Counterpointwritten by Zervais - inspired by an original artwork from Gothichamlet
It hadn't always been this way, only a few seconds ago the room was filled with yelling and screaming, the noise of flesh against flesh but now they were left with an uncomfortable silence as the one tied to the chair regained his composure. Head had been forcefully jerked to the side, eyes squeezed shut, cheek red and stinging from impact; teeth clenched together, refusing to let out any noise of discomfort. His assailant just watched and waited for an answer, hand still raised and ready to strike again.
Friday morning, a few days prior, and the café was already teeming with life. Waitresses, in their short purple skirts and low-cut white tops, were busy jumping from table to table to take orders. Many of the customers were just grabbing a cup of coffee to take away to work; the line at the counter being almost out the door and full of complaining customers. The tables were occupied by those who could afford to sit down before they started the day, builders forming the majority. They had been bringing business to the local shops for the past few weeks as they were working on building a new Mall. South Park was a quiet little town and they were more than happy with catering to those building them a brand new shopping centre. It would be their very first.
The two unlikely pair sat in a booth, the blonde looking upon the builders with distain as they tried to pull up the pleated skirt of one of the young waitresses. They all chuckled and she blushed, hurrying quickly to hide behind the counter. His partner across from him kept watching her until she disappeared in the kitchen, finding the blush awfully cute on her pale cheeks. He took note of the colour of panties she was wearing too — white. Perfect ass and a perfect body to match. She had long flowing black hair, bright blue eyes, and was almost recognizable. Now that he thought about it, a lot of the girls working here looked familiar...
"Christophe! Christophe, look at me."
Reluctantly the brunette turned his gaze onto his seething partner and sighed heavily.
"Were you even listening to me when I explained the basics of our new job?"
Christophe DeLorne offered a shrug in response; his only way of telling the Brit that he wasn't listening. Gregory gave a long and exasperated sigh, fingers tapping on the lid of his coffee. It was far too hot to drink at the moment but it offered as some form of distraction for his gloved hands rather than slapping his less than ideal partner around the face; he wasn't keen on dealing with another angry outburst from him and especially in a public place.
The two worked together and were the worst matched pair which had ever been created. Both had their flaws and their doses of insanity, Christophe's mind being lost far too easily to his anger. He could easily snap at the smallest of things and Gregory really wasn't keen on forcing the paying customers around them to deal with it. His last outburst had coaxed the two of them into a rather violent fight. It ended with Christophe passed out on the floor and a dark bruise circling the blonde's right eye. To this day the dark patch of blood still remains beneath his skin, if a little faded.
They were Mercenaries. Their job would involve anything from assassination to stealing and everything in between. All for a fee of course. Their new job would be a simple one, one which Christophe could deal with himself and call for backup if needed; he always was the more active one of the two. Gregory Williams on the other hand was the more organised of the two and usually dealt with treaties and anything which required persuasion or speech of any kind. Talking was his more developed trait but even his silver tongue couldn't hold the brunette's attention for long.
"Let me put this in simple terms even you might understand," he began, unable to help himself slip in the insult; Christophe's olive eyes narrowed, easily picking it out. At least he finally had his attention. "Your job is to retrieve information from a business up in Denver. The building is on the outskirts of the city and is being used for offices. They have a warehouse about half a mile from it. Our client wants us to find written evidence that the warehouse is being used to manufacture illegal weapons. Find documentation proving this." Gregory raised an eyebrow. "Can you do this?"
"Oui." the reply was given and the blonde finally relaxed back into his seat, picking up the coffee in the Styrofoam cup and taking a small sip.
"I will provide a car for you to use. You leave as soon as you are ready. Be sure to park a mile away from the building itself and, should you need help, call me."
"I got eet, beetch." Christophe grumbled around the rim of his own coffee. "Stop fuckeeng worrying."
"I just don't think you get it," the man sighed exasperatingly, brown eyes narrowed. The one tied cracked an eye open but refused to look at him, gaze concentrated on the mucky grey tiles, which might have been white once.
Most were cracked and they were barely aligned properly, veering off on a slant with a few random tiles being in the complete wrong place. The room seemed to have that colour scheme of dull greys and blacks going on. Shadows masked the figure in front, not allowing any specific details of him to be picked out; the only light radiated from a barred window to the back of his chair. His assailant had brown eyes, short black hair which looked unkempt, and he was tall, putting a good half a foot on the mercenary's short 5"6. Chosen attire was a three piece black suit; a typical business man.
