((Maxwell Lombardi continued from You Already Know How This Ends))
Bitch... Fucking BASTARDS! Should have shot him whilst I had the chance, but NO, I just HAD to make things more challenging didn't I? I just couldn't be satisfied with taking the pragmatic route and get it all over and done with quickly!
After barely getting away from the two small-time killer's whom had each inflicted a grievous injury on him, Maxwell Lombardi found himself leaning against a nearby tree as he attempted to ascertain just how serious his wounds were.
He was fairly sure by now that the gunshot wasn't fatal. Crippling, perhaps, but not enough to kill him. Not that it made him feel any better, seeing as he was now in a state of absolute agony, made all the worse by the fact that half his face now had a horrific disfiguring scar going down it. One which made the scar on his left cheek look like a scratch by comparison. It too added to the sheer amount of pain he was under, his blood pouring freely down the side of his face and from the hole in his back.
Worst of all, whilst the wound on his face was far from fatal, it had also taken something from him which couldn't be replaced... His right eye. That in particular was something that enraged him more than anything else at that particular moment in time, that barely moments after getting shot in the back did some other bastard rob him of one of his own eyes. Every other injury he had received could be easily fixed with some good surgeons and a lot of money. Heck, after all the scars he'd received he was already considering the idea of getting plastic surgery anyway once he got back home, then go live in anonymity for the rest of his life in some holiday home in Majorca. The eye though was something that could never be replaced, not in his lifetime anyway. He was doomed to remain half-blind for the rest of his life, constantly reminded of that one fateful fuck-up to end all fuck-ups.
God DAMNIT! How could I have been so STUPID! Next time, I should shoot the daft cunt whilst I have the chance! No pissing about, just aim and pull the trigger. That way, we can avoid making stupid fucking mistakes like the one I made just moments ago... Why, god damnit, WHY!?!
It was times like this that Maxwell wished he could just reverse time, set the clock back to the point where he had just made mistake #1 and make sure that he didn't screw up this time around. He was already beginning to miss being able to look out of both his eyes, something which he knew for a fact was going to torment him for the rest of his life. What was stupid mistake #1 anyway? Was it the moment when he fell for that stupid trick with the flashbang grenade, causing him to lose both his equipment AND his dignity? Or was it the time when that French harlot Alice Boucher grazed his arm, or one of the many times he let that dyke Reiko Ishida get away by the skin of her teeth? Hell, a part of him was tempted to say that his mistake #1 was that moment by the beach when he first decided to play this blasted game in the first place.
No, on second thoughts, mistake #1 was agreeing to go on this bloody trip in the first place.
Why DID he agree to come along anyway? After all, during his brief tenure at Bayview he barely made any effort to know anyone. Why should he? It wasn't as if he was going to be staying that long. Heck, he ended up learning more about his classmates during his stay on the island then he did back at that godawful excuse for a school. In that case, why in god's name did he decide to tag along anyway?
...Oh, that's right. His parents wanted him out of their hair for a while, didn't they? Wanted to have the house all to themselves whilst he was off on some dull school trip. THAT'S why he ended up in this hellhole, killing god knows how many people and receiving several disfiguring injuries in the process. All because his parents wanted to get rid of him for a while.
God, if only he could have seen their faces the moment they realised that their actions turned their son into bloody killer.
C'mon Maxwell, its not all bad... Sure, you've lost an eye, but at least you're still alive right? And in the end, that's what matters, isn't it? Those two bastards you left back there aren't going to survive, YOU are. YOU'RE the lucky son of a bitch who's going to win this thing, aren't you? Not Alice, or Reiko, or anyone else on this fucking island! YOU are the winner! YOU are the victor! You're the only one here who has the right to go home, nobody else! And by god, I'm not going to rest now until every single bastard on this entire island lies dead at my....
Maxwell looked down at the metal object that fell a metre or so from where he stood.
His eyes widened in shock.
No way... No FUCKING way.....
It was a flashbang grenade.
