Chapter 11: Ladies and Gentlemen
During the hour or so he spent waiting, Samael observed Dremen and his small platoon roar past in the jeep without even a glance in his direction. He supposed that was no huge surprise -- they had the annoying mixture of being hyper-reactive to what they expected, without actually being prepared for anything that didn't fit their predefined expectations of the 'enemy'. Had an enterprising Blue soldier wanted, they could have camped out at this innocuous boulder all night, most likely, and gotten a detailed log of the comings and goings of the base patrols without any serious risk of being spotted.
But that wasn't his problem to solve.
When he spotted the dark red hide of Corporal Barnes striding out of the base to pause under one of the bright external lights, Samael smiled and pushed himself up to his paws. He snagged the oversized rifle and slung it over his shoulder as he started a brisk jog toward the concrete structure. Perhaps they could have done a slightly better job at coordinating their spontaneous rendezvous; then again, Samael was nothing if he wasn't resourceful.
Luckily, Barnes happened to glance into the darkness just as Samael moved into the edge of the overbearing spotlights. One of the soldiers patrolling the top of the base flinched and began to raise his rifle, but the stocky chupadore quickly tapped his shoulder armor when he caught the movement in the corner of his eye. As expected, once the private had squinted and made out the symbol, all that followed was a hurried salute that Samael briskly returned.
The corporal frowned for a moment before his eyes flicked up to the roof of the structure. He grunted his understanding, then fixed his eyes on Samael while preparing his own salute. "Specialist. You were almost late for the meeting."
Samael did his best to hide his small smile as he let his hand rise to his brow one more time. All the goddamn saluting was going to help keep his biceps toned, at least. "Corporal Barnes, my apologies. I decided to walk back from the night patrol, didn't want to deprive one of the regulars his spot on the hog," he replied just loud enough for the soldier above them to hear. "Brought back some souvenirs from that Blue rat I popped up on them hills, too!" he added with a conspicuous pat to one of his side packs. That earned a broad grin from the private on the roof...and a barely-concealed look of shock from Barnes. But the rebel tapped the side of his muzzle once before jerking his head toward the depot, which at least snapped the corporal out of his shocked silence.
"Yes, well then...good...good job, Specialist," Barnes muttered as he led the shorter soldier to the ammunition storage. His eyes searched Samael's as they walked quickly to the depot, and the impostor winked. The corporal relaxed somewhat before turning to the soldier on duty at the entryway. "Private -- the Specialist and I have been tasked with a full inventory count of the supplies tonight."
The soldier saluted sharply before glancing nervously at the 'specialist'. "Sir! Of course, but the duty board only listed your name."
Barnes looked more tired than annoyed. "Soldier, the Specialist is still getting his bearings. He will be assisting me so he can become more familiar with the tasks around the base. I'll be sure to update the board personally."
"Yessir, Corporal Barnes, sir!" the private barked hurriedly as he spun around and then dug in the small pocket in his chest plate to produce the small laminated card with the rotating codes. Samael kept his smile muted as the grunt -- unsurprisingly another muscular behemoth -- carefully tapped in the series of digits. This was certainly a lot easier than cajoling his way in...or having to attempt to hack the panel.
The number pad beeped loudly and the private stepped away with another salute that both 'Holmes' and Barnes returned automatically. The heavy shutter slid upward to give the pair access, and they stepped through together as the lights flickered to life. Samael grinned cheerfully while glancing around as the vertical door rumbled back down with an electronic whir. The depot was empty other than the two of them, and the grey chupadore sighed in relief as he almost immediately pulled the rifle off his back and began to undo his chest armor.
Barnes didn't quite find it so easy to relax, and seeing Samael remove his armor made the taller male stare incredulously. "Samael, you...can't be serious. We...only just..."
"Calm down, Will, I ain't 'bout to try and get ya off here in your precious depot," Samael teased before pausing with a half-grin. "I mean unless ya want me to."
Will rolled his eyes but nodded as he allowed his body to loosen up just a bit, placing his standard-issue rifle on the work desk and producing his standard-issue clipboard instead. "You're incorrigible. And a bad influence."
Samael grinned again at the sight of the clipboard. "And you're still a bureaucratic wet dream, hon." Will blushed slightly, but the rebel continued easily before his companion could grow too embarrassed. "Anyway, how long does your inventory process usually take? Just so I know how long I got in case I do get a li'l restless."
"I'm keeping my armor on," Will mumbled. He glanced up when Samael slid closer to him, leaning away with his tail twitching nervously...but not resisting when the smaller chupadore slowly nuzzled into his throat and then kissed gently beneath his muzzle. "C-C'mon, Samael..."
"There's still plenty I can do without takin' no armor off," the rebel teased, even as he pulled back and then hopped onto the desk, gazing at the corporal with a curious smile.
"Yeah, you don't gotta convince me," the dark-red soldier replied with a quiet huff, shifting uncomfortably as he adjusted his cod piece. He licked his lips, then gestured around the high shelves and countless crates of ammunition. "Three hours, minimum, on average. Bu, if I'm...if I'm not actually going to be doing the inventory..." That pallor of nervousness once again drifted across Will's features as Samael's smile softened.
Samael hopped off the desk and strode over to push the clipboard gently aside so he could press gently into his companion's front. "I don't think you came in here with me just to cuddle 'n chat...nice as that would be," he offered. "But I ain't here to force nothin', either. So tell me plain, Will. You with me on this, or you standin' back? 'Cause I ain't gonna put you in the line of fire if you want out." He paused. Honesty was difficult in his line of work, but he still sought it where he could. "Normally I can't always avoid that. I got the opportunity with you 'cause of what we shared an' what you found out, so please. Y'gotta let me know now."
Samael met Will's eyes as the corporal trembled slightly with the weight of their conversation. The rebel continued softly as he cupped the soldier's cheek gently. "I'm gonna go through my mission either way, Will. It's my job."
Will looked away for a few seconds before he gave a faint smile. "Yeah. I kind of figured. I might have only met you earlier today, but that's one thing that doesn't surprise me about you," he murmured. He took a slow breath before reaching out to silently squeeze the stocky chupadore's bicep with his free hand. "I don't know what the hell I'm doing, Samael, or if this is the right thing to do. This whole war is so...stupid. And it almost feels like rebelling against it is just the opposite side of the same coin."
Samael remained silent as his companion exhaled again and then shook his head briefly. "But I think I would rather fight against it than for it. I...I don't know if you were just buttering me up -- being a bureaucrat doesn't feel useful, but either way. If I can help, then. Well, then I'm with you."
The rebel smiled up at Will, eyes gleaming happily. "You got no idea just how helpful someone like you would be, Will. My handler's gonna flip her shit when she hears we got an organized type like you comin' aboard. There's a lot more to this whole thing than just dressin' up in fake armor, makin' out with cute corporals an' blowin' shit up, y'know."
