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Disclaimer:  Johnny and Sonya aren’t mine. (SOB!)  But all the other characters are.  Doesn’t that make me special?

 

 

“You’re lucky, the bullet just grazed you.”  Sonya dabbed at his shoulder wound with a damp cloth after she finished treating his leg.  When finished cleaning it, she bandaged it up. 

Johnny said nothing.  He winced occasionally, but kept his mouth shut.  Straight ahead, into the picture on the far wall, his eyes remained.  Even when his friend finished treating his wounds, and merely stared at him, he said nothing.

“Are you going to talk to me?” 

“Will you listen?”

Sonya moved away a bit.  “Yes.”

“Go away.”

“Except to that.”  She rose off the bed and walked into the bathroom to rinse out the blood stained cloth to the best of her abilities.  “But I will listen to you tell me what’s been going on the past week,” she called from the bathroom.

Johnny returned to his stoic state. 

Sonya walked out of the bathroom and stared at him.  He wasn’t going to talk with her, and she could feel her temper rising again.  But Johnny was used to that, was used to her snapping and yelling at him.  Perhaps if she tried a different approach…

Expressionless and relaxed, Sonya climbed onto the bed and placed herself over him on her hands and knees.  She moved her head so her eyes met with his, and she held his gaze intensely.  Slowly, she leaned closer and pressed her lips to his.  He didn’t respond.  She moved away slightly to see his reaction.  It was passive, indifferent, and his eyes never left her face.  That wouldn’t do at all.  Again, she leaned into him to kiss his lips tenderly.  With growing boldness, she deepened the kiss, breaking through his resistance to fully explore his mouth.  Her body lowered to his and her hands pressed to his chest, fluttered up carefully around his shoulders and laced through his hair.

Johnny harshly pulled away from her.  His hands seized hers and he held her gaze with cold, piercing eyes.  But there was doubt in those eyes, and something else that Sonya couldn’t place.  “You have to leave here.  You’re in danger being with me.”

“I’m always in danger, no matter who I’m with.  It’s part of my job.”

“They know who you are.  They’ll come after you.”

“Who will?”

Johnny moved her off him and sat on the edge of the bed. “Vince saw you.  He’ll tell the others, and they’ll be looking for you.  You’ll be hurt.”

“You’re the only person who’s hurt me so far.”

“And I’ll do it again in a heartbeat,” Johnny countered instantly.  “Anything to get you away.”

“Why are you doing this?” Sonya asked as she leaned around the bed to sit next to him.  “Why won’t you let me help?”

His gaze was on the floor as he answered.  “Because this doesn’t concern you.  If it did, I wouldn’t have broken up with you, would I?” he sneered. 

Blade could tell he was trying to sting her with his words, but she couldn’t allow her hurt to show through.  So she retaliated with the only things she believed would get to him.  “You were in a gang?”

Johnny’s eyes looked up from the floor, and slowly he turned to face her.

“You know the streets so well, and the way you handled the gun…” She took his hand in hers.  “And that man, he made a reference to Cocaine… he asked if you missed it…” She left the thought hanging.  “I just put it together.”

“Sonya--” his hand pulled away from hers.

“Don’t.  Whatever happened is over and done with.  That’s not who you are anymore.”  Her voice dropped a little lower.  “I want to help the wonderful man you’ve become, Johnny.”  She cupped his face and stroked his cheek.  “But that means you have to tell me what’s happened that has brought all this back.”

The actor flinched away from her touch.  “I don’t know,” Johnny replied bitterly, his eyes glaring into hers, “if I can do that.”  

‘My God,’ she thought to herself after staring deeply into his eyes.  ‘He’s terrified.’

A growl interrupted her intended comment.  The two blinked at each other, and then Sonya began chuckling.  “Hungry, John?”

His gaze returned to the floor.

“All right.”  She rose to her feet.  “I’ll get us some dinner from the café, and a bowl of ice, too.”  A finger delicately traced his shoulder.  “In case things start to swell.”  She was hoping to get a smile out of him, but he was unreceptive.  Her hand seized his chin and lifted his eyes to hers, all teasing gone.  “You have a choice.  Tell me what’s going on and let me help you, or continue playing the half-ass arrogant bastard and I’ll keep following you around until one of us gets killed.”  With that, she left the room.

Johnny watched her leave.  ‘Tell me what’s going on…’

The light fixture swayed… laughing…

Cage shook his head violently.  “No,” he whispered.  “No, I can’t.”  He stood and walked to the windows.  Few people were on the streets, and not many cars drove past.  The city was sleeping. 

Plip.  Plip, plip, plop. 

Pinging gently against the pane, the rain made small rivulets of water cascade across the glass, blurring the blacks, blues, and grays of the city into a dark watercolor.

Pounding.  “Room service!”

Johnny turned.  He waited until the cry came again, muffled through the door.  The actor pulled out his gun and walked toward the door.  “I didn’t order room service,” he replied evenly.

“I have a drink that was ordered by the lady downstairs.”

Johnny frowned.  “Which lady?” he asked, suspicious.

“Said her name was Sonya.”

The actor smiled, tucked his gun behind him, and checked the peephole.  The bellhop was unfamiliar, so he unlocked the door.  On a platter before him was a dry martini, olive included. 

