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Prove you don't need luck

You play as Delilah, an unfortunate young girl going through tough times.

=Links and Information=


Thanks to an anon, here is the pastebin of just the text. With threads purposely being misarchived, this should be available and accessible instead:
Melancholic Quest Collection 1 (1-4): http://pastebin.com/hTK0fQmd (embed)
Melancholic Quest Collection 2: http://pastebin.com/cX4HC6Q9 (embed)
Melancholic Quest Collection 3: http://pastebin.com/sTuR8xJv (embed)
Melancholic Quest Collection 4: http://pastebin.com/RPwa7nEt (embed)
Melancholic Quest Collection 5: http://pastebin.com/DJ71TtFc (embed)
Melancholic Quest Collection 6: http://pastebin.com/xxCdZfx6 (embed)
Melancholic Quest Collection 7: http://pastebin.com/7skcyeX0 (embed)
Thread 29 (Misarchived as Gorgon Child) http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/700562/
You're playing as Lawrence still and in the last thread:

>Lawrence visited his parent's house and left with his father's gun
>He's now visiting his parents at the place his dad is recovering

And as you go through the events that happened years ago;
-Lawrence promised Michele he would take revenge for her
-Despite trying to plan for it, Lawrence lost the fight
-While he was in the hospital, Michele came to tell him she was running away
-Lawrence didn't fight it and was able to give Michele a final goodbye
I should have mentioned in recap, Lawrence chose to tell his parents he hopes to come back to them again

Saying goodbye to your parents for the final time is something you’ve never planned for. Even with all those times that you rushed out of the house, some part of you always figured you would see them again.

And even though you’ve dug yourself a hole so terrifyingly deep now, you still can’t give them a final farewell.

You go take a seat next to Dad’s bed and Mom keeps right next to you. Being here with them feels like some kind of fever dream. Despite the hell you’ve put them through and all the ways you could have possibly hurt your parents, they sit here with you. They look at you with concern painted across their faces. Mom keeps a hand on your shoulder, afraid to let go of you again. And Dad, he was ready to jump out of the hospital bed just to greet you.

Somehow, through everything you put them through, they still welcome you as their son.

“Oh!” Mom exclaims with a closer look at your face, “Are you okay baby? What’s wrong?”

You didn’t think that just seeing them would make you cry. But there you are, sitting there with a fucked up mess of thoughts and emotions running rampant. It’s no different than when you were younger, only now you’re in more than schoolyard scuffles.

“Do you need our help, Lawrence?” Now with Dad asking, an embarrassed smirk pushes across your face. You didn’t want to worry them more than needed and now Mom has to pull tissues from her purse.

“It’s okay,” she coos and you let her take your chin in hand. You’d normally resist such a doting act, but you let her clear your cheeks. “You can tell us what’s going on. We want to know Lawrence, we need to know that you’re okay.”

“If there’s something we can do to help you…” Dad speaks up. It makes you laugh, angry at yourself for already fucking this up. You’re someone that has to break into a man’s house tonight, and here you are being coddled like a child.

Not that you’re doing much better as an adult. As a kid, you could speak words but never knew what you wanted to say. And now here you are, unable to speak the things you still don’t know how to put into words.

“Lawrence baby, you’re shaking-” Her hands move to grab your shoulders as she looks you over. It’s one of the things you did want to hide from them but you’ve obviously failed at that.

Why does it have to be this bad? You thought it was manageable before, when it was just a tremor down your hands or the need to pace. Is it getting worse?

The question makes your head spin.
You pull out the pack of cigarettes in hopes of blaming it on the nicotine. Mom takes it from you, barely looking it over before setting it down by dad.

He speaks up, “You don’t have to lie to us. We just want to know what’s going on.”

Mom has already brought you closer. She has to stand up in order to hold you, but she wraps her arms around your shaking body. “What’s got you scared?” she asks, and it hits you hard.

You’re scared to death.

The realization makes you weak. It makes you feel stupid as hell too-- why the hell wouldn’t you be terrified? With everything that’s resting on you succeeding, it’d be strange if you weren’t scared of getting locked away again. Or killed, or just fucking everything up for Delilah.

You’ve been changing too. Now it’s like a cloud of gloom forms when you leave. When the mood swings hit you fear for those around you.

Worst of all are the wild and raw feelings rushing around. It’s the things that make you run on autopilot. The things that make you act on impulse. How you are able to lash out so terribly and feel sickening regret after.

They’re what will make you break into a man’s house tonight and hurt him.

And it is what makes you sit there, crying in front of your parents as they try to comfort you. Somehow this has been the most comfortable you’ve felt around them.

This isn’t something that you want to end. You want to be able to come back and see them again. You’re actions before might have said otherwise, but you don’t want to cut them out of your life forever.

When you calm down enough for Mom to let go, you begin writing.

The time in the hospital was a horrible blur. After Michele left the room, you kept coming and going. And for a long while, you were just gone.

Later you learned that you went into surgery a few times in that time between. Making sure you could breathe on your own was the first priority. When that proved to be a miracle success they attempted to save your voice-- all their efforts went into a marginal improvement.

You didn’t know any of that when you woke up from the latest surgery. Everything still hurt and you sure as hell didn’t know what was going on. It took time for your eyes to focus enough to see there was another person in the room.

You called out to:

> Mom, who sat in the chair next to you with all light gone from her eyes
> Dad stopped by for a visit, it turned out rocky and awkward
> One of the nurses tending to you. She was kind enough to fill you in on what happened
> ...
>One of the nurses tending to you.
>> One of the nurses tending to you. She was kind enough to fill you in on what happened
> One of the nurses tending to you. She was kind enough to fill you in on what happened
> One of the nurses tending to you. She was kind enough to fill you in on what happened
You tried to call out to the nurse but of course it didn’t work. The motions of you reeling back and grabbing your neck from the attempt did grab her attention.

“Easy there--” She was at your side a moment later. You didn’t fight back as she eased you against your back again. “There we go. Try not to move around too much. Did you need something?”

It took an excruciating attempt to answer before she realized her mistake. “Shh shh…” she hushed with a gentle finger over your lips, “I forgot which patient you were for a moment, I’m sorry.”

The nurse stayed right by the bed as you took the time to catch your breath. Seeing the tubes in your arms made you sick and she had to once again help you calm down.

“You’ll be free of these soon enough,” she promised as you squeezed her hand painfully tight. She let you though, never once showing that it bothered her. “I think this is the longest I’ve seen you awake for. I’ll have to let the doctor know.”

Your head shook quickly and she added, “I won’t leave yet, don’t worry.”

The sun came through the windows so you knew it was at least day time. What day that could be, or how many days it was since you left the house, all of that was lost to you.

And then you remember watching your sister walk out of the room.

That poor nurse had to handle you as you kept trying over and over again to ask where Michele was. The sounds just wouldn’t come no matter how hard you tried. She did her best to read your lips but that proved only a failure too, and you couldn’t hold it together any longer.

You were crying out for Mom and Dad. If you had the strength to get out of bed then you would have. She did have to fight you back but you wouldn’t have had the strength to make it down the hall.

“Hold on a moment, okay?”

It didn’t take her long to find you a paper and pen. With a bit of help to sit upright, she moved your hand in place. “There we go. Can you write it down for me?”

You wanted to ask where your sister or your parents were. All you could get down was Michele’s name before you had to stop. Even writing a handful of letters proved too much to handle. The nurse looked over the page, reading it aloud.

“Michele? That name sounds familiar, she came by to visit you a few times. She’s um…. Oh! Your sister!” Her smile immediately fell when she said that, “Oh…”

She took the page as she said, “I think one of your parents will come in a little bit. Your mother usually comes around this time--”
You kept pointing to the paper in her hand over and over until she knew there wasn’t escaping the question.

“You should wait until your mom gets here-” she tried to say. It didn’t take long for her to give up. How pathetic you must have looked laying there. She even took your hand again, bracing herself for what would come next.

