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Interitus is an original post-invasion, sci-fi/fantasy RPG with no word count.

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City of Adlai
A city of 3 million, Adlai is situated in the north west of the United States, about 200 miles from the west coast.
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Date:
October 2014

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 Consciousness: Make it Stop!, Nate and Ian
Angelica Wood
Posted: Dec 30 2011, 11:20 PM


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29th August 2014
Morning


There were so many reasons living in a tunnel sucked, but one of the reasons that stood out most prominently to Angelica at this precise moment in time, was that it didn’t matter what time you woke up, you still felt like you were waking up at two in the morning with that feeling that you’d overslept. You jolted as the realisation hit you that it never became naturally light in a tunnel, checked your clock (if you had one) and either jumped out of bed because you were late, or groaned and threw yourself back onto the pillow in an attempt to get back to sleep.

Letting out a small frustrated cry at her annoying amount of consciousness, Angelica burrowed herself further under the duvet and buried her face into the curve of Nathaniel’s collarbone, wriggling herself into a comfortable position in the hope that it would bring about sleep, and happy dreams.

“Nooo!” she moaned quietly, her bottom lip brushing skin as she complained. “Not getting up! It’s not Christmas!”

She’d been having such a nice dream. There had been no Adveni, no tunnels for villages and no tents for a house. There had been ice cream, and good alcohol that didn’t cost two days worth of food. There had been men who didn’t think the way into a girl’s pants was to pay her, they used the bad jokes and cheesy chat up lines like normal people!

Still uncomfortable, Angelica hooked her leg over Nathaniel’s thighs, hoping that the warmth would do what a comfortable position would not.

“Urgh! Don’t want to be awake!” she complained quietly, even though she’d left herself absolutely no time to actually fall back to sleep. “Nate, make it stop!”


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Nathaniel Raddick
Posted: Dec 31 2011, 04:26 PM


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Angelica's little groan brought Nate back to consciousness, and he did his usual mental dance of deciding whether this was a fantasy dream in which he and Lica were back together, or whether she was just inadvertently cuddled right up close to him once again in a way that he was supposed to take as purely platonic. Right.

The grogginess made the distinction difficult to make at first, and there had almost been times where he'd kissed her forehead, or hugged her around the waist, or put his hand on her leg. He was getting better at it, though, he figured. As she wriggled against him, uttering her despair at the prospect of being awake, he was fairly sure they were in the proper reality and he shouldn't make too many moves that spoke of 'hey, honey...I'm still into you.'

It really, really didn't help when she draped a bare leg over his. He went through the mental list of urges and made sure to check them, instead giving her a pat on her shoulder as she entreated him to stop consciousness from happening.

“What'm I s'posed to do?” he mumbled back to her. He could presumably get her some sleep meds or something else to set her a little high, but that probably wasn't the right thing. “What time is it, anyway?”


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Angelica Wood
Posted: Jan 1 2012, 04:15 PM


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Angelica pouted against his skin as he didn't immediately help her. She knew he couldn't, but she still reserved the right to be annoyed about it in her semi-conscious state.

"I don't wanna go see Chow!" she complained. "And if I get up, I'll have to!"

Pushing herself up a little, Angelica swept her hair impatiently away from her face and moved her body toward the edge of the bed, shuddering against the cold of the untouched mattress. She reached down and picked up the battered alarm clock, squinting at it through the darkness.

She dumped it back down against the floor of the tent, retreating quickly to the middle of the bed, to the warmth of Nathaniel's body. She hated to think what it was going to be like during the winter. The last winter, they'd been at the Raddick house, and as winter approached, Angelica was sure she'd want to return, but she knew Nathaniel wouldn't take that trip, even if he wanted to, and she would not leave him.

"It's almost eight," she told him quietly, settling back into her position against his body. "You have plans you want to avoid?"


