IC: Nikarra (Old Po-Koro Apartment)
There comes a time in every girl's life where she has to trade in her Dorian Shaddix body pillow for a Dorian Shaddix punching bag. For Nikarra, that time was now.
Stupid ##### idiot ##### ######-
#####. The perfect dead idiot’s perfect dead face was smeared with red, and another old wanted poster was going to have to be binned. She had no shortage of them, at least; let it never be said that Dor didn’t have a talent for making enemies. Nikarra sighed, and abandoned the beaten, bloodied face of the man she wished she could hate to go grab fresh bandages.
Dorian Shaddix. Dorian ##### Shaddix.
The man she loved more than anyone in the world.
The man who had hurt her more than anyone in the world.
The man who picked her back off her feet when she was at her lowest.
The man who had put her there.
Her best friend.
Just like him to go off and ##### die before they had a chance to actually properly talk about any of that #####. He just had to be a hero.
Why did he have to be a hero?
He certainly wasn’t one when they first met. He very, very literally drained the life out of her. He promised to kill her. Well, you managed that one, #####.
He could’ve just been a heartless, beautiful psychopath. He would’ve been bloody good at it. Could’ve been a musician, too. She remembered the time he let her play his guitar, sitting on his bed in The Final Problem. It was an awful bed, it really was, even by the terminally low standards of her cousin’s fine establishment. The whole thing was crooked and it bowed anytime the slightest weight was placed on it, not to mention that the springs were constantly digging into her- assets. It didn’t annoy her too much; she was already hurting, after all, for much the same reason as the bed was hanging together by a thread (oh, to be young, dumb, and full of whatever the Karz it is that a Mark pumps into you), and far too anxious holding A Prized Possession Of Dorian Shaddix to even think about anything else. She still cringed thinking about her visceral fear of somehow snapping the strings, like she’d suddenly never held a guitar in her life. What was it they sang together, again?
Mama, take this badge off of me…
It was too late to dismiss the memory now. She felt his chin on her shoulder, his hands on hers, guiding her through the motions… That was what hooked her, really. Not his looks, not his wit, not his infuriating bad boy appeal; it was the softness. He could be so gentle, and he brought the same ease and confidence to that as he did to everything else. In those moments, it never felt like he was restraining himself or being cautious – it was him, fully and completely. Like everything, gentleness came naturally to him, and suddenly it was impossible to so much as imagine that those hands could ever have done harm to anyone.
Nikarra took in a deep breath, as if she half-expected to smell him on the air.
Nothing. Nothing but sand and blood. The desert stung the insides of her nostrils.
Even his scarf only smelled of her now. She felt a strange kind of guilt every time she turned to it for comfort, as if it was a violation of some kind to bury her face for a moment in a dead man’s scarf.
Everything still felt so wrong. She was long past denial – she knew the son of a ###### was gone. The world was full of dead heroes, after all. But after all they had been through together, Dor was a part of her, and a world without him felt… uncanny. Nothing had felt real for these past few weeks; the punching bag helped, because the pain at least reminded her she wasn’t dreaming. She was the healthiest she’d been in years, really; exercise kept her mind off things, and the sting of it kept her alive. As she peeled the blood-stained bandage from her knuckles, wincing, she did have to wonder whether ‘healthy’ was, in fact, the right term for this, but either way it kept her going. Running her hands under the tap, she looked past herself in the mirror; the woman with the tear-streaked face and dark bags under her bright green eyes was of little interest to her. But behind her, partially buried under clothes and debris…
It hadn’t been tuned in years. Not since she’d last lived here, back when her Shaddix obsession was at its peak – she wasn’t even sure she still had callouses, although a little more pain would hardly hold her back now. She tried each string again and, satisfied with her work, sat down on the floor with her dusty old guitar in hand.
"You sing,” he whispered.
Knock, knock, knockin’ on-