Grabbing a hold of the brunette's face within both hands, he yanked his head back towards him, green eyes now open and glaring at man in front.
"I've been nothing but nice to you since you got here, Mr. DeLorne." Christophe laughed. "But seeing as you don't want to speak, we'll have to do this the hard way."
Letting go of him, the raven haired male took a few steps back and dug a pistol from his pocket; for just a brief moment, the Frenchman's eyes widened in shock before narrowing into a daring glare. The gun was raised, barrel poised between the brunette's eyes. Hands curled into the arm of the chair, nails digging into the wood and marking it. Teeth grit together and it was difficult to keep the glare within his eyes but he managed it.
"Are you going to talk?"
"Fuck you." Christophe spat.
With another heaved sigh, the man sounded the gun, the bang deafening. Christophe's eyes screwed shut before he screamed out in pain, though it was hardly the quick death he was expecting, nor was the location of the pain. Cracking an eye open, he looked down in horror at the bleeding bullet wound in his arm. Blood was already beginning to spill mercilessly from around the bullet he could see lodged within the flesh, close to the bone too; it was lucky it hadn't gone in any further and done permanent damage. He bit his lip to the point it bled and the metallic tang swam in his mouth. It took everything not to scream again but the daring expression had long since vanished with most of his pride.
Once again the gun was raised, this time to point at his shoulder. A shot like that wouldn't kill him, providing it missed his heart, but it would sure as Hell hurt. Christophe mentally cringed, closing his eyes again and trying to place himself anywhere but there. The pain was throbbing through him with each beat of his heart and it showed no signs of dulling down anytime soon. It was becoming increasingly hard to ignore the blood pouring from the wound and the wooziness which came with it.
"One last chance, Mr.DeLorne, where are the documents you stole from us?" he demanded.
Christophe sighed inwardly and opened his mouth to protest but was immediately cut off by the blaring of sirens sounding out in the hallway. Daring to open his eyes, he watched as the red light flashed outside. The black haired male seemed both panicked and pissed off at the same time. Sounds emitted from behind the closed door: screams, gunshot, clattering of furniture and finally a loud and awfully close explosion. The whole building shook from impact, parts of the ceiling cracking and falling, none of which struck the two men. The door suddenly burst open, a rapid shot fired, followed by a scream of pain and the man falling onto his knees. Looking up, wild green eyes landed on an all too familiar figure.
"Good afternoon, Christophe." the blonde chuckled, stepping over the rubble his entrance created and towards the man. The black eye and arrogant air that was Gregory, was far too welcoming at a time like this.
Raising his gun, he never hesitated in shooting the man between the eyes, the spray of grey and red matter exploding from the back of his head. Body fell slack and onto its chest, blood oozing from the bullet wounds and creating a large pool of the reflective crimson paint beneath. It spread slowly and eventually brushed the combat boots of Christophe.
The alarms kept blaring out in the corridor, the sound of hurried footsteps running down the hallway.
They didn't have much time left.
A blade was retrieved from his pocket and used to cut the binds. The brunette finally slapped a hand over his wound and rose to his feet. From side to side he swayed until Gregory placed a hand on his shoulder and looked him dead in the eye. Just from those few intense seconds of silence he could tell that his partner was near out of it due to blood loss and the queasiness which came with the shock of being shot.
"Just hang on, alright?" he said softly and let go.
All around them the sound of explosions shook the very structure of the building, followed by shouts and a thunderous gunfire. Walls and ceilings cracked around them, depositing bits of broken plaster and dust. Gregory had a firm grip on the brunette's good arm, dragging him along towards the exit which seemed too far away. He would slip or stumble occasionally, the loss of blood making him disorientated but the blonde was right there to catch him.
The two both had a pistol with limited ammunition, one of which was stolen from his captor and the other was Gregory's own. His torturer had less than good sense in guns, wielding one which could hold no more than six bullets, all of which were used up very swiftly on those who insisted on getting in their way. The population of the building seemed endless but, by some miracle, they located a back door leading out onto an open field; in the distance, another large building, a warehouse of sorts. The door slammed shut and they sped off towards it, their only salvation for miles. Bullets ricocheted at their feet, the two ducking as they ran the open plane, stopping only once inside and locking the door behind them.
Christophe, by this time, was wheezing and panting; his last remaining energy was spent on the trip down there. His British partner had taken this into account and decided that stopping there would be the best course of action, at least until the two of them had the strength to continue on.