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Nathaniel Raddick
Posted: Jan 5 2012, 12:16 AM


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“Mmm hmm…so sleep more and tell him something came up. Isn’t that guy kinda a pig anyway?” That was Nate’s early-morning solution, though he knew it wasn’t the best course of action. It wasn’t really wise to delay a shipment when an Advena wanted one. Especially not the owner of Zselket’s. He was potentially pretty big business, running a houseful of Drysta who needed contraceptives and probably harder stuff, too. But right now, at whatever the hell time in the morning it was, Chow could go fuck himself.

Lica’s body shifted against him, doing nothing to help the whole morning glory thing. When she pulled away, it helped that part somewhat, but not the coolness when the warmth left his side. She checked the alarm clock, and then scurried back to him and cuddled back up. It was comforting and frustrating both. He loved having her right by him, but what he really wanted to do was rub her all over, and maybe pass the early morning with cuddling that was a bit more intimate.

She reported the time, and Nate breathed out a sigh, slipping an arm around Lica’s shoulders.

“Yup,” he replied to her. “Y’know when we used to say ‘I shoulda just stayed in bed today’ when we were kids? Seems to happen to me more often now that aliens took over the planet.” He paused a moment, thinking.

“Or maybe it’s just since I decided to move into a subway tunnel underground.” With his free left hand, he started groping about the tent floor for his jeans.


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Ian Walker
Posted: Jan 5 2012, 03:07 AM


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Ian was early; mostly because he’d already been wandering around the tunnels for three hours waiting for a point where Lica might possibly be awake. He’d had a case of insomnia pretty much since the invasion, and not much was happening to make it better. He’d resorted to just getting out and running his legs off before he tried to go to bed, just to get himself exhausted enough to actually rest. It worked, to a degree, but the side effect of that was his stamina kept building, so he’d have to run longer each night to feel just as exhausted. And even if he did run himself into the ground, there were still nights it was just too much to be alone in his ‘house’. So, he settled for being alone down around the tunnels. At least then he was doing something.

This was a good opportunity to do something more to take his mind off everything. Angelica apparently had a bit of news about what they’d talked about, with finding someone who might replace this ‘Gothika’ as Cartel head. From what Lica had told him, if they could pull that off, it’d mean a better life for just about everyone.

Lica had told Ian where she lived, and so Ian began looking for a big ol’ tent. It wasn’t like he’d end up knocking on the wrong door. Some people slept in tents, but most preferred more ‘permanent’ dwellings. As permanent as anything was down here.

He found it, sitting off to one side of the tunnel, not far from one of the Cartel camps. He wasn’t really sure what the equivalent of ‘knocking’ was when it come to a tent. He’d been camping with his family a lot before all this, but usually one’s presence was announced by yelling, ‘I’m comin’ in!’ Quite a different dynamic when a tent also happened to be the home of a stranger.

“Uh, Lica? It’s Ian. I’d knock, but I don’t think you’d hear it…”


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Angelica Wood
Posted: Jan 5 2012, 05:40 PM


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Angelica knew that the only solutions Nathaniel could give her were to placate her annoyance. There wasn't really a way out of going to Chow's. If she didn't, he wouldn't trust her with another delivery, and that would be when her nice little earner went straight down the subway tunnel drain. She wanted to save money, she wanted to actually be able to afford somewhere decent to live at some point. She had told Ian about making enough money before running off to hide out somewhere quiet, and she still had the idea to do it. She wasn't interested in living in a tent for the rest of her life.

"You said that when we were teenagers too," she told him, lifting her head to smirk down at him. "Though, by that time, it probably wasn't because of what was waiting outside your bedroom, but for the things we did inside it."

Laughing, Angelica patted her hand affectionately against his stomach, laying her head back down against his shoulder. It was a bad idea that she was so close physically with Nathaniel, especially when they weren't in an intimate relationship, but she'd always been so comfortable with him that even if she didn't go to sleep curled up against his body, she'd usually wake to find that she'd moved there during the night.