Will rolled his eyes, though had trouble covering up that small blush again. "Yeah, yeah. Look, before we talk about...'blowing any shit up', tell me what happened out on patrol." Samael softened once more as the corporal looked down at him with a small, hesitant frown. "All this talk you do about hating the war, but...you're going around telling everyone you killed a Blue."
"And hopefully for his sake, they're all gonna buy it," Samael replied while producing one of the shoulder plates he'd taken off the unconscious soldier. "Yeah, I popped the poor kid right in his face, but I used a tranq round. With any luck, he was under long enough for the patrol to finish up, so he could bust his ass outta the area before he gets lit up again."
Will frowned, but took the piece of armor slowly and studied the dried blood...except that it wasn't, considering the way it flaked when he scratched a claw against it. "Non-lethal rounds? Fake blood? Samael, if you get caught..."
"Yeah, trust me, I know," the grey chupadore interjected with a soft chuckle. "But I ain't in the business of killing innocent teenagers. Better that I did it and convinced that asshole Dremen and his boys that the 'dirty Blue' was down and out, instead of the alternative...which he wouldn't have much a chance to wake up from."
The corporal shook his head in disbelief, even as he looked over Samael with a new degree of appreciation. "Yeah, he is an asshole," Will mumbled. "Well. Alright. Alright, Samael, I'm...I'm sold. I want to help you." He hesitated as the fear swelled, but he found reassurance as he looked into the rebel's warm gaze. "And...and I want to leave with you."
Samael smiled broadly. "Alright, then, Corporal Barnes. Lemme show you the plan I was given. An' then lemme show you how I'm gonna alter it." He reached down into his side pack, producing a spare clip for the long-range rifle, then setting it aside as he dug through the pack with a thoughtful hum. Will glanced over curiously as a few coins tumbled out, along with several spare bullets, a bunch of various miniature tools and scrap, and then finally, several folded sheets of paper that Samael plucked out. As the grey chupadore shuffled through them, a worn photograph fluttered to the ground beneath his paws when it slipped out from where it had been tucked away.
Will bent down to pick up the picture, trying not to be too curious...but finding himself staring at it all the same. His eyes slowly bulged as he processed what it depicted. It was a rather intimate subject, the photograph's only occupant grinning mischievously at the camera in an extremely revealing pose. Not that much would have been able to hide the proud and visibly full arousal of the toothy male. And yet it wasn't even the shameless erection that had Will's attention...no, it was the fact the creature wielding it had...webbed wings? His muzzle was strange, alien...his legs ended in odd almost-talons...he looked like... "A...a bat?!?" Will stammered even as his eyes skimmed the message scrawled in the corner: To Sammy -- for when things get HARD. Keep up the good fight...and CALL ME, you ass!
Samael glanced up, then grinned enormously as he reached out to pluck the picture carefully from Will's hands as he looked down at it with a fond expression. "Oh, Will, my precious baby boy. You got so much shit to learn 'bout your world..." He winked and tenderly replaced the photograph into his pack before sliding a paper with a neatly-scrawled diagram across the desk. "But let's talk 'bout how we're gonna fuck shit up before I tell ya all 'bout Andee an' his cocky ass..."
"But...but your captain explicitly told you no explosives, didn't she?" Will protested, looking up from the crude drawings of fireballs and cartoonish explosions that Samael had cheerfully scribbled over the carefully-inked diagrams of the original plan. "Nelson, you said? It sounds like she was very specific..."
"Bah, she's not really a captain. Not like we got ranks in our rebellion, that'd kinda defeat the purpose," Samael replied with a laugh before he poked a claw lightly into Will's nose and made him wrinkle his muzzle. "But yeah, yeah, you're a good listener, my friend. Or at least I'm a good story-teller. Y'see, though. The problem is that reroutin' ammo is all fine'n dandy. It's a real nice solution that'll keep those dumbasses at Red Command occupied for a few weeks, an' will make it a little harder for the kids in the armor to kill each other for at least a week or two. But the way I see it...we take a li'l bit of column A, an' a li'l bit of column B...an' everyone's happy."
A grin spread across his muzzle as his teeth flashed brightly. "You'n me make some quick adjustments to the system to set up an emergency shipment of bullets to another Red base...one a bit deeper in the shit that ain't as solid-crimson as this one." He tapped the computer monitor behind him for emphasis. "Get my ass signed up to drive that shit out to meet a drop ship -- no time to waste, got me?"
Will frowned slightly as he looked back at the thoughtful, orderly plans..before studying the chaotic scrawls over top. He smiled faintly. A more perfect visual representation of Samael Wurlitz was hardly possible. "Okay...yeah, I follow. So what's column B, then?"
"The 'B' stands for 'big-ass boom'," Samael answered, his grin widening. "I got some plastique in my other bag. Enough to make this here depot into li'l more'n charred pile'a sticks 'n ash."
The corporal shifted nervously, glancing toward the shutter and then up at the ceiling. "There are always at least two men posted here, Samael. I...I don't..."
Samael's smile eased back as he reached over and hooked a claw into the front of the other chupadore's chest plate, pulling him gently closer until their muzzles bumped lightly together. "That's where you come in, Will. If you're up for it."
The crimson chupadore blinked and looked uncomfortable for a moment. "Wait...I'm still..."
His companion chuckled quietly, gracing his chin softly with a thumb. "C'mon, I ain't dumb. Not gonna throw you right under the damn bus -- naw, what I'm thinkin' is perfect for you." He smiled again and nodded toward the entrance. "Look, maybe the men here don't respect you, but that don't mean they don't listen. Only word above yours 'round here is the sergeant's. An' it's pretty clear to me neither one of us wants to see no one get hurt if we can avoid it. So we arrange the transportation orders...get the bullets loaded on a jeep..."
The rebel inclined his head in Will's direction. "An' then you run the flag up the pole. You decide to recheck the papers, do your job thoroughly like ya always do. As I'm drivin' off, you come out, sound the alarm, tell the two boys on post to get help, get the other jeep, whatever it takes to get 'em away from the depot. Send 'em after me."
Will's frown returned, his arms crossing in an attempt to hide his concern. "But...you've seen how tense they all are. They'll open up on you, Samael."
"Yeah, won't be the first time," the rebel replied with a cocky smile. "Don't worry, hon. They gonna be distracted real soon after that."
