What's the most important thing in the world?
Without family, you are nothing.
Family doesn't mean blood relation.
Family can mean the people who care about you. The people who hold only unconditional love for you.
Citra cares about Vaas.
Their love is pure and beautiful. Beyond this simple universe they're trapped in. Nothing can compare.
Not even Jason's love for his little brother. Riley... Riley, Riley, Riley. It's tragic in a way, how hope is still reflected in those blue eyes. Right now, he's glaring at her, silent defiance, a thin veil covering the anger underneath his skin. The boy's in chains, stripped naked with the other prisoners in the middle of the Rakyat's celebration. Citra stares back, the tips of her lips curling. He's changed a lot since the last time she's seen him.
No longer the weak and pathetic boy down in the darkness. No now he's starting to look like his older brother. The island is finally taking a toll on him.
"I don't like the way he is looking at you." Dennis seethed from his seat beside her, his fingers wrapped around a goblet of wine. "How dare he look at you that way! He is not dead yet because of you, and this is his appreciation? He should be bowing before you!"
"Relax Dennis." Citra spoke, refraining herself from rolling her eyes. The idea of Riley bowing down in gratitude, subjecting himself to her, didn't spark any interest. It wasn't what she wanted, far from it actually. Keeping Riley around was just.. amusing to her. He was still so innocent, nothing compared to Jason. So young... to her he was a boy, not a man. Just a boy.
"How is your leg?" She heard Dennis ask, and she glanced at the leg in question. It was her left leg, the calf wrapped in bandages. Back at the airport, either due to adrenaline or something else, she had been shot clean through, leaving a small circular hole. The pain came to her on the boat ride back to the Northern Island. She's been shot before, the scar on her thigh permanent proof of it, but this time around the pain was more bearable. She isn't a healer, but she's sure that people don't get used to bullet wounds, especially the second time.
To everyone's surprise, she could still walk, maybe with a small limp but it was still a steady walk, something considered impossible after a severe injury.
"It's fine." She said in a bored tone. He's been fussing over it ever since he has noticed it, same goes for the baby.
"I can't believe you killed him." Dennis took a sip from his cup, a frown on his weathered face. "I didn't think you would."
"And what makes you think that?"
Dennis saw the look on her face, and he shrugged, busying his mouth with drinking. "Nothing.. nothing.. How is your stomach?"
"Fine." She hissed defensively. Why did she bother telling him anyways? Oh, yes she didn't. If her memory served correct, she remembered that Dennis disturbed her examination with the witch doctor. This was the day after the purge of the Southern Island, and waking up in the morning she was greeted to discomfort in her stomach. Immediately fearing the worst, she called for the witch. By then the discomfort had turned into a dull, almost rhythmic, pulsing pain.
Using his mysterious ways, he told her the child was fine and healthy but she didn't believe him. How could she? No words can out rule the truth she was feeling, and when she described what she was exactly feeling Dennis walked in. He told her he heard she had sent for the witch doctor, and at an early hour he was worried and went to check up on her. Now the man can't stop asking about the baby, fretting with a distressed look on his face when she catches him looking at her stomach.
It hurt. But it wasn't killing her.
She squinted at him, but didn't press on. He can hold his thoughts to his own, she certainly wasn't interested. What's done is done, and it was done for the better. Yalung promised much, maybe there was honesty in her words, but Citra didn't care. She's had enough of outsiders. They all wanted to control them, supress the true potential of the Rakyat. This is their island, their home. Their ancestors carved the very land they stand upon and she wasn't going to give it all away to an outsider.
Not when she has come this far.
It's been years but finally, gazing down at her people, she sees a culture that has struggled to stay alive rejuvenate and become the strength, and glory of what the Rakyat should be. What they were before Hoyt. She has restored the Rakyat to its former glory, just like in old times! And in old times, the Rakyat devour their enemies.
She stood from her throne, her people falling silent as they gazed up at her in wonder.
"Bring me the Colonel." She bellowed, pointing with a knife to the group of prisoners. Colonel Len resisted when he was brought up to her and laid on a stone table, presented more like a pig prepped for gutting than an offering. Citra raised her arms to the sky.