For a moment, when the call of her name came through from outside the tent, Angelica wanted to shout back that she wasn't in. She wasn't dealing in her underwear. But then, Ian announced his name, and Angelica spun so fast onto her back, sitting bolt upright, that she almost tumbled off the mattress.

"Ian! Shit!" Angelica whispered frantically. "I look like shit!"

Reaching out, Angelica grabbed the first thing she found, a denim skirt, and began wriggling it over her legs from her seated position.

"Nate...." she whined hopefully. "Stall him!"

Angelica shifted herself to lying down and lifted her hips so that she could slip the skirt over them, buttoning it up.

"Just a second!" she called back out toward Ian.

She turned her head, looking across at Nathaniel, her eyes wide and a pout on her lips.

"Please please please please please!"


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Nathaniel Raddick
Posted: Jan 6 2012, 02:28 AM


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Nate had to admit, Angelica had provided some damn good reasons to stay in bed longer than strictly necessary. He still fantasized about those days; some of the things they’d done with each other. It was rough that they were gone. It was almost worse that they were right beside each other, cuddled up like they might have been then, and yet they didn’t really belong to one another anymore. He kept up the face, though, and chuckled.

“Probably,” he said in reply. He looked up at the roof of the tent, contemplating. What he wanted to ask her most right now was, ‘do you ever miss those days?’ If he was looking for an in to talk about it with her, and maybe admit the way he’d felt these past months, he had a good opportunity to lead into it here. But, as at every opportunity, all the doubts came up. It was probable she wasn’t into him at all anymore, just wanted to be his friend. And if that was the case, he’d probably make everything all awkward, and they’d lose their friendship, too. That was something Nate definitely couldn’t handle.

But…was he willing to just keep going on like this? Pretending that she was just a tiny bit less important to him than she really was? What fun was life, if you didn’t take a risk or two along the way?

He opened his mouth to try and ask the question he had in his mind, and about then, he was interrupted by a voice at the door. Angelica was suddenly up faster than any alarm clock could have made her move, and was fumbling around for her clothes. That alone was cause for some concern. Lica took her time getting out of bed, and if you tried to tell her to do otherwise, she’d pretty much hate you for the rest of the day.

“What’s the big deal?” he whispered to her. She didn’t really explain, just begged him to stall whoever was waiting outside for her. Nate felt a pang well up in his stomach, as he thought he figured it out.

She had a boyfriend. God dammit, he was too late. Lica wouldn’t give more than a ‘go away’ for anyone she didn’t care about, but now she was scrambling to get dressed and look nice for whoever was out there. Dammit. Dammit, dammit, dammit. Nate sighed, and threw the covers off himself.

“Fine,” he said, pushing himself up and standing. The ‘floor’ was freezing on his bare feet. He considered putting his jeans on, but now he didn’t care. If a dude came to the door of the tent in his boxers and an old t-shirt, maybe that’d give Lica’s potential suitor a warning. He opened the tent flap, and his heart sunk a little further.

Big guy. Not just tall like Nate, but built, man. Nate suspected it might be the ‘tall, dark, and handsome’ appeal.

“Hey,” Nate said, now quite unsure what he was supposed to say now that he was out here ‘stalling’.


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Ian Walker
Posted: Jan 6 2012, 02:29 AM


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“’Sup?” Ian said in reply as the dude came to the door. He’d heard Lica’s voice, so surely he wasn’t barging in on some random tent he’d mistaken for hers. What kind of surprised him was the fact that he was wearing just his boxers. Pretty obvious she was sharing a tent with this guy. But…knowing Lica…how surprising was that? He could be a one-night stand, for all Ian knew. Or a boyfriend.

“I’m Ian Walker, I’m a friend of Lica’s,” Ian offered, extending a hand. The guy looked at him, and, maybe with just a tiny bit of reluctance, gripped his hand. They engaged in an informal contest of grip strength, briefly. Ian just matched the guy. He wasn’t here to take his woman or anything.

