Rating: R [violence]
Story: Three Graces
Challenge: Rainbow Sherbet #6 - Purple
Word Count: 548
Summary: David remembers what happens when you rebel in more physical ways.
Notes: Apparently I struggle with purple. There's not much I seem to identify it with.
He tried to think of the differences between the fist and the wall. There weren’t many but the effort distracted him, albeit briefly, from the fact that the former had just been knocking him against the latter. The important thing, he concluded, wiping the heel of his hand across the blood drying between his nose and lip and wincing as it tugged at and flaked from his skin, was that the wall was a passive part of the whole event and now propped him up. The fist, on the other hand - and he couldn’t stop his lips from curving into a humourless smile at the appalling pun - had taken a very active role in it.
He’d told that mercenary, years ago now - although it only felt like yesterday and it hurt, like a knife in the heart - that it had been all his own fault. This certainly was: he’d provoked it. And that mercenary... that had been his fault too.
He tried hard not to remember.
Mr. Black had stormed off somewhere, face like thunder. He should be taking this reprieve as a chance to rest, because there was no doubt it’d only be temporary. Black’d been building up to this over the last few days, as the bruise had darkened and turned a bad tempered purple, and there was no way he’d waste this opportunity.
David snorted to himself and winced again at the clotted blood spattering across his lip. ‘Opportunity’: understatement of the year. It wasn’t like there was anywhere he could hide until Black had calmed down - something there was a fractional probability of anyway: he didn’t take kindly to David’s methods of expressing himself even when it was restrained to sarcastic remarks and poor attempts at humour. This had sent his tolerance levels off the scale.
An experimental palm pressed against his side told him that, at least this time, there were no cracked ribs. Nothing his nanites couldn’t deal with. Nothing that left a mark once the blood was cleaned up, no bruises to fade to intense violets and garish greens; just the stabbing burn of internal and external healing and the pale lilac he imagined mental scarring to be.
The shadows shifted; he jerked his head up. The angular form of his employer - he found he spat the word even in his own head - filled the door, a coiled length of rope gripped so tightly his knuckles seemed luminous in the low light. David’s chest constricted, breathing suddenly rendered impossible.
“Now, Mr. Deor. Where were we?”
He dropped the half finished internal mechanism on the table. The clang echoed, taking the place of the missing beat of his heart. Now, any minute now, that familiar smell that made him want to retch; that hand on his neck; that voice—
He inhaled sharply, snatching up the piece again and clutching it to him. Something to do with his hands, to stop them moving to his mouth, his throat, while he regained his bearings. Nothing in the shadows, moving forward to him, no footsteps.
More carefully this time, he lowered the piece to the table and rested his shaking hands either side.
Deep breaths. Focus.
David closed his eyes and counted to ten.
One, two, three...