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Firebug

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With a muffled whimper Rose stumbled into the apartment, not even pausing to lock the door as she kicked it shut. The motherfucker had set her on goddamned fire! Garfield Lynns brought a whole new depth to the term firebug, and if she ever got another crack at him she was going to put her blade through the psychopath’s face. No more of this pansy trying to talk. Fire bad. She’d rather take a fucking bullet.

Pain shot through her arm, dragging her mind from the violent musings and back to the world of hurt she was trying to avoid acknowledging. She had to get everything off, but fuck she didn’t want to. If she couldn’t see it… it wasn’t real. Denying it wasn’t helping, and panic clawed at her throat, paralyzing her for a moment as she relived those horrific seconds. The heat, the feel of the metal scales from her armor starting to melt and weld together, to burn holes in her skin as Firefly’s torches came around way faster than she had anticipated.

Rose dropped to her knees, biting her bottom lip to the point it bled in her attempts to stop the whimper that was trying to escape from her. She would not lose it now. She was tough. She was in control, and she would survive this with her dignity intact god fucking damnit. With slow, deliberate movements, she began to peel the half-melted scales from her abused flesh.

Agony made the world turn white for a second.

The searing heat brought Rose back to consciousness, but stole her wits with it’s intensity. What had… She tried to push herself up onto her knees, but the pulling on already damaged skin almost had her back on the ground, and a small whine of misery finally escaped her gritted teeth. She had fucking fainted. Weak. First she had let that prancing idiot get the drop on her, and now she wasn't even capable of undressing her own damn self without being laid out. So much for the Wilson legacy.

Unsure if she had been unconscious for a minute or a day, she eased back onto her ass, more carefully this time, favouring her injured side, despite the self-loathing the action shot through her. Finally, she was settled, and she moved once more to begin the slow work of wiggling half-melted metal scales out of their blistered fleshy victim that she had once called her shoulder. The pain was indescribable, beyond anything she had experienced, even after all her years involved in the violent life of mercenaries and criminals. Nothing her father had ever put her through had felt this horrid. None of his tests or lessons had even come close. The fucker had set her on FIRE.

After what seemed like hours, but was likely only a few minutes, Rose had her shoulder freed, and the remains of her armor pooled around the floor at her waist as she took in the damage. Like a caricature of a photo negative, the scales were detailed in moist red and yellow blisters and welts from the middle of her forearm and up past her elbow as well as part of the way down her ribs. Some of the burn wounds wept a reddish pus that may have been blood. Eye following the line of ruined flesh to the tricep she had used to shield her face, Rose went pale. The skin there was black and cracked… parts of it even looked white? Maybe that was bone.

Fucking fuckity fuck. She was overcooked meat.

Gritting her teeth she dragged her wastebin from beside the desk, closer to where she was sitting and rummaged around for the bottle of vodka she had bought in a moment of weakness, and then tossed when she had decided to stick to her guns on the no getting drunk rule. Well, that was going to shit. Removing the cap with her teeth she spat it across the room and then took a healthy swig of the cheap liquor, wincing as the burn made her gorge rise, and her breath speed up in a panic response. Not good, she couldn’t afford a trigger as easy to manipulate as burning flesh, not with what she had to go up against.

Bracing her knees against the floor, she leaned forward and upended the bottle over the grotesque ruin that had once been her skin, swallowing the scream that threatened to prove to the world how undone she was becoming. Third degree burns was her best guess, and a fair bit of her skin was still lining her armor. She needed a hospital, but there was no way she could risk it. She wasn’t sure where she was still wanted, and where her father might be running reporting searches. Taking a chance that her father would find her like that was straight up suicide as far as she was concerned. Worse, she had isolated herself so completely she had no one to call for help, no where to turn.

Rose was completely alone, and if she didn’t do something, she might never use the fucking arm again. If she couldn’t get this fixed… Her brain flat out refused to consider the implication that such an outcome might have on her life. Civilians with missing limbs had a hard time, what chance would a mercenary on the run have? Curling up on the floor on her good side, she drained the last dregs of the vodka bottle and gave in to the slow trickle of tears running from her one good eye.

Just… fuck.

Consciousness was quickly escaping her, but as the room became black around her, she had a thought that almost made her smile. If she lost the arm, Slade wouldn’t want her anymore. She would be completely useless to him and all his grandiose schemes. Maybe it was the pain, maybe it was the booze, but as everything disappeared, she let out a slightly hysterical laugh.