City Love, City Graves
A voice woke her.
“...-ver gonna guess what happened.”
One she recognized. Smiling sleepily, Judy rolled over in bed to face the voices' origin.
“... on me, I took a bullet, I died, came back…”
Across the room, reclining back on the couch, already dressed for the day, was V. Her eyes glowed a vibrant orange as she spoke.
“Heh, feels like a goddamn movie plot.” she huffed incredulously.
Sitting up, Judy silently swung her legs over the edge of the bed. Resting her elbows on her knees, she rubbed the remaining sleep from her eyes.
“Oh right, and I met Johnny Silverhand. Long story… doubt you two’d get along.” V sighed. “Always could smell bullshit a mile off, Jackie.”
Spotting her clothes on the ground near her feet, Judy reached for her underwear and a shirt to cover up her nakedness.
“Anyways, that’s not why I called. I’m… I met someone. Her name’s Judy and she’s… well, she’s fucking amazing .” V blew out a shaky breath. “Not to get all mushy-mushy, but... things are gettin’ serious, Jackie. I’m fuckin’ fallin fast. Like, Trauma Team Platinum fast.”
Judy’s heart started beating a little faster. Smiling, Judy stood up and made her way over to her lover.
“She’s got a ton of tattoos, which I’m a sucker for. And her eyes! Jack, they’re so... soft , I could stare into 'em all day. Damn, I think I’d die if anyone heard me talkin’ like this.” V laughed softly.
The BD expert smirked. “Too late for that, mushy girl.”
V’s whole body jumped, her head snapped towards her, eyes wide and face pink. “Judy! Uh, hey, h-how much of that did you hear?”
Judy slid into the merc’s lap. Snaking her arms around her neck, she leaned in for a kiss. “Most of it, I think.” Another, longer kiss.
Gripping Judy’s waste, V smiled up at her crookedly. “Talk to you later, Jack.” Her eyes lost their orange glow, signifying the call ended. Gliding a hand up under her shirt, her full lips morphed into a smirk. “I’m gonna be busy for a while.” She purred.
Later, lusts sated and showers taken, (“I showered twice this morning cause’ of you.”) Judy and V are snuggled up on the couch. Just… talking. Judy marveled at the domesticity of it all. She’s never had someone like this in her life, that meant this much to her. Someone that she could just talk to, about anything.
V was animatedly explaining to her about her new, upgraded Kiroshi optics, when Judy reached over and grabbed her hand. V blinked at her.
The Mox took a deep breath, gathering her courage.
“Did you… mean what you said? On the phone, about fallin’ for me?” She asked, quietly. Their faces were both pink now.
V slid her fingers in between Judy’s, interlocking them.
“Yeah.” She whispered. “I did. I fuckin’ love you, Judy.”
Judy scooted closer, burying her face in V’s neck.
“So mushy, V.” She said. V laughed. “I love you, too, V.”
V hugged her close. “ Very mushy. What would my fellow merc’s think?”
Judy smirked. “Oh the horror, the world learning that the badass solo, the dangerous mercenary, the V, gets lost in the eyes of lil’ ol’ me.”
Grinning, V’s hands flew to her girlfriends' sides, fingers resting against her ribs. “Careful now, I’m dangerous; I could snap at any moment. Don’t wanna… provoke me!” She started tickling.
The Mox almost squealed . “ V ! S-stop! I- ahn !- okay, okay! I won’t-” she gasped for breath, guffawing. V relented, a satisfied smirk on her face.
“That’s what I thought.” V said smugly.
As Judy caught her breath, still smiling, a voice spoke up.
“Jesus, I’m gonna fucking throw up.” Turning her head, she frowned over at a sneering Johnny Silverhand. “You two are sickeningly sweet.”
V sighed. “Thanks, Johnny, for ruining the moment. Really.”
The dead Rocker shrugged. “What? It’s the truth.” He disappeared.
Judy noticed her mood change. “Hey, what’s up?
V gently lifted her off her lap and stood up, stepping over to the window. “Nothin, just… the voice in my head being a dick.”
Judy hummed. “Speaking of, you were telling somebody earlier about him? On the line? This Jackie woman?” Judy huffed in faux jealousy. “This your ex-output?”
The purple-eyed woman laughed.
“‘ He ’ is my best friend.”
“Ohh, my bad. So, best friend? How come we’ve never met? He not in the city?”
V didn’t answer for a moment, seemingly lost in thought. Taking a deep breath, then letting it out slowly, she shook her head. “No, he’s still in town. Far as I know, he’s never left… um…” She smiled sadly. “I call pretty often, to tell him what’s new in my life, but… he doesn’t answer anymore.” She sighed shakily.
Judy frowned. “He mad at you?”
V closed her eyes and shrugged in answer. “Might be. I... fucked up the last job we did together. Bad. He might be mad ‘bout that, I wouldn’t blame him. I blame myself too.”
Her girlfriend stood up and grabbed her hand. “Hey, hey, come on now. I doubt he’s upset about it. Sometimes, jobs just go wrong.” She grabbed V by the chin, lifting her face to look at her. “Have you tried going to see him in person? You’re Choombatta; should talk with him about whatever is between you.”
