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the dead go faster

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Poison doesn't go to the Zone 5 fights; they're just not his thing. Kobra and Jet hang out there, sometimes, when they're running low on c's, because they have the uncanny ability to pick the right fighters to bet on. And they won't admit it to him, but Poison knows they enjoy the thrill and excitement of the fights.

And if it were just fighting robots, Poison could totally get on board with the whole idea, because really. Robots. Fighting. Like some of the magical, illicit vids he'd watched as a kid, before BL/ind had cracked down on stuff like that.

But, unlike the warehouses on the outskirts of Bat City, where BL/ind turns a blind eye (ha!) to the weekend raves, the fights in Zone 5 are directly financed by upper fucking management, and they’re broadcast all across Bat City. Bread and circuses, and it leaves a bad taste in Poison's mouth.

He’s looking for a particular 'runner, though, and the intel said she ran out of Zone 5, which is how Poison finds himself in a crowd of screaming people surrounding the Dome, some kind of pounding electronic music pulsing through the air. It’s strange, how different the vibe is from Poison's usual hangouts of Fuck You houses and scummy bars. There’s something meaner, sharper in the air, the faintest hint of blood and a taste of BL/ind. It makes his skin crawl.

The whole place makes him nervous and on edge, but he needs the intel, so he makes himself move through the crowd, watching the deals go down, c's palmed, lives sold. He gets shoved, hard, and when he manages to turn, he sees it's because one of the fighters is being escorted into the Dome.

The guy must be good; he's got an entourage of men and women, all dressed to kill. Poison's never seen so many fancy clothes outside of the upper levels of Bat City and it just makes him more jumpy. He's really out of his element here; things are too clean, too corporate. Not enough dust and dirt for his taste.

The video displays flash the guy's face; Poison laughs a little, because the rounded yellow sunglasses under the mop of butterscotch hair make him look ridiculous. Large green letters spell out g3rard! and the crowd goes wild, screaming and pumping their fists into the air. The guy must be good.

Poison watches the beginning of the fight, as the giant robotic mice swing knobby fists at each other, slow and ponderous as they're controlled by the fighters in the Dome. He likes the ingenuity that's gone into the construction of the robots; he can see bits and pieces of old automobiles, sheets of metal stolen from ruined buildings. It's a Killjoys kind of thing and he can't keep from smiling at that.

He's not sure about the mouse motif though; it's a little weird. Gigantic robotic mice, mouseheads everywhere, even a stray mousekat or two. He shrugs.

"Hey, motorbaby, you looking for someone?" a voice shouts near his ear.

Poison turns, and she's so out of his league it's not even funny. Purple hair, short shorts, a sparkly halter top and a fake smile so big he's almost blinded by it. She's young and clean and she could probably eat him alive, but Poison's never been one to back away from a challenge. "Hey, sugar," he grins. "Looking for a 'runner named Shango. Know her?"

The pretty smiles. "Yeah, you could say that. She'll be at the afterparty; you can catch her then, for sure."

Fuck. Poison really doesn’t want to be hanging around here for longer than he needs to. "Well, thanks for the info, baby."

She waves him off and gives his ass a quick grope. "Tell them Lupe sent you!" she shouts, and disappears into the crowd.

He throws his head back and laughs, because it's the only thing he can do.

He doesn't like the fact that he has to go in unarmed; they make him check his gun, but miss his boot knife.

The afterparty is just as loud as the fight, but the crowd is smaller. It's being held at an old store that's been converted into a bar. There's plenty of BL/ind-labeled alk, stuff that isn't likely to kill you if you drink it. Poison has no compunctions about pocketing what unattended bottles that he can; they'll fetch a pretty penny on the market.

Shango finds him, and she looks enough like Lupe to probably be her sister. She lets Poison scan the data; it looks good. He slides the c's into the back pocket of her tight shorts with a sly grin and counts it a win that she doesn't punch him for copping a feel.

He's done here, he can get his damn raygun and go the fuck home, away from all these shiny people and their fake smiles and the taint of BL/ind. He knocks back a last shot of alk, grinning at the smooth burn and turns toward the door.