“I don’t have all the details,” she admitted, “so I’ll only tell you what I know for sure. You sister checked in to visit you one night. She came and left here with a big bag. The police came down to ask us questions. It sounds like she left a note at home about running away --ouch-- … to stay with a friend of hers. That’s about all I know, I’m sorry.”

The nurse endured through every second of you squeezing her hand. You were pissed, but that anger had nowhere to go. This wasn’t how it was supposed to go, far fucking from it.

You weren’t done writing yet, but you needed a second to rest. The pain in your shoulder distracted you more than usual and you really need to get these words right. When Dad spoke up, you were met with the surprise of him actually wearing his glasses.

“Lawrence,” he says, “I’m glad you’re here. I’ve been thinking about the things I still need to apologize for.”

“Jack…” Mom looks over from where she sits next to you.

“I need to do this,” he shakes his head, “you were the one who said it would just keep eating me up inside.”

Dad lets out a slow sigh and a weary look comes over his face. You can feel it in the air, this is something he’s struggled with before.

“I don’t think I ever told you how sorry I was for making you leave that night.” He looks down with another sigh, “If I’d handled things better that day… It’s my fault you went to prison. If I had done better, than you wouldn’t have had to look for revenge like that.”

Your breath catches from shock. This is far from what you would have ever expected him to say. Never had you blame anyone but yourself for breaking Charlie.

After you found out Michele ran away from home, you

>Tried to live life as normal as you could, but that was never meant to happen

>Were so lost and hopeless. The plan to hurt Charlie was a spontaneous one

>Planned to get back at Charlie from the moment you knew Michele was gone. You were going to make sure you got back at him this time

>Planned to get back at Charlie from the moment you knew Michele was gone. You were going to make sure you got back at him this time
>Were so lost and hopeless. The plan to hurt Charlie was a spontaneous one
>Planned to get back at Charlie from the moment you knew Michele was gone. You were going to make sure you got back at him this time
>Were so lost and hopeless. The plan to hurt Charlie was a spontaneous one
This series of events is a great recipe for shame, depression, loss of impulse control. Everything a growing boy full of roiling emotions needs.
>Were so lost and hopeless. The plan to hurt Charlie was a spontaneous one
Mom came to visit you later that day. She didn’t expect to walk in to see you sitting up in bed. It didn’t take long for her to show how relieved it made her, though her voice carried a blue heaviness.

“I can’t wait to bring you home again.”

Michele, you tried to ask. It hurt every time you tried to speak but you still hadn’t learned not to. So you had to resort to holding up her name on the page from earlier. You somehow held on to a sliver of hope. That nurse could have been wrong, or maybe things had changed.

It made Mom cry, but she filled in the missing pieces. Michele left a note, saying she needed to go away and learn how to heal. Later on when you went digging around you found her note, left on Mom’s nightstand.

To Mom and Dad and Lawrece-
I’m sorry this happened because of me
Me being stupid hurt all of us
I have to go away for a while

I don’t think I can stand being at
home with Lawrene being hurt the
way he is because of me
I’m sorry Lawrence

I’m going to be staying with a friend
of mine until I can come back
I don’t think I can get better
while staying in the same town
all of this happened in…

It might take me a long time to
get better and I don’t know how
I’m going to do that yet
I hope Lawrence can do well
for the both of us

I love you guys and I understand if you are mad at me

The light inside of you extinguished before Mom could spit out the bitter news about Charlie. The news about him getting a slap on the wrist for attacking you fell on deaf ears.

Michele was gone.

You somehow made it worse.

The rest of your recovery wasn’t fun, but you pulled through. It was easy enough when that’s all you had to think about. A doctor or nurse would tell you what to do and you just had to follow their orders. Once that was finished and they let you go home, what else was there?

The students that came to visit you at the hospital could feel it. Trying to communicate with them would have been more than a challenge, but any efforts they put in failed to gain any reaction from you. After the first time or so they came only out of obligation to help you with previous school work. When you were out, none really felt the desire to be around you.
Everyone in school knew what happened. At least, they knew you got your ass beaten harder than any other kid. They knew Michele ran away-- everything else was up for gossiping and rumors.

You didn’t listen to any of it. Even if you could get the truth out, there’s no way they would all believe it. And so you finally began to lead a life of real loneliness.

No one wanted to hang around a sad and violent mute. Not that there was any desire to fight. You didn’t know what you wanted or needed to do. All you had planned was to help Michele. Instead you had to live with this heavy failure, making you into a broken, empty shell.

Your grades were never anything spectacular. But just like your friends, they began to slip away. At first you tried to put in the effort. It was going to be a difficult thing for you to jump back into anyways, but the failing scores didn’t bother you. After what you had done, how could they?

It really became a problem when you stopped filling in the answers all together. Teachers allowed the half completed assignments to slide out of pity. Papers will only your name written on top though, those warranted a call to the house.

The first call, Mom tried to handle it. She begged you to do your best, all while trying to hide the dark, puffy circles under her eyes. You said that you would try, but that was only an answer to make her stop worrying. That didn’t work when the school had to call a second time and Dad was the one to answer.

“They said you aren’t even trying to answer any of the questions!” Dad’s harsh scolding echoed in the living room. He stood in front of where you sat on the couch, trying to make you look up at him. It would only last a few moments before you would lose focus and let your eyes wander.

How the hell were you supposed to focus on school? You barely cared about it before, but now…

“Hey! Are you even listening to me?”

Dad waved his hand impatiently in front of your face, his mouth curled in a snarl. “This is serious Lawrence! If this keeps up, they’re going to hold you back a whole year. Do you want that? We will send you to school during the summer too, how about that?”

He expected an answer. Between him and Mom, neither were adjusted to your changes yet. They tried, but they there wasn’t much chance for them to stop and learn. They were torn between trying to keep up with work, continue their efforts in finding Michele again, and now you were making things harder again.

“Well Lawrence?” Dad snapped at you again, “How do you want to deal with this? You want to get held behind and watch all your friends graduate before you?”
His words still stung. You looked up at him, opening your mouth to answer but stopping short. He remembered that you wouldn’t be able to answer and let out a short, angry sigh.

“Can’t you at least put something down? Then maybe there’s a chance that you will be able to pass.” Dad looked like a mess. Bloodshot eyes and disheveled hair, you didn’t even notice he had been wearing the same clothes since yesterday. He had spent the night before putting up posters for Michele, and now he had to deal with you.

He continued to scold you until Mom came in. She let you go back to your room as she set to calm Dad down herself. You barely listened to their conversation as you walked up the stairs, already forgetting why you had to come down in the first place.

At dinner you were given one more firm warning from Dad to do better in school. You gave a simple nod and ate without stopping. The table was so uncomfortably silent with just the three of you and it must have been horrible when it was just the two.

Later that night, as you laid in bed staring up at the ceiling and unable to sleep, you thought about Charlie. None of this would have happened if it had not been for him. You kept reminding yourself that over and over again.

And just like that, the white hot anger sparked in you again.

When you went downstairs that night, Dad was down there too. He sat in his armchair, an empty bottle in one hand and a picture frame in the other.

> You didn’t stop when he called out to you-- you were too focused on what you were going to do right this time
> Dad was wasted as hell and the two of you shared a drink, then you left to hurt Charlie
> You helped Dad back to bed so you could look for the right weapon to take
> ...

Apologize for the wait, I was finishing two weeks worth of work in preparation for Thanksgiving
> You helped Dad back to bed so you could look for the right weapon to take
Dad gives a guilty look at you two, “I shouldn’t have been drinking that night. Maybe then I could have stopped Lawrence from going out. And I know I wasn’t too nice while you helped me up the stairs…”

Your stomach lurches back to that dark memory. There wasn’t any way you could risk him waking up and trying to stop you. So instead you woke him up enough to wrap an arm around your shoulder and heave him to his feet.

“What the… Delilah?” he squinted at you sideways. Too dark to see properly, it was the broad shoulders holding him up that gave you away. “It’s you…” he sighed.