Trying to keep her composure, V nodded jerkily. “Okay, yeah.” She rasped. Clearing her throat, she continued, “Could you come with me? I…”
Kissing her, Judy nodded. “ Mi calabacita , of course. When are we leaving?”
Johnny reappeared reclining back on the couch behind Judy. “V. Don’t put it off anymore. Go see him.” He said - surprisingly gently.
V nodded and took another bracing breath. “Let’s go now, before I lose my nerve.”
For the most part, the ride out of the city into North Oak was silent, V lost in her own thoughts. Thoughts of Jackie, the Heist, and her failure to -
Judy grabbed her hand on the wheel. “V, you’re crushing the steering wheel.”
The mercenary loosened her grip on the crushed wheel. “Shit, right. Sorry.” she muttered. “I'm just… fuckin’ scared, I guess.” V gave a sharp, bitter laugh as she stopped the car. “The fuck’s wrong with me? I can face thirty Scavs, alone, no problem, but the thought of visiting my best friend's grave is too much?”
Judy’s heart dropped. ‘ Grave. ’
She had been too focused on her girlfriend to notice they had been approaching the Columbarium.
V shook her head. “Sorry, sorry… I’m sorry, but I think I want to go in alone. Wait for me here...? I have a feeling that I’ll need your support after… when I’m done.”
Judy pulled her into a hug across the center console. “I’ll be here.”
The steel Columbarium didn’t suit Jackie Welles, V decided. Featureless, barren, cold . That’s not Jackie at all. ‘ Is a gravestone any better though? ’ She supposed it makes no difference. He’s still dead either way.
She cleared her throat, forcing the corner of her lips up slightly.
“H-hey, Jack… I uh - how… how… fuck this is hard.” V’s smile was brittle. “Sorry I didn’t visit earlier, I… was afraid, I think… Afraid of what, I dunno. Um, I've been calling you pretty regularly though, my way of coping… or rather, running from the truth, I think... I - I just hope that you’re doin’ good - well ! - doin’ well, wherever you are and that… you can forgive me for failing; for failing you .” Her shaky smile collapsed and her eyes watered. “I am so fucking sorry , Jackie, more than you could ever know. I wish… I had been better. I wish I could have helped you - saved you. You deserved better, than... me ; someone stronger, smarter. Fuck… just- sorry…”
Wiping her eyes on her sleeve, she slowly pulled herself together. “Um, I uh… I know that I probably shouldn’t… blame myself, that you wouldn’t want me to, but… I keep thinking - dreaming ! - about that night, just… trying to - to… fuckin’ figure out where it all went wrong, I guess.” Closing her eyes, V let her head slump forward so her forehead was resting against the column. “I don’t know what I’m doin’, Jack. I feel like… like I’m falling. Falling endlessly, down some bottomless pit; one I won’t be able to drag myself out of.” She whispered. “Shit, what the h-hell is wrong with me?”
She let silence fall for a moment. Turning her head back, she stared up at the cloudless blue sky. “I wonder what… you would say to me now, if you saw me like this… ‘ Listen Chica , I may have bit the big one, but that’s no reason for you to just give up! Keep pushin’ forward; don’t let no fuckin’ el fantasma be the death of you. Just make sure you down a few shots for me every now and then, eh? And don’t forget the splash of love! ’
V laughed sadly, but warmly. “Thanks, Jack. I’m not going to let this chip in my head stop me. Not now; not when I’m so close to the end, to becoming a Legend, just like… like we always wanted.” Pushing herself to her feet, the merc nodded. “Not gonna let this thing beat me, not gonna lose anymore.”
A couple walked by behind her, talking quietly to one another. It reminded her that she didn’t come alone. V smiled.
“I… I’m gonna visit more, from now on.” She swore. “ I don’t know how often, but I swear I will.” Bringing her hand up, V gently bumped a fist against the cool metal. “Be seein’ you, Jackie.”
Judy was leaning back against the passenger side door of the mercs car when V exited the Columbarium. She straightened up as soon as V came into her field of vision, assessing.
Besides a little red around the eyes, V looked fine; better even, than when she went in, as if a weight had been lifted off her shoulders.
Stepping up next to her, V threw an arm around Judy’s bare shoulders. The Mox smiled. “Feeling better, I see.”
V laid her head against her girlfriend's shoulder. “A lil’ bit. I didn’t realize how much I needed that.”
“Need a minute, before we leave?” Judy murmured.
The taller woman turned her head to kiss her on the shoulder. “Nah, let’s get outta here.” Separating herself reluctantly, she rounded the car and opened the driver side door. “I’m taking you to the Afterlife tonight by the way; gonna do some shots.”
Opening her own door, Judy grinned, excited. “It’s a date then.”
“Yeah.” V had a rare softness to her face. “It’s a date.” They entered the vehicle at the same time. V checked the time, then sighed. “But right now, work beckons. Gotta be in Japantown soon for detes’ on a gig.” Starting the ignition and gripping the steering wheel brought to her attention the ruined state it was in.
“Damn… it’s a good thing we didn’t take the Porsche; Johnny would have bitched about it til’ the fuckin’ sun exploded. And for once, it would have been totally justified…”