Two really big dudes step in front of him, blocking his way. Bouncer-types, and yeah, this is why Poison tries to stay away from places like this. No matter how careful he is, he always manages to get into trouble. Ghoul is going to be pissed. Again.

"Hey, babies!" He grins, all brash bravado and balls. "Thanks for the great time, but I'm outta here."

They don't twitch. "Mr. G wants to see you," one of them says.

Poison shrugs carelessly. "Sorry, don't know Mr. G."

"Mr. G wants to see you," the hulk repeats, and grabs Poison's arm in a meaty grip.

He thinks about fighting, he thinks about raising a fuss, but in the end, he knows it's not going to be worth it. "Lead on, shiny."

The taller hulk grabs his other arm firmly and he's escorted carefully to a back room. He might have tried to run, if they hadn't been holding on. One of them knocks loudly at a door, pauses and then shoves it open, pushing Poison through. It shuts with a decisive click behind him.

The first thing Poison notices is the table with a huge spread of food, things that he hasn't tasted since he hit the Zones. His mouth waters at the sight of fresh fruits and vegetables and things that have never seen the inside of a can. Sitting in a chair, booted feet resting on the edge of the table, is Mr. G himself, otherwise known as g3rard!

He's wearing the same clothes from earlier, army jacket covered with ragged patches, plain black tee shirt under it, fairly clean looking jeans, and his boots. His hair is sticking up, like he's been running his hands through it in agitation.

There's a big screen monitor to the left and g3rard! is watching a replay from tonight's fight and delicately picking at a plate of food in his lap.

Poison gives himself a mental shake and puts his game face on. He doesn't know what this guy wants, but whatever it is, he must want it bad, to call Poison in here. "So, how do you pronounce the '3'? Is it 'gee-three-rard'? And what about the exclamation point?" He moves to the table and picks out an apple, taking a loud bite before sprawling into an empty chair. The apple's juicy and tastes better than he remembers apples tasting, but he's not going to complain. He just wipes the juice off his chin and grins cheekily at g3rard! or whatever the fuck his name is.

The guy's still wearing his stupid sunglasses, so Poison can't get a good bead on what he's thinking, but his voice is nasal and quick, annoyed. "It's Gerard," he says. He pops the lapels on his army jacket and hunches deeper into his chair.

"Well, hello, Gerard," Poison drawls. "What can I do for you?" He copies Gerard's pose, bracing his battered boots on the table.

"I saw you in the crowd tonight. You a fan of the fights?" Gerard pokes at the food on his plate. He's still watching the replay, but Poison can tell his attention isn't completely focused on the monitor.

Poison doesn't doubt for a moment that he cuts a striking figure, tall and lean with his screaming red hair, but he really doesn't think he's been singled out for a after-fight booty call. It's a flattering idea, but Poison is a realist. "Not really. Was here looking to pick up some intel."

"Did you find what you were looking for?"

He can't help the sly grin that crosses his face. "And more, sugar."

"What's your name?"

"Really, now. We gonna play this game?" Poison raises a curious eyebrow. "You knew who I was before you had your goons pluck me from the party. And I'm starting to suspect that this was a set up from the beginning, starting with my intel."

Gerard shrugs and sets his plate on the table, getting to his feet. He moves stiffly, with a limp, like he's been broken and put back together wrong. It's not an impossibility, with the erratic medical care available in the Zones.

Gerard shoves at one of Poison's feet, knocking it off the table and stepping into the space between Poison's spread legs. He drops to his knees and this is nothing new to Poison, he's done this before, but it's so unexpected that he can't do anything but stare as Gerard unzips his filthy jeans and pulls his dick out.

"What the fuck—" Poison loses his voice as Gerard strokes him a couple of times before swallowing Poison's cock with a loud slurp, and Poison's gone from uninterested to hard in the space of a handful of seconds. "Fuck," he hisses, pushing his fingers into Gerard's short hair and holding on, concentrating on not pulling.