The corporal seemed torn between entertained and worried. "You know confidence doesn't stop bullets, right?" When Samael responded with another cheerful grin, Will sighed but then gave a morose nod. "Okay. Okay, okay. I'll trust you. So when do we schedule all of...this? You'll have to go get your equipment, we'll have to plan when we can modify the orders on the computer, and of course make sure one of the vehicles is available for you to--"
"--be able to put the ammunition in did you say right now??" Will stared stupidly down at Samael for a few seconds. "S-Samael, there's impulsive and then there's just plain reckless, we don't know where the patrols are, if a vehicle is free, you don't have your other bag and, and..."
He was muffled by Samael leaning up to kiss him firmly for a moment. His eyes widened and then fluttered shut as he helplessly pushed back, feeling the smaller male's hand slide gently up along his neck. When they pulled apart, his breath was short and his features flushed, almost not hearing his companion's soft reply:
"That's why we do it now. It'll unfold more naturally. An' ain't nothin' wrong with that, right?" There was that confident grin again as Will looked at the rebel wordlessly. He felt a faint smile, however, and opened his muzzle to reply.
Before he could speak, muted conversation from the other side of the shutter made them both whip their heads around. An instant later, the soft beep of the keypad could be heard, and Will turned his head back to stare at Samael...only to find thin air.
The rebel had crossed the warehouse in a flash of movement, his chest armor already halfway on his stocky torso. Will stared at him fearfully as the shutter began to rumble upward, then finally tore his eyes away to search the area around him in a panic. The mix of random items from Samael's pack had all been returned...except for the sheet of paper with the plans for sabotage! Will cursed under his breath as he snatched up the paper just as a surprised voice called from the entryway.
The corporal froze for a moment, then slowly turned to face the interloper. A frown creased his features as he looked up from his clipboard disapprovingly. "Private Johnson."
A nervous gasp escaped the brawny soldier as he hurriedly stood at attention, a hand shooting up into a salute at the speed of light. "S-sir! Sir, my apologies, I was told you were doing inventory!"
Barnes's muzzle remained pursed in a small frown as he casually slid the folded paper beneath the others attached to his clipboard, saluting back and then tapping the paperwork pointedly with a pen. "We were, until you interrupted, Private. Specialist, would you be kind enough to repeat the last shelf?"
Private Johnson twisted his head around to gawk at 'Holmes', who stood before one of the many rows of stocked ammunition crates, one claw resting against a shelf. His features were more amused than Barnes's, though he still eyed the private pointedly, which encouraged another rapid salute. "Two cases of seven-six-two, and one of twelve-seven," he drawled before nodding briefly to the now-petrified grunt. "Private."
The almost-maroon soldier nearly dropped his rifle as he cleared his throat loudly and looked between the two higher-ranking chupas. "S-sirs, my apologies."
Barnes jotted down the numbers before holding the clipboard to his chest and glowering at the newcomer. "Yes, Private? We still have work to do."
"Sorry, sir! I was scheduled to come and verify the latest shipping orders!"
The corporal's eyes narrowed slightly before he glanced across to Samael. "Of course. However, this needs to be completed, inventory has priority. Specialist Holmes, would you please take this opportunity to retrieve the surplus magazines from your quarters? Johnson can take your place in the meantime so we can continue on schedule."
"Of course, sir!" Private Johnson half-yelled, visibly intimidated despite the fact he could probably bench-press the corporal without breaking a sweat. He jogged over to where 'Holmes' stood, and childishly put his claw directly next to the specialist's, looking nervously at the smaller male, then twisting his neck around to peer back at Barnes for instructions.
Samael smiled to himself, grunting his approval and nodding once before shouldering his sniper rifle and trotting toward the shutter. He made eye contact briefly with Will, winking and then slamming a fist into the button next to the entrance to open the retractable door. "Be back in a jiff!" he announced before ducking under it with a quick salute to the soldier on duty. Quick on your paws, Will. You're better than you give yourself credit for...
When Samael got to the bunk room, Ronson was gone -- the rebel assumed he'd finally stirred and had gone off to whatever he'd been assigned for the current shift. The grey chupadore smiled a bit as he grabbed the large duffel from the bed he hadn't even slept in yet, shoving any other loose personal articles into it. A shame. He'd been hoping to put some work in on that mattress with at least one of the handsome privates. But if one thing was sure in his unpredictable world...it was the chaos itself.
Barnes's precious scheduling skills would be welcomed with open arms, but it didn't change the fact that nothing stayed on track in this line of work. The careful plan Nelson had laid out with him would have taken another thirty or forty hours, at minimum, to unfold properly. Everything was shifting forward now, though, and all the delights he thought he might have a chance to experience...ah well. That was the job.
He was back at the depot in a matter of minutes, moving briskly and keeping his greetings curt and salutes curter still. The same soldier was posted at the entrance and, luckily for Samael, immediately saluted and prompted: "I heard about your kill tonight, sir! Congratulations, I wish I coulda been there!" The private smiled naively. "It's a real shame they got you stuck on inventory with, uh..."
"With who?" 'Holmes' inquired brusquely, arching an eyebrow ever so slightly.
The private blinked a few times, then fumbled to turn around and open the shutter. "Uh, uh...n-nothing, sir, I just meant. I just meant your skills are so impressive, you'd be so much more valuable helpin' hunt down those Blue assholes!"
"Mmm, perhaps. Well, I'll speak to Corporal Barnes and see if I can get you on my next patrol," the 'specialist' replied coolly, eying the private poignantly. "Gettin' along well with everyone has its perks, Private."
The soldier cleared his throat sheepishly, then nodded and turned back to the number pad with his card clutched tightly, poking in the series of digits. "Of...of course, sir." The shutter squealed as it rolled up into its frame, and the private glanced at 'Holmes' with a lame smile. "I uh. I hope inventory goes quickly! Thank you!"
Samael did his best to keep his stern face as he stepped forward and waited for the shutter to lower once again, then exhaling quietly as he heard Private Johnson rattle off another set of numbers to Barnes. They were still counting, good. Will glanced up to gaze at him for a moment before nodding briefly toward the bag slung over the rebel's shoulder. "Private Johnson. Please continue with the specialist. We are running a little long -- I'll start verifying the logs."
"Uh...of course, sir," the private replied, awkwardly attempting to salute 'Holmes' while keeping his finger on the last section he'd counted.
Samael smiled slightly as he approached the corporal, dropping his back next to the desk and holding out a hand to accept the clipboard. "Next row, Private?" he called loudly over a shoulder before quickly leaning up to whisper: "Two crates of magnums, one each of seven-six-two and caseless." His eyes met Will's and his muzzle brushed delicately past the corporal's before he turned sharply to face Johnson as his voice echoed through the warehouse.
"Umm, three crates of HE grenades, and two anti-material."
Samael grinned to himself, making a mental note of the location of that shelf before idly beginning to sketch a crude phallus on the inventory sheet as he called back: "Just a sec, Private, puttin' down some additional details!"
