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Kuebiko: Alamort Ma Simile Con Píu Fueco

Kuebiko: Alamort Ma Simile Con Píu Fueco

Posted April 20th, 2017 by Zelda

by AstraMendaxRe
in a perpetual predicament

A/N: I'm sorry this is late. I wasn't writing. Technically, I shouldn't be writing currently. Because there's a lot of cleaning up and organizing that i'm trying and failing to do before I can start writing again. 

This chapter is just setting up a bunch of stuff for later. I'm sorry you have to read through it, but things like continuity and foreshadowing do exist, and are important. 

Title Translation: Alamort (half dead of exhaustion) but continuing on with more fire.

I'll shut up now. Thanks for reading. :)

ps: CC welcomed!

-Re

Alamort Ma Simile Con Píu Fueco

 

     "Sorry about last night." Mercer apologizes over his second cup of Hiller's the next morning. 

     "You know it's not a big deal." I twirl the wooden fork my fingers. "How much do you remember?"

     "Just waking up, and telling you I couldn't stop shaking." He admits. 

     "You were pretty out of it after that. It's way hot in there at night, you might've been feverish." 

     He grunts and drains the last of his Hiller's. 

     "Maybe we should talk to Zaya about that." I muse. 

     "Talk to me about what?" Zaya asks, sliding into the seat across from us. 

      "About getting some ice or something in the barrack." I answer. Raleigh comes to perch beside Zaya she eyes me warily and stays silent. 

     "Mmhmm, furnace is broken. It overcomensates for how cool it gets at night." Zaya agrees. "Are any of you stationed at a building today?"

     "Um, yeah, I'm Jeanette this morning, and later in the evening." Mercer says. 

     "It's pronounced Gennot." Raleigh corrects him.

     "What? No, that's weird." He shakes his head. Raleigh shrugs and pops a gooey bit of oatmeal in her mouth with her fingers. 

     "Seriously, everyone says it that way, just go with it." 

      "But it's spelled Jeanette." 

      "That's not how it's pronounced though." 

      Mercer sighs in resignation. "Fine, fine. I'm at Gennot then." 

     Raleigh smirks triumphantly, and I figure now, while she's in a good mood, is the time to apologize. 

     "Raleigh," She turns her gaze on me, suddenly cold, "I'm sorry ofr what I said about Acid, I didn't mean it." I say in all sincerity. 

      "Apology no accepted." She replies frigidly, and returns to eating her oatmeal. My heat sinks. How long will she be angry at me? Weeks? Months? Forever? I don't want to lose a friend over my stupid rambling mouth. 

     "Is there anything I can do to make it up to you?" I plead. Her spoon stops midway to her mouth. It hovers for a moment, then she sets it down slowly. 

     "As a matter of fact, there is." She folds her hands deliberatly on the table, her expression is purposefully neutral. "There are fighting competions every Thursday, we call them Pit Fights. Anyone can participate. If you can beat me in a pit fight, I'll forgive you." She lays out the details. 

      "Sure." I agree. We shak on it, and Raleigh looks oddly self-satisfied. After breakfast, when Mercer has gone off to Jeanette, and the girls leave for the rec room to whittle away the time until their turn to watch comes, Jedediah approaches me. 

     "Come, Uh Zyair, we have a lot to do." He slams his fist on the table, making me jump. 

     "Maybe later?" I lick my lips nervously. "I'm going to a, um, training thing right now." I excuse myself rapidly, edging away from the table. Jedediah's coal eyes bore into me. 

     "A training thing?" He repeats, over-enunciating each word. 

    "Yes, I mean, not a training-in-the-rec-room thing." I stutter, groping for a better explanation. 

     "So, not a training thing." If possible, he looks even more unamused. He is giving me a glare that i've learned to fear in the past weeks, because it is always followed by some painful blows-- his way of pointing out that I'm failing some basic rule of self-defense. 

     "Sorry, you'll have to talk to Jihad, he's the one who wants me doing this." I pretend to check the clock above the door while subtly putting more space between us. "I have to go, or I'll be late." I turn on my sneakered toes and start towards the door. 

     "Stop." Jedediah's booming command cuts the air. I have no doubt it's meant for me. I freeze mid-stride. "I don't suppose, Uh Zyair, that Jihad told you who would be giving you your not-training things." 