"We have been starved, beaten, and killed. They took our soil, our land to grow their evil crops while our children's bellies sink and cry for their mother's milk." She bellowed, sweeping her eyes over the crowd. They were all fixated on her, listening, agreeing. "We will never forget what they have done to us! The Rakyat is strong! We are strong and we have persevered! Our hunger is over brothers, sisters! Now we feast!"
Colonel Len was spewing something in a foreign language, and gaped in horror at the sight of Citra raising the knife above her head. Using momentum, the blade drove deep into the outsider's pudgy belly. She dragged it across, having to tug it through when it got caught in places. By the time she finished, Colonel Len was barely alive, his eyes rolling to the back of his head as he slipped in and out of consciousness.
Grinning in anticipation, she shoved her hands inside the long cut and pulled out slick, meaty organs.
Oh the sight of it sent a thrill up her spine and gods the smell.. She breathed in deeply, her mouth watering. The aching pain in her stomach grew to such an intensity that if she didn't get a taste of flesh right this instant she would certainly die.
Feed. Eat. Devour. Hunger hunger hunger eateateat
Something deep inside her awakened, like a beast rousing from deep hibernation. This, this was something new, and exciting. She couldn't wait a second longer, and shoved her face into slippery, squishy meat. Ripping, tearing, chewing- This feeling.. it was indescribable, but if she had to describe it, it would be euphoria, and she only felt like that when she's around Vaas.
It was so great, she couldn't get enough. Gods it felt like she hasn't eaten in days, year! And the best part, the best part was that she could sense her prey was still alive. Barely, but his heart still beat, no matter how weak, and that.. that made it all the more satisfying.
Finally, the ache in her stomach was silenced.
She straightened back up, swallowing something round and chewy, her eyes lidded in elation. With her tongue she licked at the blood smeared all over the lower half of her face, breathing heavily.
Oh.. Riley.. Riley.. now there is that fear in his eyes. He looked at her like she was some kind of monster, his face pale and he really did look like he was going to be sick. She smiled at him, showing off her blood stained teeth.
"Take him back to the dungeons." She ordered the guards.
Citra didn't bother to clean up. She wanted Riley to see her this way. She wanted a closer look at those fearful eyes.
Down in the dank dungeon, she sent all guards away. Grabbing a torch hanging off the wall, she unlocked the cell and entered. He was there, curled up in a corner with his head down and his knees tucked to his chest, wearing only a ripped pair of shorts. The sound of the cell door opening made him look up, and when he caught sight of her he scrambled up, settling into an alarmed stance.
"Get away from me!" He growled. He tried to sound confident, but she could hear the panic in his voice, see the fear in his eyes. Smell it, really.
Her response was a small smile and the tilting of her head.
"My little bird." She whispered, taking a step forward which sent him skidding backwards, bumping into the wall.
"I'm not your fucking bird!" He shouted, his flickering to her and the wall behind him. No escape. He's trapped. His fault.
She was on him in a flash, and there was a brief struggle which resulted in Riley falling on the floor, Citra holding him down with her hand pressed down on his neck, the torch rolling away, illuminating their struggling forms. He's not so weak like last time. Riley squirmed underneath her hold, going into a panic-state.
"No! Let me go! Don't touch me!" He choked, his eyes bulging, slapping at her arms.
Citra hummed, and there was this hysteric, uncontrollable feeling spreading through her body. Restless, she was so restless but a hundred times more than that. Riley cried out when with her other hand, dug her nails into where his heart was. She stopped when beads of blood erupted like small raindrops. Gods she didn't want to stop, wanted to dig her fingers all the way in, wrap them around his beating heart and tear it out. Holding in her laughter, her body swayed back and forth, restless- need to do something.
"You went to them." She breathed, caressing his cheek with a trembling hand, leaving trails of blood. "You betrayed us!" How could he! She gave him freedom and he runs straight to the rebels! Fights for them now!
"You're fucking crazy!" He spat, lips pulled back like a tiger, though lacking the fearsome passion of the beast. "Where's Jason! What did you do to him!? God fuck if you did something to him I will KILL YOU!"
His incessant threats were silenced with a back-handed slap, so harsh that it whipped his head to the side, his temple knocking against the dirty ground, resulting in small, bleeding cuts. Her vision zoomed in on the blood, a dark red that was so mesmerizing against pale skin. She coated two fingers with his blood and licked them, tasting so much more than its metallic flavor.