Barnes barely avoided rolling his eyes at the sight, instead distracting himself by moving quickly behind the desk as he powered on the computer and busied himself with keeping Samael's request memorized. Within a moment or two, he was logged into the system...not as himself, but as Sergeant Marsden. Another benefit of being such a studious bureaucrat, I suppose, he thought wryly as he began to falsify an emergency request from the nearest Red base.
Just as Johnson was moving along the last row of crates, Corporal Barnes feigned a surprised curse. "Specialist, Private -- how close are you to finishing?"
The private spun around and peered past the shelf, nervously half-saluting on impulse alone. "Sir! Just a few more sections to go!"
"Well, never mind that, I'll have to finish on my own. Command just sent a priority request for Outpost 203...apparently they've been in several fire fights with the Blues and are running low on bullets."
Johnson gasped and quickly grabbed his rifle in both hands, gladly forgetting his counting job. "Sir!? The Blues?!"
Barnes tried not to sigh, instead forcing a calm frown. "Not here, Private Johnson -- they're sending a drop ship to transport bullets, but want us to send out a hog to meet it, save an hour or two. We have an extra jeep, and we have an extra NCO. Specialist Holmes has been assigned to make the delivery -- I need you to go to the garage and have Bradford prepare one of the vehicles for transport."
"Yessir!" Johnson cried out, his grin excited as he nodded and then raced to the shutter. He slammed into it with a yelp, then rubbed at his muzzle awkwardly while jamming a fist against the button multiple times before saluting the other two briefly as he ducked under it and shouted something about "emergency ammunition dispatch!" to the soldier on guard as he dashed past.
Samael chuckled as the shutter lowered back into place, tossing the clipboard onto the desk and then smiling at Will. "Nicely done, Corporal," he offered warmly, earning a slight blush from the taller male.
"Oh, stop it, it's just me being...me," Will mumbled, glancing up as Samael dug around in his bag to pull out a few bundles of homemade explosive. "Are those. Are those timed, or remote, or...?"
The rebel laughed quietly, slapping one of the malleable lumps against the shelf with the grenades before poking a small pin into it. "Remote. How'd you forge the request?"
"Used Marsden's override to send it with Command privileges," Will muttered, tapping a few commands and then slapping the button to save the request and send it to the printer mounted next to the monitor. "It'll be legitimate since I have his credentials, and since it isn't actually logged with Command...it shouldn't raise any flags. Not that matters if you're...you're really gonna..."
"I sure am, baby," Samael provided with a toothy grin, smashing another clump of plastique against a shelf a few rows away. "This shit ain't gonna be able to kill no one after tonight."
Will gave a long, slow breath, but nodded a few times. "Then this will work for anyone who asks while you load the jeep." He hesitated and licked his lips, shooting a painfully honest look at Samael. "I'll...I'll do my part, and clear the posts here, whatever it takes. But. But, Samael, I don't think there'll be time for me to..."
Samael dropped the bag, which made Will immediately gasp in horror. Not that the explosive did anything -- it was completely harmless in its current state. But still. Will leaned back somewhat as the rebel marched over to the desk, slamming his hands down on it and leaning across to stare into the corporal's eyes. His gaze was as intense as it was tender. "Will, I might tell a thousand lies in a single day, but when I speak the truth, my word is bond. You can still back out now, if you want. I coulda hacked the system when you were distracted, easy story for you to tell. But if you still wanna go with me...you're comin' with me."
Will swallowed thickly and bit his lip quietly before reaching up to grab the front of Samael's chest plate. The rebel smiled slightly as the corporal yanked him down and kissed him briefly -- he guessed it was one of the most forward things Will had ever done -- before blushing and reaching up to poke a claw silently into the white patch on the grey male's neck. "I want to go with you. I want to be done with this stupid red versus blue shit. What...what do I do after I clear the posts? How will you know? Where will you be?"
"Well I'm gonna kinda be callin' it as I go," Samael replied with a slight smile. He reached out to prod Will's shoulder softly in return. "How 'bout this. You get the boys to leave their posts, then you take out the light over the door."
A tiny frown appeared on the corporal's muzzle again. "You'll...see it? Won't you be running?"
"I'll stop half a klick away 'n watch," Samael responded easily. "All these lights y'all got ain't shit for actually seein' into the dark. Ain't no one gonna hit me from that distance. And once the warehouse goes up, ain't gonna be no eyes on me." He smiled again, squeezing the taller soldier's collarbone gently. "That's your cue to get your ass to your room, get whatever you wanna bring in a bag. And then run. Run straight north, Will. I'll wait."
Will's eyes searched Samael's, and found only honesty. He nodded nervously. "I suppose it's a good thing I'm a miserable, boring bastard," he grumbled, releasing his companion armor. He smiled a bit, however, rolling his shoulders slowly. "Got a couple books I wouldn't want to leave behind for these guys. Some off-duty clothes I probably haven't worn in...a few years. Nothing major."
"Then all you need besides that is you," the rebel murmured, running a claw affectionately along Will's throat to make the chupadore shiver a bit. "You c'n build a new life with us, Will. Leave everything else behind. An' we'll travel best if we travel light, anyway," he added with a chuckle.
"A new life, huh? I'm still trying to deal with the mental image of you having sex with a bat-person," the corporal complained, only half-meaning it as he scrubbed at his features for a moment. "But okay. Okay, okay. This is happening. At what point am I officially a Movement rebel? They could shoot me just for this, right?" he rambled nervously while grabbing the sheets from the printer tray, holding them out to Samael.
"I don't think you're quite a rebel yet," Samael cooed, his grin returning in full force. "But, uh. Pretty sure this does at least make you a traitor, sweetie. So don't get shot, 'cause...even if you 'n me ain't about to go ridin' off into the sunset as soulmates, I still really like you. And I really don't wanna see you full'a holes." He took the papers, tucked them under an arm and then nodded to the hand truck by the wall. "I'll use that and move the four crates to the garage. I got the orders, I'll work my magic on anythin' else they don't cover. You let me talk smooth -- you keep to talkin' plain. That's what your men expect, that's what they're gonna look for."
Will nodded slowly as he signed out of the terminal. "They...aren't my men any more. Hell, I don't think they ever were. But they listen to me, because they have to. I'll use that."
Samael smiled a bit again. "Now you're getting it," he replied softly. He shifted away from the desk and strode back to his duffel bag, producing the last two lumps of explosive before winking over his shoulder. "You'll be a fully-fledged rebel in no time."
"Oh goody," Will mumbled while watching his companion affix the final clay-like substance to the shelf nearest the desk. "So...so I just sit here for now?"
"And look pretty," concluded Samael, winking once more as he fetched the dolly and wheeled it around to snag the crates of the ammunition that were listed out on the official request sheet. "Take a moment to breathe. Don't try to plan out any conversations, just think about being you. That's the key to not gettin' the wrong kind of attention."
