I hear that a lot :3

Started by Cheshire at Nov 18, 2021 3:20 PM
August 3, 2051
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Being stomped in the nuts was probably one of the more pure forms of torture a man with human parts could feel. And there was nothing the cat in him could do about the throbbing. The initial stomping made him want to throw up--it was that bad. Now it was just throbbing away and he wished he had thought to hook up a freezer in this place because he could do with a bag of iced peas to help with the swelling. The reason it was as amusing as it was? Cheshire usually never got close enough for somebody to fight that dirty. And damn. That guy fought fucking dirty.

"Hm," was his only response to the cat cookie jar. Maybe it was a little on the nose. It was sort of his fixture here, a calling card, though it was dangerous to play like that. If somebody found this place and there were no hints as to who made it what it was, then it would be safer. But he just had to be cute and coy and keep the damned lucky cat.

Cheshire turned his head toward Asahi. Don't fucking say it. He didn't want all of his lives connected to that bastard. Honestly, he didn't like the idea of any of his lives being connected to anybody but himself. Cheshire was a private person. Very private. The idea of having somebody even just hearing what he heard and feeling the same sensations he felt didn't sit well with him. It had been fun and interesting--for about fifteen minutes. Now he just wanted it severed. Snip, snip.

And not just because of the situation that just transpired. That was mostly on himself and he knew it. If he hadn't let his fresh boredom get the better of him, that whole thing could have been avoided. And that was why he was sitting here, not secretly smirking, not feeling an ounce of superiority or cleverness for once in his life. All he was really feeling was... down. Oddly dejected, for somebody who took everything in stride.

It was because he couldn't--

He and Asahi weren't really alone.

Swallowing the penny taste of blood, he sat up because he noticed Asahi's searching look. Ignoring the swimming head pain and his protesting groin, he pulled a gold Zippo lighter from his back pocket and tossed it toward Asahi before settling back against the couch.

"I don't think that's possible," he said after some thought about Phantom being connected to all of his lives. "When I come back, I come back... fresh. Like it sheds the last life, so it would probably shed him, too."


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It felt a little weird. A little... too raw. A Cheshire who wasn't smirking or making barbed comments or looking like he knew things Asahi didn't wasn't a familiar Cheshire. He was really not acting like himself, which spoke to how badly the events of the past hour or so got to him. 

Maybe that was why he wanted to reach out and stroke his head. Just like a good human would do for an injured cat, sooth it, let it know that he was there to help and not to hurt. Not that Asahi was a cat person, normally. In fact, that animal back at Cheshire's complex was testament to how much cats hated him, too. 

But Cheshire wasn't 100% cat. He was human, too, with human emotions and human hurts. Asahi took the lighter from him and lit the joint up, taking a swift drag before handing it to him. "So you think bumping yourself off this life will let you get rid of the bastard?" He watched the acrid smoke wreath up into the air, swirling in nonsensical patterns. "Shit, I mean if that'll work..."

Asahi side-eyed him again, passing his glance over the actual injuries. Blood caked Cheshire's hair and he was bruised a little bit in a few places. Got knocked around, it looked like. "What happened in the alley?" Asahi didn't catch the tail end of it, since he'd been hauling ass down more stairs to get to Cheshire. "I saw the one guy, and then another one came up behind you? Was he working with Phantom?"


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Yeah, if it worked...

Cheshire took the joint and took a deep hit, even though he wasn't normally one to partake. And it showed, since he coughed on the huge hit and covered his mouth with the back of a hand as he used the other to hand the joint back to Asahi. No, he liked having his wits about him but right now... Honestly, he really shouldn't be doing this. Any of it. Logic dictated that he kill himself--now--to rid himself of the flea that was riding his back. Any master of ratiocination like Cheshire viewed himself would have done it by now. So what was stopping him? Well...

"It's not that easy," he said finally, after another small cough. He licked his dry lips. What he really needed was about a gallon of water to make up for the blood loss. Head wounds tended to bleed like hell.

He couldn't just kill himself. If he shot himself in the head, he would eventually heal from it. He wouldn't even die; the only thing that killed him was hellfire. And getting a hold of hellfire was not easy. And he couldn't--wouldn't--say it aloud, knowing full well that the enemy would be listening to every fucking word that passed his lips.

So he held off on that part and focused in on what happened.

"I don't think they were with Phantom. I recognized the kid, Weylen. He works some of the same circles as I do, so we've run into each other. Detective. So we're both in the information business. I highly doubt he has anything to do with Phantom. He said he tracked a thief to that location, and I also doubt that was Phantom. That other guy..."

Cheshire held his hand out for the joint.

"Seemed to be a recruiter or slaver. Said something about a master liking us."


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Heh. It was Asahi's turn to laugh a little bit--but just a little bit--when Cheshire took a puff and started to cough. Lightweight. For all the times Cheshire got a laugh out of him, hey, he didn't feel too bad about paying it back. Not that anyone was keeping score. Asahi took the joint back and had another deep drag while Cheshire explained; his brows lowered.