"Here, sit down."
Leading the injured male over to some crates and away from the door, he slowly helped him down to the ground and to lean against one of the large boxes. Gregory took a brief moment to scour their surroundings; the warehouse was large and filled with countless boxes, all packed and ready to be shipped worldwide. Minimal light was offered up to them, save that which broke through the wooden boards covering the windows; it was just enough to see a few feet in front of them without the aid of a torch or fire.
The place they had chosen to sit was secluded, the crates surrounding them and shielding from any prying eyes or surprise attacks. All in all it seemed like the safest place right now.
His attention was quickly on the brunette as a sharp gasp of pain came from him. The gloved hand was removed from the bullet wound, blood staining through the torn material of his long sleeved military jacket. The brown fabric was thin and offered little to no protection. Christophe forced the sleeve away from the wound and examined the bloody mess of flesh. He moved to touch it but was stopped by a hand snapping his wrist.
"Don't." Gregory said sternly, icy blue eyes narrowed into a freezing stare. Never would he let his partner deal with any wounds for fear the dirt coating his tanned skin would bring about infection and that was something neither of them needed.
Letting out a irritated groan, Christophe retracted his hand.
Reaching into his pocket, the blonde pulled out a clean roll of bandages and a pair of tweezers. The very sight caused his arm to twitch and his face to contort in pain. Pulling out bullets was never an easy task and his partner was hardly the most gentle when it came to such a delicate treatment. Gregory was forced to hold of his arm in place, eyes scanning over the wound and locating the bullet.
"Close your eyes or at least look away if it bothers you that much." he instructed.
The Frenchman did just that, screwing his eyes shut and biting his lip. Unfortunately it wasn't enough to stop the yelp of pain which escaped as the metal object was pried from his open flesh, a fair amount of blood spilling out in its place.
"Fuck," he grumbled as he cracked an eye open to dare look at the ruptured flesh.
The hole where the bullet had been was much darker and deeper than the bloody skin which surrounded it. The faintest sign of infection was beginning to show by the congealed mixture of pus and blood. Once again his eyes slammed shut and Christophe turned away, letting the pain on his features finally show in the form of a wince.
"Hm..." said Gregory thoughtfully, looking around them. "Wait here and I shall see if there is a medical kit with some disinfectant." Christophe scoffed and rolled his eyes, it wasn't as if he planned to move in the first place.
The blonde left with a stride in his step, walking like a man on a mission, which he was. After watching him disappear around the corner of a large box, he leant back against the crate and sighed heavily. Once again he found himself suffocating in the heavily silence. Gregory's footsteps had long since died out and not even the whisper of the wind could be heard through the cracks of the bricks and wood. It might have been peaceful if not for the throbbing pain in his arm. Granted, it was dying down a bit but the aftershock still rang through his body like the ripples of water after a stone had been thrown into the centre.
Christophe's breathing picked up; he gasped and winced, the only sounds heard until that faint echo of heels clacking against the stone floor were back, getting louder and louder until they disappeared entirely. Slowly he opened his eyes and looked up at Gregory whom was already dropping back to his knees, a collection of bottles in his arms. From the smell of it, it seemed to be vodka and beer; there was definitely two different drinks. Gregory handed over the more darker of the bottles.
"What's zis for?"
"Drinking. I thought it might help you numb the pain." he replied as he tore off part of the bandage and drowned it in the white spirit. "You're going to need it..."
The soaked cloth was folded into a reasonable square shape and swiped over the wound. Christophe bit back any noises of pain and held tightly onto the bottle within his free hand; it was almost to the point of cracking with the strength he was clutching it with. An eventual hiss escaped his lips and he tried desperately to remove his arm.
"Stop being a baby." the blonde rolled his eyes, removing the pad and looking over the wound once again. It was much cleaner now, albeit the first signs of infection were still there; over time it would fade.
"You zry getteeng shot, zen you tell me just ‘ow much a baby I am." Christophe retorted and brought the bottle to his mouth, prying the cap off with his teeth and spitting it on the floor by his partner.
Next the clean bandage was tied around the injury and finished off in a neat bow at his forearm. Almost as soon as it was done, Christophe had snatched his arm away and brought it to his chest. Offering a scoff, his partner screwed the cap back onto the vodka and stood up. Christophe only glanced up at him, watching him as he downed another gulp of beer. The ache in his arm was gradually being replaced by an almost high sense. Whatever it was, it was helping.