You said nothing and started walking him to the stairs. He stumbled along the way and it took far longer than you wanted. But you had to grit through and force yourself to be patient. There would be nothing to hinder you once he was out of your hair.

“Isn’t this some--this is some shit, isn’t it?”

You tried hard as you could to not pay attention to his words. Between the creak of your steps and the rattle of your breathing though, there was little else to cover it up.

“After everything me and, after everything me and your mom did…” Only a few steps up the stairs and he had to stop. As frustrating as it was you didn’t try to rush him yet. The less he got worked up the more likely he was to stay in bed.

“I know we, it’s n-not like we were perfect parents. But we, what did we do?” Dad pulled away from you to grab onto the banister. “Did everything we thought we were supposed to. But we couldn’t even get Michele to… couldn’t even get our poor daughter through high school. And now you-- you’re crippled. Why the hell did you, why did you go and do it? What happened to this family…?”

Being reminded of your failures hurt. It fanned the belligerence inside you even further and you decided that it was time to continue up the stairs.

He swatted away your hand at first, but being drunk and unsteady on the steps made him give in.

“Ruined my daughter…” Dad mumbled as the decent up continued, “and now my son’s on the same road. What a fucking joke.”

Your fists clenched painfully tight as you took him the rest of the way up and let him go into his bedroom. He wasn’t able to look at you that night and you didn’t exchange a single word with either him or your mom in those past few days.

They had absolutely no idea that you would be sitting in a jail cell by the morning.

“I know I was harsh with you two,” Dad’s voice chokes on the words, “if I could go back and do things differently, I would. Maybe then Michele w-...maybe she would have felt safe staying at home.”

Next to you, Mom trembles and grabs a tissue for herself.

“And I c-could have been more a-attentive,” she says while dabbing her cheeks, “I was so scared of smothering you two and maybe that was w-wrong. If either of you had f-felt comfortable talking with your own mother...”

They did what they were supposed to, you’re sure of it. While there were plenty of times when both you and Michele complained about being grounded or how other kids were spoiled, Mom and Dad gave you everything they could.

It was bad luck and rash decisions that toppled everything they had worked for. Not only did they have to lose both children, but the aftermath that stayed for years. No doubt people talked about what had happened. Speculated why Michele would run away. Come up with horrible reasons why you went and attacked Charlie. None of that could have been easy on them.

And here you are. Sitting with them hours before you have go do it again. Trying to talk to your parents without thinking about how you’re going to break into a man’s house and attack him. Failing to keep your hands steady as they shake, anticipation for tonight and the need to go back to the compound. Looking exactly like the type of man that can only cause trouble for others.

Hell, you are causing trouble now. You came here to connect with your parents in this rare calm time and they’ve started blaming themselves for everything.

That's what they were doing that from the beginning, you know that now. From the moment they found out what happened to Michele that night, they took the blame on themselves. You almost wish you could spend the day with them to talk about it all. But you have only a bit more time to finish this letter to them here, and then you’re off to do what you do best.

This time though, you can’t be caught. You never want your parents to have to bear the shame of visiting you in prison again. Having them visit you in jail the day after you broke Charlie’s body was painful enough...

It didn’t help that when they came down;

> You refused to apologize for what you did to Charlie and doubled down on the idea that he deserved every single strike
> It frightened your parents how calm you were after making another boy crippled-- they were actually afraid of their own son that day
> Mom was too overwhelmed to handle the news and Dad refused to bail you out of jail from fear of what you might do
> ...
> It frightened your parents how calm you were after making another boy crippled-- they were actually afraid of their own son that day
It made perfect sense at the time, but at that point we were probably still in shock. The shame and regret came later.
> It frightened your parents how calm you were after making another boy crippled-- they were actually afraid of their own son that day
A lot of new things happened in those few weeks, and it didn’t stop with you sitting at the county jail. Your parents rushed over after being called that morning. Neither looked ready to start the day, much less find out why their son was being held.

You sat alone in the cell. They had given you a jumpsuit to wear as your bloodied clothes were held onto for evidence. And you listened as the officer that led your parents over explained what happened.

While he remembered to specify that Charlie was in the hospital because of an alleged attack, everyone in the room knew. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that you were solely responsible. The severity of it really hit when your parents had to listen to the condition the other boy was in.

At the time, no one knew if he was going to pull through. His condition was critical and, of course, he was flown out on a helicopter to go to a better hospital. It really broke Mom when it began to sound like a murder, and she grabbed to the bars with tears already down her cheeks.

”You didn’t do this, right baby? This is all… this is just a misunderstanding. Right, Lawrence?”

Hours later, and your hands remained numb from the bat. Dark stains still left speckles up your arm and you’re sure your face was a mix of that and sweat. The fire inside was now at a low burn. You finally satisfied the destructive urges that had built up. It wouldn’t be gone forever, far from it. But you could sit there with a terrible peace over you as you looked up at Mom.

With a nod, you mouthed the words to her.

I did it

She gasped and pulled away. Dad stammered out a few words but was left speechless, grabbing Mom towards him. And they both looked down at you with absolute fear in their eyes. The thoughts racing through their heads was obvious.

How was their child able to do something so gruesome?
You finally scrawl down the rest of your thoughts. Dad tries to take the letter from you first, insisting he can read it. While you give in, he attempts to read the first few words with his eyes squint nearly closed.

Mom coaxes the letter from his hand, promising to read it aloud for the two of them. “I just need a moment,” she gives a sad smile while dabbing her eyes dry.

It’s difficult to listen to her say the words out loud, but you sit and listen. You look down at your hands. Clean right now, but that might not be the case in a few hours.

They won’t be, you decide right now.

Mom puts a voice to your fears of something happening to you after leaving here. Even if tonight goes perfect, there’s always the day after that and the day after that. There’s no magical day you can look forward to. It’s all unknown still, and until then you have to assume that anything could happen to you.

An anguished smile comes across her face when she reads the part about how you want to come back to them one day. They already had to go through the fear of never seeing you again. A promise like this isn’t something you can guarantee, but it’s better than saying they lost their other child outright. But just like you, they have no day that they can look forward to your return. It will be some time in the future, and they’ll have to wait patiently like you will.

Near the end of the letter you also

> Asked your parents if they think Charlie deserved what you did to him

> Admitted that you’re doing something terrible tonight, but for a good reason

>Hope they forgive you for putting Delilah first right now

I apologize for the wait, work was busy for the past few days due to the upcoming holiday
>Hope they forgive you for putting Delilah first right now
>Hope they forgive you for putting Delilah first right now
“See, I could have read this,” Dad says while putting the page even closer to his squinting eyes. Mom tries not to laugh as he brings the paper up to his nose in order to read it.

You nudge her and show what you’ve written next.

“I hope you guys forgive me…” she reads out, “I’ve been helping that girl instead of staying here with you.” Mom’s eyes turn to you as she hands the note off to your eager dad ready to try it for himself. “That’s what you been doing since we’ve seen you?”

You nod and try to not let your teeth grind so hard as you think about her. Delilah is fine where she is, you don’t need to worry about her right now…

“She’s really found herself some trouble,” Dad mumbles before a grimace comes over his face, “Maybe I should be saying trouble found her. I never thought a girl like that could get into something like this… Are you sure you can handle this?”

This time you don’t answer right away. But you eventually tell him yes, even if you don’t feel that’s true. It’s not like they can feel your hesitation anyways. What can they do to stop you though? There’s no way for them to stop you from walking out that door, and the best you can do is try to reassure them.

“Well,” he nods, “do your best for her.”

“And try to keep yourself safe too,” Mom stands to hug you again, “We would love for you to come home again. No matter what happens, make sure you get to come home to us again.”


It’s hard to give them that goodbye and leave. Neither really wanted you to go but it’s not a choice you can make.
Parts of the sun stick out between the clouds when you leave the building. As it sinks into the horizon its still bright rays hurt your eyes, then your head. It’s feeds the headache you had to ignore back inside but now it takes free reign.