He barely managed to block his eyes before the bomb went of, deafening the young killer with an impossibly loud bang. Barely moments later, he felt a large thump against his body as some unseen figure tackled him, sending him and the figure soaring over the edge and tumbling over each other down the the side of the mountain until they both landed onto a small plateau, surrounded on all sides by a sudden drop which would almost certainly spell certain death for anyone who was careless enough to fall off.
Ignoring the tremendous amount of pain he was in, Maxwell kicked the figure away from him as he rolled onto his side, groggily getting back onto his feet as he prepared himself to face his restless opponent.
There was fire in Maxwell's eyes as they locked into his enemy's, the two killers staring one another down as they stood up and prepared themselves for what they both knew would be their final conflict. No more bullshit, no more running off or letting the other get away with a savage beating. This time, both of them would make damn sure that the other was dead this time, even if they had to go to the most extreme lengths to make sure that this was the case.
An evil grin grew on Maxwell's lips, his teeth stained red from his bloody injuries. He clenched his fists, and cricked his neck as he readied himself for the vicious fight that was about to ensure.
"Well, guess I'm not the only guy on this island who's hard to kill..." he said with cruel smirk, shortly before he rushed forward at lightning speed, his fist readied to deliver a thunderous punch to his tenacious opponent.
(Naoko Raidon returning from Original Sin)
Take this. End him
The world was less its own reality and more a blurry mess of sickeningly bright lights swimming together without distinction. What he became aware of, before the outside world, was his body--the aching knot of his chest, his battered arms, his burning hands, his throbbing head. His legs, perhaps the least damaged part of him, felt odd, suspended in exhilarated peril.
It took him two minutes to figure out why. To figure out this his legs were dangliing into empty space.
As the world began to reform into solid shapes and the memory that had consumed him was left behind, Raidon cautiously attempted to lift his head. A wave of agonizing nausea swept out from the back of his skull; clenching his teeth, Raidon lowered his head.
With a grimace, Raidon lifted his head and pulled his feet in. As nausea consumed him again, he drew his legs into his chest and swallowed, trying to restrain the rising bile. He was, he now saw, on a thin ledge tucked beneath the sheer precipice he'd fallen down; looking up, Raiond saw that the cliff sloped very gently inward. From up there, it appeared to be a straight vertical fall; from down below, Raidon could observe this gentle curve.
He looked down at his fingers. At the nails that had been torn free. By dragging himself along the wall, he'd been caught by this little ledge about eight feet down. His chest hurt like hell (from the impact, he assumed) and his head ached from the flailing blow against the cliffs.
But he remembered now. The full weight of what had happened all those years ago.
In a daze Raidon got to his feet, fighting the dizzying smog that seemed to have suffused his sesnes; he crept along the side of the mountain, feeling every ache in his body (chest, arms, legs, head, fingers--only his back, in the places Soryu had massaged, was at all comfortable). And as he walked, he remembered.
I could have shot him.
The tattooed hitman who'd come for his father. The gun in his hands. He could have saved his father; at the very least, he could have taken the gun and run.
But he'd stood there, and let the gun slip from his fingers. And now, in a fight with the man who'd killed Simon Grey, he understood the larger picture.
"My inaction," he whipsered. "I made him go because I didn't want him to...because I was so ashamed." On cue another wave of nausea consumed him. This one he couldn't fight; he turned to the crumbling stone edge a few inches from him and threw up.
Inaction was as much a crime as action--perhaps more so. At least those who acted had the stomach to accept their sins and own them. The same indecision that left Raidon so disgusted with Julian Avery lurked in him, as well--he'd parted ways with Simon, not to protect him, but so that he wouldn't have to protect him.
He was off the crumbling edge and back on a more proper path now. Instinctively he made his way lower down the mountain, stumbling. The blood from his reopened wound had dried on his shirt, and his every movement felt stiff on his left side. Everything hurt--even his mind. He no longer had righteous fury, he no longer had the comforting illusion of his blank memory. He had only the reality of what he was and what he'd done.
And then he had the reality of Maxwell Lombardi standing about twenty feet away, in profile against a tree.
