When Damien offered the gun this time, Alice took it. It felt heavy in her hands, heavier than she would have expected it to be. She stayed quiet during his speech, wide eyed and listening as each of her doubts and questions were demolished by his calm logic and reasoning. It still felt…wrong. Like, it shouldn’t have been the solution arrived at. But it also felt like the only way.
She didn’t wanna be stuck here forever. She just wanted to go home, and make everything normal again. As she looked at the weapon, glinting menacingly in her hand, she could feel her resolve slipping. Deep down, she knew she was better than this. She had morals, strong convictions that she’d always promised she’d never lose doing this job. But everything was just…so much. She was tired. Damien was giving her the way out on a silver platter, and she didn’t think she could say no.
Not only did he make it seem like a necessary choice to have to make, but he made her feel like she’d be a real hero if she made it. Be every inch the hero I know you can be. How could she say no to that? Right now, without her powers or anything that she had worked so hard to cultivate about herself, she felt stripped of super-dom and more than useless. “Only hope…” If this was really, really, the only way to help the team, and save the world and prove herself…
Then she’d do it.
Alice took a shaky breath, adjusting her grip on the gun so it wasn’t limp in her hand, but held like she was ready to shoot someone (don’t think about it, don’t think about it). She looked up at Damien one more time, hoping for encouragement or affirmation of this decision, neither of which seemed really likely to genuinely come from him, but she hoped for it anyway. She wished it was Giles backing her up, and not Damien.
She knew she wouldn’t have a chance of kill- hitting her target from across the room, but the thought of standing right next to a defenseless (kind of technically innocent?) man and pulling the trigger made her stomach flip. “I – I don’t know…” Her denials were weak willed now, and it was with bile rising in her throat that she moved hesitantly and carefully across the empty room to stand behind Dr. Morell.
The gun in her hand felt heavier than ever and it seemed to burn as she regarded its upward ascent towards the back of his head. It didn’t really feel like her own arm stretched out in front of her, with a weapon poised to kill at a real person whose life would really end if the trigger pulled. It felt like she was watching some other poor girl look helplessly back at Damien once more and seeing his final nod and knowing that was it. It was going to happen.
Alice closed her eyes.
Whispered, “I’m so sorry.”
Pulled the trigger.
Thomas didn’t understand.
Understanding was his job, his passion, his drive; and without it, he found himself both quite lost, and in what appeared to be mortal danger. Tied to a chair with a gag cocooned over his mouth, arms tied tightly behind him. That man from his book signing— Damien— stood over him, niece all but absent. Scrutinized him like he was on a slide. He had a deliberate way of speaking, and although his actions could easily be classified as insane, his words were dripping unmistakable sanity. Still no understanding to be found; there was just clarity without sense. Thom’s thoughts turned and turned and turned, but they kept coming back to Alette. One week to go before their marital bliss, and now it seemed that happy ending might not happen after all. They say self-preservation is one of the strongest senses an organism can possess, but right now, Thomas just wanted some kind of assurance that Alette would escape this unscathed. Free from harm until the end of time. He could rest easy knowing just that one thing.
Damien wasn’t providing it.
Yes, come in, Thomas had said. His microscope had been abandoned for the time being so that he could research other matters— entomology textbooks at the wayside in favor of skimming through more papers from deep within the OSAD archives. Thinking, always thinking, about how he could use the information to better humanity. The Slayer was powerful, that much was clear; it was said that she (as it was always a woman) had healing capabilities unlike anyone else alive. Thomas wanted to put that to the test. Some invertebrates were capable of limb regeneration— and even a select few vertebrates such as the undeveloped axolotl— but a human being? It seemed doubtful that The Slayer could fall into that category, and that made her (it?) open for experimentation. Thomas’ mind hummed just thinking about the possibilities. Accelerated healing could become the staple of every emergency room in the world, if put to good use. Eyes busy scanning information, he had hardly paid the man in the doorway any heed. A colleague, perhaps.
As he lifted his head to be sure, the man was already on him. Thomas was many things— intelligent, gentle, professional— but muscular was not one of them, and though he was able to shake the assailant off, it hadn’t taken long for him to bound back for a second strike. Something prickled the skin of his neck; a hornet. In a matter of short seconds, a dark vignette stretched across his vision— he was caught before he fell.
And now. His niece. The young honors student with messy hair and a shy little voice; the one who had credited him for helping her achieve a good grade. Was he the present? Thomas was no fool; he knew there was no getting out of this, no appealing to kindness or other such things. Damien wanted him dead for reasons beyond his comprehension, and in his last moments, he would not get any sort of explanation. The equivalent of torture to a mind such as his. Though he still lacked understanding, Thom had to admit the argument Damien was making sounded convincing. His eyes tried to meet hers— to gleam something from them— but she wouldn’t look. Couldn’t, it seemed.
It was then that he knew she was going to do it.
He couldn’t stop his eyes from watering. Thomas had never bought into “masculinity” (most biologists could easily point out the many in ways in which organisms stretch and invert the human perceptions of gender and sex), but that hardly made it easier. His tears were not for himself to begin with. All of the people he had come so close to being able to help; the love his life, his painted lady. Thomas was as selfless as someone could be— it was said that organisms could not attain selflessness, that they would always do what would grant them the highest chance of being able to pass on their genes. He was an anomaly. Into each generation it seemed there were a select few: individuals who would brave unknown waters to help others for the sake of helping them. That was the job of a hero. That was Thomas.
I’m so sorry.
As the bullet whizzed through the short space between the barrel of the gun and Thomas’ occipital lobe, he could only hope that his Alette would live a long, happy life. Would be safe. Would carry him with her only if it were necessary. Would—