You walk out with your head down in hopes of not showing off the pained scowl growing across it. There’s a few hours before your big stint tonight and luckily, there’s no need for you to act nice.

You walked out of the house with the baseball bat in hand. There wasn’t any amazing plan in action. The path you took was an empty and dark one and the rare car that passed by didn’t matter.

When you arrived to his house, you played it smart. Nothing was going to stop you. Not a goddamn thing in the world.

Events that lined up that night were the worst kind of miracle. His car remained parked outside but the one his parents drove was missing. The light in his room remained on and you knew exactly where he was.

> Everything went on impulse and instinct from there and all you remember is breaking into Charlie’s room

> He was going to pay for everything that he did and you put every ounce of your strength into making sure he understood that

> You didn’t think you would take it so far. But then he said your sister’s name and the cops had to pull you off of him

> He was going to pay for everything that he did and you put every ounce of your strength into making sure he understood that
> You didn’t think you would take it so far. But then he said your sister’s name and the cops had to pull you off of him
> You didn’t think you would take it so far. But then he said your sister’s name and the cops had to pull you off of him
Coming through his unlocked window and into the room was the easy part. Another wonderful, terrible miracle- he wasn't there at the time. Which meant plenty of time to wait by the door- patiently, silently, and with bat in hand.

Charlie walked in completely oblivious to you and far more entranced by the pack of beer he brought back. You closed the door behind him, making sure the lock was set.

“Oh what the fuck-” he turned back to the door, thinking it would be the wind or his brother. The cans were sent flying across the floor when you jabbed the end of the bat into his gut. Squeezed out all of the air from his lungs and he staggered back in a dazed.

All the color drained from Charlie’s face when he saw it was you standing before him.

“L-...Law-...-rence?” he wheezed, falling back against his bed. The baseball bat joined the beer cans on the floor and you took him by the shirt. One hand to bring him up to is feet and the other to break his nose.

“F-fug…!” He was mostly stunned from the strike and the blood streaming down bubbled with his words. Charlie’s hands tried to pry himself away from yours. When the thrashing started you struck him again, your knuckles landing painfully against his cheek bone.

You hit harder than you meant to and he slipped out of your grip. He attempted to grab the bed sheet to keep up right but it all went falling down with him to the ground. That was fine with you. The room spun around you yet you walked to the baseball bat easily and took it up again.

The cold metal and heavy weight barely registered in your hands. Not until you stood above Charlie and raised it above your head.

He squirmed on the floor, trying to free himself from the blanket and gain some of his senses again. Blood made drops on the floor each time he tried to keep his head up and he tried in vain to wipe it away from his mouth.

“Wh-...what de fug man?!” Charlie’s eyes squinted up at you, blood in his teeth. “You’re gonna be in huge t-trouble for this…!”
Some of your rational senses returned to you. It’s true, something like this would get you locked away. There’s no way to spin this into self defense. There’s nothing that would allow you to squish this rat and get off scot-free. This was already enough to get you in trouble, but maybe it wouldn’t be that long. What about your parents? They would have to be all alone if you were taken away-

“It’s not like Michele is gonna come back-” he spat her name out with blood, “it’s not my fault she’s gone-”

And then it didn’t matter. You did what you had to do. Over, and over, and over again. Long past the point of your hands going numb from the sensation. Past the exhaustion in your arms each time you raised them. Ignoring any pleads from him or his brother stuck outside of the room.

You kept going until someone wrestled you to the ground, sirens blaring from outside. And you fought against the hands holding you. They put Charlie on a stretcher and carried him out of the room while handcuffs were secured on you. And each moment you were fighting for another second with him. You just needed a little more, you needed to hurt the guy that made your sister go away.

It wasn’t enough, he got off easy, you need to do it until he can’t move again.

Thank god the officers couldn’t hear you trying to shout that as they carried you away.

You toss another burnt out cigarette butt into the emptied coffee cup. Well, no longer empty now. Both Camilla and Crockett are going to be pissed when they find out how much you’ve been smoking in the car.

No skin off your nose, dealing with an ashy car is least from everyone’s concerns.It’s not like you’ve been enjoying them anyways. It’s something you’ve been doing to feel even a bit grounded right now, but it’s not going to be enough later.

You light the very last cigarette you have. The sun is down, and you have just a bit longer before you start breaking into the address given to you. And for now you have been;

>Waiting close to the house you need to be at tonight. You’ve been waiting here for a few hours now

>Waiting by the park you and Michele used to go to, you hope it will calm you down

>You’ve been driving around town, it makes you feel less fidgety and keep an eye on how many people are out

>Waiting by the park you and Michele used to go to, you hope it will calm you down
>Waiting by the park you and Michele used to go to, you hope it will calm you down
>>Waiting by the park you and Michele used to go to, you hope it will calm you down

It sure didn't
It’s painful and amazing how the park remained the same over the years. The you that came here last was far, far different to the you that sits in the car now. Last time you were here, the family was still together. Everyone was still alive.

The ash falls against your shirt and creeps steadily to the filter. Your heart aches as you look over the equipment. Remembering the times you and Michele ran through the grass while your parents watched from a bench. All those times you guys came on your own, using the place where you could talk to each other in confidence.

All of that has been taken away from you. Gone, just like that. Those memories are all you have now and they feel so few. She was taken away from you too fucking soon and there’s nothing you can ever do to fix it again--

You don’t even register the burning from the ember trying to travel up the filter. It only leaves your lips because you let it fall. It goes from trying to burn a hole in your shirt to making a mark into the floor as your head hits the steering wheel. How the hell can you be crying like this? Coming here should have been good for you. It should have been easier than seeing your parents.

Why do you have to cry now. You have done so plenty of times before, especially after finding out what happened to your sister. But looking at the park and breaking into tears? Would you really be doing that right now if you didn't feel so damn itchy on the inside?

It feels like you’ve been waiting out here far longer than you really have. Time is moving too slow again, far far too slow. You want to go back already. These terrible feelings don’t take over you so terribly then, do they? Maybe they do, but maybe you can handle it better. When you’re back with Delilah and sure she is fine then you don’t have to worry so much and you can think straight again not have the doom and gloom take you over so much--

With a stamp of your foot you extinguish the smoldering spot on the floor. You don’t bother to pick up the sad remnant of the cigarette and reach for your keys instead.

God dammit, you shouldn’t be like this already. Fucking pull it together already.

Instead of turning the car on, you reach into your pocket. And a few seconds later the vehicle jumps to life and you drive down the street, a little tab slowly dissolving under your tongue.

The sun has been gone for hours now. You left the car parked at a closed gas station a block down and have been walking around the nearby blocks for the past half hour. Everything you were supposed to memorize was done before leaving. Now you just bide your time.

The snow crunches beneath your feet. The cold feels nice right now. Every so often you check the watch around your wrist. The hand inches closer and closer to the time written down.

Surely this information guy can’t be that accurate, can he?

Once the clock strikes 10:33 a car lights up at one of the trailer houses. They take up most of the street, spaced out enough to even give their own shabby piece of lawn. It’s a shitty block but you’re sure most of the people here are good folk. Even the rusted tin cat with the missing back window left a yard decorated with ornaments in an attempt to feel homey. Bikes left chained up to their front porches and the presence of toys here and there means there’s got to be a good number of kids living here.

God, if only they knew what one of their neighbors was up to.

You really are doing these people a favor.

And sure enough, the car leaves at the time the report said it what. Crockett’s man really knows his stuff. You walk past the trailer though, it’s not your target tonight.

That man leaving for his midnight shift leaves you one step closer to the completed plan. Now the only neighbor next to your target is gone and it’s almost time for you to move on to the next.

You double check the crowbar hidden in your coat. Still there of course, nice. Good. Might need it to get in. Might need it to do more.