"Slavers huh." That hit a sore spot. A rough spot, one that had never healed. Asahi averted his gaze briefly, holding the joint, then glanced back and quickly handed it over. In case Phantom felt like digging the bullet out now, it was better to get the smoke out of the way, and then maybe shove down a few pills and chase it with some alcohol. If he died from the combination, so much the better! Cheshire wanted to off himself anyway!

"Fucking creeps all over the city." Cheshire was good-looking, unique-looking, so of course they wanted him. Over Asahi's dead body--that part he didn't say aloud. Instead he threw his feet onto the worn coffee table before them and slid down to slouch horribly on the couch. "That guy's gonna be the first one we serve up in our skewer stand."


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"...yeah." Cheshire had momentarily forgotten. But his expression grew far away and his brows furrowed slightly. Cheshire didn't know when he and Asahi were just sitting there together with food as kids that Asahi had been... enslaved. It wouldn't have occurred to the boy born with the silver spoon in his mouth. It wasn't until later, when Asahi disappeared and Cheshire looked into it...

There weren't many things that caused his heart pain but that had hurt him. To know the truth after all that time and not have known the whole time... It made him wonder if he might have said or done something... But no, he knew that he hadn't. Not back then, anyway. He still remembered the terrible flirtatious joke back at MeYu. The one that hadn't gone over, the one they both ignored after it was spoken. Cheshire gladly took the joint for another hit, this time not coughing--as much--before he passed it back.

"I guess if he couldn't get his hands on me, he had to try and sterilize me," he said, this time with a hint of his old wry smile as he glanced down at his poorly treated lower body. "Stomped on me hard enough to break something if there were bones down there to break." He looked over at Asahi.

"So I'm all for making him the first one we serve up."

To this, his smile might have been secretive but at least this time, Asahi was in on the secret.


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"What?" His eyes darted down to Cheshire's lap. "Shit." That sounded like it hurt--no wonder earlier, he was checking out his own twig and berries! Fuck, Asahi got goosebumps and cold sweat just thinking about it. And inadvertently he closed his legs, like somebody was going to come around stepping on his junk. Even if he didn't use it... he liked to have it in working condition, on the off-chance that he did feel like it. 

Yeah that guy was becoming skewers. Asahi didn't know his story, what his problem was, if he was there for fun or profit or was forced into it by some 'master' asshole, but he was becoming skewers. He made a disgusted face as he took another hit and then passed the joint back. The smoke filtered out slowly between his lips, then emerged in a steady, thin stream.

It was shitty not being able to talk freely with Cheshire. Like about killing him, to get Phantom off his ass. Like about the way he looked so tired and worn out. He had to triple-check anything that he wanted to say and that was exhausting for someone used to spewing out any old thing. Asahi made a noise of frustration, kicking out at the table, skidding his heel against the top of it. 

"Fuck." He passed a hand over his forehead. "I wish." But if wishes were fishes. Asahi's hand fell from his forehead and thumped inadvertently against Cheshire's arm. His fingers closed around it, just above the wrist, and he squeezed it gently. Because he couldn't SAY anything. 


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Right... Asahi hadn't seen that part. Because that was the part where Cheshire got bitch slapped by the hand of a god--or something close to it--and flew halfway across the alley. By then, he would have been out of Asahi's sight. And the stomping wouldn't have been visible. Well, no wonder he gave Cheshire that weird Stare when he had checked beneath his underwear. Without that knowledge, Cheshire probably just looked like a pervert.

He wanted to laugh about it but at the same time, he wanted to cry. It was a disgustingly human way to feel, even for a person who had been born human and should have been used to such feelings. But he wasn't, really. He spent most of his childhood stuffing anything like a human feeling down, down, down, as far deep as it could go. And looking at everything like he was nothing but a computer. It was strange, coming back to life, shedding away the layers and layers of protective shields around him and feeling things again. Like a newborn, only with the knowledge that came with being an adult and the memories of everything that had come before.

It was definitely... frustrating.

Asahi...

was the one person he could relax around. Feel like himself around. And now he couldn't even have that. He felt like his hackles were constantly raised, his ears constantly pricked. Instead of a chill housecat, he was a feral stray, waiting for somebody to come into his territory, not wanting to give anything of himself away. And at the same time, sitting beside the only person he felt comfortable giving of any part of himself.

The third hit went down smoother. Nary a cough, just a calm, mellowing effect as he let the smoke enter his lungs and let it pass through his lips on a sigh. He wanted

 

...he really wanted to just curl up against Asahi. And sleep. The tiredness from even before that stupid fight had become pure exhaustion. His head pounded, his lower body throbbed. That gunshot wound that wasn't even his was the least painful thing to happen to him all night. He was too tired to write down his secret words and besides, planning time was over. They had a few options ahead of them, none of which could be stated aloud, and they were getting high. It just... wasn't the right time for making plans.