      Oh, blazing stars. I turn, slowly, to face Jedediah. He points a dark finger to the table. "Sit."  

     I walk over and take a seat. Looking up at his stolid, glowering face, I can tell that his  not-training is going to be just as bad as his hell training. 

     "You don't have to train me." I say, almost apologetically. "If you would rather be doing something else I'm sure Jihad could find someone else.." I trail off and pinch my lips shut as his glare deepens. He has one of those face that's meant for scowling, creases in all the right places to accentuate every bit of anger. 

     "Has it occured to you," He says slowly, "that I wanted to do this?" 

     Shocked into silence, I can only stare back in response. He seats himself and folds his arms over his chest. "Now, Twinkle Toes, the first thing you're going to do is tell me what i'm training." 

      "Okay." I say. 

     After ten minutes of me explaining my power, and him nodding thoughtfull every other sentence, he holds up a hand to stop me. Instantly my mouth snaps shut. 

     "You can only see peoples lights after you've seen them in real life?" He asks, leaning to rest his elbows on the scratched table top.

      "Yes."

     "And the lights don't stay." 

      "Right." I answer. His coal eyes flicker over me studiously, his brows are drawn over his nose in thought. After a moment of pinning me down with his eyeballs, he stands. 

     "Training's over. Be here at the same time tomorrow." 

      "Hey, wait." I stand too, reach out to him. He halts. He throws a look at my hand that makes me retract it quickly for fear of losing it. "That's it? We haven't trained anything."

     "What do you expect? I am not a magician, did you think I would magically know how to train you?" He snaps. I bite my cheek. 

     "Of course not." I mumble. He snorts, then waits a beat before asking, 

     "Anything else, Uh Zyair?" 

     I'm about to say no when I remember something from earlier. "I'm supposed to wrestle Raleigh in a Pit Fight this week, do you have any tips?" I know Raleigh's a good fighter, or at least, I assume she is. She spends a lot of time wrestling, but I've never had the chance to see her fight. Jedediah blinks at me slowly, then does something unexpected; his face cracks into a hughe, toothy smile. He closes the space between us and clamps a vice-like hand down on my shoulder. Chuckling faintly beneath his breath, he look me in the eye and says solemnly, 

      "I will make sre you have a nice funeral" Then he drops his hand and walks away, shoulder shaking from poorly contain laughter. 

     I take it that's a no on the tips. 

***

      After Jedediah's laughing episode, I explore for a bit. I pace up and down the halls, ticking each one off on my map as I go. I have been turning the map over and over in my head, trying to reconcile what it shows with what I see. I have counted four hallways; one is the entrance, one leads to the infirmary, one to the rec room and cafeteria, and the last to the barracks and bathrooms. On the map there are dozens more. I grit my teeth in frustration as I reach the infirmary doors for the third time. Where are all these extra halls? I spin around, scuffing the stone as I do. A familiar form is strolling by from the direction of the entrance, and I break into a jog to catch up. 

     "Hey Merc," I call, he slows his pace until I'm walking alongside him. "How was Jeanette?" 

     He shrugs, his hair falls in his eyes and he brushes it back absently. "Nothing happened." 

     "Nothing? One hundred percent zero?" I feign disbelief, eyes wide, hand over heart, mouth gaping. He reaches over and bumps the bottom of my chin, sending my teeth clattering together. 

      "I think that's an oxymoron." He points out, "But yes. There was no news, not even a passing mention of Acid." 

      We reach Barrack 077 and Mercer ducks inside. 

      "So what now?" I ask, following him in. 

      "Dunno. I go back at five, until then i'm free. You busy." He glances up in time to catch the face I pull at his question. I am decidedly not busy. 

      "Not really." I say. 

     "Great, let's go work on beam or something."

     So we do.  We practice a couple basic things on beam, especially dismounts, I've got better balance than him, but he makes up for it for being ten hundred times better at swinging around the bars than me. I watch as he leaps from the lower one to the higher, then kicks his entire body away from the bar and comes falling back to fold his body and spin with the bar at  his hips. He tries to teach me a toned-down version of the spinning thing, but it ends with him bent over laughing, and me crumpled on my head below the low bar. We bounce back and forth between the beam and the bars a few more times, and toy with one of the punching bags. The one thing we don't do is go anywhere near the climbing wall. 