“Cool. I’m Nate.” Nate…aaah, so that was Nate. Angelica had mentioned that name, and then ignored him when he’d asked more. Nate, apparently, was her roommate. Or bed buddy. Or boyfriend. Something.

“Mornin’, Nate.” The other guy nodded, and Ian couldn’t help but think this whole thing felt kind of awkward. “Soooo, is Lica there?”

“Yeah, she’s just, uh…getting ready, I guess. We just woke up.” Ian nodded.

“Yeah, sorry about that. Did I wake you guys?”

“Not really,” Nate said before lapsing into relative silence again, but lingering in the doorway, and looking back in occasionally at where Lica was presumably getting ready.


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Angelica Wood
Posted: Jan 6 2012, 01:46 PM


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Whether it was a good or bad thing that tents blocked sound like a sheet of toilet paper, Angelica wasn’t sure in that moment. Generally, it was a bitch, because it meant people outside heard whatever it was you were doing, and that could get really embarrassing. However, at the moment, she was almost glad that she could hear Nathaniel and Ian talking as she rooted around for an appropriate shirt.

What was annoying was that Nathaniel was being so short with Ian. Sure, he’d just woke up, but would it kill the guy to try to make some friendly conversation? And to put his jeans on for Christ’s sake? Way to give the wrong impression. Nathaniel could sweet talk an Adveni when he had to, was it so difficult to do the same for a fellow Cartel member? Someone your supposed best friend obviously knew?

Finally, she found a shirt that worked for the jobs she had to do today, not giving too much of the wrong impression to Chow when she met him later, but also giving just enough of the right impression to Ian. Snapping the straps of her bra into place on her shoulders, she tossed her sleeping shirt under the duvet and then pulled the shirt over her head, slipping her arms through before grabbing a pair of socks and tugging them on along with her boots. At least at the moment she didn’t have to bother with tights or anything because it was cold.

Running her fingers through her hair, Lica grimaced. She’d have to make a trip to get a proper shower today at some point. She grasped up a hair band and tied her hair back in what she hoped was a carefree, ponytail and not just a ratty mess before using a cleansing wipe, rubbing it over her face. She still probably looked like shit, but at least she looked like she was awake.

Jumping up, Angelica grabbed up her bag and came out of the somewhat bedroom, coming to the doorway where, if she wasn’t mistaken, Nathaniel was standing almost protectively blocking the way. She ducked out past him, giving Ian a bright smirk.

“Hey!” she greeted cheerfully before turning to Nathaniel.

“I’ll see you later, and pick us up food, ok?” she told Nathaniel kindly, placing her hand on his hip and stretching up onto her toes to kiss his cheek. “Go find a reason to be a teenager staying in bed, alright? You’re grouchy!”

Grinning at him, she raised an eyebrow before patting his skin and turning toward Ian, practically bouncing as she grasped his arm and began leading him away back down the tunnel.

“Sorry about that,” she exclaimed. “Late night getting a delivery together. Don’t really wanna make the delivery, guy is a skeezy creep, but we do what we must, right? Anyway, how’re you?”


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Nathaniel Raddick
Posted: Jan 7 2012, 05:12 AM


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Angelica had rushed to get herself ready for her little date with this Ian guy. She looked great, as always, and Nate couldn’t ignore the grinding feeling of jealousy that churned in his stomach. Angelica wouldn’t rush to look pretty for him. Not that she needed to; he liked her just as well first thing in the morning as all dolled up after an hour of brushes, mirrors, and cosmetics. But it was the principle. She just…wouldn’t get excited over him the way she obviously was with this guy. Case in point: she was kind of brushing him off on the way out the door.

“Sure, I’ll get somethin’,” he said. He looked at their visitor, and raised a hand in farewell, faking a smile. “Good meetin’ ya, man.” Ya jerk. He retreated back into the tent, ignoring Lica’s comment on his mood. She wasn’t really interested in a response anyway.

They left, and Nate kicked the side of the mattress in frustration. He knew he didn’t have a single person on Earth to blame but himself. Give it a week or two, and she’d probably be gone, caught up in some dangerous romance.