"But...you've done nothing but get the wrong kind of attention," the corporal protested, his expression more curious than accusatory. "You've done nothing but turn heads since you got here."
"Yeah, but that's 'cause my cover is a fast-talkin' asshole, just like me," Samael replied with a grin. "Ain't betrayin' my personality, an' that's why it works. Folks don't see me as actin' out nothin', 'cause it's all genuine. So they just see a cocky newcomer. Might get their attention, but they don't get suspicious. Just me bein' me!"
Will couldn't help his smile. "Yeah, you definitely did give that impression. First thing I see when I come to meet the new transfer is a giant tattoo and a pink tail. And a smug jerk who lets me go on like an ass without announcing his rank."
"Hey, you were an easy mark," the rebel teased, stacking the last crate on the hand truck and then placing the forged orders atop them. He glanced back at the corporal to catch his half-pout, half-scowl. Samael laughed and pushed the ammunition to the shutter, pointing to his companion. "But you're my friend now, Will. I got your back." He became serious for a moment, pausing with his hand above the button. "No matter what."
The taller chupadore quietly stood up behind the desk, gazing back at Samael and then nodding once. "I got yours too, Samael. Be careful."
Samael flashed his teeth in an admittedly welcome return to his bravado. "Be bold." And with that, he opened the shutter and wheeled the truck through, immediately calling out to the soldier on post: "Private! Did Johnson get in ya? I mean, get the news in ya?!? Emergency orders!"
The shutter rolled down after a moment, leaving Corporal Barnes in muffled silence once more as he exhaled quietly. This was all still extremely daunting. He was going to...no, he already had helped a Movement operative sabotage his base. He was going to be convincing loyal soldiers to abandon their posts. Then he would be running, deserting his position in the Red Army, a crime punishable by death. And yet what was bothering him most wasn't any of that. Since when the fuck were the urban legends of bat-people true?!?
Samael had braced for an encounter with the sergeant between the depot and the garage, or perhaps a few moments after arriving. But once there, he only found a quizzical mechanic and an hyperactive Private Johnson trying to explain how urgent it was that they prepared a vehicle to move out.
The rebel noticed almost immediately that one of the hogs was raised high on the pneumatic lift, two of its tires removed. He cocked his head slightly and then smiled when Private First Class Bradford approached. "Bradford!"
"Holmes," the mechanic replied as the two shared their brief, informal salute. He looked over the crates with a thoughtful grunt, then glanced back at the grunt. "Huh. So Johnson ain't just goin' on, then, eh?"
"Nah, 'fraid Johnson's standin' true," 'Holmes' replied with a half-grin as he picked up the cover sheet for the request and offered it. Bradford gave the specialist a brief look before taking the paper and scanning it quickly. "Wait, that ain't the one you were workin' on earlier. Somethin' happen on Dremen's patrol?" the impostor asked innocently enough, putting a hand on his hip.
"Good eyes," the mechanic muttered, leaning down to peer at the following sheets and then nodding once. "Tires were light. Went ahead and jacked it up for a full check since they were done for their shift and didn't think we'd need the other one 'cept for an emergency." Bradford's muzzle quirked into a slight smile. "And look who come strollin' in here with an emergency."
Private Johnson trotted over, practically dancing from paw to paw. "Sir! Sir, it's Outpost 203! They need the bullets, it's the Blues!"
"Yeah, I can read, Johnson," the mechanic drawled as he jackknifed the back of the jeep that still had all four wheels attached. "I'm gonna assume since you're the only one goin', you won't need this, right?" he inquired, smirking over his shoulder at the specialist with one hand resting on the rocket launcher mounted on the top of the roll cage.
"Guess I can't argue with that!" 'Holmes' responded cheerfully, even as he chuckled to himself. Damn, that woulda made a nice peace offering to Nelson... "Go right ahead."
"You'll move faster without it, an' I spent too much time polishin' the damn thing to have it lost if you get your ass blown up by some wanderin' Blues," Bradford surmised, already producing a wrench from one of his deep pockets to lock it around one of the mounting bolts. It only took him a few rapid cranks on each bolt to remove them before he lifted the large weapon up with a grunt. He glanced down at Johnson, who had wilted slightly. "Johnson, quit that mopin' and catch!" Without another word, he tossed the launcher down to the burly soldier, who dropped his rifle with a yelp so he could catch the mounted weapon.
"Sorry, sir!" he wheezed around it. "I was just hoping I could go with Specialist Holmes, shoot any stupid Blues that get in the way!"
"Yeah, well, tough shit, orders only got his name on it, so stop yer bitchin' and help me get the Specialist on his way," the mechanic growled, raising the wrench threateningly before giving 'Holmes' an amused look. "Kids these days. C'mere, Holmes, won't need this back bench. Should make the perfect hole for the crates."
Samael grinned and nodded his agreement before opening the tailgate and reaching up to start undoing the levers that secured the bench seat. "Yep. The sergeant hasn't come by yet, has he?"
"No, sir!" Johnson interjected as he swayed with the rocket launcher still clutched to his chest, turning to face them and knocking several tools from a work bench. "Want me to go find him?!"
"Nah, this shipment has priority authorization, Johnson, you really wanna get chewed out for a delay?" The mechanic rolled his eyes, waiting for the loud clatter of tools to stop as he glowered at the rookie for a moment. "Just set it down over there, I'll take care of it. Anyway, you said the corporal was the one who received the order, right? You really wanna tell Sergeant Marsden while Barnes is workin' on it? Innit that what the corporal's for? Preventin' redundancies and the like?"
"Y-yessir, of course, sir!" Johnson stammered before propping the rocket launcher against the work bench -- which also made the mechanic sigh and roll his eyes -- before he jogged back to them to assist.
Samael took this as his cue to slip in a bit more padding. "Yeah, I figured Corporal Barnes would have joined us by now," he mused aloud, taking the other end of the bench to ease it to the garage floor with Johnson's help. "Not sure why he stayed back."
"Really, Holmes?" the mechanic retorted. The repeated lack of Holmes's title made Private Johnson stare with concern, though he hardly dared bring it up as he and the 'specialist' released the bench seat. "You know he's checkin' those orders three times over to make sure there ain't no mistakes."
"Well then I should hurry up and be on my way before our good Corporal Bureaucrat slows me down, mm?" Samael flashed a cavalier grin and turned to grab the top crate so he could offer it up to Bradford.
The mechanic gave him a considerate look before grabbing the box of ammunition. It seemed like he was weighing Holmes's eagerness to leave against the thought of dealing with Corporal Barnes should he suddenly appear with a complaint about the paperwork. But Bradford finally shrugged and wedged the crate into place before gesturing to Johnson to hand him the next one.
