit of digging through stuff like my diary and my comic collection (yeah, I like comics). I opened it after destroying the lock, and smiled at the sight of all my old stuff. The books I bought in the market place, the diaries I wrote in with my special shorthand language, the small pictures I used to draw… it all seemed so insignificant now.

I went to the window, and looked out at my overgrown garden. All of this had happened within a few months. Strangely enough, I found myself wondering how long was left till my birthday. I scratched my head, embarrassed with myself. What did it matter when my birthday was?! Its not like there's anybody to celebrate it with, now, is there?

Also my friends, Kotaro and Gabriel; what had happened to change them both so much? I wondered what it was exactly that I felt for each of them… wait! Since when did I feel anything for them at all?! I ignored the foolish grin that was spreading itself across my lips, and looked at my hands – one of flesh, one of metal. Both stained irrevocably with blood. I was indeed a killer. God… God… God…

I glanced at the dark sky. It was becoming a hard habit to break, staring at the moon. I was slightly superstitious about it, yet I needn't have worried tonight: the moon was nowhere to be seen.

I sighed, and left the window, looking for a towel. The suit was becoming irritatingly sticky and sweaty. As I went through random drawers in the house, I managed to find a clean but a little dusty pair of comfy gray sweat-pants, a two-sizes-too-small light-blue sweater displaying the words 'Just Do It' and the Nike logo and some underwear and socks. I noticed that I'd lost some weight too, which was not bad news in itself – then again, it wasn't exactly the best news I could have had. It was just so UN-IMPORTANT… I had to laugh!

Before I climbed into the shower, I decided to clean it a little. After I scrubbed it with what little detergent I had left, I checked the hot water supply – luckily, our water-providers hadn't turned THAT off yet! I quickly stripped and climbed into the shower, wincing and flinching at the hot temperature of the water. It hurt, but I welcomed it. This was CLEAN pain, it was endurable, and it was all right. Suddenly, the water became a little hotter, and a little squeal of shock escaped my lips.

"Too hot for you?" drawled a voice nearby, making me jump and back up against the far wall of the shower. I grabbed my towel from the rack and clutched it tight. "Who the hell's there?!" I hissed, angry and slightly frightened.

"Don't be scared, Deka," the voice said lazily; I tried to pin-point its location but all the steam from my shower and the clouded glass wall of the cubicle made it extremely hard to see. "Don't be scared," the voice repeated, in that languorous, sleek tone; "All will be well."

I glanced around for an escape route, but there was none.

Suddenly, a face emerged from the steam three inches away from me, and I couldn't help but gasp and press myself into the wall.

It was Gabriel.


His face shone with the moisture of the humid air of the bathroom, the smile on his lips getting wider and wider. His hair and my hair – both the same shade of white/gray – were dripping, the water sliding down our faces. My hand fumbled for the switch, and I turned off the shower, my wet hair getting into my eyes and making me blink. A chill was creeping into my bones. I couldn't move; his proud gray eyes staring deep into my dark-brown eyes, too deep for my comfort; he was holding me still with his gaze. I was aware of the pregnant silence between us. My smooth, metallic right arm was clouded with condensation. I took a shuddering breath.

Seconds ground by; him gazing at me with his smile, and me transfixed by his eyes, standing in the shower clutching my towel, naked and wet. Then he reached out for me, his right hand slowly getting closer. I shrunk back, staring at his hand as though it were a monster, wishing it would stop. It crept closer; agonizingly… slowly closer. It struck me how pale he seemed in comparison to myself; my skin was dark, dark; black as if it carried the burden of my sins. Drops of water trickled down my throat and inched down my chest; down the inside of my leg till it reached the puddle of water around my feet.

His hand found my face, and it was cold, so icy. His coldness seemed as though it was seeping into my body through his hand, stealing my heat. I stared at him, his fingers covering half of my face, holding my breath. Then he trailed his hands softly, slowly, down the side of my face and throat. His fingers traced the outline of my collarbones; then he spread his hand over my bare chest. I was sure he could feel the violent beat of my heart inside me.

"Hey," he finally said.

I snapped out of my trance, acutely aware of my nakedness. My face burnt in shame, and I clutched the towel closer to my body. Then, almost without thinking about it, I drew my left hand back, and slapped his cheek! The SMACK reverberated through the bathroom. However, he didn't look at all surprised. A horribly arrogant smirk twisted his lips.

That really pissed me off. "GET OUT of my way!" I hissed, and got out of the shower, pushing him aside, taking my change of clothes with me and wrapping my towel around myself.