What was more, Nate was now feeling sorry for himself. And as a general rule, he hated it when people did that.

“Stay in bed, my ass.” He muttered to himself as he found his jeans and put them on. He changed his shirt, and a moment later, he was out the door, headed in the opposite direction. Maybe if he worked and made a bit of money, he could get some sort of feeling like he’d done something right. And maybe the jealousies would wear off enough that he could actually at least pretend to act normal around Lica tonight.

If she was even back tonight. Nate huffed out a sigh and kept walking.


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Ian Walker
Posted: Jan 7 2012, 05:13 AM


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For not having been awake until a moment ago, Lica sure got herself together quick. Not to mention, she seemed actually quite cheerful. Much more of a morning person than her, ah, companion. He seemed none too pleased, really. Whether that was because he was just waking up, or because some stranger was showing up to take his girlfriend away, Ian couldn’t tell. And probably never would. Who Lica bedded down with was her own business.

Lica gave Nate a few quick orders, and he gave Ian a brief farewell before retreating inside. And then the blonde former-cheerleader was attached to Ian’s arm, almost skipping down the Line with him. Ian gave her a smile.

“Naw, it’s okay. I know how things work in the biz.” Ian considered her question and tried to assess how he was. A little better than yesterday. Maybe just a little more numb was all. He hadn’t slept very much.

“I’m good,” he said, mostly lying. “Sorry if I woke you guys. I guess it is a bit early yet.” He looked up ahead into the darkness of the tunnel. With the hours he’d been walking down here, he could see pretty much everything. It was fascinating, at times, how much the physiology could adapt. But Ian didn’t want it to adapt too much. The thought of living down here more than being up there was depressing.

“You said you had some big news to share?”


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Angelica Wood
Posted: Jan 7 2012, 02:34 PM


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Angelica brushed off his apology. While she had wanted to stay in bed and ignore the world a while longer, it was a good thing that she was up and about. She'd have to make her delivery at some point, and spending time with Ian would hopefully put her in a good enough mood to go there without being dragged by the hair.

"Oh, you didn't wake us," she explained. "And I needed to get out and about anyway, I don't think this guy I'm delivering to will be happy if I'm late."

Looking up at him, Angelica frowned a little. He looked tired, and not just in the 'I haven't slept' kind of tired, but the worn down and upset tired. Her lips pursed as she thought about it, but she quickly looked away. She wouldn't comment, it was probably personal business. She'd just have to find a way to make him cheerful and less tired (or more tired, but that depended on how the cheerful went, she supposed.)

Realising he'd pretty much asked her to share her news, Angelica beamed brightly.

"Oh, well, yeah, I think so," she answered before glancing behind them to make sure there was nobody around. She lowered her voice a little. "I think I might have found someone to replace Gothika."

She raised an eyebrow, shrugging her shoulders up hopefully. She wasn't sure if Ian would get on with Mont, but surely he would realise that Mont was a better fit for the Cartel than some other people they may have chosen. From the way Mont talked, he wanted to make it about economy and industry, not just drugs and guns. The Cartel could become invaluable to the human society in Adlai, and if she and Ian played their cards right with Mont, they'd be like the seconds to the King of it all.

"His name's Montgomery, he's not in the Cartel at the moment, but he does the same kinds of things," she explained. "What'd'ya think?"


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Ian Walker
Posted: Jan 7 2012, 04:33 PM


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Lica insisted that it was actually all good; that he served as a good alarm clock this morning. She had some deals to do, and if her clients were Adveni, then no doubt there’d be consequences if they were kept waiting. Ian still didn’t think this Cartel life suited him. Selling drugs and consorting with Adveni were two things that left a really bitter taste in his mouth. Selling drugs to Adveni, well, that would be slightly more okay, since he would be charging them to screw up their own lives. Of course, for Ian to sell drugs to an Advena, he’d have to resist the urge to just put a round in the guy’s head.