Green eyes flashed under lidded eyelids, a dark kind of excitement. Riley lay frozen, unable to tear his eyes away. Did he fear her now? He should because she wanted more. More, more, more until there is nothing left of him. Instead of cracking his jaw open and tearing out his tongue, Citra ran her tongue across her teeth and smiled at him, "You look prettier bleeding."
"Fuck you." He breathed out shakily, and she wondered how much courage he had to scrape up to spit those words out. Funny, he's at her mercy and yet he acts like she could kill him at any moment. Right here, right now somewhere in a filthy dungeon underground in darkness with no witnesses, nobody to see or remember him. He would die alone, and no one would even care. Maybe Jason would if his skull was not stripped and cleaned and used as a trophy. And maybe the boy's parents in America will wonder what truly happened to their sons.
"They ran off to play warrior in the jungle." She thought.
"Jason is not your warrior. He NEVER was." Riley said, as if he heard her thoughts. Shrill panic mixed with paranoia clouded her mind, and she thought, truly thought for a moment, he could read her mind, burrow into her skull and listen in. But no.. no, no she- she said it out loud. No worries, no worries, no need to kill him. "You're tricking him.. you-" He licked his chapped lips, his eyes growing wet, "You don't even care. You're just- you're just using him."
"Using him? No." She said, "It wasn't me who killed your friends. It was Jason. Your brother wanted to. I did nothing. It was his own hand that ripped your friends souls from their bodies and he loved it."
Did she just enjoy watching him squirm.
"I don't believe you. Jason is a good person." It came out as a whisper, small, surprisingly defiant. A fact? From what truth? Who is he trying to convince? "I know him. I know my own brother!"
Citra stared intently at his young face. Did he really think, he knew Jason? Understood his brother like no one else could? What a hopeless fool. There is no secret, mystical connection between siblings. There is just blood and unrequited limerence. She should know! SHE'S BEEN TRYING FOR OVER A DECADE!
Something horrible, and dark swirled around in her mind, and it was beautiful.
"Do you love Jason?"
Riley looked like he just witnessed cannibalism. "You're sick."
She tried not to hit him. Breaking him so early is not fun. But he's so much better dead. He flinched when she brushed her lips against his earlobe, whispering, "Do you want to see him again?"
Internal conflict reflected in his eyes, but it was up to him whether to believe she was telling the truth or not. Citra waited patiently, and when he nodded his head she couldn't help but smile and get up. Riley sat up immediately, scooting away from her.
"Then you have to do one thing. One thing and you can see Jason." She said, rubbing the side of her head because Jason was trying to get in again. Bothersome American.
Riley didn't trust her, she could see that obviously, but she knew he would do whatever to see his brother. To talk to him again.. to hug him and say please please please don't leave me I need you why did you leave me.
"What is it." Riley put up a brave front, but his body shook in fear, betraying him.
Her face was devoid of emotions, a blank canvas.
"I want you to touch yourself." It was a direct order, and to her she could be saying kill yourself and there would be no meaning behind it. No care, just emptiness. Riley didn't know what to do with himself, and stood there frozen, his expression one of disgust, absolute revulsion.
"No." He whispered.
Citra blinked and walked to the cell door.
"Wait! Wait!" She stopped and turned around. The boy looked frightened, desperate, his hand raised as if it would magically compel her to stop. He licked his chapped lips, his eyes flickering around the room. "Ok.. Ok.. if I do this, you will get Jason?"
Citra didn't answer him. Instead she strolled up to him and shoved him down onto his knees. She withdrew like smoke into the darkness. Riley swallowed and started muttering comforting words to himself. With one trembling hand, it disappeared under raggedy shorts.
"Fuck shit.." He grit his teeth and squeezed his eyes closed, trying to block watching eyes out. No, no, no Riley didn't get the privilege to block her out. He didn't get to escape while the rest of them were still here.
"Look at what you've done." She uttered, circling him slowly. "Little bird... How will Jason feel when he finds out you betrayed him?" Citra never cared for torture, not really. Vaas was the one who liked tormenting the little animals. She was just content with watching.
"Shut up! I can't fucking- just, just fucking shut up!" He snapped, his face screwed up in intense concentration, cheeks flushed with shame and embarrassment.
Citra ignored him, "But that's okay. Because he forgives you. Jason forgives you because he loves you. You are his brother, his little brother and he would do anything for you. He loves you Riley."