He could see the right side of Lombardi's face, slick with blood. As far as he could tell, the other boy hadn't seen him yet; if Raidon wanted, there was perhaps time to creep away, find some place to hid himself while he gathered his thoughts. Twice now he'd faced Maxwell--the first time had been only a narrow victory, while the second had nearly ended in his death. He had the knife he'd taken from Roland, but Maxwell had managed to disarm him before; he had the flashbangs, but he had only four remaining; he had Alice's gun, but it only had one bullet. If he missed...
Best to retreat. Lombardi looked in poor shape as it was, he probably couldn't-
[You're running away again.
No. No, I'm just recognizing a strategic reality. He's killed more because he's stronger than I am, and I'm weaker than normal--left side hurts, I've probably got a concussion.
Running away. Leaving it to someone else. Afraid to make your own choices.
Admit it. Deep down you're just like him; the only difference is he's got the balls to admit what he is.
Quietly, carefully, Raidon reached for his bag, found one of the flashbangs. He waited, made absolutely sure that Maxwell hadn't seen him, and then...
He shut his eyes against the flash as he rushed forwards, knife already in hand. Lombardi must have seen him coming in part, because he was unable to sink it into Maxwell's flesh; a hand found his wrist, held it steady. Instead the two went skidding down an incline, tumbling end over end. A swift kick collided with Raidon's wrist, sent his dagger clattering away. He rushed to his feet, struggling to keep the vomit down.
He stared at Maxwell's bloody, battered from. Wondered if he looked that bad.
"Well, guess I'm not the only guy on this island who's hard to kill..." Maxwell said, smirking, and then rushed forward.
Well, rushed was a bit of a stretch.
He punched; Raidon stepped back and let it pass harmlessly in front of him. Lombardi's eyes flashed and he struck again; Raidon stepped to one side. Maxwell's eyes turned murderous and he moved forwards with another punch; Raidon simply ducked and then delivered a punch with his right hand.
And as soon as he'd done it, Raidon understood.
The Maxwell Lombardi he had faced two days ago had been relatively unharmed, confident in himself. He did not appear to have come off the worse in any fight he'd been in--just that one injury. Raidon, never strong at the best of times, had been wounded twice and forced to great heights of physical exertion; when he'd fought Maxwell, he'd been tired and weak.
The situation on Raidon's end hadn't changed much--he had a concussion now and his wound was recently reopened. But Maxwell Lombardi looked thoroughly beat to shit, and he had clearly underestimated just how much of his edge he had lost.
That's not to say Lombardi didn't fight--only that he could not for the life of him gain the upper hand. He swung, kicked, tackled; occasionally his blows collided with Raidon and the weaker boy would stagger backwards, coughing and fighting dizziness. But Maxwell's injuries were fresher, and he'd clearly lost a considerable amount of blood; his movements, which hand't been particularly strong to begin with, got progressively more and more sluggish.
And Raidon, trying desperately to avoid any thought of his recent realization, became more and more invested in the fight.
He swung another blow with his aching fist and caught Lombardi on the chin; the Brit stumbled backwards, coughing. His eyes flickered to one side and he began to scramble to one side of the little plateau they'd ended up in; Raidon's eyes followed, and he saw the Glock he hadn't noticed Lombardi holding during his earlier attack. He followed at once; his legs, uninjured and fresher than Maxwell's, allowed him to overtake Lombardi, and he lashed out and caught him around the ankles. Lombardi tumbled to the ground, still crawling towards the gun; as Raidon rained blows upon him, he first stopped crawling and then stopped struggling altogether, huddling up into a ball.
This time, there was no Soryu and no Avery. This time, there was just Raidon and Simon Grey's killer, and he had no reason to hold back.
He stopped only when he had to; when his breath came in screams and his head ached from the effort of moving so much. He didn't let himself stand still; he turned slightly, took the last two steps to Maxwell's gun, and lifted it into his hands.
Thought of the first gun he'd held. Thought of it clattering to the floor. This time there was no one to do the dirty work for him; this time, he had to take care of his own monsters.
He turned back to Maxwell and aimed the gun.