***

      The next day Mercer is up before everyone else. I wake to Zaya kicking the foot of her bunk by accident while she's making her bed. She looks slight perturbed by the fact that Mercer isn't here. 

      "I'm used to being the first one awake." She explains on our way to the cafeteria. She glances at the clock above the cafeteria door as we enter. Mercer catches us on his way out, stopping just long enough to ruffle my already messy hair and tell us he has back-to-back shifts all dau. The circles under his eyes are beginning to look like a raccoon mask and when I think of the night terror he had yesterday, I can only hope that it was a one-time re-occurance. He escapes out the door too fast for me to ask how he's doing. 

     Zaya and I weave through the thin crowd. The blips fade much more slowly than they used to now that I've been here for longer. Soon I will have to start watching the ceiling again. 

    "How're you doing?" I ask. She lifts one shoulder in response. "Do you think this plan will work?"

     "I trust Jihad." She says, "If he thinks this is the best way to get Acid back then it probably is." 

     We head for the food line, unfortunately for me, Jedediah catches me before I can catch breakfast. He pinches me by the collar and pulls me into a seat in the corner of the room, facing the wall. 

      "Alright, Uh Zyair, training time." He says, dumping a thick stack of papers in front of me. "Tell me who you see right now." 

       It takes a couple breaths to focus on the map, the shock of being dragged across the cafeteria by a constantly angry Somalian would be enough to shake anyone. 

      "Isaiah, Raleigh, and whoever was in the room when you dragged me over, but those blips are fading." 

       "Find this person." He instructs. He flips over the top paper, a large face is sketched on the other side. It's feminine, with high cheekbones, full lips, and dark eyes. I vaguely recognize her, I've probably seen her around the base.    

     "How?" I look up from studying the drawing. 

     "With the lights." There's a strong hint of exasperation in his tone. 

     "That only works with flesh-and-bone." I correct him. 

     "Well now you're gonna try with graphite-and-paper." He snaps back. 

     I lower my gaze back to the paper and study it more. The drawing is detailed, it looks almost real, I wonder who drew it. Aside from the fact that the sketch is great, no matter how long I stare at it, no new blips appear. All but two blips vanish while I'm trying to make this person show up. 

     "This really isn't working." I mutter. 

     "Maybe Taj is out. " He says, flipping the next paper over and setting it on top of the first. "Try finding Mahalalel."

     "Who?" 

     He taps the paper impatiently. This time the person depicted is definitely a guy. Hooked nose, heavy brow, smiling like it's his job. I give the image a good looking-over, and just like with the last drawing, nothing happens. My map doesn't work like that. I sigh, and Jedediah takes that as his cue to flip the next paper. Then, funny thing, while he's lifting the next paper from the stack the faintest of blips appear on the map. 

     "Hold on." I say, not before glimpsing the person on the next paper. Jedediah sets it back down. "I might see him." 

     His eyebrows shoot up. "Might?" 

     "Well--"

     "It's you do, or you don't, Twinkle Toes. None of this 'might' crap. I don't have time for 'might'."

     "Okay, fine. I see him," I add 'sort of' under my breath, "he's in the..." I glance at the drawing again and Mahalalel's blip grows marginally brighter, "The rec room." 

     Jedediah's eyebrows return to their normal place, and he's not scowling, which I think might be his version of smiling. 

     "Same time tomorrow." He says. I gather the papers and put them back on the stack. While he's twisting to pop his back, I slip the third paper from the stack and drop it on the floor under the table. He scoops up the pile and walks away without another word. When I'm sure he's gone, I scrunch down and peel the paper off the cafeteria floor. I flip it in my hand, to stare at the familiar face of Jihad. Admittedly, I don't have a reason for stealing a picture of Jihad, but I do have a creeping, itchy feeling that I'll find a use for it soon. I fold the paper into a square and tuck it in my pocket. My stomach grumbles as I stand, but when I cast a glance around the cafeteriea I see that it's practically empty except fr me. It's too late for breakfast.

     Behind the long counter that separates the cafeteria from the kitchen, a handful of rebels are bustling about in makeshift aprons. I make my way over. I'm not too great at cooking, but I'm sure I could wash dishes or mop the floor. I have to at least try to be useful while the others are out working on saving Acid. A woman with wrinkles and a mohawk spots me coming and tosses me an apron and a towel. Dishes it is. 


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