"Jason.." Riley looks like he wants to cry, and he does. "Grant.. mom, dad.. I- I want to go home. Please... please just let us go home. Please.."
Plead. Beg. Submit. Why was he so sad? She just didn't understand. So.. lucky. Riley was so lucky. His brother loved him.
"He needs you. He wants you Riley." She moaned.
Riley's eyes snapped open and he removed his hand from his shorts in a flash. "Stop it! WHY? Why are you doing this?! What have I ever done to you?!"
She emerged from behind him, grabbing a fistful of hair and yanking his head back making him yelp. "You exist. Do I need any other reason?" She released his head non to gently and continued her prowling, flexing her fingers in want to grab his head again and rip out his throat.
"No.. that can't be it. People don't just hate someone to hate. You- you can't hate me. You can't do this. Please." Riley sniffled, his shoulders sagging in defeat. "Please.. just let us go. I just- I just want to go home. Why did we come to this fucking island? Why did this happen to us? Why? Why us?" He slapped his fists against the side of his head, burrowing his face into his palms letting out a sob. "This is a fucking nightmare."
"No this is real." She hissed, "Outside is the dream world but here, right now, you are awake. This is life."
"This is not my life!" He cried, "Life is home and my parents and Jason and- and Grant and- and-" He couldn't finish his sentence, dissolving into a helpless mess. It seemed like all the boy could do was cry. Jason never cried, not that she remembered... Were those wet eyes staring up at her when she stabbed him in the chest considered crying? It didn't jog any sympathy from her, so it must be fake. "Just let us go.. please just let us go."
"WHY DO YOU STILL LOVE HIM?" She exploded in angry fire hot rage, kicking his back which sent him spiraling onto the ground. "He left you! HE LEFT YOU! He chose someone else over you! He NEVER cared about you! It was all LIES!"
ALL LIES! ALL LIES! EMPTY PROMISES AND FALSE HOPE!
Riley weakly picked himself up off the floor, nursing the spot where her foot connected with his back. "Because he's my brother.. and despite everything.. we're family. He's all I have left."
Her chest tightened, and to her shock her eyes started to burn. Not because of his words, but because, she realized, it was exactly what she would say. And she hated that. Thinking it in her head was one thing, but hearing it said out loud was another. It made her see what hopeless fools they both were. Still are. "Everyone leaves. No one ever stays." She said bitterly, swooping up the torch and exiting the cell.
"WAIT! WAAAIT! NO NO DON'T- I CAN'T STAY HERE!" His screams tore from his throat like a mad man. It was a dramatic switch from his previously quiet attitude. He had launched himself against the bars, an arm reaching out for her. "No don't leave me in the darkness! Not again, please, please come back! I can't be in the dark again! I need to see the light! PLEASE! I CAN'T STAY HERE! PLEASE!"
"Don't worry bird." She called over her shoulder, "You will see the light very soon."
He didn't stop his mad yelling, following her up the stairs. Stepping out into the hallway, she was taken by surprise when Dennis appeared. He jumped back, looking startled.
"Citra I thought you already-"
"What are you doing here?" She snapped.
He lowered his head and stepped aside, revealing a line of chained prisoners, two guards standing in the back. "I was just bringing them to the dungeon. For the games."
She glanced at the prisoners, "Why are you bringing them? That is a servant's duty?"
His thick eyebrows shot up and he blinked rapidly, "Ah, yes but I thought it would be better if I did it myself.."
"I see." She muttered, squinting at him suspiciously but it was soon disregarded. She wanted to crawl back to Vaas, like she always does and if Dennis wanted to haul around prisoners then he can. Without a word she left, picking up the audible sigh of relief coming from Dennis.. even though she was already around the corner.
Citra woke up to a feeling of intense pain coming from her stomach. Scrambling out of the sheets, she barely had time to dump fruits out of a bowl before throwing up chunky blood into it. Her body was shaking uncontrollably, and the inside of her mouth had that gross acidic taste. Screwing her eyes shut, she hugged her stomach, breathing deeply through her nose to calm herself down.
