Merope "Okay, so Maia's house should be right up here."
Merope looks at Ras seriously.
Merope "We're going to need to be careful. I'm still not sure how much Furud really wants me involved, and you..."
Ras Alhague stews. "Fine."
Merope "Hopefully Furud is here already..."
Merope knocks upon the front door, eyeing the garage where she saw the band play last week.
Maia There is no response.
Merope "Oh... huh. Maybe she's in the garage, she hangs out there a lot for band stuff." She goes over and raps on the garage door. "Maia?"
Maia There is long, long silence, then a shuddering breath, and..."Merry."
Maia "What are you doing here?"
Merope Merope looks a little confused at having to talk through a garage door. "Um... hi, Maia. Uh... Furud said he was coming to see you, and..."
Maia "...he did, did he?"
Maia "Well, he's not here."
Maia A few more ragged breaths come through the door.
Merope "Um... are you okay? You weren't at school today."
Merope looks at Ras, frowning.
Ras Alhague looks at Merry, shrugging. His face has an expression that seems to say 'I agreed to be quiet, what do you want me to do now?'
Furud drives down the street somewhat slowly, almost reluctantly. He glances over at Antares, "You uh, ok?"
Maia "...yeah, no. I was feeling a little under the weather. Thought I'd stay in bed. Except I couldn't sleep."
Antares "Fine." She stares out the window. "C'mon, are you afraid you're gonna scratch the paint?"
Merope "Ha ha, Maia."
Furud "You know, I'm not sure if anyone would notice any more scratches." He swings into the driveway, the bright headlights picking up Mero and Ras. He opens the door and uses the frame to lever himself out, leaning against it for a second. "Hey," he calls.
Merope "Oh, hey, Furud's here!" She waves.
Merope "And Antares. Oh, and I brought Ras."
Ras Alhague figures a 'hey' probably doesn't break the spirit of the quiet rule, and says "hey" to Furud.
Antares slides out of the car, giving Merope and Ras a wary once-over before stepping toward the garage. "Maia?"
Merope "She's ill." says Merope, helpfully.
Furud exchanges a glance with Antares.
Furud "Hey, Maia, can we come in?"
Antares "C'mon, another minute and we're gonna get rounded up for loitering or some shit."
Maia After a moment, the garage door starts sliding upwards. As it rises, Maia can be seen slumped in one of the old folding chairs, dark eyes glittering from a face covered with tear tracks. In one hand, she holds, and then drops, the garage door opener. With the other, she idly taps a pistol against her lip.
Ras Alhague takes a few steps back in surprise.
Antares jerks half a step forward, then freezes. "Maia."
Merope "Oh... oh God..."
Ras Alhague bites his lip, mostly to keep his word that he "won't say anything." But clearly, horror and concern are writ across his face.
Maia "I'm not feeling so good, guys.
Furud walks forward slowly, hands out in a peace gesture, "Come on, Mai, just.. put the gun down, ok?"
Maia "Do you remember that -- stay back, Furud, okay?"
Maia vaguely waves the gun around, displaying both lack of coordination and lack of experience.
Merope Merope's eyes are wide open with horror.
Maia "Do you remember those guys, in the warehouse?"
Maia "That I...I..." she coughs.
Furud stops in his tracks. "Ok, Maia." He looks down and slowly replies, "Yeah... but..."
Ras Alhague tries to pull Merope behind him, gently, so that he'll be in the way in case the uncoordinated, inexpert gunshot sends a bullet her way.
Merope shows no sign of resisting.
Maia "I just wanted to keep you guys safe. You know that? That's all I fucking wanted. That's all."
Maia "It's been bothering me."
Maia "So I thought I'd sleep on it. Except I COULDN'T SLEEP!" This is screamed.
Merope Behind Ras, Merope starts shaking.
Ras Alhague puts a protective arm up around Merope.
Furud "Maia, please, let's talk about this okay?"
Furud "Without you, we'd still be there. Still be..." He shudders. "I'm sorry.."
Maia "Talk about what? What's there to talk about? Is that why you brought the military with you, to TALK to me?" She nods towards Ras.
Furud "I didn't bring him."
Ras Alhague bristles.
Maia "Then what is he..." she sighs.
Merope "I brought him."
Merope Her voice audibly quivers.
Antares "Maia," she says softly, her voice choked off. "I got your back. Tell me what you need."
Maia "I need...I need this to stop. It's too much. It's just too much, Antares."
Maia "They're not going to stop with one kidnapping."
Maia "They know we're weak, now. They'll come after us. I can't...I can't..." her face contorts with weeping.
Furud "No, we showed them that we're strong, that we look out for eachother"
Antares "Then we'll fuck 'em up harder." Her eyes flash. "No one's gonna mess with us again." She slides a step forward.
