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that’s the screws and nails

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Felix never could quite understand how they got into this particular firefight: all he remembered was, that they were running away now, heads down, guns in hands. Locus ran so fast that it was all Felix could do to keep up – still the bastard snarled ‘Faster!’ but Felix knew he could not go faster, though he didn’t have the breath left to say so.

The corridors and rooms and buildings all blurred into one – they never changed their colors or places at all. It was as though however fast they ran, nothing seemed to change.

I’m pretty sure I’m not high, thought Felix, but are we even going anywhere?

Locus seemed to guess his thoughts, ‘Faster! Remember, it’s just five minutes away-’

Felix’s insides were on fire. He was actually starting to feel ill, he was so out of breath. And still Locus was muttering that he was a damn couch potato. Egging him on to provoke a response, no doubt.

‘Are we there yet? Arewefuckingthereyet?’ Felix managed to pant out, but it lacked venom.

They skidded around the fifth, fifteenth corner of some nameless street. No traffic, but that was what you got with an early morning gunfight. Peace and quiet.

‘Almost,’ said Locus. ‘Faster.’ And they kept running, so fast that Felix could barely feel the pavement beneath his feet, or hear the pounding in his ears. Suddenly, just as he swore he was ready to throw up on Locus, they stopped, and Felix slammed into Locus’s back with a muffled curse.

They both stared into a dead end. Of course. Felix groaned – he should have expected this, he’d watched enough movies.

Locus,’ he said warningly, but Locus didn’t reply, just lunged for a garbage can next to the street corner. Reached in and pulled out an indeterminate package, ripped at it like a madman.

Felix recognized guns, grenades, ammo and future pain for their enemies. He’d expected cash, but this was fine too. He just had to catch his breath and he’d be fine-

Locus slapped a gun into Felix’s palm and moved in front of him. Shielded him.

 ‘What the fu-’

‘Catch your breath.’

Felix stared at Locus’s back.

‘Are you pity-shielding me?’

‘Call it something else, if you don’t like it.’

‘Fuck you!’ said Felix, trying to wheeze less obviously. ‘I swear to god, this would have gone a hell of a lot better if you’d let me talk to them-’

‘Yes, that always works,’ Locus said dryly, as he racked his gun.

‘Oh, fuck off.’

‘You don’t mean that.’

‘I don’t know,’ Felix said ominously, as they flattened themselves against the wall and waited-

‘-You don’t mean that,’ Locus said, with far too much certainty for Felix to feel comfortable. ‘-We’re partners.

‘Don’t sound so fucking smug, Ortez.’


‘…Don’t sound so fucking smug, Locus.’