I heard his laughter behind me, and heard his footsteps following me down the hall and into my room.

"Hey, come on, it was just a joke!" Gabriel cried, his arms spread out and still smirking.

"Go AWAY!" I retorted, marching down the hallway and closing the door to my room in his face; "I don't know what you did to Simon back in the park, I don't know what's gotten into you!"

Gabriel laughed again; this time, it was a little strained. "There's nothing wrong with me! I'm absolutely fine, you know. I'm better than EVER!"

"NO you're NOT!" I yelled from behind my door, struggling into my shirt as quickly as I could – there was no telling what he was capable of, what he could do. "You've changed! I don't know you anymore."

Silence.

"Gabriel?" I asked tentatively, "Gabe? You there?" I was done changing, and now stood with my ear to the door. I backed away from it, keeping my eyes on the doorknob as though he could somehow move it by sheer will power.

"…Open up, Deka." I heard a sort of weariness in his voice. "Come on."

"Why?!" I shouted at the door, "So you can freak me out again?"

"In the shower… I–" he sighed, and fell silent for a second. "-That was a mistake, I shouldn't have done that."

"No. You shouldn't have."

"I'm sorry, alright? Come on, open up!" he pleaded. I still didn't feel I could trust him – not yet. I was still a little… shaken from that dumb trick he pulled on me in the shower. I walked back to the door, and held the key. I rattled it a little to make it seem as though I was going to open it.

"Ah!" he said, sounding relieved, "You've finally come to your senses."

"Maybe so," I replied, and opened the door just enough to glimpse his face. He grinned at me, and grabbed the doorknob to open the door further when-

"AH!" he yelped, pulling his fingers just clear as I yanked the door closed as hard as I could. "HEY! WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT FOR?!" he shouted.

"I can't trust you," I told him simply.

"WHA-? But I-!" he spluttered; "You don't SERIOUSLY think I'd… hurt you?"

Of course I thought so. I just didn't want to admit it.

"You do think I'd hurt you." It was a quiet statement.

'YES I do!' I thought to myself; 'Ko hurt me, BETRAYED me - and he seemed even more trustworthy than you did! Why would you be any different?!'

"I thought you'd changed, D." He suddenly sounded different – harder. "You haven't at all!"

That angered me – I punched my fist into the door, snarling: "What would YOU know?!"

"You'll never be happy because you'll never let anybody into your heart," he told me.

I laughed. "That's a bit rich coming from you, Gabe. YOU'RE the one who never let anybody in."

"I didn't say I was any better."

"You're acting like it."

"NO, I – goddammit, Deka, I'm trying to help you!"

"Then you have a funny way of going about it." I turned my back to the door and leant against it. I felt really, really tired.

"Yeah," I heard him sigh, "you're right, I suppose."

Silence. Neither of us had anything to say to each other.


I only realized I'd fallen asleep when the sound of Gabe's whispers startled me back into full awareness.

I groaned. How long had I been asleep?

"You alright? Deka, can you hear me?" Gabriel sounded really worried.

"Uhn… I'm fine." I rubbed my eyes, and stretched my arms, yawning widely.

"You fell ASLEEP?!" he cried on the other side of the door, outraged.

I giggled at his worry – it seemed so silly! I was just on the other side of this door; what could possibly go wrong? "Hey chill, chill. It's okay! Were you worried?" I teased him.

"NO, I… oh, go to hell!"

"Hmph. If that's all you've got to say then-"

"-Then what?" Gabe interrupted me, angry. "NOTHING, that's what! You'll never change! You won't ever let anybody into your heart. You probably don't even admit to yourself that you have one! So somebody hurt you once. That doesn't mean you can cut yourself off from everybody else."

"You don't know what you're talking about, Gabe." I felt my anger rising up again, coursing through my body and screaming at me to hurt him, hurt him, to HURT. "You know nothing of what I've been through."

"YOU know nothing about of what I'VE been through either," he retorted. "The point is, you haven't learned to accept pain yet. I know; I was like that once."

"Bullshit," I growled, getting up and moving away from the door. His words wouldn't leave me alone though. They kept coming after me, even when I sat on my bed and dug my head into the dusty, dirty covers.

"It isn't bullshit – it's true and you don't like it." A pause. "I'll bet that you're too afraid to open this door."

I looked up. 'Afraid to open that stupid door? No way – I just don't want to see his bloody face,' I told myself. "I'm not afraid," I said, just a little too loudly.