Regardless, you will be in the extra shitty trailer at the end of the block. No lights on, no car outside. Most of the windows boarded up. Front door tagged with some graffiti shit you can’t read. The tire ruts might be filled with snow, but it’s still obvious this was brought in recently. No one should mind their neighbor being gone. Not enough time to get to know him. And if suspicions are correct, he probably has strict orders not to talk to any of them.

Your heart speeds up as you walk around to the other side of the place. Sure enough, every window big enough to crawl through got boarded up. Crowbar or not, you’re sure you would have found a way to get them down anyways And if Crockett’s magic informant is right once more, then you have fifteen minutes until the target is back.

The next step is to

>Sneak in now and wait to jump your guy inside

>Wait outside until he shows up. Since he should be alone, you can let yourself in with him

> Wait until he’s inside and asleep, then get through one of the windows

> Wait until he’s inside and asleep, then get through one of the windows
We have plenty of time to pry the boards loose so we don't cause a racket going in.
>> Wait until he’s inside and asleep, then get through one of the windows

Prep a window now though
You can ride out this cold a while longer. For now you approach the trailer with crowbar in hand. It takes a few walks around the perimeter to remember the layout that was scratched out in the info. Not perfect it warmed, but good enough.

The horizontal board across the kitchen window is good enough. Big enough for you to crawl through. Only a handful of nails to pry out and leave covered up in the snow.

Upper corner nails get to stay for now. When it’s time you can pull the remaining two out and get inside. With that done you walk behind the trailer. Empty, junky land makes up this blocks backyard. Plenty of privacy for you to sit in the snow, back against the trailer’s temporary foundation, and wait.

Your bare hand grabs and releases the snow in reach. Each warm exhale leaves a thick cloud behind. It’s amazing how relaxed you are right now, especially with the time on your watch moving closer and closer.

Eventually, a pair of headlights come up the road. And they park right in front of this trailer, just as planned. The car door opening and slamming shut is amazingly loud in this frozen quiet night. Only one set of footsteps crunches in the snow to the front door.

Now your heart begins to race in anticipation again. Almost time, it’s almost time.

Part of you wants to run in now. But you wait, you need to wait. This scumbag will go in, spend about thirty minutes fucking around, then go to bed.

God, you want to go in and beat the shit out of him now.

Thirty five minutes later and you’re at the window again. You make sure not to rush as you pull out the last two nails. Slow and steady, this will be fine.

The board leans against the trailer and you’re greeted with a busted window. That pulls up easily. You getting through it is a little harder but doable.

It’s dark in the kitchen when you step inside. As you expected. And what you needed.

The place stinks of old garbage. There are plenty of bags waiting to go outside, you know because you have to walk past them.
The living room connected to it offers a low source of light. The television balanced on top of a couple of crates shows some fuzzy local station. A sickened grimace comes across you face.

A huge bug runs across the back of the yellowed couch in front of the television. What makes you see red are stacks and stacks of cassette tapes surrounding the area. A quick look shows most of them are new. A closer look shows a short stack of them made, a label across those.

And what’s worse are the two VCR’s there on the ground, connected to one another as one tape is copied to another.

Thinking about what sick shit could be on there makes you want to break everything in this room. You squeeze the crowbar tightly and walk away instead.

It a shock when you see that the target isn’t in the bedroom. His usual schedule changed— you instead hear the sounds of a shower running in the bathroom. Music playing from inside tells you that he probably doesn’t even know you're here.

You can’t wait to break his slimey fucking face.

> Break inside and nab the guy now

> Wait for him to open the door and wrestle him down then

> You can wait in the bedroom with the lights off and surprise him then

> Wait for him to open the door and wrestle him down then
>> Wait for him to open the door and wrestle him down then
You can wait for however long it takes. Be it a few short seconds or hours and hours. He will come out eventually and you will finally be able to go back.

The shower continues to run while a radio plays behind the door. The only light seeps out from the gap between it and the floor. You swallow hard.

Nervous, but not overly.

Your hands itch to move into action already. Excited isn’t the word you want to use. The water stops and your hair stands on end. This isn’t something to be excited for. Not too deep down though, you are. You are excited for the idea of doing this right, and ending the terror it brings.

Inside the bathroom, you listen to the man moving around as the next song comes over the radio.


His footsteps approach the door and you hold your breath. A cloud of steam empties into the short hallway when he steps out. The man dries his hair with a towel, muttering something about the trailer being ‘so damn cold all the time’.

The man makes it a few steps towards the bedroom before you leap behind him. He can hear your movements of course, but only manages a quick yelp. Your hand covers his mouth and nose to silence and bring him towards you.

He fights you, that was expected. Nails scratch at your hand and arm while his teeth try to sink into your palm. In all of the thrashing he manages to bring his elbow back and nick you in the shoulder. It’s enough to send a sharp pain up your injured arm and release your grip just enough for him to slip away.

“What the living fuck--”

It doesn’t take long for you to ignore the pins and needles sensation traveling through your arm. You follow after him, entering the bedroom as he searches the lopsided dresser.

“Oh god where is it, where the fuck is it?!” The search in the top drawer doesn’t provide him with the weapon you assume he’s looking for. He pulls the second drawer out in a desperate search as you step inside the room. “Come on come on come on-”

He finally pulls out the gun but not soon enough. Hearing your steps right behind him makes him panic and try to run away again. You grab and pull him back by the hair. The gun drops and you kick across the room.

“Come on man, please! You want cash? D-drugs? I-I got it all man, I e-even got porn if you want it, we can just-”

The words get knocked out of him when you throw him into the dresser. It finally gives in and breaks into rotted pieces to the ground and the man falls into a pile on it.

“Who the… who the f-fuck are you?” he wheezes, grasping at his chest.

Crockett would be pissed if he knew how you were handling this. Roughening up the ‘victim’ was expected, at least a bit. Do whatever it takes to get him to the compound, that’s what you were told.
But you know stuff that Crockett doesn’t. The sleazy bastard in front of you isn’t just peddling smut. He isn’t just making copies of other people’s suffering to sell to masochistic perverts. It’s more than just using him to find names of people he works for, more than to just dig up evidence to use as blackmail against others.

You step back towards the door and flip on the light switch.

In the pile of wood lays the man from the camping store. The man who took advantage of a girl when she was vulnerable. Who put a cheap price tag on the agony he put her through.

The monster who wrapped his hands around Delilah’s throat. Who kept making her fear fear death over and over again. Who enjoyed the fear in her eyes and smiled when she wasn’t able to breathe.

When Crockett first showed you the information, the name ‘Alex’ rang some bells. Seeing the face attached to it? You recognized the man from the first moment.

And from the white sickening terror that comes over Alex’s face, he remembers you too.

“Not y-you again…!” he whimpers, searching for his gun and trying to stand from the wreck. You put the room back into darkness. His panicked breathing gives away any hope he had of hiding.

Alex attempts to fight back when you grab him by the hair again.

He attempts to plead as you drag him to the door, “C-come on, wasn’t last time enough-”

A crunch follows after his face slams into the door frame. The wood there is solid enough to leave his nose smashed to the side-- he would have just left a hole in the shitty thin walls otherwise.
The light from the bathroom is enough to let you see the red pouring down his face. He might be begging you to stop, offering whatever he has or doesn’t have to give you in return for letting him go.

You can’t hear a word of it. Just knowing that he’s trying to get any sort of sympathy from you after what he did…

Somehow thinking that you could possibly offer any kind of forgiveness after listening to her cry about nightmares trying to take her breath away again.

It’s a fucking insult. You could kill him right now. There would be absolutely no problem doing it either. And knowing what could be on those tapes in the living room right now, scum like him has no right to breathe.

You throw him to the ground. Alex falls flat on his back with a gasp and you’re there not a second later to pin him in place. The weight of your body is more than enough to pin him in place. There’s no escape as you hold his face still and start beating into it.

The pain radiating in shoulder doesn’t even register as you make him into a bloodied mess. He tries to push you off, then resorts to just trying to soften your blows. None of it works. You only tear his hands away from his face until he’s too weak to keep trying.

