Where: Johnny's Captain's Quarters
When: Just after Jack's Party
Summary: A confrontation of lone hearts leads to a violent separation or bestial proportions. Now it's Johnny's turn to be dealt the Joker Card.
Complimentary Music for the Somber Occasion
It was getting rather late, and he still had a party to attend to. So finishing chucking eggs at someone's house, he chucked the empty egg carton aside and made his way toward the party. There was still plenty time afterwards to finish off smashing jack o' lanterns.
As he approached closer, he thought he heard voices. So pausing for a moment, he listened again. Yes, he did in fact hear murmurs of what had to be.. two people. Curiosity got the better of him as he began to tread softly and silently toward the sound. How odd that he should find someone so far away from the festivities.
Tilting his head to the side, he realized he recognized at least one of the figures within the darkness. Night vision kicked in, and he saw it was the pirate captain.. along with someone else. Naturally, he had to get closer to listen in.. what were these two doing?
Maybe he could startle the two, that'd be fun.
As he was finally within hearing range, he came to a sudden halt. Tilting his head to listen.. he blinked in a moment of disbelief. He heard the pirate say to the other, he was in love with him. Maybe he heard wrong..? Though the other seemed to understand, as if they had talked this over before.. and again, he heard the pirate admit he loved the other.
Curiosity killed the cat. The silver haired rep immediately backed away from the two, thankful that they were too busy talking to each other to even take notice of his exit.
He should've gone ahead and gone to the party.. but somehow he was upset and wished to be alone. He should've known better than to go back to the ship. Having told the pirate he'd attend later on, and not at all shown up.. the man might become suspicious and look for him. Then again, maybe not.
The night had been long and energetic. Filled with frightful leisure, and astounding phobias, brought to life by the great pumpkin king himself. Even now as Johnny sauntered past the doorframe of the ship's cabin, he could still feel the jittering electricity of the night running through him and quickly siphoning up the last ounces of his will to keep awake. He leaned on the threshold and amusedly chuckled to himself. He was a delighted mess. Dancing the night away and sharing drinks and galleys of laughter with the lot of the ghoulish crowd. This had been a night where he had truly let himself go. With the will to show himself to the man he loved, he had been confident that he could face the world he loved with shields down.
He chortled again, set on a whim and lulled from the night's fancies. He'd been able to tell the words that had ached so much like a bruise that spread across his chest. Who would have imagined the power just three words had. The power they had over himself. Glassy-eyed from the dreamy buzz he still held, he stared up at the ceiling and sighed fondly. So what if the man he called his prince had given him just that childish puppy-dog look. So what if he was still confused and muddled over the intensity of those three words. All Johnny had even wanted was to say them, and let him know them. He didn't need to accept them, or reject them. Just to know that he had heard him and that he knew, was all the lone rogue could ever ask for of him..
"It's enough.. it's just enough." He mused as he smiled into the blurry nothingness above, unaware that the room he stood blocking was occupied, and a shadow, stark and looming cast across the sealed wood flooring.
He had been sitting in the darkness, upon that little sofa he came to call a bed. Staring at the floor this entire time. He heard those foot falls and didn't even bother to move. Well.. while he had been sitting here, never once did the pirate come to look for him.
Then again, no one had.
The rep was somewhat upset.. what if something had happened to him this night? Not that anything would but it was still one of those 'what if' questions. He had sat there, and thought about things. No, if something were to happen to him and cause him injury or death, not a single person would notice. Perhaps he had come to believe that someone would check upon his well being after the whole incident with those.. biomechanical beings. Maybe he just put too much trust into that human.
Trust. So hard to gain but so easy to lose. When those words escaped from the human's mouth that's when he finally turned his head to gaze at the figure who stood in the doorway. The rep's eyes gave off a small blue glow within the darkness. "Glad to know you had fun.."
Johnny would have jumped out of his skin if he hadn't been so relaxed. Yet Dynamo's dark tone goaded his brow to twitch and he turned to stare eye to glowing eye with the Reploid. How long had he been sitting there? More importantly how long had he been home? He had sworn the mischievous rebel made it clear he was going out for an all-night public ambush. Johnny had expected to see the town painted red, literally!