Gerard is looking up at him, mouth stretched obscenely around Poison's dick, and Poison reaches out to take the damn sunglasses off his face; he likes to see who he's having sex with. But Gerard jerks his head back a little in warning before sucking harder, and Poison can't keep his eyes open against the pleasure that rolls over him. He lets his fingers slip free of Gerard's hair before he ends up pulling out handfuls.

Poison bites back a moan and grinds his head into the back of the chair, trying not to grab hard and fuck into Gerard's mouth. Gerard hums a little and bobs his head faster and that's it, Poison closes his eyes and shudders as every muscle tightens, back arching painfully and he comes with a choked off sound.

He feels Gerard swallowing around him and it sends shivers racing across his nerves, echoes of sensation, and it only takes a short while before he's hissing in discomfort as Gerard continues to suck on his oversensitive dick. "Fuck, baby, you're good with your mouth."

Gerard pulls off and Poison takes the opportunity to steal the sunglasses off Gerard's face, ignoring his sound of protest. He's actually very pretty, when his features aren't being obscured by the ridiculous glasses, wide hazel eyes and sharp cheekbones, expressive eyebrows. Poison leans down and steals a kiss. "I'm good with my mouth, too, sugar. You gonna let me show you how good?"

Blinking in surprise, Gerard nods and leads Poison to a mostly clean mattress shoved into a corner of the room.

Gerard's little hideaway doesn't have windows, but Poison's internal clock is pretty good; it's close to dawn. Time to get going.

He pushes up on one elbow and lets himself look at Gerard, sprawled on his belly next to him. Gerard's back is covered with scars, some twisted and ragged, others thin lines, barely visible. He traces one, lightly, as it parallels the dip of Gerard's spine.

Gerard sighs under the touch, and Poison knows he's awake. "Not that I didn't enjoy myself tremendously, motorbaby, but you want to tell me what's up? I kinda like to know what I'm getting myself into."

"Maybe I just wanted to get laid and thought you were pretty."

"Maybe. But in that case, you've got plenty of fresh meat right on your own doorstep; no need to go out of the way to set your bait for me." Poison presses a line of kisses to Gerard's shoulder.

Gerard huffs out a laugh into his pillow. "Maybe I was supposed to scout you out and just liked what I saw."

"Oh, baby," Poison sighs and shakes his head. "One day, I'm going to take BL/ind down. Just try not to be in the blast radius, okay? I'd hate to see you get hurt."

"They want you, bad," he murmurs.

Poison can't help but laugh. "Yeah, I know. Either dead or under their control." He grins, careless. "Right now, they'd prefer to use me to keep the good citizens of Bat City in line. Eventually, they'll just want me dead."

"That would be a terrible thing."

"Yeah." He traces another scar, and remembers a convo he'd had with Kobra, close to a year ago.

One of the robots crashed into the crowd and it was a fucking mess. A lot of people died, and BL/ind called it an "evil, despicable act of terror perpetrated by the enemies of freedom." But the intel points toward BL/ind sabotaging the fight.

It had made no sense, because the fights brought in the c's and kept the citizens happy. Kobra had shrugged. Ratings. BLTV.

Poison gets up and steps over Gerard, searching for his pants in the pile of clothes next to the mattress. "You better watch your back, sugar. That robot falling on you wasn't the work of 'runners."

Gerard turns over, the thin sheet sliding down his body, revealing more scars. "What do you mean?" In the dim light, he looks older, and Poison realizes that Gerard's probably got ten years on him.

"I mean that BL/ind won't hesitate to break their tools, if they feel it's necessary." He pulls on his jeans, hopping a little to get them up over his ass. He kneels back down and rests his hands on his knees. "You're too pretty to get ghosted."

Gerard laughs bitterly and fingers a thick knot of scar tissue on his chest.

Poison shakes his head and touches Gerard's cheek, angling his head for a soft kiss. "Listen, you ever get tired of your rock-star lifestyle, you get word to me, okay? I'll help you get out."

"Oh, Poison," Gerard says sadly. "There's no getting out, ever."

"I don't believe that." He steals another kiss, nipping at Gerard's bottom lip. "I'll never believe that," he says, getting back to his feet and putting the rest of his clothes on.

He leaves the bar and doesn't look back.