Bruises and cuts gather across your knuckles the longer it goes on. It’s hard to breathe. The intensity of your attack slows only as you start to go light headed. The room spins more than usual. The world around you is red. A painful ringing fills your ears. There’s a thousand things you want to do to him that would never be terrible enough.

Fatigue starts to hit. You’ve been going at this longer than you thought. Long enough to leave him a blubbering, miserable pile. His face already begins to swell from every strike that found its mark.

It’s not enough. It can’t be enough. This is a walk in the park compared to what he did. He probably thought the consequences would come back for him.

Your hands shake from pure anger as they wrap around his miserable throat.

> Pull yourself together and get him back to the compound already

> You’re going to put him through the same terror he put Delilah through before, you only have to bring him back alive

> Crockett can find someone else to get information from, this man can’t be allowed to live for another night

> ...
Sue mobile here, I meant to spoiler the YouTube link not italic it. I am an idgit for many things but especially that right now, sorry there’s just a link right in the middle of reading
> Pull yourself together and get him back to the compound already
As right as it would feel in the moment, whatever information he can spill could bring closure to other survivors.
> Pull yourself together and get him back to the compound already
Alex already struggles to breathe between trying to spit out blood gathered in his mouth. Your hands start to squeeze around his neck. His body jerks up and he tries pushing you away again.

Killing him would be so easy. All you would have to do is keep squeezing until the life leaves his miserable eyes. Leave his body behind and burn down this godforsaken down with him and all the tapes inside.

It physically makes you sick to take your hands off of him. You are letting him off too easy again. It’s a mere fraction of the punishment he deserves.

You get off of Alex and hold onto the wall as you try not to get sick. Every part of your body is screaming to get back to it. Even if you don’t kill him, he just needs to feel afraid. He has to understand the fear he puts others through.

Instead, you pull out the duct tape with a shaky hand. You hold back when you kick Alex in the ribs. The best you can hold back right now anyways, one wrong move from him and you might lose any last self control.

A few more harder kicks and he gets the idea. With a whimper he turns over onto his stomach. You pin him to the ground with a knee against his back and pull his arms back. He only fights a little bit as you bind his hands back with the tape.

“Wh-...where are you t-taking me?” he blubbers, trying to turn his body around after you stand back up.

He’s not getting any answers as you yank him to his feet. Half leading him, half dragging him along, you look around the trailer. He’s only in a pair of sleeping pants right now, not that you care about his comfort going outside. The only reason you throw a coat on him is to hide the fact his arms are bound back.
No need to bother with shoes. If it’s not snowing outside already it will be in a few hours and any footprints will be covered. Cleaning up the trailer isn’t your problem either. All you have to do now is lead him to your car and drive back.

You lead him to the front door, still fighting the instinct to finish him here. Grabbing him by the neck, you force him to look down as you pull out Dad’s gun. You hold it up, put a finger to your lips, and he more than understands that he has to remain quiet.

“C-can’t I at least get some shoes or something?”

He gets his answer when you open the door and force him to march out. Alex curses as he tries to lift his feet out of the snow, but you grab him by the scruff of his neck and force him forward. Taking the long way around isn’t just your choice, but necessary to get to the car in cover. Behind all the houses, where uneven and deep piles of snow and ice make his skin raw as you don’t allow him a moment of rest. Any blood that drips off of him won’t be seen in a few hours and even then, you doubt many people come through this when the sidewalks up front are at least partially paved.

At the car, you hold him still as he tries to adjust his stance in the shin deep snow. Your teeth gnash together as you listen to him cry and whine. God, you just want to drag him behind the car…

Driving back to the compound is going to take some time, but you have to get him there.

> Make him sit in the front seat where you can keep the closest eye on him

> He can lay down in the backseat. Close by, but you don’t have to fight the urge to slam his face into the window

> The trunk is more than good enough for him

> ...
> He can lay down in the backseat. Close by, but you don’t have to fight the urge to slam his face into the window
Alex gets shoved into the back with more force than is needed. He falls across the seat and stops trying to sit up when you shake your head ‘no’. It’s better if he keeps his head down, no one who drives by will be able to see him. And you won’t have to look at his face unless you want to.

You leave him locked inside the car while you do a quick walk back, taking a paranoid moment to obscure the footsteps you two left. The trailer is more than you could possible handle right now but it’s not your problem. Once you bring him back you’ve done your part of the job-- Crockett can play maid with your mess as far as you care.

Luckily for you, this neighborhood barely counts as one. Being right on the edge of town already means there’s not much else you have to drive past. You’re so close to being back now. In a few more hours you’ll be able to wash your hands clean and make sure she’ll be able to sleep peacefully tonight.

His sobbing gets on your fucking nerves though. Listening to him cry, all while not knowing how lucky he is, it makes your blood boil. And it’s all thanks to those sick tapes of his that he gets to continue breathing.

“P-please, I’ll do whatever you want…” he begs, “you d-don’t gotta do this man…”

Your chest begins to hurt. Impulse is telling you to pull over on the side of this highway and finish the job. Hell, you wouldn’t even need to get out of the car. Dad’s gun can go to good use and end this it all right there. That’s still too easy though. You’d rather use the butt of it to smash in his face instead. And you can picture yourself doing it so vividly too. You would do it until he couldn’t cry out anymore. You would do it long after he wasn’t able to think about begging anymore--

The more you think about it the harder it gets to ignore. Continuing to drive while listening to him in the back makes you sick. The best you can do right now is to turn up the music to drown out his voice. Push the limit on how fast you drive down the country roads. Try to enjoy the view of snow flying at the car as you ride through the peak of your high. Repeat to yourself that you’ll be fine once your back. The acid helped get you through this last half of the day. But then you’ll be back and you won’t have to be this scary man anymore and you’ll be able to settle down again.
For now you need to focus on getting there. You find a station playing something you recognize and crank the volume up to drown out everything else. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoiX8ncN8-k&list=RDM0FKEDexivA&index=10&frags=wn

Directing all of your focus on the music and the white landscape speeding by, you manage to remain calm enough to make it back to the compound.

Pulling into the garage makes you see that a car is missing. More importantly, the car Crockett has been driving around is gone. That bastard was giving you such a hard time about coming back with your backseat target, and he isn’t even here to greet you.

Normally that wouldn’t be a problem. You don’t usually come back with someone you’ve kidnapped though. At least you know exactly where he needs to go and won’t have to leave him in the backseat.

> You’ll need to babysit this guy until Crockett is back, as much as you hate to

> He won’t be able to make it anywhere in his current condition. Leave him tied up where he needs to be, you’ve done what you needed to.

> Maybe Camilla will do a better job keeping an eye on this guy than you will

> …
>> He can lay down in the backseat. Close by, but you don’t have to fight the urge to slam his face into the window

Are the back windows covered or tinted? I'd put him in the trunk but he can make noise at a red light or something. Not worth the risk. Can we cover him with a tarp?
Huh my browser was stuck in the past.

>> Maybe Camilla will do a better job keeping an eye on this guy than you will

Better if Law goes to Delilah to make sure she never sees this guy. Explain to Camilla
And not writing it either, he's too angry for that. It needs to be SAID to drive it home
You give one last look to Alex in the back. Without any other noise to cover it up he’s once again far too loud. If you didn’t have to worry about him choking to death on it, you would have wrapped as much tape around his mouth as you could. It’s not like you really care if he choked to death on his own blood and vomit. Rather you’re forced to make sure he’s still capable of talking.

He flinches when you slam the door. A dry chuckle escapes as you walk to the door. What an appropriate fate for such a weak monster. Would he still have targeted such a vulnerable girl if he knew this where it would lead him?

But you’re back now. Soon you’ll be able to stop acting like such a frightening person. You track snow across the floor as you enter the compound. Almost painful pins and needless shoot from your scalp and down your limbs. Just being back isn’t enough, you can’t really any kind of peace until you know for sure she’s okay.

The skin crawling sensation falls into waves of relief when you find Delilah nestled into a heap of blankets on the couch. Her half opened eyes are glued to the television as Camilla does her damndest to not nod off.