"Jason Jr. being a lil' puta? Doesn't like human for breakfast huh?" Vaas' amused voice said from his place on the bed, looking the least bit concern for his sister's health. She didn't answer him, not because she was ignoring him but because she couldn't. All her focus was put into somehow suppressing the extreme distress her stomach was in. Gods it felt like it was moving in their, or- or something was scrambling her organs. The sickest part was when she glanced at the pool of red vomit, she felt the urge to eat it.
"Nnngh.." She groaned, tearing her eyes away. Is this what pregnancy felt like all the time?
Vaas tsked, "Don't be such a pussy. You brought this shit upon yourself when you let Snow White put his fucking- when you two fuckers had unprotected sex. Shit I sound like Father Maliya now. Heh, should've told the geezer I fucked a boy without a condom. I can imagine the look on his face. Oh yeah another thing you should check little sister, see any warts down there?"
Citra sat there cradling her stomach, resting her form against the bed, too weak to move. All she could do was ride out the waves, waiting for it to pass so she could pass out. Her skin was slick with sweat, small trembles going up and down her body. She frowned when she felt something tap her head. If she had strength, she would've swatted the offending annoyance away. "Aye, ayee. Don't let that thing eat you from the inside."
"Mmwhat..?" She mumbled, straining to open her eyes but she just couldn't. Hands shoved under her arms and pulled her up onto the bed. The movement made her sick all over again, but this time she knew there was nothing in her stomach, so all she did was lie there dying.
"I'm gonna get something to make you feel better." Vaas said.
Citra's eyes fluttered open, panic swelling in her chest. "No! No.. no don't leave me.." She slapped a hand lazily on his arm, a fruitless attempt to grab him. One second she felt his warm skin and the next nothing but air. The bed felt different without the added weight, something she noticed immediately and- and how did he get free? Didn't she.. oh.. right. Vaas wanted to stretch his legs. She couldn't say no.
But now he's gone. Gone gone gone and gods what if he never comes back! He's going to leave her again! He's going to leave her! Not again, she can't handle it again.
"Vaas.." She croaked, trying to get up but her arms weren't cooperating and her legs felt like jello. "Vaas!.."
"You're always so needy."
Relief flooded her senses, and she reached out for him, wanting to feel him and know he is real and not some hallucination. His hand pushed her seeking one down, and she complied, rolling her head to make out what he got. Her vision was blurry but she could make out the shape of a box- no a safe. She's seen it before, and the contents inside was a mystery since the thing was locked with a four digit lock. Whistling, he put in the code and opened the safe, sticking a hand inside to rummage through whatever was in there.
Curious, she wanted to see what's inside but she was too tired. Plus Vaas kept glancing at her, looking on edge. Whatever was in there he didn't want anyone to see, especially her. Citra laid back and closed her eyes, surrendering to the exhaustion, and let her mind wander.
"Open your mouth." Vaas ordered. Without thinking she did so and froze when she felt soft lips press against hers. She opened her mouth wider, expecting a warm cavern but instead received something entirely different. She ripped away from, coughing and half choking as puffs of smoke escaped her mouth. Vaas was laughing, and rolled onto his back beside her, giving her a little nudge.
"What was that?" She asked, trying to clear her throat because there was something stuck in there.
"It'll help ya relax. Don't fight it or else you're gonna have a bad trip. Fuck you're a bad trip anyways."
Citra wanted to reply, but she just rested her head on his shoulder. They laid in silence, and Citra realized sluggishly that the pain in her stomach had receded to the background. It was still there, but her mind wasn't quite focused on it. She felt hazy, like in a waking dream.
this is real. Life not my life it can't be
"You left me." She said out of nowhere.
"You killed my mom." He replied. "So that makes us fair and square eh?"
A hollow pang struck her chest, "Is that why you left?"
"No. Yes. Fuck I don't know. I don't know.. I just needed to escape.. I needed.. space from everything, everyone."
"Even me?" She asked in a quiet voice. Even though she asked it, she didn't want to hear his answer. Maybe she already knows what it is and she couldn't bear to hear it from him.
Vaas flicked her forehead, "You're bringing me down little sister. I don't like that."
"Sorry.." She murmured, though all she wanted to do was cry and rage. A thought popped in her mind, something she desperately needed to know the answer to. "Why didn't you leave? You could of but you didn't. Why?"
Vaas shrugged, "I think I'm gonna stick around. I'm not done here yet."
"Done with what?"