“Glad to help out, then.” Ian said with a smile.

He was surprised and actually a bit impressed with her news. Maybe things could move along a little faster if she’d found the right person. Not that she really needed Ian’s approval; she knew what they’d need better than he did. Ian could pick out a potential leader when it came to military squads and things like that, but crime bosses probably had different recruiting criteria.

She explained her candidate briefly. Montgomery, not in the Cartel per se, but versed in the business. Ian nodded.

“You’d said it might be best to look for someone outside the Cartel anyway. If Montgomery knows what he’s doin’, and you think he passes, I’ve got no problem helping with the replacement.” He looked over at her and smiled a bit again.

“We all gonna meet to figure a plan out, then?”


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Angelica Wood
Posted: Jan 7 2012, 05:10 PM


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Angelica had to say, she was a little surprised that he trusted her opinion so much. She'd been so used to being labled as a brainless boobed blonde that having someone other than Nathaniel trust that she actually might have some good ideas was a little startling. She couldn't help it as she smiled gently, letting go of his arm and clasping her hands together in front of her, lightly wringing her fingers.

"Well, you'll check him out too right?" she asked. "Make sure that he's not a psycho by SWAT standards?"

She looked hopefully up at Ian. While she trusted that she'd found a good guy with Mont, she didn't want to be wrong and had stuck the Cartel with a complete ass. They'd be in this same situation all over again. She was confident, but not so confident that she wanted to go through this on her word alone.

"I said that I'd meet up with him tomorrow, but I was kinda waiting to make sure you'd come with me."

Turning, Angelica stood in front of him, stopping him in his tracks as she looked up, a small smirk slipping across her face.

"I really owe you for this, Ian," she told him softly. "Not ratting me out and everything."


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Ian Walker
Posted: Jan 7 2012, 05:45 PM


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Ian grinned as she made sure that he’d be giving this Montgomery an assessment to make sure he wasn’t totally off his rocker.

“Sure! But I wouldn’t recruit a drug dealer into my squad, and you probably wouldn’t recruit a supercop into the Cartel.” True, Ian was a supercop in the Cartel, but he wasn’t really recruited per se. “I’ll definitely make sure he’s alright from where I’m standin’, but you know how things work around here better than I do.” True, if Montgomery turned out to be a complete screwball, Ian would probably advise she pitch him. But the important thing was that he could manage all this. If he was well-connected with a lot of dealers in town to begin with, and if he worked through deals rather than control, well, that would probably be enough for Ian.

Ian nodded when she mentioned the meeting and requested he come along.

“Yeah, no problem. I’ll tag along.” His schedule wasn’t really full these days. He went around asking if people needed help, or wandered the tunnels by himself, or spending time with Annie and Dessie. It was rare that he was ‘booked’.

Lica stepped in front of him, and they came to a stop. She looked up at him with a little smirk, and thanked him for not ratting her out. He smiled back at her.

“Aw, you don’t owe me nothin’, girl. Not gonna rat a friend out to some domineering chick I don’t even know.” To say nothing of the Adveni. Besides, Lica was one of the few good friends he’d made down here. He stepped forward and wrapped his arms around her shoulders.

“Thanks for makin’ things a little less gloomy down here.”


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Angelica Wood
Posted: Jan 7 2012, 06:04 PM


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Giving a small laugh as he explained that he wouldn't recruit a drug dealer into his SWAT team, Angelica shrugged happily.

"This is my point though!" she exclaimed. "If this works out, Mont might be able to get us out of this 'Drug Dealer group of misfits' that we've been branded with. The other night he was talking about economy and commerce... drugs could be just a small part of all that. Your friend Riley deals mostly in other stuff, we can all branch out without a wannabe mob boss hanging over our heads."