Samael concealed his faint smile -- whatever he could do to cast a bit less potential blame on Barnes was a good thing. If it looked like he was trying to get away as quickly as possible...and then Barnes sounded the alarm about falsified paperwork...well. That would hopefully give him a better chance to avoid any suspicious glares in his final moments on the base.
"Let's get these on the hog and get you outta here, then," the mechanic suggested, piercing through Samael's thoughts as the rebel gave a thumbs up and moved to secure the following crate.
Samael waited for the muscular private to heft up the final crate, then quickly wheeled the hand truck to the side and out of the way. The other two soldiers were still occupied organizing the last box of ammunition and the rebel immediately stepped closer to the hydraulic lift upon which the other jeep was hoisted. He skimmed the cables and tubes that connected various points beneath the lift and with one more cautionary glance over his shoulder, the rebel's hands moving like greased lightning. One slid into his supply pouch as the other reached up to pinch a hydraulic line, and then in a single swift movement, he yanked the line out, slapped a makeshift cap on the reservoir and shoved the tube into the feed for the brake that locked the lift into position. Every spare minute was another minute to spare.
He was halfway to digging out a thin blade from his pouch to slice open a tire as well when the mechanic called out to him: "Holmes! You're all set!"
The rebel turned around with a disarming smile, wiping his hands together and then grabbing his enormous rifle and the two bags filled with his effects and supplies. "You boys are the best, this is gonna make all of us look good."
Private Johnson looked absolutely ecstatic at the comment, though Bradford's tight frown was a bit more reserved. "Mhmm -- you said this was only an hour or two of a haul, right? The hell you packed to the gills for?"
"Shit, this ain't my first emergency supply run, I ain't about to get caught unprepared out in the middle of the night with god knows what runnin' around out there," 'Holmes' retorted churlishly, even as he grinned a bit. "You should know 'nuff 'bout me already that I do what I'm told, but I ain't 'bout to let myself get caught with my pants down, not without no backup ridin' shotgun."
The mechanic grunted quietly, crossing his arms for a moment as he studied the specialist from the back of the jeep, and then finally holding out a hand. "I'll secure that goddamn shoulder-mounted cannon your short ass somehow manages to use, give it here."
"Sir!" Johnson spluttered as he stared up at the mechanic again before peering nervously at the specialist. "That's not how we're supposed to--"
"What're you on about, Johnson?" Samael drawled as he tossed the sniper rifle up to Bradford. "I heard 'im say 'specialist', what'd you hear?"
"Uhh...um..." Well, if he disagreed, he'd be risking subordination, wouldn't he?? "Y-yes, sir! That's what I heard, too! Apologies, sir!"
Bradford smirked amusedly as he wedged the oversized weapon behind the passenger seat, snug enough to prevent unwanted movement but loose enough to yank out if needed. "Dunno how you get away with it if you yap your trap like that 'round Command," the mechanic muttered with a snort as he hopped down, then glanced over the shorter chupadore thoughtfully. "So...when can I expect my vehicle back, Holmes? Four, five hours? Go off-shift in four, need to know if I gotta log some extra time."
"Oh, I wouldn't wait up," Samael replied airily as he threw his bags on top of the ammunition crates and then jogged around to hop behind the wheel with a half-grin. "Just in case the plan changes -- you know how Command is."
"Mmm." Bradford grimaced and seemed hesitant to release his hand from the tailgate of the jeep. He met Holmes's eyes in the rear-view mirror for a moment, and the impostor could see the gears whirring away in the mechanic's head. He wasn't an idiot. He could tell something was awry. The benefit Samael saw in the situation, however, was that the brawny soldier wasn't brainwashed enough to break a sweat stepping in front of a possible Red Army protocol violation. If it didn't directly concern him, how much of his problem was it? Bradford wasn't selfish as much as he was simply above the blinding noise the army liked to surround the grunts with.
Before Bradford could continue with an additional inquiry, Johnson had already run over to the control panel for the garage door and mashed the button that lifted the main shutter. The mechanic pursed his lips again but reluctantly released the back of the vehicle with a grumble. "Alright, then. Won't go outta my way to wait on you...but don't fuck up my hog," Bradford grumbled, slapping the tailgate as he nodded once in the mirror.
Samael smiled a bit -- maybe if he had more time, he would have been honest with the mechanic. He wasn't sure if Bradford would even consider defection to the Movement...but if nothing else, his inflated common sense would at the very least provide a good conversation. Alas. At least he'd been able to give the guy some beer as an as-yet-to-be-known peace offering. He nodded back and tapped two fingers to his brow in an informal salute, which did at least make the mechanic smile back grudgingly.
The rebel grinned slightly as he fired up the vehicle and shoved the shifter into gear to rumble toward the entrance. He took the moment to give a sharper salute to Johnson -- he knew the poor dumb kid would be thrilled with it, considering how happily he returned it and stood at painfully stiff attention as the specialist rolled past him.
As soon as the tires crunched into the dry dirt outside the garage, Samael flicked the switch for the headlights. The bright lamps instantly cut a swathe through the darkness and he could feel the eyes of the soldiers posted around the exterior of the base and depot alike trained onto him. That was fine. He needed their attention. Without another thought, he shoved his paw down and made the engine roar as the jeep leaped forward into the night and lunged into a sprint away from the base. There was no turning back now.
William Barnes thought he'd been nervous when he'd first learned the truth about Samael. Then he thought he'd really been anxious when he agreed to help the rebel sabotage his own base. And he was sure he'd never been as uneasy as when the Movement agent had planted explosives around him and disappeared through the door with multiple crates of ammunition.
But none of that compared to the queasy sensation of his stomach dropping down deep when he heard the telltale squeal of tires and the fading drone of a vehicle racing away at top speed. It wouldn't be hard to estimate when Samael was half a kilometer out -- he wasn't scared of miscalculating that. He was scared, however, about the fact that several alternative realities were all too possible.
What wasn't possible, after all?
Samael could simply continue driving away once Will cleared the soldiers from their posts and left the depot ready to be safely exploded. Even more unnerving -- the rebel could just blow it now. He was a guerrilla, essentially, wasn't he? His job was to lie and extort and manipulate his targets. The whole thing might have been a convenient set up, and Will nothing more than a victim -- or even a partial target, since it wouldn't take an expert to figure out he had forged the document himself. And he was blown away by the explosion, well. One less loose end.
Will trembled a bit with the apprehension. How could he not? He wanted desperately to trust Samael...but really, how long had he known him? It was hard for him to fathom that he'd been annoyed and frustrated by his arrival no more than thirteen or fourteen hours earlier. Holy fuck their tryst could have been a simple progression for Samael to get what he wanted to finish the mission. Even simpler than whatever original plan he had.