A fond-fair grin plastered across the rogue’s face as he wandered into the dark and clicked a lamp on to rid the royal Captain’s Quarters of the gloom. Rubbing his eye he plopped on the armrest next to his partner's feet and tipped his head up in a manner of doting.
"You haven't the faintest! Ooor maybe you do.." Looking about he noticed the rep's stash of trouble-makings was gone as a clear sign, "Did you reach your limit? The town's a bit big for just one guy to cover.. I didn't get to see your handywork!"
He didn't flinch when the light soon crossed the room. Eyes adjusted quite easily from dark to light. Mind was elsewhere as he listened to the man. It was obvious that the pirate forgot that Dynamo had mentioned he'd meet up with him at the party somewhere along the line. "I think I have a pretty good idea.." His voice didn't hold the same tone as it had earlier in the day.
The rep didn't smell of camp fire, nor did he smell of smoke or liquor. Wasn't that a good enough hint right there? Perhaps he should just get things off his mind right now. Though, where was the point in it? "You'll see my pranks… come morning I'm sure.."
That indeed would be a delight, as Johnny could only image the mess the Reploid could have made on such a grand scale as the city of Vertere. He pressed his knuckles to his lips as he chortled mirthfully and lifted his arched eyebrows as he finally got a good look at the lounging man.
"Hey.." He reached over, and playfully batted the soft rabbit ears on the Red Mage's hat, "You're still wearing your costume.. I didn't get to tell you how charming you look in it." Johnny had gotten himself lost in the enchanted swing of the monster's ball.. losing track of time and masked faces. He had whirled his princess about till she was dizzy, and stepped toe to toe with the Brit who dared to challenge his masterful break-dance.
Not once had he seen the towering Reploid throughout the entire night. Yet what was to worry, really? Maybe he had changed his mind and the party-scene wasn't for him. A plethora of excuses of where his mercenary had gone had run across his mind briefly in the times he had stopped to put his hands on his knees and breathe through his laughter.
Smoothly he finally questioned as he slid down to the Rep's level to make soft contact with him. "You should have been there.. Where were you?"
It was then when the human made eye contact that the rep had sneered and backed away from him as if he were some manner of hideous creature. Standing up he glared down at the man. "Oh.. I didn't feel I should be a bother to you this evening. You were obviously having such a good time, two's a couple.. three's a crowd."
A chuckle laced with venom came from his lips.
"I said I would go to the party.. and I did. Perhaps at the wrong time. When were you planning on telling me?" There was a look upon his face that he hadn't shown yet. Yes, it was obvious he was upset over something. Yet there was something else in those eyes of his.
Without the cover of his shades to protect him, that leer sent a cold shiver through him as if the other were lancing daggers at him through his gaze alone. Perplex at his reaction, the rogue could only blink, honestly aloof as any man would be when something terrible went unexplained.
"What are you saying?" He chuckled wiry with an idle rub to the back of his ear, "The crowd was massive! Of course there was room for you.. But.." He hadn't the faintest what was going on through that machine's complex thought-processor. For all he knew he was probably upset that he went and pranked alone. Wasn't that what he had wanted though? Johnny couldn't be sure, but that look. That look that the taller man gave him was of such noxious disgust, it was unlike any he had ever displayed for him before.
"Tell you what?" was the inevitable and damning reply.
He continued to stare at him. "I heard what you said to that other man when you two were obviously alone..! Why didn't you tell me you were in love with someone?" He barked out his question. "No, instead you continued to lead me on.." The silver haired one took a step away from him. "You continued to play this game with me. Learn to trust humans again, learn to trust you!"
There was that sound of hurt that cracked in his voice now and then as he finally came to explain things. "I finally learned to trust you.. you told me that you were unlike everyone else in various ways.. so.. 'extraordinary'..! Tell me, human..! What are your reasons for never mentioning his name to me? If you love him like you say you do, you would've at least said something.. instead of making me believe I had a chance.."
Johnny's head spun with the Reploid's sudden accusations. Each hateful word proposed in sending a spire of ice straight through his heart. And he found himself gritting his teeth from a light cringe. He had seen them? He had heard them? But why the anger? Why did any of that matter to him? Since when did a machine care for the relations of a human being? Perhaps Johnny had taken the iron's man's sentient emotions for granted.