Maybe Angelica had been a little scared to admit it, scared to put her wants on the table that way, when people would probably think she was insane, but with Ian she felt she could, she felt he would understand that this wasn't what she wanted to do, and it wasn't who she wanted to be. Sure, she sold drugs and she was ok with that, but if she could be more, if they could all be more, it would mean respect for all of them. It'd mean a better seat at the proverbial table.

Ian was so much taller than she was, like Nathaniel, when he wrapped his arms around her shoulders, he barely had to stoop to get a good, protective loop around her. Her hands came to his chest as he pulled her forward, telling her that he'd protect her, and she smiled against his shirt, letting her hands slip up and over his shoulders, pulling herself up on to her toes, holding herself against his body.

"Gloom doesn't suit you," she told him, turning her head a little so she could look up, a playful scowl on her face. "It doesn't suit any of us."

Lifting her head further, Angelica looked up at him, a soft but curious smile flitting across her lips. They'd joked before, a flirting when they didn't know each other, but they knew each other now, the comments were softer, subtler, more tailored to their personalities. That didn't stop them from being there completely.

She brought her hand off his shoulder, stroking the tip of one finger gently down his jaw. He was a good man, and she had joked that they'd get back to their tunnel date after their job with Beck Casey. Maybe it was always supposed to be a little later than they'd expected? Holding herself a little tighter against his body, Angelica curled her fingers around the back of his neck, and pressed her lips against his.


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Ian Walker
Posted: Jan 7 2012, 07:40 PM


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It was actually a good point she made. Under other leadership, they might be able to heft themselves out of the label that had been applied to them. They were, as it stood, drug dealers. But what if they could expand to be known as much more than that? Ian knew through Rylie that they were responsible for a lot of scrounging when it came to the Cartel’s weapons. And as Lica said, Rylie didn’t peddle drugs at all, and neither did he. They both got by in the Cartel.

Ian would probably be more comfortable contributing to a group that was more than a bunch of pushers and addicts. And if this Montgomery could heft them out of that, so much the better. Angelica seemed to like that idea, too; which was something Ian wasn’t sure he was expecting. He figured she’d be fine as long as she got by. From their talk on the rooftop, it seemed like she wasn’t out to change the world.

There really were a lot of layers to this girl. “That’d be great. The Cartel already fills a niche, it’s just not properly used.”

Lica pressed up against him when he hugged her, and he gave a small grunt of laughter when she said gloom didn’t suit him. She was right, in one way. They should all be happier than they were. But that was rough when invaders had wrecked their world and enslaved him. It was even worse when Ian started factoring in all the personal evils the Adveni had done to him.

“Yeah,” he agreed. “Hard to avoid these days, though.” He held her in his arms, and he noted how much different this was from the way they’d been physical before, when they’d first met. That had been one version of Lica; the surface version. The flirty, sexy, almost dirty type. But it was pretty plain that that was just a mask she wore, and now she wasn’t wearing it. What they had now was something a bit deeper, and a bit more affectionate.

When she touched his jaw gently, and then pulled him close for a kiss, he almost forgot about all that gloom. Almost. But the closeness and the affection brought everything back to him after only a fraction of a second. He remembered the touch of another woman. Dark-haired instead of fair. Eyes a different shade. Feel and essence a little different. And somewhere, she was alive. He couldn’t just forget, and betray her by taking what Lica offered, even if he longed for some release from the hard loneliness.

He broke the kiss, probably too quickly, and looked away, feeling the heat of embarrassment flush into his face.

“I’m sorry,” he said quietly. He shook his head gently, at first looking anywhere but Lica’s eyes. Then, reluctantly, he met them. “I’m sorry, hun, I just…I can’t.”


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Angelica Wood
Posted: Jan 7 2012, 08:11 PM


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What people perhaps didn't realise until they'd been subjected to it was that there were many layers to suffer of humiliation. There was the outer humiliation, which was suffered when someone who didn't know you made an assumption or stated something embarrassing. There was the betrayal humiliation that was the direct result of someone you thought you could trust betraying that trust which ended in a revelation of something horrifying. And then, worst of all, or at least Angelica thought so in that one moment, the self humiliation, where you had no one else to blame for making you act like such a fucking idiot.