"Citraaaa," He groaned, rubbing his face, "You see that's one thing I hated about you. You always needed to know everyfuckingthing I do. When I eat, when I drink, when I jack off, when I take a shit."
She cracked a smile and snuggled into his shoulder, "I don't need to know that."
"Well since we're on the subject of asses, I ate one that tasted like uh, like.. sparkles, tequila, and sunshine all mixed together. You'd think it'd taste like shit huh."
"That's gross." She mumbled, envisioning in her head a floating butt with sunshine shining and tequila flowing out, all covered in glittering sparkles.
"I think I loved him."
Citra grew quiet, disheartened, and meekly asked, "Why are you telling me this?" Was his intentions to hurt her further? Break whatever pieces of her heart still remained.
"Because I want to." He said simply, and sat up. Citra watched him reach into the safe and take out a single feather. He laid back down, rolling the feather between his thumb and index finger, gazing at it with a blank look. It looked soft, and the colors were a vivid blue, with a dip of neon orange around the edges. Citra plucked it right from his hand and examined it, grinning when Vaas made to snatch it back but she held it away.
"Tell me about." She said, handing it back to him.
He took it and shrugged. "Not much to tell... I was in Rio. We met on the beach. He was a local boy, showed me around.. It gets fuzzy a lil' but I remember there's this carnival and the way that chico sacudio su pequena culo-" Vaas slapped a hand over his heart as if he'd been shot, "Ooh, you don't see that back home."
"What did you say?" She asked, annoyed she didn't understand what language he was speaking, and annoyed that he was purposely speaking a different language.
Vaas grinned devilishly, like he knew something she didn't. "Nothing, nothing." She pouted and punched his arm, but relented and let him have his fun.
"Continue." She said.
"We sneaked into one of them, those floating thingies, and we fucked to the music as it drove through a parade where thousands of people could see us if we weren't hiding inside. Fuck that was great. Wish I could do it again sometime." His face fell, staring at the feather.
"What was his name?" She asked.
Vaas broke out into laughter, "I was Sparrow. He was Canary... wish I did ask for his name though. I never got the chance."
"Woke up to find him gone." He said flatly. She looked at him to see what he was feeling, but his face was heavily guarded. "Fuck it though, it was great while it lasted." He smiled that wickedly charming grin and brushed his fingers against her discolored patch of skin. "You should peel this off. But I think it's a little bit too late for that."
She examined it, seeing that it did heal nicely. It didn't even leave a scar. "I can if you want me too." And she meant it full-heartily.
"And you would do anything for me right?" He said, his lips pressed into a thin frown. Citra didn't have to answer that vocally for him to know what she was going to say. He tucked the feather behind her ear and sighed. "It doesn't matter anyways. It won't change anything." To her surprise, Vaas looked mildly somber. And she didn't want him to look so sad so she said the first thing that popped into her mind.
"Whatever happened to that toy sword you stole when we were kids." Thinking about it now, she actually did want to know.
Vaas frowned, "I think I gave that to Tipene."
Oh. Yeah. She remembered now. No wonder she never liked him.. and tried to get him killed. Excessive? She didn't think so.
"Aye, how's the SoCal douchebag's spawn?"
"How's your stomach?" Vaas clarified. "Does it still hurt?"
Citra walked in right as Riley had the ever living shit punched out of him. Blood flew from his mouth, staining the stone floors. To his credit, he didn't pass out, but the boy did slump to his knees, blood drooling from his lips. Riley looked bad, worse than his time with Hoyt. His body was littered with bruises, contrasting greatly on his pale sickly skin. When they noticed her presence, the torturer bowed.
"Has he talked yet?" She asked, secretly breathing in the stench of blood and.. possibly urine?
"No my Queen. Shall I continue until he does?"
"No. Leave us." She dismissed, and the torturer with two guards left obediently. Citra waved her hand and her handmaidens handed her a bucket before following the guards out. Once alone, she strolled over to him. He had his head bowed and turned away from her, hiding his face in shadows. She put the bucket down, noticing how Riley flinched.
"Why must you do this to yourself?" She asked, her words being swallowed up in the silence. He didn't answer, and she didn't expect him to. "You do not owe them your loyalty. You do not need to receive pain for them." She crouched down and tried to cup his bruised cheek, but Riley shrunk away as if her fingers were on fire. "This is not your war."