"Don't drink that all at once, Christophe," the Brit snapped, prying the bottle away from him and placing it on top of one of the crates. "No doubt we'll be expecting company soon and I would rather you sober." Christophe grumbled something incoherent and slouched. "Now tell me, did you ever retrieve those documents I asked you to?"
There was a brief pause where neither said anything; the silence told Gregory all he needed to know.
"I specifically asked you to complete this one task. It should have taken you less than a day but instead I have to come and get you three days later. But..." he trailed off, anger simmering down by the simple act of running a hand through his thick blonde hair. It was getting quite long and needed to be cut. "No matter because I might have found something which will help us get paid anyway."
Hoisting himself up onto the crate behind, Gregory disappeared over the other side with just the hint of a smile playing on his lips. Raising an eyebrow, Christophe rose to his feet, using his good arm to support his exhausted body against the box behind him. For the past few days, he had been far too paranoid to sleep. Who could when they had been kidnapped and tied to a chair, just waiting for their assailant to come back and interrogate them or for their knight in shining armour to rescue them? He scoffed at the thought and listened to him clambering about in one of the boxes nearby.
Pushing away from his own support, he headed over to where Gregory was, only to have something thrown at him. Even with a messed up arm, he managed to catch the weapon with just a small hiss of pain. His partner turned to him with a brand new pistol and a few cases of bullets in his hands. Christophe glanced down at his own gun, a large rifle with a scope on it.
"Think you can use that?" He looked up and offered Gregory a nod. "Good, be sure to bring it with us when you're finished, we can use that as evidence since you managed to lose the documents."
"Tais-toi. I get eet, I fucked up. No need to carry on about eet, unless you want ze wrong end of zis shoved up your ass." he bit back, which was more than enough to shut up his arrogant partner who clearly knew his place. Christophe was their field expert. If he couldn't do something and ended up tortured, his prick of a partner would easily wind up dead.
With the air left tense and silent, the Frenchman stormed off back to where they were before and plopped himself down. He held the gun upright, butt on the floor, and studied it. At most it would bless them with a few casualties and a means of escape should it come to that. Feeling a weight slouch against him, he glanced over his shoulder at the blonde whom offered nothing but a packet of cigarettes as a greeting. At times like this, the two of them could do with a generous stress reliever. Christophe happily took them and stuffed one of the cancerous sticks between his chapped lips. A silver lighter was then provided; Gregory just had everything on his person.
"Be careful not to drop the lit end of the cigarette or the lighter itself," he motioned to the spilt alcohol on the floor which Christophe must have knocked over upon getting up. "Alcohol is highly flammable and I'd rather not be going up in flames just yet. We'll leave that to a last resort, hm?"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah." he rolled his eyes like a child who was being cautioned and started off the fag. "Blow me, beetch."
"Maybe once we get out of this mess." Gregory replied casually, taking back the items and lighting one of his own.
A long bout of silence was soon to follow, Christophe not bothering to answer. The two of them just listened to the noises outside. Animals chatting to each other in the nearby forest, which was just on top of the hill; the building they were in was located in a ditch of sorts, a perfect place to put a producer of illegal weapons. The faintest of alarms sounded on the wind, carried over from the building which was trying desperately to recover. Perhaps they would concentrate on repairing the damage and leave the two of them to slip out and head home.
That proved to be nothing but a shared dream as voices and footsteps were drawing closer and closer towards their location. Thankfully they were still outside but by the sounds of it, almost all of the organisation had come to get revenge. They knew exactly where the duo would be hiding and none saw them leave since.
"Zose explosions," Christophe was the one to break the peace between them, though his voice had dropped a level in volume. He held the gun between his legs and removed the cigarette, only to replace it with the cap of an unopened bottle of beer. "Did you do zem?"
"Mhm..." he hummed an affirmative and watched him take a swig of the beverage. "I needed a distraction."
"'ave aneemore?" Gregory shook his head. "Fuck..."
Trailing off, Christophe took a few more mind numbing gulps of the liquid before he felt the world shift sideways and stop all together. It had gone straight to his head and caused him to feel like everything had just froze on him and he was the only one existing. Gregory was no longer leaning against him, taking a puff on his cigarette with the pistol in hand and cold eyes focused on the back door. Instead he was just there. Alone.