"Right," he smirked, and it irritated me because I could imagine his smug little grin just the other side of that door. I stampeded over to it, and grabbed the doorknob. "I'll show YOU, you little-"

"Ah, ah, ah! Remember, if you open this door, you'll be opening yourself up to the world; it'll mean you accept pain. Are you ready for that, Deka?"

Suddenly, turning that handle and letting the door open seemed like the most difficult thing to do. Yet I had to do it. So many fates depended on it, not least my own. "To destroy Jones, I must get closer to him. The only place I know for certain that I can get to him is Haven; to get to Haven, I'm going to need to get caught again. I must attract Jones' attention, but first of all…" I reasoned with a sigh, "I need to go through that door. I need to open it."

"…Will you open up?" Gabe asked me.

I gripped the handle, and simply twisted my hand, opening it in an instant. Such an important decision made in only a moment. As the door slowly swung open, a gust of cold air invaded my room, stirring the dust around me. Beyond the door lay the world, with Gabriel in it. He smiled at me, and extended his hand. "I knew you could do it," he said, inviting me to take it with his eyes.

I grinned back at him, then took a breath and stepped out into my sick, sad world, the world where I belonged. Nothing I could do would stop me from hurtling along my destined path, stop the train of events I had set in motion. There was no going back.

I stepped up to Gabriel, still smiling. Instead of taking his hand, I shoved him away, and walked down the hallway. "You are very wrong about me, Gabe. I've changed a hell of a lot, and I'm not the way I used to be." I told him, not looking back. I could feel his footsteps following me, though. I continued: "However, I'm not afraid of a stupid door, and I'm not afraid of doing what I have to do when I have to do it." I stopped and glanced back at him.

He seemed amused by what I was saying, and not taking it at all as seriously as I wished him to. I marched back towards him and poked him in the chest, making him stumble backwards a few steps. "Be that as it may, who I open MY heart to is MY business alone, Gabriel. So back off."

When we finally emerged outside my old home, it was dawn. The sun was rising over the dirty gray skies of Aberlyn once more. I'd put on a pair of my old trainers I'd found lying around downstairs and a black jacket to cover my arm. I tugged on my light-blue Nike shirt (that barely covered my belly button), shivering in my gray sweat-pants; and Gabe was pretty inconspicuous with his black jeans, gray T-shirt and brown jacket.

We weren't known for our style.

"So, almighty one, where do we go?" Gabriel asked me, looking around at the deserted street and darkened houses.

"I suppose we have to… I don't know, maybe get somethin' to eat." I put my hands on my stomach, staring at my feet in embarrassment at its growls. "'Cept we gots no money," I added in a stupid voice.

"No worries," he stretched his arms into the air behind him. "We'll figure out some way."

"Oh yeah, hot-shot?!"

"Yeah," he said, and grinned at me. Then he set out at a fearsome pace, so that I had to run after him. "Where are you going?" I asked as I caught up with him. I gave him a sly glance. "You stride forward with SUCH purpose," I said, smirking at him.

"I…" he stopped, and turned to me, "…I am not sure, but I think I'm going to commit a crime."

That stopped my in my tracks. "You WHAT?!"

He came closer to me, and grabbed my wrists. There was a manic smile on his face. "You said we needed to do something to get noticed, and that's what we're going to do. Become evil lawbreakers, havoc-wreakers, mad, mad outlaws!" he cried, which only served to make me more certain that he really had lost his marbles.

"Uh… really now?" I gave a nervous laugh. "Are you sure?"

"Yes."

"Um… lead the way, I guess."

"Right!"

Silence.

He glanced at me. "Do you happen to know where there might be an ATM machine?"


I clutched the bars of our cells, and stared out at the gray hallway of the police station. "How come they portray prison cells as simply boring in movies?" I sighed, and stared up at the ceiling, feeling desolate. "AAARGH, WHY DON'T THEY EVER TELL YOU IT'S STINKY, COLD AND DIRTY?! THIS SUCKS!" I turned on Gabriel, who simply lay on the bunk bed as though sitting in a cell after committing severe vandalism and stealing a lot of money from an ATM machine was just a mildly annoying set-back. "THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!" I shrieked, looming over him where he sat, hungering for his blood. "AND WHAT'S WORSE, I'M STILL STARVING!"

He just glanced up at me, and shrugged. "Hey, YOU said we needed to draw attention to ourselves. This was the best plan that we had."

He was SO infuriating! "NO – I – this isn't –" I stuttered, then gave up, and went back to lean my head against the cold, metal bars again. "Gah… look what we've come to. Arrested for bloody vandalism. This really is a new low."