From the time the pirate had met the sentinel, he had strived to aid him in better understanding of the human element. Showing him with himself as a pristine example that humanity was worth his second glance. That maybe the creatures that created him were no different than he. And that maybe they could even be friends. Be brothers. Be family. Johnny had offered his hand to the Reploid as a sign that he was welcome amongst his own. Welcome amongst his home. It had all been a chance to show him what it could be like if he learned to trust…
Never did Johnny think that his love for another would shatter that which he had taken so much time and sincere effort to build up. Never did he think that Dynamo, with his icy-cold glares and scoffing laughter and attitude laced in cynical sarcasm.. could ever feel for him. How could he have known? Yet hearing those words now, Johnny felt his heart sink deep into the bowels of his stomach, and tear the linings of his organs. He should have known, he thought. As futile as it was, he should have known that the sentient was capable of harboring feelings of intimacy just as deep as any other being like him.
He stood then, straightening himself and grasping for his trademark composure that left any statue ashamed. And softly and carefully he tread on glacial unstable ground through an unshakable tone, "What are you on about, Dyna..? My love for him? Why you weren't told?" He dismissed his hand to the side as if to emphasize his point, "With you, he simply did not come to mind. Had you asked me of such things? Who am I to know that you'd want to hear it?" Was it true? This mad banter that he shouted at him was just as a broken heart does? "… I've played no games with you.. Everything I've said and done for you still stands true! What does my love for another have in changing all that?"
As the man stood, once again the rep had backed away. He was acting as if the human had struck him various times and still asked for the rep to trust him. To see such a tall being back down and away from someone much smaller, may have brought up a few questions.
"Maybe I trusted you too much.. you kept throwing things around here and there I thought you were trying to get me to open up not just my trust, but my emotions as well..! I thought it was a sign, like you were trying to tell me something..!" He then straightened himself. "Oh wait, that's right.. you're a living being, and I'm only a mere copy made to replicate things such as love."
He backed away another step. "Why.. did I even think for a moment that you'd have … bothered to love me in a romantic and sincere manner? You two talked as though you've had a conversation similar to it before.. though.. don't you see? I learned to believe in the words you said.. I began to look into things too far. When you said you wouldn't leave me.. in a way you were right, because you already had your heart set upon someone else, and you had to have known then that something such as love would never come between us. Perhaps trusting you was my own fault.. and I see now I won't make that mistake again."
Johnny stopped himself from letting his mouth agape with the utter shock that ran through him. Had the ramifications of his empathy towards Dynamo truly caused this much harm? It was happening again, as it did each time. Each time he opened his heart to another, someone would get hurt. And he was truly bringing harm to the most fragile part of the man who recoiled in front of him. The Reploid’s trust had been one of the most difficult to gain of all the creatures he reached his hand out to. He had been like an abused stray, abandoned time and again, and no longer capable of seeing the good in what companionship held. He had coaxed that out of him, with his tender patience and generous will to put up with what the chaotic and oftentimes violent fiend had to dish out.
So carelessly unnoticed to him, he had lost everything that was gained. Oh what a fool he'd been, hand touching his crestfallen brow, he knew he had wronged the man he had called his partner to the highest degree..
"Please.." He uttered in a vain effort to make reason of this.. In anyway to salvage the pieces of trust scattered on the floor, he would do so with all he could, "It isn't how you see it.. Don't let yourself be blinded so quickly when I've taken so long to open your eyes."
Humanity wasn't the sort to be looked down upon, the sort to turn your back on and refuse allegiance with. There was so much more benefited when one offered his compassion to others.. couldn't he see it?
Stepping forward to close the distance between them, he couldn't allow the other to back away like this.. Not when he had worked so hard for him.
"Haven't I proven to you that I care for you? Had I known that you would…" He paused, cradling his fist to his chest and glanced down at his bonded heart. Had he of known Dynamo's feelings, perhaps they wouldn't have stumbled into this mess. Perhaps he could have saved the scattered trust that was now like fine sand and sweeping through the cracks of the floorboards to be lost forever.