But no. No, no, he didn't want that reality. He needed to believe Samael, because his life depended on it now. And he was done with this goddamn war.
The corporal exhaled in an attempt to calm his nerves, clenching and then slowly loosening his fists as he moved to the shutter. He glanced over his shoulder at the lumps of explosive, their detonators blinking slowly in the low light, each a winking reminder of how deathly serious this all was. He had a job to do -- he had lives to save and he had a life to leave behind.
Will nodded firmly to himself and then slammed the button for the shutter. He ducked beneath it before it could even fully open, immediately jabbing a finger at the soldier with his other hand gripping his rifle tightly. "Private! I've just learned the orders for the emergency ammunition drop were falsified by Holmes! I believe he is an impostor -- has the vehicle left yet?"
The soldier's eyes bulged as he gasped in shock. "Sir! Yessir, just a moment ago! Are you sure, though? They said he killed a--"
"Goddammit!" Will poured his heart into the anger, grasping into some of his own raw fear to make the performance more natural. "It was all an act! I''ll secure the door, you and..." He paused to glare up at the guard tower, unable to make out the soldier above. "You up there, Private! Down here, now, you two are to go sound the alarm and find a First Class to organize a pursuit team!"
"But...sir, the depot, our orders --"
"Private, now!" Corporal Barnes snarled, leaning forward with his slight frame but making the massive soldier before him cower. "Unless you want to be court-martialed for assisting a rebel!"
That was enough to earn another gasp. "A...a r-rebel??! Here, Holmes?!?" The soldier on post above had already raced down the ladder, all but yanking the arm of the dumbfounded private by the door. "Y-yessir, right away, sir!"'
Barnes grit his teeth as he struggled to maintain his cold composure, watching the two grunts stumble away while yelling about a 'goddamn rebel' and a 'getaway' and some other panicked accusation. He glanced into the dark fields around the base, spotting the pair of headlights in the distance and feeling that pit in his stomach expand as a burst of gunfire rang out from the roof of the main structure -- fuck, these men were too tense to wait for clarification on their orders!
The fear for himself was rapidly shifting to concern for the rebel despite all his mental hesitations, and Will turned back around to stare at the lowest light of the depot. He stretched an arm up to unscrew it, standing on his toes, his claws scraping the air beneath it for a few seconds.
It was just out of his reach.
Fuck! He looked up at it wordlessly for a moment as he blanked from the adrenaline...and then finally jerked the rifle up to his shoulder to fire a burst of rounds at it in a desperate need to do something.
The bulb shattered, and his gunfire bled into the second and third salvo of bullets ringing out from the roof of the base. The corporal bit his lip nervously as he twisted around to look into the imposing night once more...and a moment later, saw the headlights go dark. The fields were barely shadows now, and Will had never been so scared of the darkness surrounding the base. This was all he knew, this place was the only existence he had clung to for the last few years. The thought of leaving it, stepping into the muted, unlit night where the velvet black threatened to swallow him like a lost child in the woods after sundown...it terrified him.
Will wasn't sure how he got to his room. His body was drenched in sweat, his rifle hanging at his side limply. He'd passed multiple soldiers sprinting for the exits, saluted numbly at some, outright ignored others. He could still hear the muffled spitting of assault rifles and pistols. Someone had shouted about sabotage in the garage. Someone else shouted for the sergeant.
And then everything fell silent as the earth shook beneath his paws.
The entire base trembled as a raw wave of force reverberated through the concrete structure, bits of debris raining down from the ceilings as the lights swung slowly and cast unsettling shadows down the hallways. The sound was muted and yet still deafening as the halls echoed with the violent blast, punctuated by the irregular crackle of broken concrete tumbling to the floor.
The corporal had to steady himself against his door as he tried to remember the code to unlock his room. He stared blankly at the number pad, muzzle half-open as his pupils, tiny dots like the eyes of a cornered beast, danced wildly. For a moment there was muffled silence...before the shouts of fury began to echo through the halls. The depot had exploded. Someone thought they heard the jeep in the distance. Someone else barked an order to stay down as the heat and the fire began to set off some of the still-intact ammunition to send bullets spraying wildly across the vicinity. Someone else shouted a question -- where was the corporal? Where was the sergeant?
And then just as Will numbly punched in his code, the door next to his slid open. Marsden filled the frame, towering over the corporal, his eyes bloodshot. His face was screwed up in fury and exhaustion all at once -- he had been catching one of his rare naps, hadn't he?
Will's heart froze in his throat as the sergeant glared down at him and immediately stepped forward. "Corporal! What the fuck is going on, what was that explosion? What are you doing here? Why the fuck am I hearing gunfire and again, why the fuck are you he--"
A loud crack interrupted the shouting as blood sprayed out from the sergeant's muzzle and across Will's pale features. The butt of his rifle hovered in the air from where it had smashed into Marsden's jaw, trembling as an extension of Will's absolute terror. But no, it wasn't terror, was it? He was through being tortured by this asshole. As the sergeant slowly crumpled into a dead faint, Will gasped for air and finally remembered to breathe again. He stared down at Marsden's unconscious form for a few seconds and then finally tore his eyes away to race into his room. Behind him, his rifle clatter to the floor, all but completely forgotten as every neuron in his body screamed at him to go.
Will's paws pounded down the hallway as he sprinted for the rear entrance. He'd passed only one soldier so far, but the private had been so eager to fight that he didn't give the corporal a second glance. Everyone was gathered on the roof, firing blindly into the night. Some were in the garage, trying to help the frustrated mechanic lower the jammed lift. One or two were vainly attempting to put out the fires of the decimated ammunition depot. All eyes were on the explosion, or trying to find the rebel. Will had a clear shot all the way to the back entry, and his eyes lit up as his momentum caused him to slam into the last corner. But he simply shoved himself off and sprinted up the ramp into toward the night sky. He was almost free.
The cool air hit his lungs like a punch to the gut, his heaving chest sucking in a deep breath as he gripped the outside wall for a moment and stared into the darkness. There was nothing there, not that he could see. But he knew he was facing north -- the direction Samael had told him to go. The corporal licked his muzzle nervously as he adjusted the bag over his shoulder, glancing up to the roof -- no one was on this side, they were all still trying to focus the few precious spotlights in the direction toward which 'Holmes' had originally fled. He could also hear the distinctive sound of another engine roaring to life -- whatever Samael had done to slow them had been overcome. They would be giving chase shortly.
His claws sank into the damp grass as he took one step forward, and then another. And then another. He felt his breath shudder at the implication, but his determination took hold of him as he forced his legs to move.
"C-Corporal Barnes! S-stop! Stop, sir!"
Will's eyes widened.