Gabriel suddenly got up, and stepped right behind me. I was about to turn around to face him, but he stopped me. "No," he said, a strange note in his voice that sparked off something deep inside. "Stay still."

"But I-"

"Please." Then he stepped closer, and slowly, sinuously, wrapped both his arms around me. He buried his face in the crook of my neck, and all I could do was just stand there, his body pressing into my back. Embarrassment made my face burn; yet, his bizarre behavior was worrying me. "Gabriel, what's wrong?" I asked, a horrible feeling beginning to crawl up my spine. "Are you alright?"

He wouldn't speak to me. I faced the left wall of the cell, and the bunk bed was on our right. It was dark inside our cell, the last one at the end of a row of cells facing an even darker hallway. Only three light bulbs shone in the whole place, two of them in the cells next to ours, and one at the far end. I slowly blinked, and tried to breathe without gasping – Gabriel was crushing my ribs. I felt the contours of his face – his lips and the bridge of his nose, the light touch of his eyelashes and hair as they brushed my neck and ear, his forehead pressing into my skin. He was still so… "Cold," I said softly – somehow I couldn't raise my voice higher than a faint whisper. "I know," he whispered back, his breath tickling my ear; "I'm so tired of it, Deka."

His arms crushed me even more, and I felt heat slowly being drained out of me.

I couldn't help it – I gasped at the sudden fire in my sides. How pain scalds. "I'm sorry," he apologized softly, and relieved the pressure of his embrace. Air rushed into my lungs and warmth returned to my body. I found myself softening, putting my head back on his shoulder – accidentally brushing my lips against his cheek. I drew back a little, staring at him with wide, stricken eyes; but again he did not look surprised. Merely calm, a hint of a smile at the corner of his lips. "It wasn't-" I tried to explain, but he shook his head. "I understand," he said, and I looked away. "Do you really?" I asked seriously. "Because I don't."

He let go of me and looked down, his hair hiding his eyes from me. "I don't want you to get into his hands."

"Whose…?"

"You know, grandfather's." He sighed, and rubbed his eyes. "He's not someone you'd want to run into again. Bad things happen." I watched as his lips twisted into an embarrassed smirk, and he gave a short, nervous laugh. "Very bad things."

I touched the side of his face as gently as I could. "What did he do to you, to make you feel that way about him?"

"All my life I've been nothing to him. And now that I actually am useful in some obscure way, he decides he wants to manipulate me. He turned me into… this." He was quiet, and then glanced up at me. "Whatever THIS is."

'Avampire-thing that lives on body-heat is what you've been turned into, Gabe,' I realized. I didn't know how to behave, or what to say in the light of such a disturbing revelation; but I decided to tell him the truth – that despite his warnings, I had to attempt something. I couldn't rest until I had exacted my vengeance on Mr. Jones and Schleifer. "Forgive me…" I sighed, wishing life was so much easier than this; "but I have to allow myself to get caught, Gabriel. I must take the risk of getting hurt, because I have to try and save the people in Haven. I can't give up. Not for anyone."

We looked at each other – his eyes were dark, and I felt so desolate. He didn't want me to go, to risk it. I knew I had to. However, that wasn't all that was bothering him. I knew that it had something to do with his grandfather and their relationship.

Suddenly, movement could be heard at the far end of the hall. People were headed towards us. Gabriel grasped my shoulders, looking very anxious. "Listen to me," he said, "you must not, under any circumstances, ever anger him; he is very ill-tempered of late."

"Wait – you're not coming with me?" I gasped, and he shook his head. "I most likely won't be allowed anywhere near you. He'll make me pay even more now that I've escaped and defied him."

"NO!" I said, gritting my teeth; "You have to come with me – I need your help!"

"I won't leave you if I can help it. I'm just saying that if there's no way for me to come with you to Haven, I want to apologize now, beforehand." I watched him, trying to preserve his face in my memory forever. The way that his gray hair almost hid his eyes – it had grown since I'd seen him last, so many months and weeks ago. His eyes seemed so much older than he was, now, and the bruises and cuts on his pale skin seemed to have healed up just fine – there were still some red marks around his jaw and neck. He smiled when he saw how I was studying his face.

The sounds moved closer, and I think it now occurred to the both of us that – well, that this was possibly the last time we'd see each other for a while. Or forever. I didn't know what to say or do.

Fortunately, HE did.

Gabriel, my bruised, bitter and beaten archangel moved closer to me, took my face in his hands, and looked in my eyes. Unspoken confessions of unacknowledged thoughts and unfamiliar emotions. "May I?" he asked me.

In response, I tilted my face up towards him, and smiled. "You may."


