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Fudge Ripple #7; Guava #27

Author: Regret
Rating: 15 - [Contains references to child abuse.]
Story: Radial: Unravel
Challenge: Fudge Ripple #7 - Pity; Guava #27 - Don't You Cry For Me
Word Count: 580
Summary: Milos discovers things about Alex's past he'd rather not know. But he can't work out what's more disturbing: what happened, or Alex's reaction to it.
Notes: Fun fact: I always intended this to be an Arkadian prompt but couldn't ever phrase it. It seems happier being this piece. If happy is the right word... This comes after Milos joins HEL but before he and Alex are forced to spend time with each other.


Preoccupied with the folder in his hands, Milos didn’t hear the door open, or the footsteps on the carpet. “What do you think you’re doing?”

He started and stared, ashen-faced, at Alex and gripped the file hard enough to make his knuckles glow. “I, uh—”

“Is that my file?” His voice was low and promised trouble.

“You know everything about me,” he muttered, unable to tear his gaze from the other man’s narrowed eyes. “I thought I should repay the favour.”

“I take it you found it interesting?”

The even tone threw him; he swallowed and glanced down again at the data, neat and clinical and utterly horrifying. “I’m sorry...”

“For going through my file without permission?” He was so calm it was unnerving.

“For— For everything.”

Alex raised an eyebrow and smiled without a trace of real feeling. “You’re apologising for my life? What gives you that right?”

“I had no idea... You’ve been though so much.”

His expression hardened and Milos realised, too late, that was wholly the wrong thing to say. “You’ve got no idea what you’re talking about.”

So much for sympathy. He stepped back hurriedly as Alex advanced. “You can’t say it was normal, they’ve done some disgusting things to you.”

“Shut up, before you say something you regret.” Alex said softly.

He glanced down at the papers in his hand again and tried to ignore the ball of anger forming in his chest. “This was abuse!”

“It was fine.”

“They waterboarded you when you were six!” He shouted, slapping the file with the back of his other hand. “You were hospitalised so many times I’ve lost count!”

“So?” He didn’t know what was more chilling, the lack of emotion or the fact he thought it was in any way acceptable. “The studies led to world-class research. And the hospitalisation?” He gave a self-deprecating smile. “I should have moved faster.”

“It doesn’t work like that, you were just a kid!”

He barely registered Alex moving until he was pressed against the wall with one arm across his neck, one fist buried in his stomach and no air left in his body. “And?” He snarled against his ear. “They own me, just like they own you. So what? You want to cry for someone, cry for yourself.”

“But—” Milos forced out, dropping the file and tugging at his arms, to no effect.

“But what?”

“It was inhuman.” Each word hurt. “You were a guinea pig—”

“Inhuman?” Alex grabbed Milos’s left wrist and dug his fingers into the soft tissue. The dokkalfa let out a cry of pain as his fingers converted themselves into his new claws. “I might have been used in studies,” Alex whispered, leaning in close to the gasping Milos, “but at least I can’t do this.” He dropped the limb again and stepped back as Milos flexed his blades back into fingers, wrapping his other hand around his wrist and moaning softly. “So save your pity. I don’t need it.” He turned, walked away, pausing at the door with one hand on the frame only long enough to look back at Milos. “If I ever catch you going through my files again I will send you back to R&D and you can find out first-hand, do you understand me?”

Milos slumped to his knees and nodded slowly without looking at him.

“And the next time you think about calling anything inhuman,” Alex snapped as he left the room, “look in the mirror first.”

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