I wish, Asahi said, and Cheshire waited for something poignant to follow but nothing verbal came next. Just a hand on his arm. Then closing around it. Cheshire swallowed and it still tasted vaguely of blood. I wish what? Cheshire wished he knew what Asahi wished. After a moment, he took another, shorter puff from the joint before slipping it into Asahi's free hand. It felt like he was moving through invisible molasses and honey but he leaned, leaned to the side, leaned in Asahi's direction. Even though Asahi was slumped way down, he leaned until his head touched Asahi's shoulder. And he rested it there, eyelids feeling heavy, half closing.

"I shouldn't have jumped."

If he stayed on the rooftop, he wouldn't have been seen or caught by the slaver. He supposed Weylen would have, and Weylen might have been the original target all along. But Weylen wasn't his business. And he could take care of himself.

"But I was curious. Curiosity really does kill the cat," he said softly. "But satisfaction really does bring it back..."


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He wished... a lot of things. Mostly he wished this night never happened, and they were still back at the MeYu making stupid banter, grilling chicken, eating chicken. He wished they could be like they were as kids, not knowing any better, bumping along without any idea of what the future might bring. That was a hard time for Asahi but also, a better time in a lot of ways.

He wasn't this burdened back then. There was shit to deal with but it was mostly physical. After a while he blocked out the horrors; his brain put up barriers to keep him from going insane, though it fucked him up something terrible. His body could put up with anything as long as his mind was relatively strong. And no matter how dumb he could be, he knew that he was tough. Mentally, physically, he was tough and he could make it through.

Also he had a plan for escape. Here there was no escape. The city was only so big, their tribal areas only so big. It was like being confined all over again and Asahi hated that aspect of it. He liked the killing parts, and the freedom to do what he wanted, but there was still the sense of being caged. 

The joint mellowed him for the time being but he felt wistful and melancholy. (Or was that also the joint?) He sighed when Cheshire's head fell onto his shoulder. They were both fucking up their spines. "Yeah." He should've stayed. Should've stuck to his own plan. But whatever, it was done. Asahi didn't want to harp on mistakes.

"The problem. Is curiosity didn't kill the cat." He smirked--that sounded kinda clever. Asahi sighed again and closed his own eyes, letting the blunt work its magic. "I'm gonna try again tomorrow." Try to kill Phantom, that was. Tomorrow. When he wasn't so tired, or falling asleep.


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"Oh yeaahhh," he said, not even realizing the word came out long and slow, languid as the smoke that swirled through the air around them. It was working its way through their bodies. Even the demon cat DNA inside of Cheshire couldn't fight the pull of a strong joint. He smiled where he had melted into a puddle against Asahi and it was the kind of silly, unaware smile of somebody who was definitely under the influence of something. Damn, he really was a lightweight, wasn't he? It wouldn't matter even if he formerly wasn't--the fresh new body would have purged out anything that had previously "poisoned" the body before it. The wonders of rebirth.

"You can't," he told Asahi. "I mean, you can but unless you kill 'im with hellfire, it's not gonna do any good."

Shit, did he say that aloud? Groaning, he closed his eyes and let out a long breath. This was exactly why he hated drinking or getting high. The lack of control unnerved him. Maybe not in the moment--in the moment, he just felt good. Most of the pain was forgotten in a haze of herbal smoke and even though he was dimly aware that his spine should be screaming at him, it didn't seem to care. Contorted and melted against Asahi as he was, in the moment? He felt pretty good. High. High as a kite. When he closed his eyes, he felt like he was floating on air and he liked it, even if some part of him panicked inside.

The weed did a good job disguising it. Masking it. Locking it away for the time being.


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"Ssshhhhhut up." It started out as Asahi trying to shush him, because he could tell that speaking while high wasn't a good idea. They were giving Phantom clues! And then it turned into him telling Cheshire to shut up because... weed. Asahi wasn't a lightweight but whatever was in the bag had been strong stuff. Good stuff, some of the best. He heard there was a hippie with a green thumb living in the Castro who could make plants grow like crazy--including weed. Good thing, too, because they needed the stuff more than ever. 

Reaching across, he groped blindly until his fingertips encountered some hair. He patted Cheshire's head clumsily. "Go to sleep. I'll... take care of shit. Tomorrow." Bringing his hand down, he attempted to close Cheshire's eyes. Close em and go to sleep and forget the shitshow of an evening they'd had. Sure, they were stuck in a container, but at least it was a safe container. 

"Go sleep." The hand fell back to his side and he nestled up against Cheshire, not unlike a cat himself. Asahi's eyes were already closed; he wasn't thinking about Phantom or all the trouble they were in or even where he was going to get hellfire anymore. That was a problem for tomorrow's Asahi to deal with. Today's Asahi just wanted to pass out--which he did. His last scrambled thought, before falling asleep, was how much he still... hated stairs. If he never climbed another flight of steps, it would be too damn soon. 


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