We’ll never survive.

A woman’s voice comes from the movie as you approach the couch. All the anxiousness you felt earlier drifts away. You weren’t gone too long. Nothing bad happened. Everything was okay and now you don’t have to worry, because you are here in case of anything.

Nonsense. You’re only saying that because no one ever has.

When the man gives his lines Delilah’s eyes flash over in your direction. In an instant her body jolts upright, making the half asleep woman next to her jump.

“You’re finally back…!” she exclaims, trying to escape the blanket entrapment.

“Careful…” Camilla warns as she helps free her. But it doesn’t seem like Delilah listens, as the girl still manages to trip over the couch. That doesn’t slow her down any either and she even nudges the heater out of the way in order to reach you sooner.

“I didn’t think you’d be home by tonight--” she comes up to you with a smile but stops short of meeting you. Delilah’s nose crinkles as a familiar flash lights her eyes. In a dazed haste to return, upi had forgotten the blood that has dried to your hands. Even speckled up your sleeves and you begin to fear that some might even stain your face.

But she cautiously approaches you anyways. “I’m glad you made it back,”Delilah says as she reaches for your arm, “I was trying not to fall asleep until you were back but I did a little bit by accident. But that’s okay, I’m just really glad you’re back--”
This time she’s close enough that her teeth flash with a wince. Gray eyes dart from your face to your hand, which she lets go of almost immediately.

“I’m… I’m glad you’re not hurt.” When she speaks she focuses up at you. And with what feels like an unusually stern gaze Delilah asks, “What were you doing?”

Should have cleaned up first, you idiot. You didn’t think about smelling it off you. But you sure as hell didn’t think about her being able to tell that most of it doesn’t belong to you.

Camilla wakes up enough to remember where you would have just came from. With a silent gasp she jumps up and rushes to Delilah as soon as she starts to speak again.

“Who did you-”

“D-don’t you remember?” Camilla pulls the girl gently back towards her, “You said you wanted to give Lawrence the dinner we worked on today. I bet he would really appreciate that right now?”

Your hands hide inside your coat pockets as you nod at Delilah. She quickly nods in agreement to the plan and starts backing up towards the kitchen.

“I’ll go warm it up and you can um, you can get cleaned up for dinner,” she says towards you. Before going through the kitchen door she motions to Camilla, “Will you pause the movie? And um, and rewind it just in case. I don’t mind starting from the beginning!”

Camilla continues smiling at her until she’s gone into the kitchen. The facade drops not a moment later and she goes to stop the VHS. “She’s watched this movie about three times today,” she whispers as the player hums from rewinding the tape, “I don’t mind really, she seems to like it a lot. But I don’t want her to wear out the cassette…”

She approaches you with a squint, “Ace isn’t back, is he?” Camilla sighs as you shake your head, “I didn’t think so. He never came through here anyways. Did you uh, I suppose you did the thing…”

Your hands remain hidden as you nod.

“And… where is he? You left him alone?” Camilla moves in and takes a closer look at your face. She eyes a part of your chin so much that you feel the need to try and wipe away whatever is there. There’s no hiding your busted up knuckles. She gasps and steps back.

Oddio…” she whispers, “Did you bring him back alive?”
You bring Camilla to the garage to show her. And sure enough, your hostage remains where you left him in the backseat. He looks up at her with a glimmer of hope in his eyes, and it makes you feel sick as you see red again.

“Wh-... was he that difficult?” She knew you were going to bring someone back. Of course she wasn’t expecting to find someone sitting along, happy for the ride. And even though she knows why you brought him here, she’s still taken aback by this much mauling.

You know how to change that.

When you motion for Camilla to come closer, she’s afraid to. You don’t blame her, not with how you’ve been acting as of late. This is just the bleeding cherry on top.

Things are fine right now. Delilah is getting dinner ready and you’ll be able to wash his filth off of you. Even next to the pile of human filth, you can almost be calm enough to do this.

You point to the backseat and mouth the words more than speak them, “Do you...know?”
“Him?” she looks towards Alex, “He’s the uh, the one selling those… those awful tapes, right?” There’s already a rise of spite in her voice as she says this.

You nod and do the best you can to say the words loud enough.

“Hurts… girls too.”

Camilla looks wary as you continue to speak. This isn’t something she ever sees from you. Now the words force out with more than just a fire in your belly.

“How do you know that?” she asks and suddenly Alex goes silent with fear.

“Delilah.” Her name hurts to say in front of that man. Camilla’s face goes pale. “Met her…” Your hand comes to grab your own throat. The scars beneath your palm burn like crazy.

“Did this. Over… and over.”

Fingernails dig into your own skin as you resist dragging Alex out.

“Hurt her. Traded… for knife. All this. “ Your fist slams against the roof of the car enough that a dent is left behind. Now you really can’t think. Just getting the words out is hard enough. Ignoring the urge to jump back there to tear him apart makes you feel sick. You could still do it. It wouldn’t take long, he’s just right there-
You snap out of it as Camilla begins shouting. All in Italian, all of it angry and hateful. And every last syllable directed to the piece of shit trying to squirm away in the car.

“-ti ucciderò! Camilla bites her tongue and steps back from the car. She continues to glare into the back. “You have to be kidding me. You have to be fucking kidding me… We have to keep him around? You’re the one who did that to her? I’ll kill you. I swear, I will kill you. You son of a bitch, I’ll make you suffer, seppellire quel figlio di troia--”

She stops and takes a deep breath. The door slams shut shortly after and she faces you again, glaring with a red face.

“I didn’t know he did anything like that,” she stammers out of anger, “and the fact that we had to bring him here. He’s here where she’s supposed to feel safe…”

“Can’t know.” You grab her shoulders and shake your head. “Can’t. Not a...word.”

“I would not dream of it.” Camilla looks over her shoulder back at the door, “But she’s going to want to see you right now…”

You nod and point at her, then back at the car.

“You want me to…?’ Of course she doesn’t look happy about it. But some of the softness returns to her face as she looks back at you, “I suppose you did have a long day. And she’ll probably forget the fact that you came in just now looking like this.”

Camilla looks back at the car, and in the reflection of the window you watch her grow angry again.

“Ace got a call from the hospital that Delilah’s mother is at,” she whispers while keeping her eyes on Alex, “I don’t know what it was about. I don’t think she’s hurt, he said he would be back in a few hours. I can watch this… man, but you should help Ace during the interrogation.”

You figured, but having a few hours between now and then is perfect.

“We’re going to kill him when this is all done, aren’t we?’ her question comes out bluntly, “Once he tells what we need, then we should get rid of him. Who knows how long we will have to keep him here otherwise? She likes to poke around, would we be able to hide it from her long enough?”

Alex has information you guys need so desperately right now. And Crockett swears that it will be possible to threaten him enough to give a criminal confession later, though you’re not sure if you really trust that sentiment...

> You’ll be more than happy to help get rid of his body later, he’s not worth keeping around

> Crockett can figure out somewhere else to keep him. It’ll be hard to make sure it’s somewhere he won’t try to run away from, but it’s better than letting him stay here.

>You can all make sure Delilah never checks out the storage building out back. Keeping him there means you will know for sure where he is

> Crockett can figure out somewhere else to keep him. It’ll be hard to make sure it’s somewhere he won’t try to run away from, but it’s better than letting him stay here.
Ace must've had a plan here, one that didn't involve holding this sick fuck in the same place as Delilah.
>> Crockett can figure out somewhere else to keep him. It’ll be hard to make sure it’s somewhere he won’t try to run away from, but it’s better than letting him stay here.

It's not worth the trouble it will cause if she finds him
“Needs… to live.” It tears you apart to say that. She must be able to see how sick it makes you feel. And by the she continues biting her tongue, it makes her just as angry. “Not here. Somewhere… else.”

“Keeping him alive somewhere else might be tricky…” Camilla’s face wrinkles as if swallowing a pill, “but if we have to keep him alive, then Ace can figure that out. I swear, he better have a good reason for leaving tonight.”