Shaking, Riley lifted his head and glared at her. "It became my war when you fucked with my friends."
"If that is what you believe, then so be it. I did not force Jason to come to me." She said.
"You think this is all his fault?" Riley said incredulously, "He- we never asked for this. None of us.. wanted this to happen."
Things happen, sometimes when nobody asked for it. She understood that.
Riley grimaced, and let his head drop. Citra blinked, and reached out for him. His reaction was too lean away from her, too tried and beaten up to actually get up and put distance between them.
"I won't hurt you." She said, her voice calm and leveled. Riley didn't trust her, and it showed. When he could no longer further himself from her, she gently wrapped a hand around his shoulder, and slowly edge him down. There was resistance, but Riley gave up and let himself be maneuvered to where he was laying knees curled, his head resting on her lap.
Tilting his head, she pulled out a bottle of water and placed it on his lips. Riley stared at her as he greedily drank its content, his eyes wide and weary. She set it down when she deemed he had his fill, and from the bucket, she soaked a small towel in warm water and squeezed it. Riley winced as she softly dabbed it around his face, careful not to put too much pressure to hurt him. She washed off dried flakes of blood that crusted like tiny little spiderweb cracks.
"Nothing is warmer than a mother's love." She hummed, brushing away strands of hair that stuck to his face. "But I wouldn't know. Do you? Riley?"
"Why are you doing this?" He questioned, ignoring her question. He licked his chapped, bloody lips. "You hate me."
Citra smiled and caressed his jawline. "I don't hate you Riley. Jason could never hate you."
"You're lying." He said with such bitterness in his voice, his lower lip trembling. "Jason hates me. What.. what kind of person leaves his own brother like this? He doesn't.. care, he doesn't give a shit about me. He promised- he promised he would protect us. But he killed us. He killed.. them."
"Older brothers tend to do that." She said, "They break promises. They hurt you. But that's OK. You get used to it."
"I don't want to get used to it." He said, his eyes drooping.
"Do you want it all to end?" She whispered, tracing the circular shaped scar on his chest. Riley mumbled something in-audible, but the slight nodding of his head told her yes. "Riley.. Riley you have to stay awake. There's no rest for people like us." She shook him gently awake, and his eyes slid open, dull blue eyes looking up at her. "Do you want this all to end?"
"Yes." He croaked, his adams apple bobbing up and down. Taking his hand, she wrapped it around a purple gun and pointed the end of the barrel directly at her face.
"Then shoot me."
Riley's lips parted in a small surprised o. They were both frozen in place, as if time inside this room never existed. The more time passed, the more his hand shook under hers. He had his finger on the trigger, and all he had to do was squeeze. A simple action that results in a chaotic aftermath.
"You can end it all. You can be free." She urged him on, and this time she wasn't lying. She knew if it were Jason, hundred percent he would've done it. Jason was a stone-cold killer, and she would've done the same. But Riley's not Jason, and he's not Citra. Something he keeps proving time and time again.
"I can't." He breathed, lowering the gun and looking away. "I, I can't." He sounded angry. At who? Himself? Citra felt strangely calm, neutral with the outcome of the situation. She took the gun from his hand and slipped it back in a holster. She sat Riley up and stood up. No words were exchanged until she closed the cell door.
"The gun was never loaded, was it?" He asked quietly.
Her response was a small, knowing smile and she left him. Her handmaidens waited for her at the top and she unclipped the ammo cartridge, dumping bullets into a bowl before clicking it back in.
"My Queen." A guard came up to her and bowed. "Dennis has asked for you to come to the entrance of the temple."
"I will go later." She said dismissively.
"He says it is urgent. He is dealing with outsiders."
"Outsider?" She whipped around, suddenly alert. "Take me to them."
She heard Dennis' voice around the thick tree, and soon saw him. She then settled her eyes upon a group of soldiers. They weren't pirates, obviously, but they weren't Privateers either, nor do they look like poorly trained civilian soldiers. They were something more, something else.
"Ah, this is Citra-" Dennis said, stepping to the side.
"Who are you?" She bellowed, "What do you want?"
One of the soldiers stepped up and removed their helmet.
"Citra Talugmai," She said, bowing in respect. "My name is Valerie Constantine. I'm a CIA agent from the United States government and I was hoping you can answer some questions regarding a man under the alias Yalung."