"Please.. You can't throw away what's between us! You're my comrade, my ally… my friend. I've come to trust you with the lives I hold so very precious.. Come to trust you with the life I hold as my own.." Throwing that balled fist of his to the side, he felt himself cursed to endure this pain that came with his attempt to love time and again,
"Though I may have fallen into that reverence for life we call love.." Turning his fervent gaze which sparked like embers behind jaded sapphires, he lock their sight and dared not to let go of it, "that does not mean I can't care about you as honestly as I do!"
As the rep stared back at him, taking in every word that was said, he remained silent. It may have made him think twice about things, if he hadn't already given up on this human. The man's pleas were nothing now but empty words.
"You.. want me to merely stay as if nothing happened? Do you wish for me to ignore these feelings toward you? No.. I think you've finally proved what my purpose is among humans. I'm here to merely be used, a mere convenient being who should only provide comfort when asked.… I was wrong in thinking that you'd be any different."
Something ached deep inside the silver haired one's chest. He could only assume that it was a heart ache. How often was it that the rep was merely a tool for others to use and discard when he had served whatever purpose they had for him? Get this job done, I need this, I need that. He shook his head to clear his thoughts.
"You're just like everyone else.. you're no different.. You mentioned your love for him.. so out of mere curiosity I came here. Sat and waited to see if you'd ever bother to come out and look for me. Though I suppose when you're with the one you love, everything else tends to simply disappear, doesn't it?" The more he spoke.. the less gentle his eyes had become.
"Perhaps again I was wrong in thinking that you'd bother to look for me. After all.. it was only that one time you came after to help me. Suppose something had happened, some fight along the way that could've risked my well being. I'm sure that never crossed your mind though."
"Keep whatever payment you had for me. I'm finished here.." That said, he immediately turned away from the man and began to walk away.
The words Johnny had expressed adamantly about himself timelessly were twisted with each of Dynamo's allegations. Just like everyone else. No different. Lair. Deceiver. Manipulative. Selfish. To him speak with such spite behind his tongue was like a bullet to his chest. He nearly staggered as the pain racked through him, and he once more touched his chest to feel his heart beating like a wild thing trying to escape. Taking this man into his home and holding him at his side, he had longed to take his hand and shake it with a bond only comrades could have. Something he, as a man of the world, who was marked as the unlawful, never could know for too long. He supposed it came with the job description.. that friendship with a rogue was a failed one. Yet he longed for change of such a solemn trait. Why couldn't a rogue have comradery just as any other?
Because rogues were branded as untrustworthy...
He loathed that part of the job. To be labeled as something one would turn their nose up at. He though he had changed all that with the kindness he shared with all he encountered. Would he let it end here and prove all those who had no faith in him right?
"Dyna...!" Warm flesh clasped to cold synthetics, feeling the iron rebars that made up his skeleton. He was always so frigid, yet there had been those rare glimpses of warmth in his hearth-like and glowing eyes that made the strenuous effort to see them worth it. Dynamo had been worth every moment he spent with him. Where he had taught him about the wonders of humanity.. Dynamo had taught him a little more about himself as a human. He gave him the hope that even iron skin can hold a gentle soul inside.. Reminded him that immortality can be accomplished in the memories of those they affected. Showed him once more that a strong man fends for himself, but a stronger man fends for others..
"Never would I tell you to hold back any emotion you may have.. No, it's what I've encouraged of you since we met!" There was no denial in his heart that he had felt a fondness for the man not often shared between himself and others. As empathic as he was, Johnny was always cautious in those he kept close to him. Always wary of just who he called his true friend.
Dynamo had not been just some whim. It was Dynamo who had been different for him. Just as Dynamo had seen Johnny was different from other's. "I want you to feel freely as you please! Don't you see it? You're not made to serve anyone.. but it is your rightful choice as your own being to express what you will that makes your existence have meaning! Compassion or no.."
If only he could understand.. how difficult it had been for him to even have admitted to himself that he had loved Axl. The half a decade they had known eachother. Since that fateful day the Brit landed in his time, he had battled with the very notion he could be interested in another. Let alone another who shared the same body as he. There was still so much to tell, but he could already feel the other straining to pull away from his vice-like grip.