Maia "DON'T COME NEAR ME!" Her hand flails out, and the trigger closes...and clicks. She freezes for a moment, then reaches out to take the safety off, and laughs softly.
Furud "Oh shit oh shit, Maia, don't do that!"
Merope whimpers quietly, arms around Ras now, frozen hard in place.
Maia "We can't do this any more. We never really had a chance, did we."
Antares sucks in a breath and freezes again, a tear running down her cheek.
Antares "I don't know," she whispers.
Maia "I'm sorry. I love you. I love you, Antares. You know that, right? I really do. And you, Furry. And Merry, even. I wish...I just...I don't - I can't, I can't do it."
Maia "Listen." She takes a deep breath and sits up a little straighter.
Furud "I..." He looks away. "It doesn't matter," he says fiercely. "Don't leave us."
Maia "Tell Johnstone...tell him I want him to introduce you guys to my mom, okay?"
Maia "They're not the good guys. But they're better than the rest of those fuckers out there."
Furud "Introduce us yourself!"
Antares stands shaking, hands clenched, tears running freely now. Don't, she mouths.
Maia "I'm sorry. I'm sorry..."
Maia lowers her head, puts the gun to her temple and pulls the trigger.
Antares "I l--"
Ras Alhague covers Merope's ears.
Furud "No!" He reaches out, past himself, as he runs forward. The gun is hit away from her hands by an invisible force, but the bullet still flies from the barrel
Maia 's body jerks, and sprawls off the chair, thudding against the concrete floor of the garage.
Maia The gun bounces off the ground, propelled by Furud, and spins to a stop at Antares's feet.
Merope just screams and screams and screams.
Antares bends with delicate slowness to pick up the gun, cradling it in her hands as she straightens, breathing hard.
Ras Alhague holds Merope tightly, murmuring "I love you" and other comforting words. He's got... no idea what to do, but he's trying his best.
Merope struggles weakly in Ras' grip, but doesn't stop screaming.
Furud reaches Maia, and drops to his knees in front of her, reaching up to touch her bloodied head. "Oh god I was too slow, I'm so sorry. Oh God..."
Maia (The gun is, pretty clearly, lifted from one of the soldiers in the warehouse.)
Merope has to stop to breathe, and does so, in huge sucking gasps, wailing when she exhales.
Antares One jerky step, then another, then Antares thuds to her knees across from Furud, staring down at Maia with shaking hands tightening on the gun.
Maia breathes shallowly, her eyes partly open and unfocused -- the redirected bullet was just enough off to leave her alive. White bone glints through the wound, with perhaps a hint of a crack.
Furud 's shaking hands tighten on Maia's shoulders. "Maia? Maia... Antares, she's still breathing...! Help me...get her to the hospital."
Antares Furud's words take a few seconds to penetrate through the haze of Merope screaming and her own blood in her ears, then she jerks her head up to stare at him.
Ras Alhague "Furud! Don't move her! 911!"
Furud "But she's hurt!"
Merope manages to control her breathing to form words. "Oh GOD... I can't LOOK... let me GO..."
Ras Alhague "You want her to get hurt even more? They have ambulances, with trained professionals, for a reason. 911!"
Furud "There's a phone in the house, shit, she's bleeding so much."
Ras Alhague "Head wounds do that. Get a towel or something. At least one of you has to have a fucking cell phone. 911 already!"
Antares reaches out blindly to Furud, patting down his jacket until her hand finds his pocket, fumbling out the phone. She hits 911 and then just lets it drop, so the screams and confusion but no explanation go through.
Maia moves, a little, and mutters..."superstar...it's too hot...you're burning me..." then drops back into inaudibility.
Merope "Oh God is she dead Oh God Oh..."
Merope dry heaves, heavily.
Ras Alhague "She's not dead yet, hon. Help is on its way, I think."
Furud tears off his shirt and presses it against Maia's gaping head wound
Antares smoothes Maia's hair back from her face with one hand, the other holding the gun tight against her chest.
Antares Then, abruptly, she stands up, swaying a little but keeping her feet. "I gotta go," she says, very quietly.
Furud "Wait... where? Don't..."
Antares "Not now. Canyon." Gritting her teeth and half-blinded by tears, Antares stoops to gingerly lay the gun down by Maia. She bends as if to kiss her, pulls back before touching, and then turns and runs from the garage, leaving behind only the sound of her footsteps and the sizzle of the gun against concrete.
Furud looks down at the gun, shaking, and then just holds Maia to his chest, keeping hold of the impromptu bandage, though his hands are still slick with blood. "I gotta call 911... where's my phone..."
Ras Alhague points at the phone, still with the operator chattering to get an answer.
Furud stares at it blankly, and back up at the receding figure of Antares. "Antares," he chokes. "Don't leave me."