You notice that her hand begins itching towards a holster that’s undoubtedly hidden beneath her shirt. “I will take him to the back,” she says with her eyes fixed on the car, “don’t even let Delilah outside until he’s out of here. “

As you try to leave Camilla grabs your shoulder. Though she doesn’t really need to, she continues to whisper.

“Please try not to let her drink too much of it.”

A white hot jolt travels down your spine. She takes notice of your face and lets out a sigh, “She will want to show it off to you I’m sure. Just try not to let her drink it all at once, I’m going to need a glass after this…”

Right. You’re a freak to assume she meant something like your blood. An oblivious freak at that, trying to approach Delilah while covered in that man’s filth.

Camilla is left to pull him out of the car. The tone in her face and the flash of her gun is more than enough to make him comply.

First thing you do is go clean up. The shirt falls to the bathroom floor as you run the water. Rust colored water circles down the drain as you scrub your hands clean. Then up your arms, over your neck and up your face. And for good measure, you keep your head under the running facet too. You watch and wait for the water to run clear again, not noticing the freezing water at all.

His smell must be off of you now. The only red remaining is the raw parts of your knuckles. Maybe you hit your fist against the floor and never realized. Or maybe you did give him all you had. Either way, it’s time to stop thinking about that right now. It’ll be far too soon before you see his face again.

“See look, these little things are called gnocchi.”

Delilah points to one of several little dumplings on the plate before you. She had been pacing back and forth by the time you came in, though she was quick to try and hide it.

She takes the fork and picks up one of the dumplings, “They’re made out of potatoes. Camilla was showing me how to make them-- oh! And look what she gave me too!”

Delilah returns the utensil so she can dash back to the cupboards. She returns with a glass in one hand and a dark bottle nestled in her arm. There’s an excited smile on her face as she puts the glass in front of you and displays the bottle label.

“Ms. Camilla said I could have this,” she explains with a tap on the label, “She said they found it while cleaning the kitchen a while ago. And look, it’s actually from Italy. So maybe my grandpa brought it over himself. It was with a bunch of other unopened stuff they left behind too, but this is the only thing worth keeping.”

If Camilla okayed it then you assume it’s safe. A little bit is already gone, and you imagine that she made sure to try it first.

“She said this is kind of hard to find too. It’s a uh, it’s called um…” she takes a look at the bottle before trying to pull the cork out again, “Sch-, Schi- uh, Schiopp-...-pettino? Don’t tell her I forgot how to pronounce it already…”

You nod and reach over, taking hold of the cork yourself and popping it out easily.

“It’s a pretty color too, look.” Delilah pours the deep red wine into the glass, careful to only fill it halfway. “And she said it was okay for me to come drink it sometimes. It’s my own bottle of wine, isn’t that neat?”

It’s not hard to imagine Camilla did this just for the sake of cheering Delilah up. You accept the glass from her, doing everything you can to not simply finish it all at once.

“Good, right?” She pours her own shallow glass before taking a seat. As she’s taking a moment to smell the wine you notice her eyes focused on the drink you hold. Hiding the scuffs on your hands now would just cause a scene.

“I also had her teach me some words. But she said I need to work on pronunciation a lot,” she gives a short giggle, “So that means I have to practice sign language and Italian. How neat would if I knew both?”

Delilah finally takes a sip of the wine. Her eyes still don’t leave your hand as she sets the glass down, “So um, what did you do today?”

> Lie and say you got into a scuffle with someone while out today, that would be a better story to tell her.

> Talk about anything else other than the blood that was on you earlier. You already know it’s going to drive her crazy but it’ll be easier than lying.

> Be honest and tell her you did something scary today. There’s no need to tell her all the details though

> ...
>> Be honest and tell her you did something scary today. There’s no need to tell her all the details though

She already knows we did something, everyone else is already lying and keeping her in the dark
> Be honest and tell her you did something scary today. There’s no need to tell her all the details though
“Long day.” You feel over the raw scuffs. Now with a clearer head, you can see it’s more than that. Scratches mark the back of your hands and travel up your wrist and arms. You never felt any of it.

“It felt like it,” she mumbles with her eyes glued to her own drink.

“Saw...parents.” The talk with Camilla already left your throat feeling raw. Everything is calmer now, especially you. The tab you took earlier wasn’t much, but the pattern of the wood table still draws your eyes down.

This is so much better than how you were earlier. All the sensations in the trailer drive you crazy. The sounds and colors and smell and all of it moving around so quick. Here, things are calm. Like before, like when you sat in the snow waiting.

This is better though. Much better. No anticipation for anything. The worst of it is out of the way. There’s no need to keep thinking about getting back in time.

“...you didn’t do that to them, did you?”

It’s so absurd it actually makes you laugh. “Course...not.”

She gasps and you look up.

“I’m sorry, I wasn’t trying to say you would do something like that!” she apologizes quickly, “You just went quiet for a while. I don’t think you could ever do something like that, I’m sorry.”

“Just… a visit.” You smile while kicking yourself mentally for scaring her like that. “Both fine.”

She nods, looking down at her drink in embarrassment. “That’s good,” she says, “m-maybe next time I can go with you to visit them.”

Your attention is caught on the short curls of Delilah’s hair. As your eyes follow the dark waves up, your hand traces the shape on the table. All the way up to where the black ebbs into a peek of blonde, and then you follow another strand down. They move a lot with Delilah but you continue to draw the imaginary lines anyways.

“Saw...the house. The park. Lot of...waiting.” You don’t bring up the fact that you took Dad’s gun. “After that. Visited...bad man.”

There’s a scared grimace on her face, “Why did you do that? Who was it?”

“Terrible.” you answer her second question, “Knew things. We need...to know. Had to...hurt him.”

No need to let her know that he’s here. If she doesn’t know, there’s no chance for her to be curious. But now she has an answer for why you came home this way.

“Did he hurt you too?” she asks. She comes to stand next to you, her finger pointing close to your cheek. A quick touch of the spot and you can feel the raised marks going down the skin. At some point he must have grabbed at your face. You sure as hell don’t remember it happening.

“This?” you grin, “Is...nothing. Baby scratch.”
She brings a hand to cover part of her face and with the sniffling between words, it’s obvious she’s trying not to cry.

“I’m glad you told me,” Delilah flashes her teeth with a shaky smile, “even if you did something like that. I don’t mind hearing it… I just don’t want you to be hurt.”

The heavy, wavering tone in her words sends a painful twinge down your spine. You grab her free hand, shaking your head.

“Not hurt,” you repeat.

“This time…” she adds, “but are you going to have to do this every night? I think I liked it better out there when I a-always knew where you were.”

You really want to tell her everything. It wasn’t a plan you really believed in at first. But you’ve been working for this so hard. Did everything you were told, no matter how much you really didn’t want to do it.

Now you just want to let her know how great this will be. Cutting off every shady path and keeping other people in line, all of it done to finally cull her biggest monster.

“Won’t lose.” You show her the extent of the scratches on your arm. They don’t even reach up far, your coat prevented that. Not that it really fucking matters. For a man trying to fight for his life, he did a shit job at it. “Playground...fights. Did worse.”

“It’s scary when you go out ” Delilah whimpers, “because I don’t ever know for sure if you’re coming back.” She looks from your hand to your cheek, “And what if there’s a bunch of people at once? Or if they get the jump on you, or play dirty--”

She holds you close now. “I wish I could at least go with you. Then I could watch your back, I’m a r-really good shot now. Camilla even said so. I want to help keep you safe too…”

> You will be strong enough for the both of you, Delilah doesn’t have to worry about dealing with this

> If it ever comes to it, you trust Delilah to have your back

> She won’t have to worry about it much longer. You’ll be able to release her back to a normal life soon

> ...
>If it ever comes to it, you trust Delilah to have your back
> If it ever comes to it, you trust Delilah to have your back

you know she's brave enough

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