He jerked to a stop, staring into the darkness, into the nothingness as a cold shiver ran down his spine. His muzzle trembled as he slowly turned his head to look over a shoulder. Private Jacobs stood in the doorway, his rifle raised, aimed at the corporal but swaying a bit. Jacobs was quivering, and he seemed torn between confusion and rage. "S-sir, I...I saw the sergeant. You. You did that, didn't you? You're...a traitor, aren't you? Just...just like Holmes!"
Will swallowed thickly, clutching into the strap of his bag as he gave a tiny whimper. "J-Jacobs...please...don't..."
"I...I have to, sir! You...you know the rules! How...could you..."
"Jacobs..." The corporal half-turned and stared desperately into the fearful soldier's eyes. "Jacobs...come with us. You...you don't have to do this, you don't have to be a part of this war."
The enormous chupadore twitched, lowering the rifle slightly. He bit his lip and seemed to consider Barnes's words. Will began to take a step toward him, stretching his hand out...only to freeze again as Jacobs grit his teeth and shook his head firmly. "No. No, sir! Holmes...Holmes tried to trick us, I see that now. It was...it was all part of his plan, to try and turn us. But we were stronger...and you weren't. You don't deserve that rank. You don't deserve that armor! This war is everything, and we won't lose it because of...bastards like you!"
The tip of the rifle swung back up and Barnes gave a low moan of despair, closing his eyes tightly as a single tear rolled down his cheek. He heard a distant pop and he gasped in anticipation, his entire body tensing up...
A loud curse rang out as he heard the clacking of a rifle tumbling to the ground. He opened his eyes in confusion and saw Jacobs clutching into his shoulder. as blood poured down his arm. Will stared speechlessly before he twisted his neck around to the darkness once more. Samael. But that round should have completely removed the private's arm, those bullets were...
Another faint crack and this time Will felt the disturbance in the air from the round whizzing past his head to smash into the concrete above the doorway, forming a crater identical to the one created by the first round. Another spray of sharp rock peppered the ground in front of Jacobs as the injured soldier was forced backward into the base to avoid more shrapnel.
He could already hear voices shouting from the roof and moving closer, and the dark-red soldier spun on his heel before launching himself into a desperate sprint through the darkness. He had never run so fast in his life as his paws dug into the wet grass and damp soil, propelling his body wildly into the enveloping night. A searchlight swept just past him, and he felt his fears overtake him, nearly stumbling as he choked out a panicked shout of denial...only for a much-louder blast to echo across the plains just in front of him.
He was close enough to spot the flicker of fire from the flash suppressor on Samael's rifle and he threw himself in that direction as behind him, the spotlight immediately went dim when the massive round smashed ruthlessly into it. He could hear more blind firing from the base, but the bullets sprayed with little accuracy around them; only one or two shots pinged off the side of the vehicle as he flung himself toward it and stumbled around to the other side. Tears streamed down his cheeks from the sheer strain on his mind and he slammed into the fender with a ragged sob, dropping his head as his chest heaved from the effort.
Samael was perched on the frame of the windshield, one paw propped on the roll bar for support with his other leg secured against the door to hold his body steady. He lowered the long-range rifle with a quiet exhale, then glanced down at the overwhelmed ex-corporal.
"Will...you alright?" he asked softly, leaning the weapon against the crates of ammunition before hopping down to the ground and wrapping an arm supportively around the other male's waist. "I'm sorry, I promise Jacobs is gonna be okay, he...he just didn't look like..."
"You didn't kill him," Will blurted, dropping his head against Samael's for a moment as the tears continued to roll along his muzzle. "You didn't kill him. Thank you, Samael. And...and thank you for saving me. I thought...I thought I was..."
"I told you I had your back," the rebel murmured before glancing past his companion as a pair of headlights tore out of the base and began to slice through the grass toward them. "C'mon, we gotta go, hon. Right now."
Will nodded numbly and lifted his head to quickly wipe at his eyes before letting Samael lead him to the passenger's seat. "I...I tried to ask Jacobs to join us, I thought that, maybe with the time you'd spent with him and Ronson, that...maybe..."
"Damn, seconds away from gettin' shot for treason, an' you're already tryin' to recruit," Samael murmured, his voice affectionate as he sprung nimbly across the hood and then grabbed the frame of the windshield to jackknife himself back behind the wheel. "You were meant for this, Will, you really were." The engine was still running, but he left the headlights off as he slammed the accelerator to the baseboard and urged the vehicle to roar into the darkness. His eyes had long since adjusted to the night and he kept the gas pedal all the way down as they tore through the tall grass at breakneck speed. He'd long since planned his escape route -- there was a heavily wooded area a few minutes away, and if they didn't lose their pursuers before then, they'd certainly do so soon after, especially if they kept their lights off.
He took a moment to glance at Will, seeing his wet cheeks glistening in the dim light offered by the few visible stars. Fate had gifted them with a cloudy night. "If...I had stayed with my original schedule, I might have had the time to turn one of those boys, if not them both," the rebel murmured before focusing his attention through the windshield again as they rumbled in a slow arc toward the distant forest. "They seemed like good targets, an' no offense to them, but...simple-minded enough I might eventually be able to get 'em to see things different. But they ain't you, Will. You wanted to be done with that shit. You didn't just want out, you wanna see it end." He leaned over to quietly brush some of his tears away with a gentle thumb. "Take one of you over a dozen of them any day. No hesitation."
Will trembled at his touch, feeling a shaky sob on his lips again even as he blushed a bit. He gave a shuddering sigh and then finally nodded as he reached over in the darkness to grip tightly into Samael's hand for reassurance as they lurched through the darkness. At their tails, the beams of their hunters' headlights steadily grew further and further behind. "I'm so scared, Samael..."
The rebel glanced at his companion again before squeezing his fingers silently and twisting the wheel slightly with the other hand to direct them toward a break in the tree line ahead. "That's alright, Will. I got you. You never gotta feel alone again. You're one of us now, an' we take care of our own." He tightened his fingers gently around Will's. "No matter what."
Will should have been nervous enough about smashing into a tree to release the rebel's hand and give him better control...but he needed the comfort more, and Samael was all too willing to keep their fingers entwined as they passed the edge of the forest and began to weave smoothly between the trees. Will didn't want to think, and so he let the silence curl around them like a comfortable blanket, holding onto his companion's hand tightly and staring ahead into the dark forest as he trusted Samael to get them where they needed to go. His new life had begun the moment he'd started running, and he had no idea where that path would go. But he was willing to let this chupa be his guide, and he was determined to keep his eyes forward...because nothing behind him was worth regretting ever again.
Red vs Blue © Rooster Teeth. Halo © 343 Industries. Concept by Myshu, assisted by The Department of Chupapology.
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