Lowering his baritone and touching his brow to the back of his partner's upper arm, he longed for him to understand, "This man.. has only loved so little in the way one loves their own body.."
He paused for only a moment when that human tried to make him stay. He had heard something similar to this speech before. He had listened then, and where did it get him? So this time when the man tried to plea with him, the rep reminded himself they were only empty words.
When the touch of the man's forehead came in contact with his arm.. Dynamo slowly turned his head to look at him. For one brief moment he wanted to smile as someone didn't see him as some loud cocky annoying being. Yet he quickly reminded himself that this human was the same as everyone else who told him broken promises.
His arm moved, and he shoved the pirate away from him. While no one may have trusted a rogue.. as a mercenary he had no time for friendship.
"Whatever you have to say, human.. I suggest you tell your boyfriend." Icy words came from his lips, and his eyes were merely empty. "I'm not listening to you anymore." Once again he made his way to leave.
"N..nan.. Dyna! It isn't--He!" Words that Dynamo settled on emptiness fell upon deaf ears as the door was slammed off it's hinges and Johnny was left within the morbid solitude of his quarters. The last particle of sand twinkled out of site as they fell into the darkness between the cracks in the floorboards. A hand outstretched with nothing to grab as he had been slammed against the nearby wall. He curled his fingertips quivering with sorrow and brought them to his matted skull in an effort to tear out his cherished blonde lochs from the roots, if only to quell the sheering ache in his chest.
It wasn't as he thought. Even if his empathy was shared with the fragile heart of Axl. What did that mean for him? Just as he took the pains from all the world, who would take his own pains from him? There was never a sort who sought to. And perhaps there never would be. For that was the fate of the outlaw. To love.. but never to be….
"He does not.... Love... me..."
The pirate cringed as agony swept through him, intense like the flames of a bonfire, and he felt himself gasping as if those very flames were choking the life out of him. Where there in the emptiness of his quarters he could feel himself losing breath.. and not in just the metaphorical sense. He was choking as his chest tightened like the coils of a boa-constrictor crushing his torso.
He strangled to scream as the gale of emotions that filled him tore apart his infected body like the massive claws of a beast. Nails dug into the flesh he held so tightly, till he realized this was not just some attack of anxiety crumbling his semblance of mind.. His hands became riddled in dark fur as nails pierced through his growing and rippling flesh. Like a disease, veins of deep gray rooted up his arms as the fur ate his flesh as a flesh-eating virus would. His spine snapped and he gasped as it contorted and he fell sprawled on the floor, clawing at it in desperation, drawing up ribbons of wood under his talons.
Kinking and jerking, his spine burst forth in a spurt of blood a row of spikes that stretched over his back. The bandages and thick leather coat popped and shred away like fine paper as his muscular form grew unnaturally, and he found himself on all fours. Row after row of feline teeth cut his gums as his once refined and renowned face forged into the gruesome malformed maw of a bloodthirsty animal. The animal that lusted deep within him, brought to life by his own foolishness of fighting for a cause long lost. He strangled to cry out but found his voice lost in a demonic sound that echoed for miles. The forlorn earth shattering roar of the behemoth has had become..
Covered in hair black as midnight and a main of rich gold, the only part of his gangly form that remained of him that was solely Johnny, was the trademark pony-tail tied; tattered and draping over his hunched shoulders, and those unmistakable eyes; a perfect shade of piecing sapphire.
Horns curved and wildly adorned his skull, and slamming down to smash the floor-boards, an axe-like tail grew forth. Perhaps this was suitable retribution for all the hearts he had unwillingly broken. Turning him into the monster he so secretly was. The monster who had closed his heart off to the world.. and would remain so ever still.
Glass shattered as the wild thing bounded out the grand window that looked out unto the night sky, and disappeared into the shrouding brush.
Far, far behind it's plundering strides as it carved up the foliage beneath it's razor-like claws.. A young girl’s scream of utmost despair could be heard, breaking the tranquility of the night…
((ooc: As a note, Johnny’s transformation was inevitable, despite the Halloween curse. Perhaps the curse is what fed it’s fruition so quickly. Or perhaps it was Johnny’s insatiable urge to secretly find fond feeling for those he holds close to his heart. ))