“Thanks,” Johnny said as he took it.  “How much?”

“The lady took it downstairs,” the bellhop said with a smile.  “Enjoy.”  He turned and walked away down the hall.

‘Odd, he didn’t wait for a tip.’  The actor watched the boy walk away, shrugged, sipped his free drink, and shut the door.

Had he stayed a few moments longer, Cage would have noticed the bellhop stop at the closet to converse with the man with a bloody bandage around his hand.

 

 

“A freakin’ hour for two meals!  Unbelievable!” Sonya complained to herself as she leaned against the wall of the elevator.  She hoped Johnny didn’t bolt while she was out.  There was too much explaining to do.

A sharp ding disrupted her thoughts, followed by a soft rumble when the doors opened to the 11th floor.  Before stepping into the hallway, Sonya sensed something wrong.  The air didn’t flow right.  She dropped the bag of food.  Her gun was pulled instantly and her stance became defensive.  Carefully, she moved down the hallway.  About seventeen paces down, she noticed a door ajar.  She shifted her weight and pressed her back against the wall.  Three counts passed and she kicked the door all the way open.

On the floor, the bellhop groaned softly.

“Shit,” Sonya muttered.  The closet being empty and no threat evident, Sonya kneeled next to the roused victim, helping him to sit up while surveying the scene.

“I don’t know what happened,” the young boy moaned to her inquiries.  “I was taking a drink to one of the guests, and then I was knocked down from behind.  Then you’re here.”

Sonya tried to figure why anyone would hit the bellhop.  “Are you missing anything?”

The bellhop searched his person, and cursed loudly.  “My wallet.  Goddamn it, they took my wallet!”  He added another moan of pain for sympathy.

Sonya sighed.  ‘Hit and run theft.  Joy.’  “Go down to the main desk or your supervisor, ask them to see the cameras for this floor, perhaps they’ll see who did it.  And get an ice pack for your neck.”  She stood, grabbed the food, and left him to deal with his unfortunate luck. 

Besides, she had her own problems to deal with.  Starting with questions.  Then answers.  Then explanations.  Then a lot of drinks.  And apologies.  She continued down the hall to Johnny’s room, the stiffness never leaving her shoulders. 

Her sharp hearing detected a moan.  Sonya paused before rolling her eyes.  Damn bellhop.  She froze.  A muffled wail?  Or a scream…  Sonya looked down the hall.  The bellhop was gone.  So… Something crashed inside Johnny’s room.  Sonya didn’t bother with oral exclamations.  Food thrown to the side, gun out, she kicked the door in and rushed into the frenzy.

That did not exist.  The room was calm and empty, except for a stain of liquid creeping down the far wall, and a trembling figure praying beside the bed.  Only he wasn’t praying.  He looked more like he was defending himself from an enemy that was already inside of him, and he couldn’t escape.   

            “Johnny!”  In a moment she was at his side, gripping his arms and trying to get him to look at her, but he pushed her away, stumbled into the wall, kept flailing his arms like he was drowning.

 

 

The pictures kept flashing through his mind.  Her voice rang in his ears, and Johnny leaned against the wall as he became dizzy with the memories.  Somewhere, far away, Sonya’s voice drifted to him, comforting him, but he pushed her away.

“Please don’t do this…”  She was so scared… he inhaled sharply, and his stomach turned at the scent of blood.  The sheets were covered in them, the pillows too, where her wrists were rubbed so raw they split open.  In shreds were her clothes, and then she was there, not crying, not moving, not breathing…

“Johnny.  Johnny!”  Sonya tried to slap him, tried to faze him from his constant habit of drifting from reality, but he managed to keep from her.  And then suddenly, Johnny cried out and gripped at his head, like something was hitting him, knocking him down.

“Please, please, PLEASE GO AWAY!”

Sonya didn’t move.  She wasn’t sure if he was talking to her or to the demons he was fighting inside himself, but she stayed firmly where she was with no intention of leaving.  Again, she tried to reach him.

“Johnny, come back, Johnny, snap out of it!”  She cried out as he grabbed her upper arms and squeezed them.  Her eyes drifted to his face and she fell still.  He was staring at her, his eyes wide and wild.  He was panting lightly, each breath caressing her chin.  In a way, Sonya almost felt a pang of desire for him, for his closeness and his beauty that was trapped in a mask of terror.  And then he spoke to her.

“I can’t, Sonya, I can’t forget.  No matt-I tried, I tried so hard, but it keeps coming back.”

“What does?” she asked softly.

            Suddenly he let go of her arms and he pressed himself against the wall.  Whimpering slightly, he sank to the floor, and he closed himself up.  His knees met his chest, his arms locked around his legs, and his head rested against the wall.

“Christine,” he whispered, with a tenderness that made her heart ache.  Slowly Sonya knelt before him.

“Christine.  Such a beautiful name,” she whispered back.  “Who is she?”

For a long while, Johnny didn’t say anything.  Sonya opened her mouth to speak again, when he swallowed.  His legs stretched out in front of him, his shoulders fell as if in defeat, and his hands moved to cover his face.  When he answered, his voice was nothing but a whisper, haggard and broken.

“The girl I raped.”