Suddenly something clicked and he blinked, placing the bottle down and bringing the cigarette back to his lips.
"Gregoree, you said zat alcohol can be set on fire easily, oui?"
"It's highly flammable, yes." he confirmed, raising the eyebrow above his bruised eye in his direction.
"Do you ‘ave aneemore of zose bandages?"
"Yes I do, Mole, I always have to keep them on my person because you—" he stopped himself abruptly, catching onto what his partner was hinting at. "You're insane. You really think that will work?"
"We eizzer die getting shot or een a fire. Peeck."
"I would rather live." Heaving a heavy sigh, the blonde reached into his pocket and threw the roll of bandages to him.
Christophe chuckled and shifted to get himself more comfortable and the gun more securely held; he tore off part of the bandage with his teeth. Gregory had to roll his eyes and find amusement in just how animalistic his friend really was. The material was stuffed into the bottle, making sure the end touched the liquid and the other end was hanging out the top.
Christophe repeated this with the remaining three bottles; each time he would pry and tear with his teeth, spitting the caps onto the floor. He was sure to work quickly as the voices outside grew louder and the banging occurred on the warehouse door. Gregory was at the ready to shoot anyone who slipped in through the back entrance and Mole could easily get to his gun if they broke through the front.
"Go out ze back door and I will catch up, d'accord?" he said as he placed the last bottle on the floor.
A loud bang and crack was soon to follow. Gunfire echoed around the warehouse and resonated above them; thankfully they were still sitting down and were sheltered by the crates. It simmered down and the banging started up again. Gregory gave a small nod, rising to his feet but keeping hunched over as he headed to the door, pistol in hand and alert. His partner got to his knees, positioning the gun over the crate and the bottles by his sides.
"Oh, Christophe," he turned, catching the lighter which the blonde threw at him. "Be careful." A stern look and a nod was exchanged before Gregory slipped silently out the fire-exit door, slamming it shut behind him.
The brunette didn't have much time alone after that before they were bursting through the door in the dozens. Mole reacted quick enough to send off the first bomb. The end of the bandage was lit and acted like a fuse. By the time it had reached the group, it exploded midair and sent flames raining down on them. Screams and panicked cries filled the air, along with gunshot and frantic footsteps. They spread out, those who weren't running back outside and burnt, and began to fire in quick succession where they saw the bottle thrown from. Christophe dropped back down, hiding behind the wooden boxes.
Gathering up all of the boxes of unused bullets, he stuffed them into the pockets of his dark green combat trousers and scrambled to his feet. A shout gave away his position and everyone began firing again. Mole grabbed the gun and the last bottle, sprinting to the door. One bullet struck him in the leg and caused him to scream out in pain, but he didn't dare stop; the alcohol had numbed his brain well enough to dull the shock coursing through him. The adrenaline aided that too.
Getting to the door, he pushed it open by the bar and winced as a cold gust of air hit him. Turning back around, he smashed the bottle by his feet and spat out his cigarette. As soon as it hit the floor, it caught everything alight, Christophe lost behind the wall of fire and the door closing itself from the weight.
Gun was thrown down, his body failing to support him and he dropped to his hands and knees, letting out a chesty cough and spitting out a worrying amount of blood onto the grass. Again and again this action was repeated, the blades beneath him becoming stained a crimson red. Mind was failing to focus his attention anywhere else than the wound in his leg and the all too familiar throbbing pain from the strained injury in his arm. He hardly had enough strength to keep his eyes open which swam with a fuzzy haze. Slowly he let them close, hacking out more blood until his coughs were nothing but dry heaves.
Christophe flinched as he felt a hand on his shoulder, cracking both eyes open and lifting his head to see the familiar concerned look of his British partner with the rifle slung over his shoulder.
"Told you I'd make eet out." he forced a smile.
"You gave up your ability to walk in order to save me? That's sweet." Gregory chuckled and helped him to his feet, supporting him by wrapping an arm around his waist and Christophe's slung over his shoulder.
"Don't get all excited, ee'll be back on my feet een no zime and able to keeck your prissy ass." he grinned at him.
"I look forward to it, Mole." Another short chuckle was given and he began to help him walk up the hill, leaving the burning building behind them.
Each step was taken with caution and care, a few low hisses of pain coming from Christophe and grunts of effort coming from Gregory until they both fell quiet, slowly making their way back home to South Park.
If you enjoyed this story, remember to check out the original artwork that inspired it!