When the police arrived at our cell, after what seemed a lifetime, I was standing in a corner and he was once again sitting on the bunk bed. To all appearances, we were just two bored teenagers without much to do. Two policemen entered, and one took my coat and ushered me out. The other one stayed inside with Gabriel.

Before we left, I glanced back at Gabriel, and asked the policemen whether he was coming with me or not. They didn't reply. I was pulled through the door, and my eyes met Gabriel's – at that precise minute, I knew what he felt and he knew what I felt. Determined fury – and something else. Among other things, I knew he wanted me to fight, to destroy his grandfather. He knew that if anyone had a chance, I did.

The bittersweet taste of memory.

'Should I help him escape?' I wondered, but knew there really wasn't any point to it. This was what I had planned all along – I should stick to it, no matter what. Gabriel discouraged me further – he shook his head, and mouthed one word at me: 'GO'. I felt horrible for abandoning him, but I didn't have time to fight back against the policemen or try anything stupid - the policeman yanked on my arm, and pulled me out of there and down the hall.

I kept facing forward, never allowing myself to look back.


I was ushered into a small room somewhere in the police station; the policeman told me to sit in the chair at the table facing a huge one-way mirror with a very bored tone, as though he dealt with miscreants like me everyday.

I sat in the clinical white room, the smell of disinfectant filling my nose. "Yeuch," I said to myself, then, having nothing better to do, thought about my self-imposed suicide mission.

After a long while, I heard the door open behind me, but didn't take much notice of it. It was only when the person remained in the room that I began to grow curious. Yet I did not turn around to face them.

Suddenly, whoever they were stopped right behind me and leaned down. I was struck with a terrible sense of horror and utter helplessness when I recognized the voice that spoke in my ear.

"It's been awhile, my dear child. I can see Schleifer didn't hesitate to make good use of you."

"YOU…" I whispered, unable to move.

"Yes… me."

It was Mr. Jones.

The old man looked a little older than I remembered him, but his arrogant posture, cruel smirk and steely gaze were still there. Reminding me so much about Gabriel, it was frightening. 'I mustn't let him get to me,' I thought. 'I can beat him. I MUST. It is my duty. My only desire.'

"What do you want?" I asked, trying to look as unconcerned as possible. I didn't think I'd pulled it off, but apparently I had.

"Rude as always, I see; and not a bit as perturbed as I had hoped." He sighed as though I'd mildly disappointed him. "What a shame."

I didn't like his behavior at all. "What're you up to?"

"Ah, but the question here is-" he slammed his fist into the table, making me jump; "-What are YOU up to?"

"I'm not up to anything," I protested, anger flaring up inside of me.

"You lie!" he snarled.

"NO!" I cried, begging God in my heart not to let this insane creep see the fear in my eyes, or let him figure out that I was indeed up to something. He stared very, very hard at me, his breath warm on my skin. But I didn't let myself look away.

I couldn't let myself look away.

I mustn't look away.

At long last, he turned away, and I slowly exhaled, afraid that I might look too relieved. "Very well," he said. "In that case, I am obliged to return you to Haven. After all, due to your mother's… untimely death," he sighed, savoring the way his words were obviously hurting me; "I am your benefactor, in charge of your well-being."

"Back to Haven?"

"Yes."
I sneered, unable to help myself, knowing my whole plan could very well end right here in the police station with a bullet in my brain – courtesy of Jones. "And my punishment? I'm not gonna believe that I'm going to be let off the hook after escaping your inescapable prison." I was really pushing it.

"Your punishment will come in due time." Jones straightened up, and strolled over to the one-way mirror, nodding at it. I frowned. "However, while at Haven," he continued, "you will find that some of your privileges have been stripped from you."

"What privileges?" I muttered, not liking the sound of this one bit. Jones sat at the corner of the table, kicked his legs and turned to look at me. He had a wicked, devious sneer on his face. I began to sweat.

"Don't worry, it's nothing too painful. Just a little something me and Nurse cooked up together." He watched me with his hawk-like eyes, searching for any clue to how I was feeling. I remembered the stocky woman who wouldn't help me up when I fell on the floor and was writhing and screaming in pain from a bullet-wound in my stomach. I remembered her, and shuddered. Jones smiled, delighted at my horror.

I turned away from him, to at least deprive him of enjoying my misery. "What are you going to do to me?" I asked, my voice unusually small and frightened. I had genuine reason indeed to be terrified.

For Jones bared his teeth at me, a row of small, silvery and sharp things that looked as though they could slice an arm off.

"Just you wait and see, my child."