As soon as the words began coming out of his lips, his gaze meeting hers, Angelica slipped down, disentangling herself from him and taking a quick step back. She could have told him that it was his loss, but it wasn't, and the burning sting of humiliation coloured across her cheeks and up the bridge of her nose. The only thing she could be eternally grateful for was that the gloom of the tunnel would conceal a least a little of her embarrassment at her actions. Instead, she gave a low disbelieving snort of laughter and looked away from him.

Angelica quickly readjusted her bag where the strap hung diagonally across her body and then shoved her hands into her pockets, giving a small non-chalant shrug as she took another step back.

"Good to see your self-flagellation and inability to have a bit of fun is still firmly in tact. I was starting to wonder," she commented, a ring of fake laughter slipping through her words.

"Mont is meeting me at the old police station down in Oprust tomorrow at ten," she explained coolly. "But I should get going. There's a whore house with a lack of contraception pills and cocaine that I should really see to. Those Adveni ain't gonna fuck themselves high all by themselves."


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Ian Walker
Posted: Jan 7 2012, 08:34 PM


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Ian couldn’t read the expression on her face, but he saw the color stain her own cheeks. And she stepped back quickly, as if he’d just given her an electric shock. She was embarrassed, and from the snort of laughter she gave, probably angry. Ian felt like a jerk on the one hand, but relieved on the other. His mind and feelings couldn’t predict whether or not he’d regret this later.

She adjusted her bag, making sure it was properly slung across her shoulders, and then placed her hands in her pockets. She gave a shrug, and once again, he suddenly had no idea what to make of her. She gave him a verbal slap, and he felt the anger and frustration roil in him. He bit back the words that came immediately to his lips. Getting mad at her wouldn’t solve anything. But it help cement his decision: she didn’t know him at all. And more, he doubted she could understand that commitment wasn’t something you just threw away in the name of fun. Hell, she’d come out of a tent with a guy she’d spent the night with and five minutes later, she was putting the moves on Ian? What was worse: leading her on and making her think he felt something, or being honest and up front with her?

Saying any of that wouldn’t fix anything, it’d just make it worse, so he said nothing. She went on with the time and place of the meeting with Montgomery tomorrow. Ian nodded.

“I’ll be there.” And she just had to throw in the fact that she was going to help the Adveni wreck more lives. Ian shook his head and turned away. “Have fun with that. See ya tomorrow.”


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Angelica Wood
Posted: Jan 7 2012, 08:56 PM


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Like a petulant child told they couldn't have sweets before bedtime, Angelica wanted to stamp her foot and scream. His cold denial that she'd said anything at all, or more than she'd done anything, screamed more than if he'd yelled at her for her bitchy remark. People who cared yelled, people who felt an attachment screamed and shouted, and Ian just turned away.

Gritting her teeth as tears welled up in her eyes, embarrassment, anger, and rejection finally finding their outlet, Angelica turned away from him and walked away without another word.

What had she been thinking? Why hadn't she just let him hug her and go on in her little fantasy land of thinking he actually cared about her? No, she shouldn't be caring about people in that way. She wasn't here to make friends and gather family around her. She was here to make money, to survive, and this clearly wasn't the way. She'd get Mont into the Cartel, she'd make sure she landed herself the best deals, and she'd forget about actually liking people.

Pushing the heel of her palm into her eyes, Angelica brushed away the tears and took a deep breath. Ian could have his lost girlfriend's memory. He could hang onto that, keep risking his life to save girls like Rylie, and dig himself into a hole of depression.

But he was a good guy, and as the memory of it pounded into her head with every step, Angelica realised that was what hurt. She'd not been rejected because of her looks, she'd not been rejected because of a lost girlfriend. She'd been rejected because she wasn't good enough in absolutely any way.

"Nate was right," she muttered to herself. "Should've fucking stayed in bed."


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